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Saturday, June 1, 2013

Book Expo America 2013 - Day One - Post 1.1

It was 6am. I was exhausted. I couldn’t get to sleep the night before because I still had prep work to do regarding my scheduled events and the printer decided that was a good time to have a siesta. Then I had to pack everything up for the following morning and make my lunch, so I got very little sleep.

The humidity was unbearable, so I took Migraine Excedrin and Zyrtec before leaving the house which would become a daily ritual. I checked my list and checked it again. As some of you may have surmised by now, I am a list maker and I am a very big fan of crossing things off my lists also of checking them twice.

I got myself together, fed the cat and headed off for my first day in a brand new world called BEA!!! Now, I did attend last year, but only as a Power Reader because that was all I could manage at the time and I wanted to get my feet wet as they say. But this was a whole new ballgame as they also say. I had my shiny new suitcase. Well, it was purchased last September for vacation. I was all set. Got in my Mini, cranked up the tunes, stopped for a Dunkin Donuts hot tea and hit the road. I was on top of the world…looking down on creation… No, must not channel Karen Carpenter.

If only the rest of the day were so smooth. I left a half hour later than I intended, so hit more traffic than the day before. A lot more traffic. I was still feeling confident. I was on vacation, heading to BEA, so I dispensed with the cursing and had my road rage well under control. Everything was cool. Everything was fine. I got to the ferry, got my tickets for round trip, had my parking validated and I was on my way. The ferry ride was uneventful as was my very long, lonely walk up the NYC block and around the corner. It was easier taking that long walk as part of a dynamic duo, but Robin was busy that day. So, I walked alone. I passed by all the tables with flowers that had balloons and teddy bears as well as Pooh bears attached spouting such sentiments as “Congratulations Graduate!” I was a bit confused as I did not think this was an appropriate place to be hawking flowers and I doubted they’d get much business. Still I took it in stride and continued along my way. I got my camera phone ready for that all important moment when I would see a huge banner that announced BEA 2013!! I am here world and I have arrived. I had to document this momentous occasion. As I cleared the last building…I saw….Iron Man on a billboard and nothing else. What???

Where was the red carpet rolled out for me? Where were the searchlights??? Or at the very least a frelling banner that said “Welcome to BEA 2013 (Tammy [implied, but there never the less])! No photo to capture the moment, or non-moment. With sagging shoulders and wearing disappointment like my Sunday best, I made my way in, deposited my luggage in the Baggage Check and got on line.

I had not done my homework and was not well prepared or, in fact, prepared at all as it turns out. I think I jinked right when so many others jinked left, but I think they had the write of it. I never checked the map, never had time to highlight where the hot booths in my estimation were, so ran blindly. I got to the Penguin booth first and told myself ‘Moderation! Moderation!!!’ and did not pick up all the books they offered, only half. I was in a bit of a quandary, as my friend Terri from Alexia’s Books and Such could not attend this year after being banished to the outer reaches of space. Well, it might as well have been for all that South Carolina is still pretty far (but she has promised to try for next year). 

Anyway, where was I? Oh right, Terri. She charged me with the procurement of three books and a T-Shirt from BEA. She also added that if I see anything I think she might be interested in to just pick it up. What, what, what??? I have no issues picking up books for Terri and I was pleased as punch to be able to do so, but now I had to make a judgment call on every book. I couldn’t pick up the book and read the back of every galley, I’d never leave the Penguin booth. But I did have decisions to make.

From there, I think I hit Scholastic, Hatchette Books and made my way over to Random House. I was trying to scope out the place. I could not be every where at once and I didn’t even try. I made a semi-mad dash, well, perhaps, frenzied is a little more accurate, picked up quite a bunch of books and was looking for the Cynthia Voight auto graphing that was first thing. Unfortunately, there was also an autographing of a book called Extracted by Sherry Ficklin and Tyler Jolley. Supplies were limited and I really wanted to pick it up, but I couldn’t find the booth. I thought I had the information on the sheets with the giveaways, but couldn’t find it. I finally stumbled upon the booth quite by accident and was so relieved. For my anxiety, I was given the choice of one of two rubber bracelets or both, so I asked for both. That was nice and they were really friendly over at the Spencer Hill Press booth.

Once I had that in hand, I made my way to the autographing tables which were on the same floor this year. Do I remember correctly that they were on a lower level last year? Whatever. Diana Peterfreund and Kendare Blake were both signing at the same time as was Dot Hutchinson who wrote a book called A Wounded Name which is a modern version of Hamlet. I do love Shakespeare, so I really wanted that one as well. Clearly, I had a decision to make and the decision was which one do I want the most and I will keep my fingers crossed about the others. Kendare Blake was signing a half hour earlier, but by the time I got to the tables, they were all out of books and her time slot wasn’t even passed yet. I thought, that’s okay, I really want Diana Peterfreund’s book more anyway. I just knew if I tried to go on Dot Hutchinson’s line that there would be no way I would get Diana Peterfreund. As it turns out, I chose poorly…or did I?


  1. Really wish I could have been there with you this year, but apparently I've been banished to outer space? C'mon, I'm not that far away! And BTW, I am not Robin. You are obviously Robin to my Batman, as I am taller. And already have my own cape. So there.

    I'm always torn between making a plan and winging it. No plan means you have time to wander and make awesome discoveries, like the time I discovered Jan Brett doing a booth autographing, with a very short line, and no ticket required! But a plan means you won't miss anything you really want! It's a tough call.

    Sorry if I caused you additional stress. Thought limiting my list to only 3 books would make it easy on you. Just thought if you saw something with a cover that screamed my name, you could pick me up a copy. Didn't want you to read the synopsis of every galley!

    I think you're thinking of Comic Con where the autograph tables were on the lower level, as pretty sure they were on the same floor at BEA last year. I think. Last year was a long time ago...

    Talk about a cliffhanger! Did you make the right decision or choose poorly? Inquiring minds want to know! So excited to hear all about the rest of your adventures! And feel free to channel Karen Carpenter as often as you like! :D

    1. Terri, I have to tell you, as shocking as this may seem, but there were absolutely no books there at all with your name on it. Although, there was a Terry McMillan galley fro grabs, but that's not the same thing. Also, Teri Brown was there autographing her book Born of Illusion, which I really did want to pick up, but it is not spelled the same either. So, no, no books with your name on it.

      I may have been stressed, but I was not put out if you follow me. I was happy to pick things up for you. The whole day was fraught with decisions I was not prepared to make is all and day 1 with no spirit guide was pretty traumatic. I did get into the swing of it, though, by day 2.

      Everything blurs together for me. Since I only did the one day for BEA and it was a complete and total blur, I can't really remember. I just followed in your wake, all knowing one, so maybe I am Robin after all.

      I am afraid to channel Karen Carpenter. That can only lead to channeling Captain and Tennille or Tony Orlando and Dawn.

      More to follow on the BEA front.

    2. You know, you shouldn't talk like that to your Spirit Guide. Just saying...

    3. Look, do you want me to send the box or not? I'm just asking.

  2. Such a welcome post as every year I read all of these wonderful posts about this event and know I have just about as much chance of going to the moon as I have of getting here so, totally selfish of me I know (my apologies)its somehow comforting to know its not all, well, red carpets and banners.

    1. I think the rewards far out-weigh the trauma of getting through the event, but I think anyone saying it is a garden of roses should take off those colored glasses. It was stressful, exhausting, frustrating, but fantastic.
      Even Friday and Saturday, as un-traumatic as they were, were not without difficulties, which I feel compelled to share with anyone who will listen. Even those who don't really want to listen.

      One of the things that was really daunting to me was talking to people. Terri kept yelling at me to hand out my business cards to anyone and everyone, but I'm not really comfortable or confident enough to do that. So sometimes I would strike up a conversation with people on line, mostly bloggers and book store employees and I would have a great time talking to them. Other times, I would just clam up. For instance, I sat for about an hour waiting for Neil Gaiman to show up and said not a word to the people on either side of me. I did hand out a few business cards, though.

      It is a great opportunity to meet the authors, learn about new authors and books you were not aware of, but also to meet new blogging friends and other industry people.

      Even so, as fantastic as it was, I have basically been a couch potato today with one heck of a headache trying to recover from it all.

  3. I am so glad you found our booth and got Extracted! I hope you love it as much as we loved writing it!

    1. Also, thanks for the shout out, and it was so awesome to meet you!

    2. Hey, Tyler! Thanks for the book! I really was so happy to finally stumble upon your booth and I'm glad I was able to pick it up. I have to tell you that everyone at your booth was really nice and fantastic to meet.

      I read a synopsis of Extracted before the event and thought it sounded like a really good, interesting story. I really can't wait to read it and it will be next in my cue.

      Thank you so much for stopping by to say hi!