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Monday, June 15, 2015

Discussion: Signature Alone vs Personalization

I really only have one more point I'd like to discuss that came to mind during BEA and I’d like to get opinions on the matter. It is regarding getting a book signed. Do you request signature only or a personalized book?

I have always been an advocate for the personalized books, but the more I have thought about it recently, the less inclined I am to get books personalized. Let’s face it, I can’t take my library with me no matter how I may try to make that possible. No one will want a copy of a book signed to me and they would have no resale value if personalized. This is all a theoretical "after I’m gone" discussion. Morbid, right?

What I tell the authors, as I am not about to spew my "after I'm gone" sentiments (they'd think I was crazy and would probably be right) and they all seem to assume we want them personalized, is that I don’t know where the book will end up. Which is true. That it will start with me. Also true. And that I like to share the love. True that too.

Most authors understand and don’t have an issue, but I feel I was the victim of non-personalization prejudice. I was in line for a book, title and author shall remain nameless. He/she was, after all, a personable guy/gal. The point is, I had time to see what he/she was doing when signing. Everybody, and I do mean everybody but me, was getting their books personalized. He/she was signing on the title page, adding a witty sentence and then stamping the page with an awesome octopus ink stamp.

When it was my turn, I gave him/her the spiel, don’t know where it will end up, etc. So the first thing is he/she signed on the end papers, not the side glued to the cover, but the first page when you open the book. It does have a lovely ocean wave sort of coloring, but he/she signed his name and handed me the book.

Um, what? Excuse me! Where is my freaking octopus stamp?

I am not laboring under any false assumption that had I gotten it personalized I still would not have gotten an octopus stamp. I totally would have. He/she wouldn’t have thought twice about it, but it makes me feel like I bought the copper package or tickets for the cheap seats. I got my golden ticket, but I drank from the chocolate river, I stole fizzy lifting drink. So I get nothing. I lose. Good day sir!

Have any of you experienced anything like this? And I’m curious to know that for those of you thoroughly entrenched in the signing not personalized camp if you think it makes a difference in how the author relates to you. And for any authors out there, how do you feel when someone just asks for a signature and not the book to be personalized?

I'll be waiting to hear your thoughts, or read them, whatever.

Stacking the Shelves - June 14, 2015

How can I follow up my BEA/Book Con haul? Answer: I can't. There's just no way. It's probably good that I can't, but I still look for those bargains and I did not make it through the week unscathed. So, here are the books I picked up or received this week. I am pretty excited about some of the them, not that I am not looking forward to reading all of them.

In all fairness, most of the physical books I got were pre-orders. At least, that's what I tell myself.

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

Books Purchased:
Winterspell by Claire Legrand – Used

The Perfect Couple (The Superlatives) by Jennifer Echols – Used

Briar Queen: A Night and Nothing Novel (Night and Nothing Novels) by Katherine Harbour

The Invasion of the Tearling: A Novel (Queen of the Tearling, The) by Erika Johansen

Eternity's Wheel (InterWorld Trilogy) by Neil Gaiman

Illusionarium by Heather Dixon

 Kindle Books Purchased:
Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices Book 1) by Cassandra Clare – Publisher mark-down @ $2.99

Prodigal (The Lost Imperials Series Book 2) by Sherry Ficklin, Tyler Jolley – Price dropped to $.99

With a Kiss (Twisted Tales Book 1) by Stephanie Fowers – Free eBook

Wild Angel: A Rock'n Tapestries Novel by Shari Copell – Price dropped to $.99

Geek Girl by Holly Smale - Publisher mark-down @ $1.99

Every Day by David Levithan - Publisher mark-down @ $1.99

The Very Best of Tad Williams by Tad Williams – Kindle Daily Deal

Searching for Captain Wentworth by Jane Odiwe – Price dropped to $2.99

Aimee and the Heartthrob (Entangled Crush) (Backstage Pass) by Ophelia London – New Entangled imprint I figured I’d give a go.

Abby Road (Entangled Embrace) by Ophelia London – Priced at $.99

Blu Ray Purchased:

Saturday, June 13, 2015

BEA / Book Con 2015 - Final Observations

So, let's talk a little more about Book Con.

We already discussed the wristband situation and what it took to acquire them. The funny thing is that the later in the day it got, I started to see more and more posts from people saying they were not going to be able to make the panel and they were asking if anyone wanted their wristband. I even saw some people posting on the Book Con board that they were selling their wristband. I thought that was really nervy. People trying to sell a wristband for a free event. WTF??? I think what happened is that people, and I say people, but I think I really mean teens and I only say that as that was the demographic I saw the board activity from. I think they got to the event, got all big eyed over the events, got wristbands for multiple special events and then found that they were spending far too much time in line for an event and sitting through the event. If someone had multiple wristbands, it was a definite time sink.

The other issue with the panels and special events was that there was often a signing after the panel. However, if a person was in the panel, they were not going to make it for the signing. Those autograph lines were getting capped before the panel even ended. There was a lot of angry posts regarding this issue on the message boards as well. Would it would be better to have the signings not immediately after? On the one hand, it would give the panel people time to make it in line for the book signing. On the other hand, all those people got to see the panel. This allowed the less fortunate to at least meet their favorite authors and get a signed book, once paid for, of course.

I did hear of some people who left panels early only to find that the signing line was capped, so not only did they not get to meet and greet their favorite authors, but they also didn't see the end of the panel.

One of the other issues I heard about with the smaller panels (not the wristband events) was that they were not clearing out the panel room in between events. So what people were doing was to go to the panel before the one they wanted to see and just stay there. Still had to wait on line to get into the room. The problem, though, is that there might be people in the panel just taking up space waiting for the next panel while some people who really wanted to see that panel might not have been able to get in. Then, of course, the stragglers can snag the best seats in the room.

Overall for Book Con, the showroom floor was pretty well managed and so much less crowded since it didn't coincide with BEA. My advise, though? Leave the Kardashian at home. This is a book convention, so why do we need someone who is famous for being famous that isn't even promoting a book? That line really clogged the works for a good long time. It was probably the longest line on the showroom floor. I wonder who was a bigger draw. Grumpy Cat or interchangeable Kardashian? Sadly, Grumpy Cat was not in attendance this year so there was no basis for comparison.

Now let's talk about the booths. I already discussed the state of the freebie tables in the Penguin booth and how those lines were really slow going. What frustrated me was that not all the booths published their schedule of events, like Simon and Schuster. I didn't know Kim Harrison was going to be signing. I just happened to be in the right place at the right moment. I found it difficult to plan when I didn't always know what was going on. Penguin and Sourcebooks had Book Con events together with their BEA events, so I could plan ahead accordingly. For Macmillan and HarperCollins, I had to wait for the daily magazine as well as Little Brown (Hatchette).

While most of the booths had plenty of events going on, they were more in the business of selling their books.  Macmillan had signings where you actually had to buy the book in their booth, not the Word bookstore. For the Rainbow Rowell meet & greet, you had to by the special edition and then you could meet her for a signing. Those tickets went really fast. They also were promoting David Duchovny's new book. He was signing at a table downstairs, but you had to buy the book in the booth.

And people were buying books. Some of the publishers had marked down books, like Disney, and some did not. I don't think HarperCollins was discounting, although I could be wrong. So I guess Book Con was a successful for all business parties. The convention organizers had great attendance and the publishers made sales.

What I found odd, but also amusing was to see what books people were picking up. It was almost like the frenzy and the lure of free books was too much. People were just grabbing whatever they could get their hands on whether it was something they would want to read or not. Perhaps like my first BEA as a Power Reader for a day.

I saw someone from I think it may have been the Golden CEO or something to that effect and the booth person was giving their sampler to a little girl who could not have been more than 10. I mean come on! What is she going to do with that information? I guess that goes back to the very first rule I learned. Do not make eye contact!

I though John Green or Mindy Kaling with BJ Novak would be two of the biggest draws, but what had all the teens in a tizzy was the You Tube vlogger panel. The Word bookstore sold out of their books Saturday, but the panel and signing weren't until Sunday. One teen had her mother get on line Saturday to get a wristband for the Sunday panel. I didn't even know you could do that. The bookstore did announce, though, that they were holding a quantity of the books for Sunday attendees, so fear not little camper. All is right in the world. I don't know how I feel about young kids putting their life on line for all the world to see. It sets an example for the younger kids. The world is a crazy, scary place, and I wouldn't feel comfortable with my kids putting themselves on line like that, well, if I had any, but the times, they are a changing. We are living in a digital world and I for one cannot expect things to be as they were when I was growing up.

I'm not sure if I addressed the showroom floor, so forgive me if I am being repetitive. The showroom floor was so much better this year than last year. It really helped to split out BEA and Book Con. People could move around without fear of being trampled. It also really helped to move the autographing tables downstairs as those lines are always horrible to begin with. It was smart and it was a good decision.

Now that I feel as if I have beaten Book Con to death, some last thoughts on BEA.

One thing that stuck out for me was the size of the badges for BEA this year. They were ginormous. The were stiff like oak-tag and they folded over. The front side was the attendees information and the back was the schedule. I found it to be problematic for several reasons. The first was that the lanyards were open sided so it clipped on either end of the badge. There was a hole in the middle, but the lanyard provided at Book Con was the double sided one. The badge was just long enough on the lanyard and just large enough that I kept getting it caught on everything. There was no way that sucker was staying flat. Mine was all bent up and one of the holes ripped on day two, so I had to use the middle hole and a side hole, so my badge was off kilt the rest of the show. Last year, the lanyard had a plastic pocket, which was great. I kept my parking ticket, bag check ticket, ferry tickets and any special event ticketing in the pocket behind my BEA badge. This year on day 2, I brought a separate lanyard with a card pocket just so I could carry that stuff and have it readily available.

I didn't see many booth workers wearing costumes this year for Book Expo. For Book Con, we had Cat in the Hat, Garfield, Junie B. Jones, Demon Dentist, Captain Underpants, Galactic Hot Dogs and some of the Looking Glass Wars cosplayers were in attendance, but I neither got a picture of them nor of Junie B Jones nor the Galactic Hot Dogs. My bad. There were some shadow hunters running around, but they were just wearing black pants and a Shadow hunters T and had temporary tattoos on runes on their skin. There were also a couple of pirates running around. For BEA, I saw the Willy Wonka wannabee, maybe the Dummies Guide guy and that's about it. Some attendees were in costume, or at least I thought they had on costumes, but really, who can wear 4 inch heels around Javits for 6 - 8 hours a day?

Not only did I not see a lot of workers dressed in costumes, I didn't see a whole lot of chotchky like key chains, buttons and such. I saw more of that at Book Con than at BEA. BEA seemed to be a bit more serious minded this year while Book Con was all about having fun. We played games at Book Con. I don't remember any games at BEA.

I noticed that the donation box for the book signings at the back tables was gone. I was planning on giving money for my signed books, but I couldn't find it anywhere. I'm not sure if it was somewhere else, but if I couldn't find it, I wasn't sweating it.

For some odd reason, at it may have been more for Book Con than BEA, it all runs together after a while, but people were obsessed with the pigeons flying about. I was on Twitter fairly constantly for any show updates and at Book Con, I had the message board up almost constantly. I could not understand what the fascination was. They're birds. You've seen them before. Move on.

I'm sure there are things I am forgetting to tell you all. I was questioning what would happen to Book Con next year with BEA moving to Chicago, but I got my answer. Book Con will be following BEA to Chicago, so I will only be able to get my book fix at Comic Con nest year.

It was exhausting and I felt wrecked after five days of events, but it was also exhilarating and as close to heaven as a book nerd like me will get for some time. I will miss it next year, but there is no way I can rationalize the expense of going to Chicago, but I hope at least a lot of other book fans will have the opportunity to go if NYC is too far to travel.

Well, that raps up my coverage of BEA and Book Con 2015.  Thanks for spending the time!

Now take good care of my Expo, Chicago, and I'll catch you on the flip side!!

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Stacking the Shelves - BEA/Book Con 2015 Edition

While I still have a little more to say about BEA and particularly about Book Con, I couldn't wait to be able to post all my new acquisitions. It was a very successful Expo as I was able to pick up many of the books I had on my list. So without further ado. Here is my BEA/Book Expo haul...

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

Books Purchased:
Love Fortunes and Other Disasters by Kimberley Karalius
Tear You Apart by Sarah Cross
Storm Siren by Mary Weber
Spelled by Betsy Schow
Cold Burn of Magic by Jennifer Estep

Kindle Books Purchased:
Lilith: A Romance by George MacDonald – Free eBook
Darkness Brutal (The Dark Cycle Book 1) by Rachel A. Marks – Kindle First selection for June
When Magic Dares (Darkly Fae Book 2) by Tera Lynn Childs – Priced at $.99
Sweet Evil (The Sweet Trilogy Book 1) by Wendy Higgins – Publisher mark down to $1.99 - I figured I could see what all the hubbub was about.
Blackbird by Anna Carey - Publisher mark down to $1.99
Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass series Book 1) by Sarah J. Maas - Publisher mark down to $1.99 – See note on Sweet Evil above. I’ve never read these books, but I know people are gaga for them.
Left Drowning by Jessica Park – Kindle Daily Deal
Touch of Frost (Mythos Academy Book 1) by Jennifer Estep - Kindle Daily Deal
Kiss of Frost (Mythos Academy Book 2) by Jennifer Estep - Kindle Daily Deal
Dark Frost (Mythos Academy Book 3) by Jennifer Estep - Kindle Daily Deal
Crimson Frost (Mythos Academy Book 4) by Jennifer Estep - Kindle Daily Deal
Midnight Frost (Mythos Academy Book 5) by Jennifer Estep - Kindle Daily Deal
Killer Frost (Mythos Academy Book 6) by Jennifer Estep - Kindle Daily Deal
The Changeling Soldier: A Court of Annwyn novella (Annwyn Series) by Shona Husk – Free eBook
Dangerous Destiny: A Night Sky novella (Night Sky Series) by Suzanne Brockmann, Melanie Brockmann – Free eBook
The Magicians: A Novel by Lev Grossman - Publisher mark down to $2.99
A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore - Kindle Daily Deal
Nightmares! By Jason Segel, Kirsten Miller, Karl Kwasny - Publisher mark down to $1.99
The Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern's Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure by William Goldman – Kindle Daily Deal

BEA/Book Con ARCs
13 Days of Midnight by Leo Hunt
A Curious Tale of the In-Between by Lauren DeStefano
A History of Glitter and Blood by Hannah Moskowitz
A Little in Love by Susan Fletcher
A Million Miles Away by Lara Avery
A Poet of the Invisible World by Michael Golding
A Prince Without a Kingdom by Timothee de Fombelle
A Whole New World: A Twisted Tale by Liz Braswell
Above the Waterfall by Rom Rash
After Alice by Gregory Maguire
After the Red Rain by Barry Lyga
Alert by James Patterson
Alive by Scott Sigler
All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders - Signed
Anna and the Swallow Man by Gavriel Savit
Another Day by David Levithan
Anything Could Happen by Will Walton
Auggie & Me: Three Wonder Stories by R.J. Palacio
Awake by Natasha Prestoon
Barsk by Lawrence M. Schoen - Signed
Beastly Bones by William Ritter
Brilliant by Roddy Doyle
Center of Gravity by Laura McNeil
Cleopatra's Shadow by Emily Holleman
Court of Fives by Kate Elliot
Darkness the Color of Snow by Thomas Cobb
Dear Mr. You by Mary-Louise Parker
Demon Dentist by David Walliams
Diary of a Mad Brownie by Bruce Coville
Daughters Unto Devils by Amy Lukavics
Every Word (2nd in Series) by Ellie Marney
Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon
Foxcraft: The Taken by Inballi Iserles
Friendshape by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson
Fuzzy Mud by Louis Sachar
Genius Factor: How to Capture an Invisible Cat by Paul Tobin
Girl Waits with Gun by Amy Stewart
Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead
Hanging by Mary Susan Higginbotham
Hell or Highwater by Julie Ann Walker
Hello, Goodbye & Everything in Between by Jennifer E. Smith
Hoodoo by Ronald L. Smith
House Arrest by K.A. Holt
Hunter by Mercedes Lackey
In the Footsteps of Crazy Horse by Joseph Marshall III
Instructions for the End of the World by Jamie Klein
Jade Dragon Mountain by Elsa Hart
Keep Calm by Mike Binder
Killing Monica by Candace Bushnell
Last in a Long Line of Rebels by Lisa Lewis Tyre
Legacy of Kings by Eleanor Herman
Lockwood & Co: The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud
Luxe by Ashley Antoinette
Max the Brave by Ed Vere
Mr. Puffball Stunt Cat to the Stars by Constance Lombardo
My Secret to Tell by Natalie D. Richards
Newt's Emerald by Garth Nix
Not if I See You First by Eric Lindstrom
Passenger by Alexandra Bracken - Personalized
Play On by Michelle Smith
Playing with Matches by Suri Rosen
Playng with Fire by Tess Gerritsen - Signed
Reawakened by Colleen Houck
Romancing the Dark in the City of Light by Ann Jacobus
Royal Wedding by Meg Cabot - Personalized
Samurai Rising by Pamela S. Turner
Scorched by Jennifer L. Armentrout - Personalized
Secret Sisters by Jayne Ann Krentz
Seven Dead Pirates by Linda Bailey
Shopaholic to the Stars by Sophie Kinsella
Signs Point to Yes by Sandy Hall - Personalized
Simon Thorn and the Wolves Den by Aimee Carter
Siren's Fury by Mary Weber
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Son of the Black Sword by Larry Correia - Signed
Space Dumplings by Craig Thompson
Sparrow Sisters by Ellen Herrick
Stone Rider by David Hofmeyer
The Blackthron Key by Kevin Sands
The Chess Queen Enigma by Colleen Gleason
The Copper Gauntlet by Holly Black & Cassandra Clare
The Curse of Crow Hollow by Billy Coffey
The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich
The Drafter by Kim Harrison - Personalized
The Golden Match by E.D. Baker
The Great Swindle by Pierre Lemaitre
The Heartbreakers by Ali Novak
The Hummingbird by Stephen P Kiernan
The Incarnations by Susan Barker
The Keeper (2nd in series) by David Baldacci
The League of Unexceptional Children by Gitty Daneshvari
The Letter for the King by Tonke Dragt
The Marvels by Brian Selznick
The Nest by Kenneth Oppel
The Queen of Night by Alexander Chee
The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness
The Rules for Stealing Stars by Corey Ann Haydu
The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow
The Storm (2nd in Series) by Virginia Bergin
The Survivor by Vince Flynn
The Tears of Dark Water by Corban Addison - Signed
The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin
The Unfortunate Decisions of Dahlia Moss by Max Wirestone
The Weight of Feathers by Anne-Marie McLemore
The Witch Hunter by Virginia Boecker
These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly
Those Girls by Lauren Saft
Truly Madly Famously by Rebessa Serle - Personalized
Twain & Stanley Enter Paradise by Oscar Hijuelos
Twain's End by Lynn Cullen
Updraft by Fran Wilde - Signed
Uprooted by Lynne Reid Banks
Uprooted by Naomi Novik
Upside Down Magic by Sarah Mylnowski
Vampires Never Cry Wolf by Sara Humphreys - Signed
Voyagers 1: Project Alpha by D.J. MacHale
Wake of Vultures by Lila Bowen
We That are Left by Clare Clark
What We Left Behind by Robin Talley
Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin
Zeroes by Scott Westerfeld
Zodiac by Stan Lee

BEA / Book Con Finished Copies
A.D. 30 by Ted Dekker
Aoleon The Martian Girl Part One by Brent LeVasseur
Benefit of the Doubt by Neal Griffin
Berenstein Bears God Bless Our Country by Mike Berenstein - Signed
Blood Red by Wendy Corsi Straub
Breath, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally
Daughter of Deep Silence by Carrie Ryan - Personlized
Death Wears a Beauty Mask and Other Stories by Mary Higgins Clark
Delicious by Ruth Reichl
Felix Stands Tall by Rosemary Wells
Feral Nights by Cynthia Leitich Smith
Finders Keepers by Stephen King
Finding Willow( A Freedom Series Novella) by Michelle K. Pickett
Galactic Hot Dogs by Max Brallier & Rachel Maguire
Granting Wishes (A Kindling Flaes Novella) by Julie Wetzel
Haunting Zoe (A Losing Logan Novella) by Sherry D. Ficklini
Heartache and Other Natural Shocks by Glenda Leznoff
Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Jade Sky by Patrick Freivald - Bought @ Book Con
Kissing Ted Callahan (and Other Guys) by Amy Spalding - Personalized
Lois Lane Fall Out by Gwenda Bond
Nowhere but Here by Katie McGarry
Off the Page by Jodi Picoult and Samantha van Leer - Personalized
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Pawn by Aimee Carter
Personal by Lee Child
Prelude (A Creatura Novella) by Nely Cab
Radiant Angel by Nelson DeMille
Red Rising by Pierce Brown
Silence by Deborah Lytton
Sisters of Blood and Spirit by Kady Cross
The Little Prince by Antoine De Saint_Exupery
The Magician's Lie by Greer MacAllister
The Man Made of Stars by M.H. Clark - Personalized
The Notorious Pagan Jones by Nina Berry
The Paris Architect by Charles Belfoure
The Phantom Tollbooth by Norman Juster - Signed
The President's Shadow by Brad Meltzer
The Shadow Cabinet by Maureen Johnson - Personalized
The Table of Less Valued Knights by Marie Phillips
The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearley
Undertow by Michael Buckley - Signed
Unwritten by Charles Martin
White Hot Kiss by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Book Con Digital Downloads:
A Killing at the Creek by Nancy Allen
All's Fair in Love and Scandal by Caroline Linden
Bait (Duty & Honor Book 2) by Leslie Jones
Blessed Are Those Who Weep by Kristi Belcamino
Dark Alchemy by Laura Bickle
Demon by Erik Williams
Hard to Be Good (A Hard Ink Novella) by Laura Kaye
Lucky by Danny Fisher
Mayhem by Jamie Shaw
Off the Beating Path by Danny Fisher
The Rising by Brian McGilloway
The Wedding Band by Cara Connelly
Wild With You by Sara Jane Stone

Blogger Con Books

BEA Day .5 Books

BEA Day 2 Books

BEA Day 3 Books

Book Con Day 1 Books

Book Con Day 2 Books

All Books

And, of course, the swag: 

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Book Con Day 2 - May, 31 2015

Book Con Day 2 – May 31,2015
So my friend john was going to come with me on Sunday. He has never been to a convention in his life. And he has been harboring some deep seated anger about the fact that some of us go to Comic Con and not once has anyone invited him. My thoughts? You know we go. Order a ticket and make arrangements to get there with us. Simple.

Well, I had mentioned Book Con to John and since Sunday tickets were only $30.00 in advance, he decided he wanted to go. I told him to check the schedule, see what he wanted to catch, order his ticket and we’d figure out the rest. When I spoke to him Saturday, he told me that he ordered his ticket on line, but he had a computer issue so he wasn’t sure if the sale actually went through. I told him to check his email when he got home. It is now like 10:00 the night before we are going. I need to know if he wants to go to any panels, do we need to get there early for wristbands, you know, important questions like that. When he checked his email, he never actually got an email confirmation. The tickets were raised by $10.00 at the door, but that also meant he’d have to stand on line to buy his ticket, so he decided to bag it. At now it is close to 11:00 the night before. Typical.

I had decided I was not going for any panels, but I still wanted to get there earlier than Saturday. I did not want to deal with the long march. On Saturday, they were keeping people to one side of the white line in front of the Javits. I am assuming this was to prevent people from jumping the line and trying to get in the building instead if queuing up in the back. All I kept hearing was the line police saying “No feet in the streets”. But I have gotten myself off topic.

Yes, up early. I left the house about 8:00. I wanted to be on the ferry to NYC no later than 9:00. I caught the ferry at 8:40. This time when I walked up the north side of the building, there was no line either heading to Javits or coming from the other direction. Maybe the wristband frenzy from the prior day was over. I was able to walk right into Javits. No one could stop me! Don’t even try. So I got to the first escalator. There was ticketing, lines for panels, lines for signings, etc, so I tried to do what they forced us to do the day before. I headed around the base of the escalator prepared to enter the bowels of the Javits Center when a Red Shirt stopped me and said I couldn’t go that way to the showroom floor. After I explained that was the way we were taken yesterday, he replied that he didn’t know why they’d tell us that, but I could check upstairs. AS I backtracked, someone else asked me if I needed help. I think it was another Red Shirt. When I explained I was trying to find the way to the showroom floor, he pointed me in the direction of a que. There were several chutes all together, nothing marked as I would expect it to be for the showroom floor so I had to ask another Red Shirt. So, the first chute was for the showroom floor. Downstairs, in between rails, I waited with the legions for the doors to open to the showroom floor. This was a first for me, but at least I was not out standing on the street.
As an aside, I found out later from someone I was chatting with that if I had just loitered in the lobby, I could have just joined in the line with the other people as they were coming up the escalator. Smacks of cheating.

So some things.

Did I talk about luggage yesterday? I see that I didn’t. Not really. I knew I wasn’t going to need the huge one, so I brought the small one. That was part of the reason I bought the banana. I wanted change for the baggage check. So as they traipsed us from here to there and back again, there was absolutely never a moment I could break from the pack to check my luggage. I was afloat in the tide, a seething mass of bodies yearning for the treasures the showroom floor might reveal. So I decided to screw it, as they say. That’s right. I took my suitcase onto the floor with me. I’m a rebel. I don’t conform to the standards of mere mortals.

I was actually regretting having it. It was at times more difficult to navigate the floor, I always had to keep an eye on it and at least I couple of times I ran over someone’s foot. Not really worth the trouble.

I mention this because on Sunday I decided not to bring any portable carrying device. I had two very important signings and a third that was also pretty important. I figured at best I’d have half a dozen books. Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahhahahahahahaha!!! I am a fool at best as you will see.

At 12:00, Maureen Johnson was signing at Penguin. I HAD to be there for that. If I didn’t make it I would die. Nothing else was as important. Adi Alsaid was signing at Harlequin at 11:30. He was signing his second book, Never Always Sometimes. If you will recall, I got to Harlequin too late for the first YA signing and the line was capped and I made the decision to not ever attempt the second YA signing at Harlequin. And, of course, I did not get his book at Blogger Con, so I had to weight out Adi Alsaid against Maureen Johnson. I decided to wait for Adi’s book to come out in paperback. Nothing could deter me from making Maureen’s line.

So, to pass the time, I got a signed book from Sourcebooks about werewolves. I continued to walk about and passed by an author I glanced at, walked past, stopped in my tracks and decided to go back and talk to him. His name was Patrick Freivald. I had met him at BEA a couple years back when he was signing his high school zombie book, Twice Shy. He was actually in line behind me at one of the signings I went to and he was talking about Ellen Datlow and his signing schedule and such. So I decided to check it out. No one was talking to him. So I asked him to explain his new series. Book one is Jade Sky and he summarized it by saying steampunk with fallen angels. Intriguing. It was only after I started talking to him that I saw his sign about the cost of his book. But I figured, what the heck, and bought the first book in the series to try it out. He pointed out a rather long line that was twisting and snaking and when I asked about it, he said it was the line for one of the Kardashians. The funny thing is there was no book. I was under the impression it was a photo op, but Patrick, as I call him now, had said he thought they were only giving out signed post cards. It was a mob of people standing in line every which way to catch a glimpse of the celebrity of the celebrity. Who gives a flying crap? I was sorely aggrieved. Patrick had a suggestion for the people on line that I will not repeat here, but I do like the way he thinks.

From there, I decided it was time to get on line for Maureen and around 10:30 got behind a guy who was standing right next to the Maureen Johnson sign. We were at Table 4 and she was signing at Table 3, but that was a trifle. We had started a line and other people were getting on board. So around 11:00, I picked up a galley at Sourcebook because it was right across the aisle and when I came back, some guy was asking if we were in line for some kids book called R is for Rocket. When we advised we were waiting for Maureen Johnson, he told us we had to clear off. Now I would like to say that we Maureen Johnson fans had built up a bit of a camaraderie; me, number one guy in line and number three girl. When we were told to push off, I was listless and directionless. Table 4 where Maureen was going to be was now the galley drop stage, so no going there.

I wandered a bit then, I was looking for some dice game I couldn’t find. I thought it was at HarperCollins, but it was at Little Brown I later discovered. I have no idea what I could’ve won. After a bit, I decided to head back and see about lining up again. I went around the front and along the side heading towards Table 4. I found a respectable place on line, not 2nd, but not dead last either and I was content. I was there for a little bit when my old comrade, number three girl, came up to me and said “We have your old spot why are you back here?” I told her I was okay where I was, but she insisted I get back in my original place because I had been waiting so long. No one around us minded and it wasn’t like I was displacing anyone and causing them to not get a book. That was really awesome of her and made me day. We then continued to chat about a lot of things, especially about the Kardashian mess.

 Finally, we saw Maureen and watched her as they got her set up. I didn’t have long to wait!! I was number two in line after all. When it was my turn, I found I had a lot to say. I told her I really enjoyed her keynote speech at last year’s Blogger Con which was probably one of the best speeches I ever had the privilege to listen to. Not smoke blowing here, I’m being sincere. She’s very entertaining. I then told here I was very surprised to be at the Nightvale show live on stage a few days later and who should walk out but Maureen Johnson. She admitted she had been terrified and didn’t want to talk into the mic and I just said that I had never really known of her but now she was popping up everywhere. She added that she’d pop up in my mirror and I added that she was compelling me to buy her books which I did. Then I thanked her, took a picture and was on my way. And that was my Maureen Johnson moment. Awesome!

I headed over to Harper Collins to get in line for the spin & win game as I didn’t really have anything else on my agenda except Jodi Picoult and Samantha van Leer. Again I got to listen to a panel. This one was James Dashner and I don’t know who else. It was a pretty full audience. The spin & win game was at 1:00, so I sat and waited. I will tell you, for someone who was only planning on picking up maybe half a dozen books at most, I had two toe bags full and, of course, I was lugging them on my shoulders having left my suitcase home. I did enter the Book Perk raffle for Sunday, for the tote full of galleys. Fingers crossed. So, they finally got the game set up. I think I was maybe fourth in line. I spun and I got Garth Nix new book, Newt’s Emerald, which was on my list. I was pleased.

Two things left: Jodi Picoult and the raffle drawing of the tote bag.

So, Jodi and Samantha were signing at Table 1. There was no lining up as there was another signing that was to shortly take place at the same table. And it was about 1 ½ hours until the J & S signing. I asked in the booth if there was anywhere to line up yet. They basically spouted the party line that the line will start a half hour before, yada yada yada. Anyone who has been to one of these things knows that is not possible. That would make things far too chaotic. So, I told the person I was going to wait next to the black curtain across from the table. So when I went out there, there was one girl waiting. She confirmed she was waiting for J & S, so I got behind here. We weren’t there too long before they told us we had to move because they were bringing the people for the 1:30 signing to wait in our spot. SO I asked if it was okay that we waited on the other side of the aisle, row, whatever next to the red curtain. She told us we could as long as it wasn’t needed. So we sat to wait. And people came.

It was probably around 2:00 I noticed a gaggle, well, it was a mob really, of people to the right of the signing table that were milling about in a very disorderly fashion and blocking up the main thoroughfare. I was going to go over and ask if they were waiting for J & S, but the girl in front of me assured me they were waiting for something else, but I had a feeling. A woman who had joined our line said other people were waiting over yonder and I knew. I told her I had been waiting since 1:00, but I need to point out so that it is perfectly clear, I at no time indicated that I was on the official line for J & S. I had mentioned that we had told a couple of the booth workers, but it was an unofficial line. When they asked me about it, I would only answer that I was waiting for J & S. So the woman who had been over there went back over and told all those people that we were on the real line so the mob came our way. Many of the people lined up behind us, but the majority stood in the main thoroughfare completely blocking everything, even the people from crossing over to the signing that was taking place. Then someone mentioned there was another line starting off to the left side of the booth. We looked and sure enough, the lady was there with tickets in her hand and she was holding the J & S sign and people had gotten in line, so all of us from both lines A & B hustled over to this newly made line C.

It was my unfortunate privilege to get right behind one of the women that was arguing the loudest about the whole line mix up. I swear the time she started lining up got to be earlier and earlier. The fact was, we were all like somewhere around 25 in line. They handed out the tickets finally. We were assured a book and still she argued and mouthed off. She was going to go say something because she had been in line since last Monday and then this other line popped up that she was being told was the official line and that’s not right, blah blah blah. Shut your cork hole lady! You’re getting a freaking book. Chillax! She went on for about 10 minutes, so worked up over ultimately nothing. I had been number two in my faux line. I wasn’t complaining because I was getting a book. It’s all good.

When it was just about 2:30 and the other line had cleared off, they moved us from the left of the table to the right. Now here’s the best part because Mouthy Mabel was still in front of me, right. They brought us over to where the mob of people had been in the first place which just gave her all the vindication she needed. What a snarky, nasty, miserable piece of business.

I will point out that this mess up was not typical of Penguin’s events. They are always on top of things. One of the people on line even told me that she went to the other faux line and was told that was the front and to go to the back, but the other end thought it was the front, too. Just a mess. Because of all the mix-ups and the long line waiting for the signing, they came by and told us we could take a picture or take a selfie with J & S in the frame, but we could not get behind them and have a staff member take our picture. They needed to keep the line moving. So there wasn’t much talking. Jodi signed and while Samantha was signing the next person was in front of Jodi. Still, I got my book and I was happy as a clam.

The only thing remaining was to check on the raffle. I walked over to Harper Collins and sat again. I got my stuff organized. The final count was three tote bags, BTW. As I sat there, I thought of the books I didn’t win for the spin and win. I saw where they stashed the books and there was a whole bunch, so I got up and asked if they had anymore ARCs of Dumplin’ or Amy Ewing’s book. The staffer said they were all out of Dumplin’. She did not address my Amy Ewing request, so I had to ask her again, but she said no, she thought they were out of that as well. She never checked. No I don’t have a problem if they have copies, but aren’t giving any more away. That’s fine, so issues, but I figure I need to ask. I was slightly put off that she had to tell what seemed like a thinly veiled fabrication of the truth, but no biggie.

I don’t generally ask for things not on the table. I don’t feel entitled, but this year, I asked twice and was given the galley I asked for. I asked one other time and was told no, they were out of the book and that was fine. And then I asked this last time at Harper. Perhaps next time I won’t be so gun shy about asking.

Anyway, I went back to my spot, but turned to look at the galleys to be included in the tote if I won. What I realized is that I already picked up most of the books that I wanted, but they were the adult titles, not the YA titles on the spin wheel. Then I thought that if I won I’d have yet another bringing the total to four that were filled with books, so I decided to leave. After 5 days, I was beat up and ready to go home.

Good bye NYC!!!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Book Con - Day 1 - May 30, 2015

Book Con Day 1 – May 30, 2015
So, let’s talk about Book Con. I’d like to say that chaos breeds order, but in this instance, I would not be entirely accurate, but I get ahead of myself.

The Book Con showroom floor did not open until 10am. I figured I could afford myself the luxury of sleeping in a little later. I had meant to get myself organized Friday night. Sadly, I did not. I couldn’t. I was barely coherent. I made scrambled eggs on toast for dinner because a) it doesn’t take long to make and b) I didn’t have to think too hard about it. It may not have been the best choice, but my brain had already powered down. I was out relatively early.

And so, I was faced with the prospect of having to get myself prepared while waiting in line. I decided not to take the big green suitcase instead opting for the smaller carry on blue suitcase. I wasn’t going to be picking up many books after all. Oh Tammy, you are so charmingly naive. I don’t know where you get your delusions, laser brain.

Since the floor opened at 10, I wanted to get there by 9. I was uncertain how things would be organized, but I considered this to be a recon mission. To get the lay of the land, gather Intel and report back what I had found. I didn’t take a lot. I did not stop at D&D this morning for caffeine. I hit no traffic on my way in to the ferry. I guess I was driving around 8am. Took no time to get to the ferry and the drive was really insignificant. I was able to park on the 2nd floor of the garage right by the elevator, so that was good. I had to wait a few for the ferry as we were now on the weekend schedule. I needed to make sure I had single, too for the baggage check, so at the cafe in the ferry terminal, I bought a banana. Better than a raspberry cheesecake square any day.

I started walking to Javits as I always do, along the north sidewalk. I turn right on 11th Ave and Javits is about a half block away. There were a couple of people ahead of me, but nothing to get agitated about. This day was about relaxing and taking it easy. I had some autographings at tables, some at booths, some galley drops, but overall, not a whole lot going on. I kept walking up the sidewalk getting close to the corner when I saw this parade of people rounding the corner from the right and wrapping around to get in line along the fence I was now walking next to. I just walked up and joined the line, but I stood in awe and amazement as the seemingly never-ended conga line just kept coming. I tried to take a picture, but the photo just cannot do it justice. Where the heck were all these people coming from and where the heck had they been?

I saw a lot of people holding a magazine sized publication like the PW show dailies for BEA and I was itching to get my hands on a copy. Penguin and Sourcebooks already published their events schedule, but I’m not sure any of the other publishers had. I needed to know what was going on and where to go first. So I waited.

Finally the line began to move, perhaps not quickly, but we were in motion all the same. We turned right onto 11th and still the people were coming from the other direction. I expected we would continue on the sidewalk straight to Javits, but no. There is actually a break where the fence ends and there is a gap, a smaller building and another gap and then Javits. They had us follow the fence and when it ended, we turned right again heading perpendicular to the Javits Annex. Once we hit the annex, we turned left and walked along the Annex walkway. I hadn’t noticed that there was a lovely cluster of trees this side of Javits with a good number of benches strewn about. I looked like someplace I’d like to sit and read. I mean can I? Just sit and read? Enough of this standing in line crap. But no, we had to keep walking.

We circled the edge of the cluster of woods rounded the corner and walked into the fist set of doors on the north side of the building. We were immediately hustled down the stairs where I saw such horrors!! Definitely not for the faint of heart. Before I could register what my eyes were seeing, we were told to keep walking. We rounded the escalator and kept walking to the hallway that goes the length of the building. We were not allowed up any escalator. Just as well as the escalators had all been turned off. They took us through the bowels of the Javits center past Hall B, through the cafe and food court, past Hall C and I believe we were finally allowed to ascend at Hall D, but again, the escalators were off, so we had to climb.

That brought us to the Illuminae steps (by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristof) where we had to keep climbing. It’s like the gates of hell were blown open and all the demons were clawing their way to solid ground, to walk among the humans. Where is there a hunter when you need one? Once we climbed those steps, we were finally ready to enter the Promised Land. But here’s how it all went wrong.

While I was waiting for the ferry, I was scrolling through the Book Con message board and I was dismayed. Events were requiring tickets and the ticket lines opened at 8:00. I didn’t realize this and I had some events on my agenda, but after I heard you had to wait in line to get a wristband, I decided to ‘86’ the events. I did later learn that only the panels in the Special Events Hall required a wristband. The other smaller panels were a crap shoot. Apparently, though, Mindy Kaling/BJ Novak, John Green’s Paper Towns, Aziz Ansari and Nick Offerman were the big draws of Saturday.

Most of the table signings required a purchase from the Word bookstore which was downstairs by the signing tables. I believe the demand may have been underestimated as there did not seem to be enough registers or staff to support the need. I was reading posts on the Book Con board that it was taking people and hour to get through check-out. I had even seen posts that by the time people were getting out of the bookstore, the line they were trying to get on for a signing was already capped.

Some of the bookstore staff were not making exchanges when this happened, when a person missed a signing because it was taking way too long to purchase the book, but if they kept checking around, they’d find someone willing to make the exchange. The capping issue with the lines also seemed to be happening mostly with the YA authors. Coincidence?

I also heard they weren’t checking receipts at the table signings anyway, so if a book was brought from home, they were not checking to make sure it was just bought.

I think one of the main reason for the gross underestimate is that last year BEA and Book Con overlapped. At BEA, we do not have to buy the book for signings. The Book Con people reaped the benefits because of the overlap. There were an awful lot of posts from people asking where the free stuff could be found. A lot of the younger crowd seemed to be spending more time downstairs with the panels and the table signings, but mostly waiting in lines for things to begin or to start moving.

Some people did complain that they had to buy the books, but most people really didn’t seem to care.

I’ll get back to some of the issues with the downstairs events. As I had decided to forego the table signings and panels, I headed for the showroom floor. I had a schedule written out, but was kind of thrown off mostly because of the bizarre way they brought us to the showroom floor. The first thing I did was hit Hatchette for galleys then made my way over to Penguin. So, here is the way Penguin set up and I will preface it by saying the signing lines organized by Penguin were the best run lines at BEA. The booth had two tables at each end where the signings were held and sometimes the galleys were distributed from. I walked into Penguin and saw a line going into the booth and there was a table with all kinds of swag, so I figured I’m game and got on line. Slowest moving line for swag ever. I’m talking buttons, posters, samplers, etc. I have no idea what was going on but there were tables lined up along either of the long sides. There was a table for children’s swag, then YA swag, then a table with books (freebies and some display only) and then a couple more, one with audio and another with books. I cannot tell you what the hold-up was, but by the time I got through the line, some of the very fine swag I had noted was gone and there wasn’t much left I was interested in. No, I do not need a John Green Paper Towns poster. Thanks, though. What a monumental waste of my time.

So, let talk about Penguin for a minute. I realize I am jumping ahead in the timeline, but this way I can keep it all together. The tables with the signings were handled real well, but no matter what time of the day I went through the Penguin booth, there was a huge line going down the center. On the other side, there was also a bank of tables. There was one with swag, one with tablets to sign up for programs and then some with books. The one causing all the issues was the First Line program. They had two tablets to sign up. People were in line and getting the swag, but were then bogged down by the time it took to sign up for the First Line program. So the line was not moving at all. I was amazed that for a publisher who normally had everything running so smoothly that they would be so disorganized inside their booth. Also, people were kind of disregarding the fact that people were actually in line and were just jumping in line. It was quite chaotic.

Charlaine Harris was signing at Penguin at 10:30, but there was no way in hell I was going to be able to get into that line. I don’t read her books anyway, so it didn’t matter much.

I wanted to get the lay of the land, so I walked up and down the aisles grabbing what looked interesting. After viewing the floor lay out, it made sense to me why the BEA floor was laid out as it was. All the publishers that were going to participate in Book Con were all down at the south end of the building where the autographing tables were last year. Where last year there had been a rope to segregate Book Con from BEA, this year there was a wall. Only part of the floor was open, so there was only the one door and it was down at the far end. Suddenly it made sense why they brought us the way they did.

I was going to get on the 12:00 signing of JLA, but the line was already capped. I wandered aimlessly and found myself at Simon & Schuster where they were giving out copies of Stephen King’s new book and had a sign up for a Kim Harrison signing happening. There weren’t too many people in line, not even 10 I think, so I jumped in line. It was an ARC of her new book and my friend Terri had asked for it, but I couldn’t get to her table at BEA. As we waited, they came by and handed out Tshirts. The shirts were for the first 25 people in line. (Sorry, P, I’m keeping the shirt.) Then they came by and asked for everyone with a shirt to hold it up to the front of themselves and they took pictures of the group. Then not long after, they came back and said they needed to take pictures again because KH actually wanted to get a picture of herself with the group donning her T shirts. So, yeah, I did a photo shoot with Kim Harrison. When it was my turn, I got a copy of the book signed for Terri, but I asked her if I could get a second one for myself. I was totally willing to get back in the end of the line, but KH was like, “Of course!” and I got that one personalized to me. She was all kinds of awesome!

After Kim Harrison, I went to Penguin and got a signed 50th Anniversary edition of The Phantom Tollbooth. I was actually pretty excited about this. It was one of my favorite books when I was younger. Once I was done there, I didn’t have anything in particular to do, so I walked a bit, picking up a couple of books. HarperCollins was having a spin and win at 1:30, so I decided to go over there around 1:00 and sit for a while. I had about a half hour to wait. The Harper Booth was right next to the Downtown Stage, so I got to listen to a panel while on line. It was actually pretty funny. It was four romance authors in a quiz show. They were asked questions about books and other forms of media based on books, like movies.

That did help pass the time, but it was finally time for spin & win. I will tell you. My luck is always that there is something I really want and never get. This time I either wanted Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy (the galley was on the table in from of me at BEA, but for some inexplicable reason I decided not to pick it up, so now , of course, I have to have it) and book 2 in The Jewel series by Amy Ewing. Of course, I got neither of those. I did, though, get a book I already picked up at BEA, so, yay.

After spinning and losing, I decided to go get in line for Carrie Ryan. I had gotten a copy of her book, Daughter of Deep Silence, but I figured Terri would like this one as well, so I sat in line and waited. It gave my feet another little rest. From there I headed back to HarperCollins for a Welcome to Nightvale sampler. There was a panel for Nightvale, which, of course, you couldn’t get near. It is amazing how popular that podcast is.

I didn’t have anything else but a drawing for a tote bag full of galleys. I have no idea what I was thinking, but I thought it was to enter for a drawing. In actuality, it was for the drawing of people who signed up for BookPerk that day. I am already on the BookPerk email list, so I never entered. That is when I decided to pack it in.

Since I only had my small suitcase and it was not that full, I was in pretty good shape walking back to the ferry. Still a little stiff and sore from the prior three days, it still wasn’t bad.

My friend John was going to join me for Sunday, but as with so many things, nothing ever seems to go according to plan, but when it comes to John, he throws the plan out the window, but more on that tomorrow.

 Captain Underpants in the house!!