So, after the show, Terri and I decided to get lunch. Our options were dirty water dogs from a cart outside the Javits Center or getting a nicer meal closer to home. I figure, I’m out the door already. Might as well wait until we’re close to home and have a nice sit down lunch where we’re not lugging a suitcase. Lunch itself was unremarkable. We went to On the Border because Terri’s husband doesn’t like Mexican food. It wasn’t lunch itself that was so memorable. It was the conversation. She asked me what my favorite part of BEA was. Now you might expect me to say the free books and you wouldn’t be wrong, but you wouldn’t be right either. My first response was that I really enjoyed meeting the authors and having a minute to chat and say hi. We talked about it for a while and what I ended up with is a list, a few of my favorite things if you will.
• Getting to meet some of the authors - Whether an author you are already a fan of or an author you are meeting for the first time, perhaps a future favorite, it’s nice being able to show your appreciation of what they do and they can show you their appreciation of your support.
• Meeting people while waiting on line - You never know who you might meet. Authors are fans too. You can also meet fellow bloggers, make connections, friends. Why I even listened at some length to a discussion between two people behind me that were talking about hockey. I don’t think they would have minded if I jumped into the conversation. I find book people to be the nicest of people.
• Being exposed to new authors - There were a lot of book signings and galley giveaways and the descriptions were in the convention publications. I enjoyed flipping through, seeing a book, reading the short synopsis, liking what I read and being able to go get the book. It allows the opportunity to be able to find new authors. Or perhaps you have heard of an author, but are picking up a book by them for the first time based on the description. Either way, it is a lot of exposure to books you may not have otherwise been aware of. For myself, there were some galleys I was not able to get and the books are now on my wish list. Had I not gone, I may never have heard of them.
• Getting to meet people and let them know who you are, making those professional connections - I was not promoting myself as a book blogger for the most part, but I heard other bloggers talking to the authors asking if they could send the author a link to the book review they will do. For book bloggers, it is a great opportunity to try to develop a relationship with some of the publishers and authors. Words have power and in this electronic age, word spreads fast over the internet. It is a symbiotic relationship.
• The programming and breakfasts - I only had the one day and a much shortened day at that, so I didn’t really have the time for any of the panels, but some of the other events were really worthwhile and had I been there for more than a day I would have partaken of them.
• Display books – Even though not all books were being given away, it was nice to be able to thumb through display copies of books to see if it is something you will be interested in. You can’t always tell from a book blurb. I have bought some books that sounded interesting from the description, but he prose ended up being lack luster and difficult to get through.
• Having a partner in crime – I had the best time hanging out with Terri and spending the day with her amongst all the books, just like old times. It made standing in line for an eternity fun. Also, we could divide and conquer. We had each other’s backs.
• Oh yeah, and free books and swag.