Tuesday, June 3, 2014

BEA Recap Days 2 & 3

Main exhibition hall entrance on Day 1; the yellow carpet is where the long line had started
Probably the most obvious sign of this being my first time at BEA was me not knowing *when* they opened the exhibition halls. I'd made a guide of all those tips and advice posts, but for some reason, I couldn't remember if they'd said the opening time and I hadn't really looked much at the BEA site. I didn't have to worry about the opening yesterday; when we left the HQN breakfast, everything was free and clear. There was no "side line" wait as I'd read. I was confused, but I also didn't want to be one of the "hardcore" people who showed up super early to get in (because I wasn't sure I cared that much but mostly sleeeeeeeeeeep). Which, naturally, is exactly what I ended up being. Yay!


Loren and I were out of the Yotel by maybe 7:40, slightly later than the previous day. The convenient thing about the Yotel is that it a.) offers a complimentary breakfast (aka muffins, which Lo and I had there & took to BEA for lunch) and b.) is only .40 miles away from the Javits center (though, for anyone considering attending next year, you should be warned that it has really small rooms, everything smushed together). This time I had my business cards (they finally arrived -- yay!) and we had an organized schedule. When we arrived, here was the first sign of us being slightly late: the baggage check we'd used yesterday was already full and we were directed elsewhere. And then we found out what the difference between the main line and side lines were.

selfie at the hotel + with PW show daily (which has some interesting articles + information on galley drops) + in front of a side entrance, aka one of the escalators leading up into the exhibition hall, without the large showy signs of the main entrance.
And yet at the side entrance, we were maybe #15? in line. Probably more than that, but it would've been much worse at the main entrance. I could've been more social then -- it was like a forty minute wait in that line, longer than yesterday's line -- but I was tired. I'm a grumpy morning person. I've tried changing but alas. As soon as it turned 9:00, we were let into the hall. We went directly to the Simon and Schuster booth for the 9:00 drop of Afterworlds. Even though we'd been pretty early in that line, we nearly missed the drop - only a small, small pile by when we got there. BEA is intense, folks. After that, we hustled over to the table signing because we knew there'd be a line already formed for the Sarah J. Maas signing. And so there was. Loren was #14 in line, I was #15. Two hours before her signing.

Loren held my spot in line while I wandered around the convention center; I had yet to do that for myself. I found out that Karen Bao's Dove Arising had been pushed back a season. At Scholastic, I asked for a copy of Love Is the Drug because I've heard such good things about Johnson's books and that one particularly looked interesting. I went to some other publishers, but about twenty minutes after I'd left the line for Maas, I returned because Loren had called me to say they'd moved the line around because it was so long. And so the wait began with C.J. and Loren, but we got to meet some awesome people in that line too: Jon from Scott Reads It and Kelly from Effortlessly Reading. Ashley from Nose Graze was behind them (I saw her badge, and Jon also advertised her awesome blog designs lol), but she was reading the Jewel and I didn't want to bother her (though now I'm kind of sad I didn't at least say hi). And then, soon enough, after the people who'd donated $50 for signing costs and had passes, we were up with Sarah J. Maas. Loren and I had already met Sarah last spring when we'd had her at our college for a world-building workshop. Loren was the main correspondent/planner; I was kind of that sweaty girl bringing in the In N Out dinner and hustling back to the vent. She definitely recognized Loren. I'm not so sure she recognized me. Oh well.



After the Sarah J. Maas signing, we went over to the Macmillan booth to see if there were any copies of Landline left, which, awesomely, there were. I also had a really awkward moment when clearly I should have just said: "No, thank you" or "I'm good, thanks." A representative was holding out a copy of some adult novel -- I don't remember the name anymore -- and she offered it, but I thought that it was really unlikely that I'd have the chance to read the book, especially with all these others. But still I thought: what's it about? And I asked her... and realized my opinion hadn't changed. And then was like: "Sounds good," but I didn't grab the copy. Stood there awkwardly while she was still smiling. I don't remember what she said, but I was like, "Uh, well, good luck with everything and thank you so much!" (AHEM, thanks for the back-up, Loren and C.J!). Anywho, after Landline, we went to HarperCollins, where I was pretty sure that Landline luck had run out; there were no more copies of Rooms, but again the representative was kind and said that she'd try to send a copy to the address on the card I've given her. There was nothing to do until 1:00 so C.J., Loren, and I settled down to eat our lunch (Loren and I went to the CVS Pharmacy across from our hotel on Wednesday and bought snacks whereas C.J. had actually packed lunch, which I'm sure was much more satisfying).
Sarah Maas signing lines + lunch on the colorfully decorated steps
At around 12:30, C.J. went over to Simon & Schuster since she'd missed the Afterworlds drop while Loren and I went to Little, Brown for The Doubt Factory. I asked the representative if there was a line already (I was not going to make the same #NewbieMoment mistake), and instead she gave me the copy ahead of time. Lo and I went to the Sandy Hall signing of A Little Something Different, which wasn't very crowded. Loren got me excited about the book too.
me putting our books away + Sandy Hall & Loren + the representatives at the Vault of Dreamers drop
And then there was nothing to do until 2:00, which was when Famous in Love was being dropped. C.J. met back up with us and we read a little bit, relaxed a little bit by the entrance. Then Loren grabbed herself a copy of FiL and we went to the Sway galley drop at 2:30 at MacMillan. You know that MacMillan representative I mentioned earlier? The one where I couldn't just say no like a normal person? She saw us and according to Loren and C.J., said, "Oh, you guys again." Lol. Oh no!!! Anyway, we formed the line for Sway with Margie of Ope's Opinions. From there, it was hustling the rest of the day. A 3:00 galley drop for Salt and Storm and The Darkest Part of the Forest with a teacher whose card I didn't get. A drop of Trial by Fire at 3:00 too. A 3:30 galley drop of The Vault of Dreamers. And the 4:00 drop of The Fire Artist, when I met Kaina from These Flying Pages in line. We were both excited over Heir of Fire, and Kaina was really looking forward to the Jennifer Armentrout signing on Saturday for The Return. As we were putting out books away later, we also met Jenn Cunha, an experienced BEA attendee, who gave us tips on how to pack away the books without having them get bent.
That was it for the day. I know there were other book related events in the evening almost all of these days, but I, personally, was done with bookish events for the day. Loren and I frolicked in Central Park and read our books (me, The Mime Order sampler; her, The Jewel), and then ate at Gina La Fornarina. We walked around a bit and on our way back to the hotel that night, we got shakes from Shake Shack (which seems, to me, like the In N Out of New York). We watched the basketball game (OKC Thunder vs. San Antonio Spurs) and then Sense and Sensibility... and were eager for our extended sleep.

Book Haul from Day 2:


Day 3: Book Con/Saturday

There didn't seem to be much to be done on Saturday, so Loren and I didn't arrive until like 9:30. I went to the #WeNeedDiverseBooks panel while Loren went to grab a paperback of The Bone Season (which a friend and I had been discussing around her, trying to get her to read) and The Mime Order sampler. Immediately I worried whether Loren was going to be able to make it. I sat all the way in the back - it was almost already full, a half an hour before the event - and saved her a spot. I talked to Adele from Persnickety Snark, which was really cool because those of you who read my bookish rounds know that I've frequently linked to her blog.


Several people asked me if someone was sitting next to me, and I felt bad, but it turns out that they had stopped letting people into the panel at the beginning until a large enough crowd had been there and they all came in at once, Loren with them. The Diverse Books panel was packed, standing room only. Firstly Ellen Oh ("Let's raise our voice to a roar that can't be ignored") introduced Aisha Saeed (Written in the Stars), who recapped how the WNDB team had been formed, what the campaign had involved and its successes (over $162 million impressions on twitter). Then Marieke Nijkamp discussed the need for diverse books ("Representation Matters"), and after that Ellen Oh (The Dragon King Chronicles) discussed the long-lasting changes that have occurred as a result of the WNDB campaign: Lee and Low's New Visions award was mentioned, First Book is specifically looking for diverse books from publishers, and NEA will join the WNDB campaign with a "Diversity in the Classroom" initiative and the Children's Literature Festival in Washington D.C. in 2016, where every panel and event will be dedicated to celebrating kidlit diversity. After everyone cheered these announcements, the moderator I.W. Gregorio (None of the Above) took over. She had the panelists introduce themselves and discuss how they first found out about the campaign and what their first reactions were (Jacqueline Woodson (Brown Girl Dreaming), Matt de la Peña (The Living), Grace Lin (Where the Mountain Meets the Moon), Mike Jung (Geeks, Girls, and Secret Identities), and Lamar Giles (Fake ID)). Her next question was specifically addressed to Lamar Giles, because he wrote a response to all the people who had been criticizing the campaign. She asked him about what the public can do to create constructive dialog.

The first thing Lamar Giles emphasized was that both sides had to be willing to listen to the other. His other three points: 1. Counter misinformation with facts; 2. Propose real solutions to the problem at hand; and 3. Recognize that constructive dialog may not always happen because there will always be people who dislike YOU and what you're discussing. I didn't quite catch the next question from Gregorio, but I think it involved personal experiences with diverse books now and as a child. I think I also missed Mike Jung's answer, sadly. Matt de la Peña mentioned how much he loved The House on Mango Street and Junot Díaz's Drown. Grace Lin mentioned how, as a child, she had continued to read this series on cheerleaders because of the one Asian character it featured, despite the fact that that character was very stereotypical, because she was so enthused to see herself in a book. Jacqueline Woodson mentioned her love for Stevie by John Steptoe. Lamar Giles mentioned how librarians had pointed him to a lot of books about slavery when he was growing up, as if that was the only thing he was interested in; but when he read Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers, he loved it and Myers was a great idol to have.

Gregorio then addressed Mike Jung and asked him whether he'd thought of his children while he was writing. Of course he had -- but to me, the most compelling aspect of his response was when Mike said that he didn't have a *compelling reason* NOT to include diversity in his book. The next question was addressed to Matt de la Peña about his work with secret readers. Matt mentioned something he'd really connected with at a Díaz event; Díaz had said that he had noticed that a lot of comic book villains often say that they don't get represented -- that there was a connection between their lack of representation and their becoming villains. Matt also said that he was fortunate to have met a lot of savvy librarians who had pointed teens to his books and said that it was important for the suburban white kid to be reading these books as well. PoC readers are supposed to identify with white characters, and the vice versa should happen too. It isn't either or, it's also.

The next question was addressed to Grace Lin, who'd had an interesting experience with a librarian who had been afraid to recommend her "Oriental book." Grace recapped what had happened at the school -- it was not full of ethnic kids, so the librarian said that she wasn't sure the kids would like the book, but they did. A lot. But Grace wondered - well, if it wasn't for her visit, would these kids have even been exposed to diverse books? Jacqueline Woodson was up next. She was quoted in a Publisher's Weekly interview about the long-lasting changes / vision she'd like to see on diverse books, so she was asked to expand on that here. Jacqueline said that she'd like there to be a day when you don't have to have the WNDB panel anymore. She emphasized that there is no Other population and how important it was for allies, or the people with significant power, to help make these long-lasting changes.

Finally the last question for all panelists: Perception or reality: do diverse books do well in reality? (It's often said, "oh, we don't have diverse books because they don't sell well," so this Q was to address that perception). Jacqueline started the question off by asking what a diverse book even was. She said that the problem was that people kept trying to market diverse books as issue books, and we all know the stigma of issue books. Grace mentioned the importance of booksellers. She said how sometimes a bookseller might show a customer a book with PoC on the cover, and that customer might instinctively say no without even realizing why. Grace thought that this was the job of the bookseller - to put the book in terms that that customer would understand, like "it's an adventure story with X and X" instead of emphasizing the Otherness, to sell diverse books to people who don't know they need them. She created a cheat sheet for that purpose. Matt talked about publishing as a job, that this was the author and publisher's job to push, that there was a movement in publishing on diverse books and it was coming for you, no matter what. Mike said that he thought the "diverse books don't well" perception was a smokescreen for long-lasting change. Lamar ended the question with a quick response, emphasizing that we all had the power to enact this change.

It was a really great panel and both Loren and I felt like we had a lot to think about for ourselves and our experiences after it was finished. I hope that I did a decent enough job recapping the event so that you've also that experience.

After the panel, Loren and I ate some snacks and went around to publisher booths on the BEA side (the bookcon side was very, very crowded). I wanted to go around and thank the workers at most of the booths because I'd had a great time at BEA and I know that this is because of the wonderful welcome from both publishers and bloggers alike. Thank you to you all! After those rounds, we tried to attend the Epic Storytelling panel with Cassandra Clare, Maggie Stiefvater, and Holly Black, but at noon, one hour before the panel, the line was already closed. You can see the huge crowds in the pictures below.
Loren was not a fan of my picture tweet, so here's a retake.
So then we left the convention center, went to the FedEx near our hotel. We were going to try to meet up with C.J. to say our goodbyes, but she had to leave (hence the "sad" face picture below; please never, ever have me make a sad face. It won't work.). We went to the very highly recommended Books of Wonder, where I then proceeded to buy The Demon King - Cinda Williams Chima (high fantasy - very rare for me NOT to like them ++ good recommendations ++ Chima has blurbed so many books I love), To All the Boys I've Loved Before - Jenny Han (loved Han's Summer series ++ the concept of this one), Unhinged - A.G. Howard (lots of friends have recc'd this to me), and The Summer Prince - Alaya Dawn Johnson (heard great things about it & so far am liking it!). They were all signed books and I talked to the worker there, and she was wonderfully friendly. (Christina, what are you going to do with all these books??!?). Afterward it started to rain, so we ducked into a nearby restaurant for a slice of pizza. Not long after we left, it started to rain again, so we ducked into the Chelsea Market and then strolled along the High Line Park. We tried to meet up with Alexis (from day 1) after dinner at Salsa y Salsa, but that didn't work out. On our way home, we stopped by the really cute Doughnut Plant for something on our early, early flight the next day.
And voila! That was our trip to NYC & our experience with BEA.

Liked this post? You can read my recap of my first day at BEA here.

If you were at BEA, what were you up to on Friday & Thursday? Best/worst moments? If you weren't there, what did you like best/dislike most about the recaps? What books are you excited for?

28 comments:

  1. oh, thank you for the in depth recap of the We Need Diverse Books panel! it sounds as amazing as I thought it would be and I'm so grateful/touched by it. powerful, powerful stuff.

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  2. This is the first real recap of the Diverse Books panel I've seen! It sounds like it was great! :D

    Angie @ Pinkindle

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  3. No problem! I'm sorry it wasn't as thorough as it could have been (I keep reading the recap and thinking that I haven't covered nearly enough of the panel, because it was awesome). I'm glad you liked it though :). Thanks for visiting!

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  4. Turns out, there's actually a full audio version of the panel here: http://weneeddiversebooks.tumblr.com/post/87586495592/bookcon-panel

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  5. HEIR OF FIIIIREEEE. Omg, I can't wait to have my pre-ordered HC in my little hands already. I really don't care how little room I have left on my shelf, I'll make room for this gorgeous thing no matter what. "Oh, you guys again." HAHAHAHA. I hope they leave the cover for The Return. I really like the guys on the cover and I think he's perfect for my fav character in the Covenant series. You managed to do so many things in addition to just attending BEA, getting all the books and meeting so many wonderful people. I'm glad :) Oh, and hey! It's Landline :D It looks so tiny between Afterworlds and HoF :D I feel like the Diverse panel and the discussios, topics--they're all so important to be ignored and thank you so much for giving us non-goers such a thorough recap of it :) Sorry you couldn't see Maggie and ask about her wonderful, magical writing. the Doughnut Plant (checked out their webpage) and it looks like such a cool place. I wish we had a store like that here. But hey! I'm a food technology major, perhaps I could open one? :D heh. I loved your recaps and everything you shared with us. THANK YOU, C! x

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  6. Aw I'm so bummed that we didn't meet! Maybe next year? ;) I love all your photos!!

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  7. Very sad that we didn't meet but maybe next time? :) I was sad that I missed out on the #WeNeedDiverseBooks panel because I really wanted to go but your recap helped fill in the gaps. :) Some powerful, powerful stuff and I can totally relate to Grace Lin's experience of reading something just because it had an Asian character.

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  8. Heir of fire *dances* The picture of you and Sarah Maas is lovely :D The darkest path of the forest sounds really good. I've only read Holly Black's anthology and I loved her writing-style. Your recaps have been my favorite so far. So much information and it makes me feel a little like I was there too!

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  9. It's my fault for not just saying hi :(, but yes, maybe next year!

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  10. It is really gorgeous. I love the new designs for these ToG books. The guy on the Return cover freaks me out a little, tbh :O. And Landline is a slimmer book, sort of, but it also is taller than the others, so probably makes up that way. The Doughnut Plant was so CUTE. Doughnut PILLOWS as decorations on the walls. You should totally open your own place, Siiri :)!!

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  11. Definitely! I should've been better about meeting bloggers I know; I've been kind of out of it this year. And yeah, I thought that comment from Grace Lin was really easy to relate to - the idea of it - although I don't know that I've read any books with Middle Eastern characters myself so... I'm glad the panel helped! The full audio of the panel, if you're interested, is here: http://weneeddiversebooks.tumblr.com/post/87586495592/bookcon-panel

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  12. I've only read her Faerie trilogy, so fingers crossed on this book! If you'd like to borrow it, let me know :). And thanks, Mel! I wasn't really sure how much to include and then decided to include everything, even what seemed inane to me in the hopes of making the BEA picture more complete.

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  13. If you end up going, let me know! I can send you the guide full of advice I'm made from other blogger's posts on it :). HoF is on Netgalley, though I guess they already reached their limit on requests (and yet it's still there? Maybe you could give that a shot?).

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  14. It was! So great. My friend and I sat down and ate a few snacks right after the panel just so that we could discuss immediately. Very thought provoking. If you'd like to listen to the full version of the panel, it's here: http://weneeddiversebooks.tumblr.com/post/87586495592/bookcon-panel

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  15. HA, I was not about t be much help with that lady. I just took one of those books and ran like a puppy. I still adore that picture of all of us waiting for Sarah Maas! Classic.


    C.J.

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  16. This is an amazing post. I love BEA. I didn't go this year since RT Convention was the week before and I opted for that. It looks like you had a wildly good time.
    -Flirting with Fiction

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  17. Thanks for the link! :) Don't worry about it, I should've been better about meeting bloggers, too.

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  18. I love your recaps! So in-depth and not JUST about the books you got, though you did get some seriously amazing new reads, both at BEA and at Books of Wonder. I do hope we can meet up one day at one of these conferences and keep each other company when things get awkward. :)

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  19. I am so heartbroken that I didn't get to run into you. :(

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  20. I feel like I ought to have done something more for her or helped in some way... I don't think I would like to volunteer at BEA - oh, how hectic it'd be - but I'm also not sure I'm square on my feelings as an attendee. And yes!! I love the SJ Maas group photo - so glad Loren took the selfie! (So glad you took one the day before & so glad she took so many pictures!)

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  21. Thank you! I did have a good time. I also volunteered a little at RT; not too much though, for the same reasoning as you, in that I knew I was headed to BEA 2 weeks from then. Maybe another time we'll get to meet at BEA?

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  22. I'd love that, Jen! I sincerely hope we get to meet up one day, at BEA or another random bookish event :).

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  23. We'll have to meet another time!! I may be going again next year... I'm moving to NJ soon, so I wouldn't have to pay hotel or flight costs for BEA... who knows? I'll keep my fingers so that we can meet up later!

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  24. Now that I have found your blog, I am sure that we will get to meet up when we both go. It is a lot of fun to meet blog buddies IRL.

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  25. Why the mixed feelings on being an attendee? Yes, the pics are great! I really need to get around to posting them, now that I'm near recovered.

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  26. Ah, because there are so many books and I have so many at home still to read. I feel like that stereotype of the "greedy" blogger. I will undoubtedly give away the copies if I can't read them myself, but being an attendee makes me feel all sorts of weird in that way. I don't like taking all that without giving something in return (and I'm not entirely convinced a review is enough, really).

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  27. I can understand that. But really, publishers give out books to get them reviewed. That's what they want from you. Getting the book's name out there.

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  28. I wish I could have gone, it looks like it was so much fun (although exhausting). If I end up going next year, I'll have to read up, a lot of it sounds confusing. Heir of Fire…I'm so jealous!! :) ~Pam

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