So: Day 1 aka Blogger Con --
I didn't attend blogger con despite the panels looking interesting. I had an early flight, and napped almost immediately after checking in at the Yotel, and then met with Loren. The first thing we did was retrieve our respective badges.
Picked up my press pass for #BEA14. I am so going to get lost tomorrow... Yay :)! pic.twitter.com/JGimHJDwEH— Christina (@chbreadsYA) May 28, 2014
We looked around a little, but there wasn't much to see at that point, so we'd figured out the shuttle system (shuttles go to the BEA sponsored hotels, available through the website), left to grab a quick pizza snack and metro tickets for the next couple of days. And as book lovers, we naturally ended up at the Strand. I was debating between all of the above books -- If You Could Be Mine - Sara Farizan (Iran setting + awards), Elsewhere - Gabrielle Zevin (my friend Ameriie recently loved this one), How to Love - Katie Cotugno (great concept), The Secret Side of Empty - Maria Andreu (a book very relevant to our times, specifically also to southern California and in my senior year of college, some people formed a club, IDEAS, to mentor & support undocumented immigrants, which I was really interested in), The Midnight Dress - Karen Foxlee (Jen of YA Romantics recommended this to me), Born of Illusion - Teri Brown (Ashleigh Paige of The YA Kitten and I have talked about this), Rebel Belle - Rachel Hawkins (loved Hawkins's other work), and Midwinterblood - Marcus Sedgwick (Printz + fan of Sedgwick's She Is Not Invisible) -- and ultimately chose Elsewhere, How to Love, The Secret Side of Empty, and Born of Illusion after reading about 20 pages of all of them. (WHERE TO PUT ALL THESE BOOKS, BOUGHT BEFORE I WENT TO A BOOK CONVENTION!). Loren had a similarly high stack to choose from, and after a quiet afternoon in this beautiful bookstore (we both hadn't been to one in ages!), we went to dinner at Max Brenner, where we'd had delicious chocolate shakes the last time we went to NYC (2 years ago). Afterward we went to Broadway and saw Aladdin, which was just fantastic. My first ever Broadway play, maybe my third ever musical. I was hesitant because I'm not sure I really like the Disney version and some Middle-Eastern adaptations and portrayals piss me off, but this was a lot of fun, had a lot of humor and great acting. The genie was fantastic and I want the soundtrack now. After that we planned our first day of BEA at the hotel by marking the publisher booths and places on the map handout we'd found (we were sure we were going to get lost). Loren fell asleep while I was doing a dramatic reading. Harrumph.
Day 2: BEA Day 1
Loren and I were headed to Javits when we met Ashleigh Paige of The YA Kitten in the elevator of our hotel, also headed to the Harlequin Teen BEA Book Blogger Breakfast. We were all new to BEA, which was especially great because when we got to the breakfast, we sat down with four other bloggers who had all been there multiple times and knew exactly what they wanted from the convention (Mary of Book Swarm, Tabitha of Not Yet Read, and two others who weren't there when we'd been exchanging cards). The sad thing, for me, about meeting other bloggers was that my business cards hadn't arrived yet. I had ordered them from iPrint the same day that Loren did with the same shipping, but mine hadn't come, so I'd been doing the janky thing and writing my information on the back of Lo's cards, which I'm sure people didn't even notice. Anyway, after being let in, there was about a 10-15 minute period of the actual breakfast before they got started. The authors (minus Dawn Metcalf, who could not make it to the event) all introduced themselves and their books and then the "round robin" portion began, when authors, editors, and publicists for HQN Teen went around to each table and chatted with us.
From left to right, we have Jennifer Armentrout (The Dark Elements series), Alexandra Adornetto (Ghost House), Robin Talley (Lies We Tell Ourselves), Julie Kagawa (Talon), and Adi Alsaid (Let's Get Lost). (And the other pictures are examples of how easy it is to tell which titles the publishers are pushing hard ++ an average day's crowd at the convention). Some highlights from the breakfast:
- Julie Kagawa wrote Talon when she was 16. It's her "heart" book. Her main characters are the same from that very first draft. She's also made mini dragon figurines to go with the book.
- Robin Talley told us that the yearbook cover for Lies We Tell Ourselves featured people who work at Harlequin in Toronto. Excluding the main character, who was a model, they are all from Harlequin and they had a photo shoot and make-up and stylists to give them that 50s look.
- Alexandra Adornetto talked about how friendly she was with ghosts as a child and it sounded like Ghost House, or at least her fascination with ghosts, could partly be inspired from that.
- T.S. Ferguson, the editor of Lies We Tell Ourselves, talked about how they chose their main books based on three factors: how universal they believe the idea and central concept of the book is, how excited everyone in house is about the book, and how marketable the book is (and in the case of Lies We Tell Ourselves, 2014 is the year of contemporary novels). Someone also asked him what change he made to LWTO that he felt most benefited the book, and he mentioned having Robin cut out her previous first chapter and start the book with the first day of integration.
- There was more, but I made a mistake and didn't take notes. I'll link to another recap -- Ashleigh seemed to take thorough notes! -- when I see one.
Loren and I left as Lisa Wray was sitting down at our table and Jennifer Armentrout was, I think, the only other author we'd missed then. We went to the in-booth signing for Zodiac by Romina Russell and got our first glimpse at how some galley drops worked (Penguin had stacks of ARCs in different corners of its booth, so as soon as the exhibition hall opened, I guess people went to that booth and others to grab copies of titles like I'll Give You the Sun). Afterward we hustled over to the YA Editors' Buzz panel, which always seemed like a great event to go to (editors from different pub houses talk about one title that they've worked on, are excited about / that their house is pushing), and there we met Kamilla, an assistant editor at Paper Lantern Lit. PLL is Loren's dream job and boutique and I'd always been curious about the inner workings of a packaging company, so it was absolutely wonderful having the chance to chat with Kamilla, who was also really, really friendly.
At the buzz panel, the editor at Harper Teen, Karen Chaplin, mentioned how The Jewel started off as Amy Ewing's MFA project and how the world-building was what had caught her eye among other things. T.S. Ferguson, the associate editor for HQN Teen, mentioned how wonderfully Robin Talley had created a parallel between the Civil Rights movement and the current LGBTQ movement for equality in Lies We Tell Ourselves. The Executive Editorial Director for Little, Brown, Alvina Ling, told us about how The Walled City is based on the Kowloon Walled City, gave us a lot of details of what it was like to live there, and mentioned how thrilled she was for the genre and gender bending (MC cross dresses as boy) standalone thriller with an Asian cast. The Soho Teen Editorial Director, Daniel Ehrenhaft, mentioned how excited he was to work with Cynthia Weil, whose music he'd admired, and how authentic the 60s culture was portrayed in I'm Glad I Did. The Delacorte Press Executive Editor, Krista Marino, mentioned how she'd so loved the voice in King Dork that she'd bought "fifty pages of voice with no story," and obviously they'd worked on the manuscript to fix that. That was the first book, first published in 2006, and now Frank Portman is back with King Dork Approximately, which Marino read from and seemed hilarious. After the panel was finished, the more experienced attendees immediately jumped up and ran to the pile of ARCs. They got out safely lol before chaos ensued. The rest of us were slower and really, it was useless for me to have even gone because it felt like I was being herded by a mob and I couldn't reach any of the books (aka Loren did the heavy lifting for us).
After the panel, we decided to go around to the publisher booths for the "galley drop" sheets that people had mentioned in tips and advice posts for BEA (picture of the HC one featured above). At HarperCollins, #NewbieMoment occurred. Loren was pointing something out to me (was she asking about Endgame? I don't even remember), and we hadn't noticed the line next to us, nor did we even know something was happening until one of the HC workers stepped out with a large sign that said "Line Starts Here." She held it right by us and we were like "what? We're in line for something? What is going on?" At which point we'd found the galley drop sheet and stupidly thought: "oh, woah, we're right on time for this! how cool!" The tips and advice posts (which I'd compiled into a "guide" for us) hadn't mentioned that people also line up really early for galley drops (I remember one post mentioning that HC handed out galleys so that people didn't take more than one, but not about the crowd at galley drops). I know that this all sounds like justification, but later in the day, when I realized how things actually worked, I felt really, really embarrassed (how much you want to bet those people hated us? ack ack ack) and also wondered why both the HC worker and the people at the front of the line didn't tell us to get our asses to the back because we definitely had not been waiting. Basically #NewbieMoment = Loren and Christina accidentally cutting the line because we had no idea what was going on or how things worked. Sorry if you were in that 11:30 line! (No, but really, I'm sorry).
After #NewbieMoment, we went to our first table signing for A.S. King (Glory O'Brien's History of the Future). I waited in line while Loren went around to other publishers for those galley drop sheets. In line, Alexis from Alexis Adores Books squealed when she'd seen on her Instagram that someone had gotten Mortal Heart and said that if I saved her spot in line, she would get me a copy too. While Loren and Alexis were gone, Z, a teen librarian who was in front of me, and I started chatting. Loren returned with Egg and Spoon from Candlewick, which had a booth right next to us, and Z mentioned how awesome it was and encouraged me to go get it. They had no more ARCs, only chapter samplers, but the worker asked for my card (aka Loren's) and said that she'd send it to me as soon as she got back to the office. How nice is that? Eventually it was the four of us chatting in line and everything passed so much quicker with new friends at hand. After the King signing, we immediately went to the Melissa Marr signing (Made for You). Loren went to Penguin for the galley drop of Belzhar and I'll Give You the Sun. With the last line signing going so well, I was excited to talk to the people around me again, but there was a huge group in front of me (and groups of 3+ people intimidate me). Someone had asked me if I was the end of the line and I asked the girl behind me if she was in line and she didn't respond? I don't know if she didn't hear me or didn't think that I was talking to her, though she was looking at me and I at her, and I could've tried harder, but I felt discouraged at that point and just waited my turn silently. I also discovered that my phone had terrible reception. I was three people away from the main signing line and Loren hadn't returned, but I couldn't send any texts or call her; I could only do either (and check twitter, etc.), as I later realized, when I was on the right side (northern?) of Javits. And that problem only seemed to happen with me? Anywho, the cool thing about Marr signing was that she'd recognized me from my Volunteering at RT blog post (she'd replied to it with tweet 1 and 2 and on Friday, greeted me as we passed each other on the floor -- yay!).
Our next stop was The Iron Trial galley drop, at which point I realized how galley drop lines worked. Lo and I shared a mutual fear with Caroline of Big Book, Little Book of NYC driving, and also met up with CJ of Sarcasm and Lemons. Afterwards we hustled over to HC for The Queen of the Tearling, but they were all out. CJ gave the HC representative her card. I asked if I could do the same and she said: "Oh, I'm sorry. I can only accept one card." I have no idea what my face looked like, but I definitely believed her until she laughed, accepted the card, and said she'd try her best to send us copies. Oh, world, why am I so gullible? Why? Then CJ, Lo, and I went over to the Black Ice and Afterworlds galley drop, but they were all out of Afterworlds. The Secret YA giveaway from Bloomsbury turned out to be a Throne of Glass tote bag and a The Mime Order sampler (which I've read, and man, if you were impressed with Shannon's world-building in The Bone Season, here it is again with TMO). And then we were done!
|Loren, me, and C.J. ++ checking your bag ++ Javits|
|The last picture basically epitomizes our friendship.|
~150 page sampler of The Mime Order - Samantha Shannon
3 chapter sampler of Atlantia - Ally Condie
3 samplers of Let's Get Lost - Adi Alsaid
Expect giveaways to come as I go through these ARCs! Plus the samplers of Let's Get Lost. If you are sad about not going to BEA, Around the World ARC Tours has a lot of the BEA books up for tours (if you live in the US) and HarperCollins added a lot of its titles on Edelweiss.
My recap of days 2 & 3 is also live now.
If you were at BEA, what were you up to on Thursday? Best/worst moments? If you weren't there, is there anything you'd like to hear more about from me? What books are you excited for?