By Ale Bodden
Book Expo America has finally ended and I have survived. I am quite a happy nerd girl right now.
So… I got sick on the first day of the BEA, yet I armed myself with meds, hand sanitizers, and whatever was necessary because I was not going to miss the event I had waited so long for. I am still in that resting cycle– my mind is serious mush right now. Yet, despite that, it was one of the best experiences ever. I got to meet fantastic people and fellow readers, talk to amazing authors, got great reading materials to last me for a while; and overall it was just pure awesomeness.
After weeks of preparing and putting lists together–color coding them and prioritizing– the moment finally arrived; I was ready and invincible. Yet when the moment came I got on that floor like a fangirl. It was enlightening and fun to experience BEA from another perspective– that of networking and getting material to write about and share with people who share the same interests. I was able to shadow and learn from a fellow team-member; I found it quite rewarding and kept my feet on the ground as opposed to letting myself be carried away by all the shiny books around.
In some ways, it was similar to the day I attended last year–in others? Not so much. On BookCon day they closed off a side of the Javits Center, which was only open to people with BEA badges. I found that odd since last year the whole Convention floor was open to us, Power Readers… It is also, apparently, weird to see someone returning books to a pile as opposed to taking everything they could get their hands on. I got many looks when I put books back—after last year I learned to only take those I will definitely read; which turned out to still be a heavy load of shiny new books, plus a semi-broken back. I was (and still am) amazed at the amount of books being pushed my way from every booth I passed. There was simply something for every different taste in genres.
The lines for the autograph tables were filled with people from the time they opened–BEA and BookCon days alike. However, not many others matched how early people started lining up for Neil Patrick Harris (Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography), John Green (TFiOS), Stan Lee (Zodiac), Cary Elwes (As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of the Princess Bride), Anjelica Huston (Watch Me), Amy Poehler and Martin Short in conversation, R.L. Stine (Goosebumps), Cassandra Clare (The Mortal Instruments)… wow, it was a sea of huge lines everywhere! During BookCon it was nearly impossible to walk by the autographing section because people were stuck in place to get the tiniest glimpse of their favorite authors. I cannot compare it to last year, though, because I did not go to the autograph tables then; I tend to gravitate toward the publishers area. These, on the other hand, had giant lines wrapping around each booth of happy readers waiting for ARC's (Advance Reader's Copies) and Galley Drops of books coming out in the near future.
My favorite part of attending this convention is the general attitude of exhibitors and attendees alike. Everyone is super nice (despite the very few rowdy fans trying to squeeze into lines) and friendly, smiley and helpful. The staff and crew did an amazing job at keeping lines organized and timely. It was a total pleasure to roam the floors of the BEA and I am so happy I went. I am crossing my fingers and waiting for next year because I will be definitely attending Book Expo America 2015—I cannot wait!
Ale Bodden has been a contributor for Bleeding Cool since Oct. 2013. She can be found on Twitter @alebodden, and at www.nerdyfaery.wordpress.com.