BookExpo America 2016

BookExpo America 2016

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Whoa! It's been ten days since my last post. I expected a blogging break while I was at BEA, but right after returning home I got really debilitatingly sick. Like can't read, can't write, can't do anything sick. I'm on the mend now, so here I am with a very delayed update on my time in Chicago!

If you follow me on Twitter, Snapchat, or Instagram, you undoubtedly saw many many BEA updates. But in case that wasn't enough, here's a quick rundown of my three days at this bonkers book event.

There was a lot of this.


I'm going to come right out and say it, this super overwhelming event would have been kind of miserable had I not had a lot of book friends who were able to make it to Chicago. Even though I can definitely act confident and take care of business during big things, that doesn't mean that I'm having any fun. And I can 100% say I had a blast for all three days and it's all due to running around the booths with people I had been dying to meet/had met previously.

From left to right: Me, Rachel, Kerry, Emily

From left to right, top to bottom (excluding me): Sweet Shaina, Shannon, Liberty Hardy, Marisa, Kim

I met so many more people that were not pictured, and they were all great (Katie, Heather, Julie, Jessica, Catherine, Kristen, Beth, and more). I was lucky to go to several happy hours/dinner with these bad book bitches, as well as have lunch with Liberty Hardy and Amanda Nelson of Book Riot.


Ok, enough gushing about the book baes. I wasn't hardcore enough to make a spreadsheet beforehand, but I did write some things on a piece of paper. I thought the amount of overlap of some of these signings and galley drops would definitely leave me missing out on some of the things I'd wanted to get in on. And I had prepared myself for that. But, surprisingly, I don't think I missed anything I had wanted to do. The size of BEA was kind of deceptive. Like it was absolutely huge, but after a certain point in one direction, it was just kids books, books in languages I didn't know, university presses, and remainders for bookstores to buy. So after checking it out once, there isn't really any reason to go back over there, narrowing the area in which you hang out significantly.

Every publisher I talked to was super super nice and accommodating. They were all excited to talk about their books and wanted to help get books to you if they were out of them. I was most impressed by the Graywolf booth (not just because they're Minnesotan). SUCH COOL PEOPLE.

I was also impressed by the in booth signings. At first when I heard people like Jonathan Safran Foer and George Saunders were doing their signings in booth instead of in the area specifically for signings, I was frightened. I had heard horror stories about this how wrong it went at Javits. But there was a pretty good amount of extra room near the bigger booths like Penguin Random House that allowed for the large lines. I didn't have to wait very long for anything.

Here's a photo of my explaining literature to George Saunders

There were a bunch of heavy hitters there as far as books go. Saunders' first novel Lincoln on the Bardo, Colson Whitehead's Underground Railroad, Alan Moore's (creator of Watchmen) first (enormous) novel Jerusalem. Etc. Etc. I came home with 30 books total, I think. Every day was fucking rough on my shoulders. Luckily beautiful Jenna of JMill Wanders drove me home, so I didn't have to worry about how much I was bringing home. But I also didn't want a million books, so I mostly controlled myself.


- Shaina and I drank champagne that was probably not for us. They didn't fence it off and we didn't get yelled at sooooo it was probably fine. But we also looked very, very professional.

- Book speed dating! A fun idea that I was highly looking forward to, but kind of a clusterfuck. The idea is that you sit in groups at tables with a bunch of ARCs on them. Publisher reps come around and pitch books to you. After the publisher is done, you can take ARCs. OBVIOUSLY that is not what actually went down. Randos were showing up without having signed up then getting real mad about there not being enough chairs or books. A lot of publishers didn't actually have books there, because they didn't ship properly or something? Either the books didn't get there on time, or NY people didn't want to deal with shipping books to Chicago, so whatever. And elderly librarians are GRABBY. Pretty much everyone I knew at this event had some greedy mother fuckers at their table who didn't want to play by the rules. And my question is just like... why? You'd think these people never see books. Unreal. I also wasn't really interested in any of the books. OH WELL.

- I was given a sign to hold as I stood in a line. I was confused as to why I was holding it and what I was supposed to do with it after a while. But I do like having a false sense of power, so.

- Deep dish pizza. And seeing my friends. If you didn't know, I lived in Chicago for four years, so it was nice visiting a place I consider home.

I'm not going to say anything about the galley "scandal" and the rights of bloggers or whatever, because I'm already bored.

Tomorrow I'll be sharing some of the exciting new books I didn't know about before planning for BEA. GET PUMPED.


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