BEA 2014 Wrap Up

What a week!

I had such a blast going to Book Expo America (BEA) for the third time in a row this year as well as the Teen Author Carnival which kicked off the bookish festivities this week. So let’s start with the Carnival.

It was lovely catching up with YA authors, Lenore Appelhans (The Memory of After) and Lauren Morrill (Being Sloane Jacobs) as well as attending two panels before the hour of signing began. The panels that I attended were the “Come Together” panel moderated by YA author, Adam Silvera (More Happy Than Not) which featured Michael Barakiva (One Man Guy), Eliot Schrefer (Threatened), Robin Talley (Lies We Tell Ourselves) and Aaron Hartzler (Rapture Practice) and the “Time After Time” panel moderated by Mitali Dave (organizer of Teen Author Carnival) featuring Tiffany Schmidt (Bright Before Sunrise), Jennifer E. Smith (The Geography of You and Me), Gayle Forman (If I Stay), Adi Alsaid (Let’s Get Lost), Una LaMarche (Five Summers) and Lauren Morrill.

The first panel was about diversity and the second panel was about setting – in particular the short time spans of the novels by these particular authors. As a writer currently revising a book that takes place over the course of one night, the second panel was a Godsend. As a reader, writer, and individual, the diversity panel was a dream panel in that I wish there had been a panel like this (at my school especially) when I was a teen. Conclusion after these two panels? I’ve added so, so many of these books to my “To Be Read” (TBR) List.

Now the signing took place over the course of one hour but I left 40 minutes into it to catch a train. I was thrilled to meet Adi Alsaid, Claire Legrand (The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls), Gayle Forman – especially before the movie adaptation of If I Stay releases on August 22nd, Julie Kagawa – especially since I just started reading and loving The Immortal Rules last week, Tiffany Schmidt who is running in YA Runs A 5K, Robin Talley since I am highly anticipating Lies We Tell Ourselves, and Rebecca Serle (The Edge of Falling) even though Rebecca was unable to sign due to her injured arm and the sling preventing any movement. The one person I missed and really, really wanted to meet had I not had to leave early was Aaron Hartzler. I am dying to read Rapture Practice and that was the perfect opportunity to get it and speak to him. *Shakes fist at time constraints* I sure hope I get to read his book and attend a local event of his soon.

I had always wanted to go to the Teen Author Carnival so it was such a treat to finally go and I can’t wait to go again next year. What a great kick off to BEA!

BEA was amazing! At least the first two days. More on the third day in a moment but first. The books. Of the 38 books that I was aiming for, I picked up 23 and of those 23, 17 are autographed! I’d say that’s a success! My most prized possessions of the signed book haul? An advanced reader copy (ARC) of Rooms and my copy of Panic that I brought with me by Lauren Oliver, The Giver by Lois Lowry, Sand by Hugh Howey, An ARC of Lock In by John Scalzi, We Were Liars by E. Lockhart, An ARC of The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black, and Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein.

If you’re not new to this blog, you know how much I adore Lauren Oliver and Holly Black. And talk about a once in a lifetime experience… Meeting Lois Lowry and watching her sign The Giver… those few seconds meant so much to me. If you’re a writer and you’re not reading John Scalzi’s blog and following him on Twitter, you need to change your tune. And yes, I totally asked Elizabeth Wein to write, “Kiss me, Hardy!” in Rose Under Fire even though Rose is not Code Name Verity. She laughed and said I wasn’t the first person to ask and shortly after said she had no idea that moment was going to become as big as it has become. Can you believe it?! Also, Amy Zhang was adorable and it was great getting the chance to thank her in person for participating in the 5 YA Authors Under 25 Chat!

There were also a number of books that were on my radar and picked up at drops as well as three books that I didn’t know about until I picked them up. My goal was to not pick up any books that weren’t on my radar but that’s awfully limiting when you think about it. I do want to find out about new authors so what better a time than at a book convention? Three was a good number.

Huge thanks to Alexa from Alexa Loves Books for the copy of Talon by Julie Kagawa that she picked up! I picked up Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater because I knew someone I knew would want it but wouldn’t be able to grab it at a drop and it turns out Alexa had the same thought about Talon. Perfect trade!

It was also great running into Erica from The Book Cellar, Jennifer from The Bawdy Book Blog, Marieke Nijkamp from DiversifYA, Jamie from The Perpetual Page Turner, Rachel from As Told by Rachel, Sash from Sash and Em, Betty from Book Rock Betty, Sarah J. Maas (Throne of Glass), Cassie from Good Books & Good Wine, Kimmy from Page to Premiere, Margot Wood from Epic Reads, Kaylee from One Well Read Chick, Martin Cahill from Book Riot, Eric Smith (The Geek’s Guide to Dating), I. W. Gregorio (None of the Above), Adele from Persnickety Snark, Katherine from The Lady Critic’s Library, Tammar Stein (Spoils), Kimmy from Pingwing’s Bookshelf, and The Bevy ladies. Speaking of…

Thank you so much Jennifer Ellision for your book, Threats of Sky and Sea which just recently released! So proud of you! Stay tuned for my review which will be up shortly during the blog tour and stay tuned for a fun TOSAS post, movie casting with a twist before then! I must also say, it’s pretty awesome to see my name in the acknowledgments of a book! Thanks, Jennifer!

It also must be said that A.S. King wouldn’t be on my radar as much as she has been if not for Book Tuber, Ariel Bissett who I coincidentally happened to meet in the A.S. King line along with a few other Book Tubers including Katytastic, Kayley Hyde, Jesse the Reader who participated in my YouTube Profile Series, Christine Riccio, and Elizzie Books. All of their content is great. So great. I’d say I connect most to Kat and Kayley but I highly encourage you to check out all of their channels. You’ll be so glad you did.

But wait! There’s more!

I met Nicky Hilton and I’m sure you might not care but she was sweet and humble and gracious and just everything I’d hoped I’d see but didn’t know I would. It must be hard to stay grounded when you have so much power but she is all class. I also met Rick Riordan but instead of getting The Mark of Athena signed for myself, knowing how much of a fan my friend, Colleen is, I decided to get it personalized for her! Can’t wait to head to the post office and send it on over! I’m also sending a signed copy of Stan Lee‘s Zodiac sneak peek to my father for his birthday! Update: Note that this sneak peek of Stan Lee’s Zodiac is below The Walled City by Ryan Graudin and above The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan, Doll Bones by Holly Black, and Zodiac by Romina Russell in the photo.

Now, I do have a complaint here. I woke up at 3:15am to leave the house at 4am to get a 5am train to get to NYC by 6ish and the Javits Center by 6:30am to get in line for the ticketed signings as tickets were distributed at 7am, Stan Lee being one of the ticketed signings…only to find out while in line at 4pm for the signing that the books were pre-signed and Stan would hand us the book and we just had to take it and keep the line moving. No pictures with him, no pictures of him after the first five or so people in front of you, no time even to say hello to Stan. It’s not Stan’s fault. He was just as sweet as he always is and even said different greeting phrases for everyone (he said “Good luck!” to me). The line was long, as it should be. It’s Stan. I don’t have a problem with a pre-signed book. I completely understand the time it would take to take a photo with him if he did that with everyone. The line was LOOOOOONG. But being rushed to take a photo of him and then being threatened to not get a book if I didn’t hurry up taking the photo? That’s ridiculous. If I would have known the “signing” would have been handled the way that it was, I would have never woken up at 3am. I’ve seen Stan plenty of times before, I wanted to meet him and I didn’t appreciate that meet being so incredibly rushed. Guess I’ll have to try again at Comic Con and see if that’s any different. Is it? Anyone? Please tell me now.

On Saturday, there was a signing for Susane Colasanti (Now and Forever) but there was a mix up with the shipment of books so there were no books on hand but they will be signed and delivered shortly to those that were in line. That’s amazing. Kudos to Susane and Penguin for being so selfless here and doing that because they could have just cancelled the signing but didn’t. Not only is Susane taking more time out of her schedule to sign those books at a later date for us that were in line, she stayed during her designated signing time to sign postcards, any books readers brought with them, and take photos. Talk about a grateful and giving heart. Go, Susane!

So who was I really hoping to see and get a signed book from but didn’t? Neil Patrick Harris. I had a ticket to his signing but the line was out of this world. Alan Cumming. I didn’t have a ticket to his signing and didn’t have time to lurk just in case the signing opened up to non-ticketed attendees. Gretchen McNeil. I was in line for her signing but while waiting in the line, traffic got tight in the autograph area and the line was moved by the staff but it was moved in a way where the people who came at an earlier time were behind people who came at a later time. Some people got mad. Drama ensued. What I was witnessing made the entire experience not fun anymore. I completely lost all of the joy that I had in line and left the line. It was just too overwhelming being in that tight space and hearing/seeing all of that! Talk about ruining an experience. Anyway. Megan Abbott. I loved Dare Me. What an amazing book. Megan was a new to me author last year when I picked up Dare Me and I wanted her latest book, The Fever but time constraints won. Jodi Picoult. The line formed super early and I didn’t stand a chance. Danielle Paige. Ditto. Dahlia Adler. Books ran out. That’s a good probelm to have. But I did bump into her a few times and was able to thank her for the awesome content on her blog. If you’re a writer, you need to be following her blog and her Twitter. And finally. Kiera Cass.

Let me tell you about Kiera Cass. The experience, not her specifically. You had to get a ticket from the Harper Collins booth at 10am. Come to find out, my friend, Sarah, walked up to the booth when the exhibit hall opened (at 9am) and asked for a ticket and got it. This was an hour before tickets were to be handed out at the scheduled time. So I thought I didn’t stand a chance at getting a ticket as I had other things to do. But I hopped out of the Rick Riordan line (and told the people around me that I’d be back, you know how it is!) so I could get a ticket. I got the ticket. As you can see in the photo above, when I texted my friend, Colleen to show her the Rick Riordan book I got her, my Kiera Cass ticket was sitting RIGHT THERE.


Some time between that photo being taken and in the afternoon when Kiera’s signing took place, the ticket was LOST. I repeat. Lost. My ticket was GONE. I checked everywhere. Multiple times. It was nowhere in sight. I showed up at the Harper booth just to get a photo at the very least and while I did get a photo (yay!), there were two copies of The One sitting at the table and it pained me so much to know that one of those copies was supposed to be mine. Signed. So, so, so, so very unfortunate. The photo came out nice though.

Also unfortunate… Book Con. WHAT IN THE WORLD. Book Con was a disaster, especially on the exhibit floor. Why in the world Power Reader Day was changed to Book Con is beyond me. I originally thought it was stupid but kept out hope it would work but no, I can tell you and every other attendee can tell you it doesn’t work. The exhibit hall was a mess. The BEA side was a ghost town and the part of the exhibit hall roped off for the Book Con attendees (in addition to the BEA attendees) was way too small, way too overcrowded, had Book Con attendees with backpacks that went out as far as Pinocchio’s nose, had Book Con attendees with roller backpacks, suitcases, etc… on the exhibit floor, had cosplayers which I love but in this extremely overcrowded environment I did not love the photo taking stopping so much traffic, had really rowdy Book Con attendees (of all ages) in general…it was just a mess. The organization of the signings in the autograph area isn’t the best as is but any hope of organization was completely shattered by Book Con. Can we talk about the Libba Bray line that I didn’t get into along with so so so many others who were waiting? No. I’m not even going to go there. I do want to stress that I am so, so grateful to even be attending the con and getting these books and meeting these authors. The awesomeness of this situation does not escape me. I am simply disappointed with the organization of the event preventing attendees from getting all that they can out of it. That is all. Okay. So…

I attended two Book Con panels. 1) We Need Diverse Books. This panel was fantastic. I’m so pumped for the campaign partnering up with Read Across America as well as First Book’s “Diversity in the Classroom” pledge/initiative. Most of all, I am excited about the Diversity Children’s Festival taking place in Washington D.C. in 2016. I brought up this concern here and am glad to see that action is being taken. I can’t wait to attend! Anyway, the panel was very empowering. So inspiring. So validating. People underestimate the power of validation. So this was a very special experience. I also want to mention here that I went to a signing for Matt de la Pena‘s The Living and Matt was also on this panel. Not on a panel that I know of Also on a diversity panel during BEA which I was unable to attend but I was in attendance for their autograph signing were Patrik Henry Bass and Jerry Craft who wrote and illustrated The Zero Degree Zombie Zone which I featured in my Follow Up on the We Need Diverse Books Campaign post.

2) John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars Panel. Book Con needs to one, have endless ropes for lines so there are no mobs, two, organize the lines by the time of the panel or not clear rooms after each panel, three, make sure people aren’t STANDING in front of people sitting down in actual seats inside of the special events hall as the people standing pretend to lean on the pillars instead of FINDING A SEAT. Ugh. This post started off so happy. But Book Con. Grrrr. Darn you, Book Con! If what I experienced on Saturday is what we have to look forward to from Book Con next year, consider me not even attending BEA on Saturday. It’s not worth it. It was worth it this year for the We Need Diverse Books Panel but aside from that, I could have done without this entire day because Book Con ruined it.

Focusing on the positive, I really did have a wonderful time at BEA meeting authors, receiving books, meeting bloggers and vloggers, and even bumping into someone from my small town at BEA of all places! I’m excited to read these titles that have come into my possession, I’m excited to review these titles, champion many of these new to me authors, and support even more diverse books. For now? I need to get back to reading Lock In by John Scalzi and The Living by Matt de la Pena. Did you attend BEA? If so, feel free to leave a link to your recap post in the comments! Until next time…

Happy reading!