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Sunday, June 2, 2013

Book Expo America 2013 - Day One - Post 1.2

So I got on Diana Peterfreund’s line, although there seemed to be a lot of confusion with the overflow. The autographing tables were in the back with the chutes in front, but the overflow was off to the side and the staff was directing traffic, telling us where to line up for each table and such. They seemed quite a bit disorganized, but that’s not surprising, especially with the line-up they had first thing on day one. I was in line for a bit and one of the staff members came by and said that I was on the bubble for the autographing as were the couple of people in front of me, but she said they were having a hard time getting a solid count. She left I assumed to try to count again. I was waiting for her to come back and say for sure, but she didn’t. I mean, seriously. Don’t drop a bomb like that and not follow-up. I had other places I could be, like getting Dot Hutchinson’s book signed. Her line was probably shorter.

Anyway, they came back and instead of saying whether there were enough copies, we got moved to the chute. I figured I was home free, but I got about ¾ of the way through the chute and they decided to do a head count then. The line was cut-off I think at 5 people in front of me, I was sooo close. Then the staffer had the audacity to tell me Diana still had book marks she could sign. I had already wasted close to an hour and was not going to waste even more time just to get a signed bookmark. What made it worse was that Terri wanted a copy as well and now both of us were thwarted. She also wanted Lauren Oliver’s book, but that line was also crazy. I decided to try for Dot Hutchinson, but when I walked by, they had a different author signing. So, I was thwarted thrice-fold and Terri twice-fold.

Did I choose poorly? What I realized in retrospect is that I know how the story of Hamlet ends. It’s like at the New York Renaissance Festival they used to do a bit called Instant Shakespeare. It was like an Elizabethan Mad Libs. The audience supplied the nouns, adjectives, adverbs, etc, and then the play was put on for the audience. It was funny, though, because every story ended the same. “Everybody dies!” the narrator would exclaim. So yeah, I know what happens. I have always been a big Shakespeare fan, but I preferred the comedies to the tragedies and histories. Of course, this is a modern retelling, so is it possible Dot changed the ending?

If anyone out there has read A Wounded Name, please drop a note and tell me if the end is tragic. Please? Of course, if it is well written, it probably shouldn’t matter, but at least I would know not to read it when I feel like a light read.

Anyway, back on topic…I wandered aimlessly until I stumbled upon the booth signing for Doon by Carey Corp and Lorie Langdon. It’s a re-telling of Brigadoon which was one of my favorite films growing up. The only problem was that as soon as I reached the booth, two other girls did, but I engaged the authors first. They only had two copies, though and I started to panic, but then they also had the display copy, so we actually all got a copy. Things seemed to be turning in my favor again. It’s funny how looks can be deceiving.

I got in line for Lauren Myracle’s book, The Infinite Moment of Us, but they ended up handing out the books first and I just left. Instead, I went in line for Nancy Horan’s Under the Wide and Starry Sky. I really wanted to go for Invisibility by Andrea Cramer and David Levithan, which was also at the same exact time as Tina Reber with Love Unrehearsed and Teri Brown with Born of Illusion. The signing for These Broken Stars was at the same time, but I had gotten a galley at the Book Blogger’s Convention, so I could at least skip that. The other three, though, were all at tables and I was shying away from them as the back was an absolute mad house. It was chaotic and overcrowded. I must have good taste because everyone wants the books I do. You would think after all this time, the publishers would figure out how wildly popular YA and New Adult are and bring enough to support the fandom, or at least bring a bit more than they do. Those were the lines that were the craziest. Jonathan Stroud was also signing the Disney book, Lockwood & Co: The Screaming Staircase, but it was a ticketed event. So that was 5 titles all being signed at 11:30 and all at tables. I won’t hold you in suspense. I didn’t get any of them.

Abbi Glines was at noon with Breathe which I really wanted to get. Susan Copper was signing Ghost Hawk which I was less enthused for, but I have liked everything of hers I have read in the past. They were both table signings again. However, Lauren Kate had a booth signing at 12:30 and she was more of a priority, so as not to miss her, I opted for a quick signing at the Romance Writer’s booth, The Summer My Life Began by Shannon Greenland. It was here that I felt ambushed. There were two autographings, but I didn’t want the other since it was adult romance and I read very little of it anymore. But as I was standing in line, the author called me out and asked me directly if I wanted her to autograph the book to me. What could I say? I was put on the spot. So I asked her to just sign it as I was going to gift it. Aaawkward!

Yes, Terri. I did get some of the books just signed as I told the authors I would be sharing the books. The ones I got personalized are books I want to keep.

You should know, for those of you not in attendance, that Random House did things right. They were completely in control of their booth signings. The lines would start a half hour prior. They had pictures of the authors with the names of the author and book and the time of the signing that were posted to a long, tall stick. The staffer holding the sign was given a wad of tickets which correlated precisely to the number of books available for signing. The staffer gave the tickets out first come first served. That way, you could get the ticket, go do a thing and come back and get in line. Those with tickets were guaranteed a book. The lines were well controlled and the traffic flowed quickly enough.

Now, let me alleviate your anxiety. I did get Teardrop signed by Lauren Kate. However, while on line, I finally saw the BEA T-Shirt booth. I had been running around looking for it earlier, but couldn’t find it. It was sort of like the Big W in It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. No one can see it until it’s right under their noses and it hits them over the head saying, “Over here!” It was like that. Suddenly I turned in line and saw the booth glaring at me. Not only that, it was the same booth with the brilliant yellow curtains I was standing by when I got thwarted with Diana Peterfreund’s book. Terri wanted a specific make and model of T-Shirt, so I asked my fellow line-waiters if they minded if I made a quick run over before the shirts were all gone. All the ads made a big deal out of the shirts this year, two of the designs sporting the current pop culture favorite of “Carry On and _ _ (fill in the blanks)”. Terri asked me for a specific size and of course they only had one size left. As you may have surmised, it was not the size she had requested. I bought it anyway trying to text her to see if that was okay. Got back a response a while later, but I had already purchased the shirt, figuring if she wasn’t happy with the size I’d just keep it. Don’t worry. It’s shipping down to SC, P.

So back on line. I am not going to block out all my events telling you which I made and which I missed. Suffice it to say, I missed more than I made. I just felt like I was completely out of sync. At 1pm, there were three events I had put in my planner. I wanted to get in line for Kami Garcia’s book, but the line was way too long and I really wanted to get The Boyfriend App by Katie Sise which was 1:30. When I got to the tables, her table was still in use, so I was trying to find out where we were lining up. A staffer finally told me behind the yellow curtain. I might as well have been in Oz. “Pay no attention to the conference attendees behind the yellow curtain!” I went over to the sidelines and tried asking a staffer or two milling about looking confused, but they were, let’s face it, confused. Another woman came up right at the same time I did and they just didn’t know what to do with us, so we were told to stand off to the side until they could make a line. Some minutes later, one of them asked a fellow staffer who must have been higher on the hierarchy chart, as this staffer said there were already a few people waiting behind the yellow curtain. That damn yellow curtain. So, I was about 6th in line I think. Then can anyone hazard a guess as to why when they collected us to send us down the chute, we were not at the front of the line? We were already at least 20 people back. The answer is either A) a second line was started without the knowledge of the people in the overflow area or B) the people just jumped on line and cut us all off. I’m not really sure what happened and we all got the book anyway, but it is frustrating. I understand the table autographing is difficult to manage, but there’s got to be a better way. They did make improvements which actually helped a great deal, but you’ll find out about that later.

I had 5 people on the schedule for 2pm. I skipped them all, although some because I had already gotten the galley earlier in the day. At 2:30, I had two autographings and one panel. I really would have liked to get Susanne Colasanti’s book, but table autographing, hellooo! I decided to skip and do something nice for hubby. I stood in line for Chuck Pahlaniuk’s book, Doomed, which was at 3pm and coincided with two others at 3pm and one at 3:30. I didn’t do any of the others. I also had a lecture at 4pm on The New Graphic Novel, but I was so wiped and my shoulders really hurt.

So here’s what occurred on Day One. I kind of did go crazy picking up ARCs, more than I planned, but it could have been worse. Not only was I shopping for two, well, three if you count hubby, there is one 11 year old girl, one 9 year old girl, one 2 year old girl, one 8 year old boy, one 1 1/2 year old boy, one 10 month old boy and one girl age 7 who is a close friend of the family, so I was picking up children’s books for them as well. I picked up so much, I made three trips to my suitcase to drop off and the final load I had was killing my shoulders. It was a rookie mistake. My first official day at BEA as a bona fide blogger and I saw the bling of shiny new covers of books and they all looked so pretty!!

The sad thing is that I loaded up the suitcase, but my red McGraw Hill bag would not fit. So I tried to sit it on top so I didn’t have to carry it. My suitcase didn’t want to budge. I actually had to carry the tote on my shoulder so I could get the suitcase moving…and it has four wheels!!! What might normally be a 5 minute walk to the ferry ended up taking me at least a half an hour. I had to keep stopping every couple of minutes to switch shoulders on the tote and hands on the suitcase. It was killing me and it was moving really sluggishly. I walked outside the JJC to temperatures in excess of 90 degrees as well. The sweat was pouring off my face and I was breathing heavily. It was exhausting. I vowed I would not pick up as many books in the next two days.

So, it took me probably about 45 minutes or so all told to cross back over the river. I did get the right berth this time, so at least I had that going for me. I had worn my very comfortable black rubber Sketcher sandals to the event and I’m fairly certain I started getting a blister or two. When I finally made it back to my car, I had to take half the books out in order to pick up my suitcase. Luckily, they were in totes. Even half full, it was still heavy, but I managed. I was on my way home just turning onto whatever the road is that takes us into Hoboken and hit stop dead traffic. Everyone was trying to turn onto 495. Every time the light changed, only like three cars got through. It took me at least a half hour just to make the turn onto 495. Then the police got involved. We were diverted and the traffic was beastly. Pretty much the whole way home, traffic was backed up and horrible. The thermostat in my car read 93 degrees and I sat in it for two hours. By the time I got near home, I was tired, cranky, hurting, hot, sweaty and thirsty. I decided to go to Dunkin Donuts and get two large ice teas (I’m addicted). They shake their heads at me, but I told them one will be gone in two minutes. I had no idea how right I was.


  1. Ohhhhhh, look at all of the pretty, pretty books! It's hard to resist the lure of the bright and the shiny, isn't it?

    The first day always seems frustrating and crazy and full of thwarted efforts, but the rest of the week is better. As for being ambushed, I remember when another woman and I were just trying to get a piece of cake from a booth and wound up with not one, not two, but three autographed books! We just looked at each other, silently accepted the books, grabbed the cake and got out of there! *L*

    Sorry you were thwarted so many times. The chutes always seemed like chaos, but Penguin, HarperCollins, and Random House always seemed to have their act together. How was Harlequin this year? It was crazy the last couple years, so hope they got their act together!

    Can't wait for the next installment!

  2. I didn't have an issue at the Harlequin booth, but then again, I wasn't that far back, not really. they had the line snaking in front of the booth and they had dividers up so people would stay in line. I was on the third snake of the line and,once it started moving, it really didn't take too long.

    I did get on line for a book Saturday, not realizing it was three authors together, so I ended up having the one personalized and the other two just signed.

    I do understand the madness of day one. Everyone wants their best new stuff out for show. They've got a lot of heavy hitters authors wise. But what did make it more difficult was not having beforehand all the publishers event schedule and not having the floor mapped out with the publishers.

    I also had other issues like I couldn't find Little, Brown & co listed in the directory, but they had freebies. It is because they were cloaked under Grand Central Publishing. SO, things like that I didn't know where to go because I didn't know where they were located.

    Once I finish documenting the event, I will be compiling some lists from the show, of observations and such. So stayed tuned.