Saturday, May 21, 2011

Top Five Tips for BEA

This Tuesday is when the very popular book conference in NYC - known as Book Expo America - and I'm going to be there for the second time. BEA is a great place to acquire books, but the most important thing to keep in mind as a blogger is that getting books is not everything. A blogger's top priority should be to network and create relationships with bloggers, authors and friends. Books are just an added benefit of the conference.

And so, for all of the n00bs who are going to BEA this year, here is my list of tips for you, so you don't fall into similar traps I did last year.

1. Stick to your schedule, despite your friends. Once you make your schedule - and I hope you've already figured out you need one, I'm not wasting this post for the obvious - stick to it! I know you want to hang out with your friends. But you're not going to be happy with the books you receive and the people you meet if you stick to one social group and follow them around like their shadow.

If you have an online life any similar to mine, you have a lot of different social circles that intersect and diverge often. It's best to mix it up, and even go by yourself to certain events if there's no one to join you. You'll always find someone to talk to if you're friendly.

For instance, last year Libba Bray was on a BEA panel at the same time as a Cory Doctorow signing and because all of my friends have seen Libba approximately 323298235 times before (*grumble* *grumble*) I headed down to the panel room by myself instead of begging one of my friends to come. Not only did I get a seat in the front row, but I was two seats away from Natalie Standiford! I fangirled in my mind an inappropriate amount. And I also didn't piss my friends off with codependency issues. It's a win-win for all!

2. Bring snacks. I mean it. I saw this tip in every single tips post last year and somehow snacks slipped my mind. It'll be virtually impossible to get a lunch. Not only is BEA's cafeteria expensive, but they have very few options. It's best to nosh on something in a long line. That's the most time you'll have to eat. You'll just end up starving otherwise. Please, BRING SOMETHING.

3. You. Will. Not. Live. Unless. You. Wear. Supportive. Footwear. The Rapture didn't happen. Try not to tempt fate by wearing high heels or flip flops. You need sneakers, I promise you.

4. Bring business cards! Sometimes after panels you bump into the PR for certain authors. I was offered to be a part of a book giveaway list twice and my business card was what got me those books. Even if you're a teenager, it makes you look cool, organized and professional.

5. Don't forget the after parties! There are a lot of book signings after each day at BEA. Be sure to check out your favourite authors' sites to see what's going on every night.

Bonus Tip: Stand out
. Whether it's how much you loved or are looking forward to reading an author's book, how you dress, your marketing strategy, or your unique take on YA literature as a whole, don't just be a number when you go to BEA. Go out and charm the bejeezus out of those authors! Giggle with the bloggers. Chat it up with the English teachers. And look cool doing it all. Knock em dead, kiddo.

PS: If you like all of the crazy things I say, you might want to hang out with me between May 22nd-27th! If you email me, I'd be happy to schedule a get together with you. Endure my company and I'll be eternally grateful.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Book 8 of '11 Confessions of the Sullivan Sisters by Natalie Standiford

Dust Jacket Description:

The Sullivan sisters have a big problem. On Christmas Day their rich and imperious grandmother gathers the family and announces that she will soon die . . .and has cut the entire family out of her will. Since she is the source of almost all their income, this means they will soon be penniless.

Someone in the family has offended her deeply. If that person comes forward with a confession of her (or his) crime, submitted in writing to her lawyer by New Year's Day, she will reinstate the family in her will. Or at least consider it.

And so the confessions begin....

and Writing: After reading Standiford's How To Say Goodbye in Robot, I honestly didn't know what to assume from Sullivan Sisters. The concept is very clever, but also more main stream than any of the content in Robot. I wondered how much her writing style would change. My answer to that question would be - not much. Fortunately, Standiford has an exquisite writing style that adds pepper to a foray of characters that were in danger of being cliched archetypes.

None of the three girls - Norrie, Sassy and Jane - are original characters. They have very typical personalities. But there's something about how Standiford adds to their emotional arch that deepens each interwoven story, and adds twists for a more interesting perspective. Maybe it was because of Almighty - the girls' grandmother - and her societal expectations that fit a Victorian age mindset but still somehow passed as normal for a high class family. Maybe it's how this story feels almost like a fairy tale in how we get very little detail of why the Sullivan family is so dependent on Almighty, which leaves the story with an almost dream like quality in parts.
(The girls also call their father Daddy-o, which I think might be the coolest thing ever). It could also be because after going to Baltimore myself last year I loved reading the descriptions of the city from a posh perspective. But however she manages it, Standiford keeps this story from deviating too far in a mainstream direction. It's the main reason why I enjoyed the book so much. 4 and a half flowers.

Plot: After having the two fun, action lead stories surrounding Norrie and Jane, Sassy's confession lost some of that plot based fun and her story gravitated towards a vibe more fitting of Standiford's debut YA work. I wanted to like Sassy more than I did. 4 flowers.

A little bizarre. A little understandable. Generally weird. But Almighty IS an eccentric millionaire. 4 flowers.

Dust Jacket Description:
I wish it mentioned more about the actual sisters themselves, but beyond that it certainly focuses on the basis premise in an articulate way. 4 flowers.

I actually love this cover. Except for how the back of the middle girl's dress isn't sitting correctly between her shoulder blades. It drove me crazy. 4 and a half flowers.

If you need a gateway book to help ease your way into the amazing world of super fantastic, crazy literature, or if you just like suave characters with lots of hurdles ahead of them, this is the book for you. 4 and a half flowers.