Saturday, May 29, 2010


Stands for Book Expo America.
Full of publishers and booksellers and authors and some people who want to be one of those things but are kidding themselves.


Everything was packed. The show floor was packed. The ABC dinner was packed. The kidlit drink night was packed. New York was packed, and I fricking hate taxi drivers. There was a line two miles long for the Children's Breakfast, and I had to pull chairs out from under other people in order to conduct the very important meetings I had scheduled with important people. By the end of the week I was communicating mostly in catlike teeth-bared hisses.

I communicated this to one of our marketing people, and she said she had had a related conversation with an author just before the show.

Author: "I want to go to BEA!"

Her: "You just think that."


Editorial Anonymous said...

I should clarify: that was a signed-but-not-yet-published author.

Literaticat said...

Oh don't forget how hot it was on Wednesday. FILTH SAUNA.

Sarah Laurenson said...

I don't do crowds well. I'll do them, but I much prefer peace and quiet. And a good book, of course.

Deirdre Mundy said...

Really? Because I've dreamed of going to BEA ever since college (when i worked at a company where all the important people got to go. I, alas, was not important. But they always came back with great stories of authors and arcs and whatnot!)

Maybe BEA is better if you don't have to get work done while you're there?

stacy said...

It was busy, but it wasn't as busy as I expected it to be. I'm glad to have gone once and experienced it, so I have a frame of reference if I ever need it, but I don't expect to need to go every year--we're a small press and don't do a booth there.

Christine Tripp said...

I would love to some day attend
BEA. I am so jealous of those that have.
What upsets me is that anyone that can pay can secure a spot and while I do know there can not be censorship, I do wish that when it comes to Publish America, printers such as this should be not allowed.
I wonder how many writers that paid to get into the event stumbled upon PA and think, by virtue of them having a booth, that they are legit.
Sort of how I lost all faith in PW's magazine, finding out they would sell cover space to anyone willing to pay:(
Someday I'll make it to BEA, any excuse actually to get to NYC!!!

Anonymous said...

So which do you prefer...BEA or ALA? Have been to both and not sure which one is better to promote a new book. This year it's ALA...

TK Roxborogh said...

Am hoping you are one of the two editors who took my book from my agent. I like your 'tude.

Anonymous said...

mom is a children's librarian and goes for a day every year. Basically she says its VERY crowded, you get a few free books, a few autographs, but the lines are so long that even if you start early and stay late you don't get much for your troubles. She said it's not worth it paying out of your own pocket... cost-benefit analysis I guess, it's 60 for the day, 40+ for parking, food costs, bag storage cost etc... according to her it'd be better to just put that money towards buying a few new books that you are really interested in.

Hardygirl said...

Ha!!! Thanks for the honesty. I've been trying to keep up on Twitter, and THAT was enough to make me crazy.


Adrienne said...

Actually as an author the experience is very different, and quite enjoyable. I think it's because aside from some networking we aren't making deals etc. We show up, chat with our publisher, sign some books (always the best part) and then get to wander at our leisure. I blogged about my experience which was in all rather delightful (despite the heat - oh dear god the heat):

What I think is even cooler is that you were at the KidLit event, as was I. Though it was so huge I have to wonder if we met or not.

Faith E. Hough said...

Thank you so much for writing this. I was registered for BEA this year, and chickened out at the last minute because crowds and I do not do well together, generally speaking.
I'd been feeling all disappointed, but now I just feel relieved. :)

Michelle Witte said...

For me, BEA is a wonderful opportunity to meet a lot of the publishing people I've come to know online but never met in person. It's also a time when I can meet authors—both debut and with dozens of titles under their belts.

I realize this is only my second BEA and so am not nearly as frustrated as people who must attend every year, but I really enjoyed myself. I would have preferred fewer bodies, but I really can't complain.A lot of bodies at BEA means there are still people with jobs in publishing, there are still books being printed, and there is still interest in reading great books.

The only thing that really irked me was the media's handling of Sarah Ferguson, and the repeated references on TV to "the book fair where Fergie is speaking." That journalists don't know what BEA frightens me more than I can say.

Lyn said...

BEA vs. ALA: Having been to both (though ALA far more regularly than BEA), I'd have to say ALA is better for children's/YA books and BEA is better for adult books. More university presses typically show up at BEA as well, if that's your interest, though if you're looking for literary fiction and poetry, AWP is an even better choice.

I was supposed to go to the KidLit event, but a family emergency kept me away. With that size of the crowd, it doesn't look like I was missed. And Stacy, I just wrote up an announcement of your new gig. Congratulations!

Wendie O said...

Which should you attend -- BEA or ALA?
I would say ALA, hands down. As EA said, BEA is all about selling books to booksellers and in general the marketing people in the booth don't really want to talk to anyone else. Not even authors. (if they are other publisher's authors)

I've been to BEA twice and loved it both times. Once as an author and another time as a librarian. I wasn't quite as welcome at booths as a librarian, especially since I had my 5-year-old grandchild with me. But when they realized how polite she was, not grabby and destroying their booth, but sitting quietly looking at picture books; and when they saw me sitting there for a long time going through their F&Gs, they kinda got the hint that I might be on an award committee looking for books to recommend. (which actually was what I was doing.) Eventually the people in the booths warmed up and dug out neat goodies to give to my grandchild.

ALA is aimed at librarians. The people in the booths are kind to everyone because librarians look like anybody. Authors roam the aisles between book signings and you never know who you might run into.

Getting into the exhibits at BEA is very expensive -- over $100. Getting into the exhibits at ALA is only $30 to $40, depending on if you pay ahead or at walk-in.

ALA moves around the country. It's in Washington, DC this June. It's in New Orleans next year. 2011. check out the website --

(Love your blog, EA)

melanie hope greenberg said...

Hmmmm, EA. I was at the ABC dinner and at Kidlit Drinks nite. Need to start figuring out who you are ;-)

MotherReader said...

I beginning to feel a bit better that I was only there for Thursday and not Wednesday. While there were some long lines, I mostly avoided them and had a reasonable easy time cruising the booths and meeting the authors. In fact, I was able to get into the children's authors tea and visit leisurely with Richard Peck because so many people didn't show up for it.

But I can sympathize with you for trying to get in meetings and actual work with such a mad house. I saw they are going back to three days next year, so hopefully that will help.

Carol ReMarks said...

LOL Finally someone tells the truth. The way all the other blogs wrote about it, it was "the place to be." LOL

E.T. Schoenfeld said...

For folks who love children's books I would also recommend attending NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English). Lots of great talks by authors, free books, and book signings.

Joanne R. Fritz said...

Thanks, EA. Good point. I'm a bookseller and attended BEA for the first time this year.

Since I'm not a buyer, no one in the booths seemed to care about me. I waited in some very long lines to get a few autographs. The only really interesting part of the day was the YA Editor's Buzz panel.

Overall, what got to me most was the NOISE LEVEL. AAGGHH! And, yes, the crowds of people shoving past you with heavy bags of freebies. I didn't even get that many freebies. I met a few authors (and of course blogged about it), but I wouldn't be upset if I never go again.

My Brain on Books

sarah mccarry said...

"BEA: Like the worst high school dance you ever went to, only less fun."

jenna said...

Wednesday in the Javits center was Hades on toast

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