BEA 2013 Tips & Tricks
Part 6: Power Up!
This post is specifically for the Power Readers out there who will be attending BEA. Since the BEA Sneak Peek schedule went up, I’ve noticed a lot of Power Readers on Facebook and Twitter with a lot of questions about how BEA works. From what I understand there were a lot of mix-ups last year and a lot of people left bitter and frustrated. While I am by no means an expert on BEA, let’s see if I can condense BEA a bit for you:
1. The Books & More
You weren’t lied to, my friends, yes there are a lot of books around for you to snag. Thesebooks don’t cost anything. In the morning and sporadically throughout the day you may see stack of books lying around. These are for attendees to take in the hopes you will read and review/promote.
Please not that not every book you see out is for you to take. Publishers will display a lot of their upcoming novels or past novels that are big hits on the shelves of their booth—these are display copies only. In fact, some of them are just dust jackets with blank pages inside (I know—a publisher showed me them last year). A good way to see if one is part of a galley drop (giveaway) is they’re on the floor. Not all, but most.
Also, a lot of publishers have schedules for what time of the day they’ll be doing drops. Ask for one and keep track that way!
Publishers also have a lot of cool swag they give away—totes, bookmarks, t-shirts, pens, whiskey … Yeah, I got an awesome little bottle of whiskey last year. What? I’m over 21. Best rule of thumb is to ask if you see something lying around you’re interested in.
2. The Authors & Lines
One of the best perks of BEA is meeting some really cool authors. Maybe that’s why you decided to sign up for the Power Readers pass anyway—you want to meet your favorite author and heard they’ll be signing.
First thing is there are two types of signings: autographing area and in-booth signings.
A. Autographing Area: In your program these signings will say “Table” and then a number. The “tables” are in the back area with a massive sign overhead that says “AUTOGRAPHING”. The tables go in order from 1 – 20-something and there are chutes (OK, cattle chutes) for people to line up in. There’s even a sign in front of each chute to tell you what author is signing there at what time in case you get turned around or need verification.
*Please keep in mind they ask you donate $1 for each book you get in the autograph area to help offset the BEA costs, but only in this area.*
B. In-Booth Signings: These are signings that happen in specific publishers’ booths. In the program it will say, “Booth 12345” and you go to that booth. There are massive hanging signs (see a pattern?) that number the aisles, much like a grocery store does. Find the aisle your booth will be in and go!
Please also keep in mind authors don’t have time to sign every book you own. Since BEA provides the books, they recommend you don’t bring your own copies for signing. It slows up the lines and that means less people can meet the author. If an author has a 60 minute window to sign books, it’s not fair to the 75 people behind you to wait for you to dig out every copy of James Patterson’s novels you possess to get him to sign each one. The key is to keep the lines moving fluidly.
Also? Some of the publicists will flat out tell you that you can’t get your book signed because there isn’t enough time.
If you have your heart set on getting your 10 book series autographed by your most favorite author in the world, I recommend hitting them up on twitter, facebook, or an email and ask if they would meet you somewhere inside the Javits.
Lastly, people begin lining up for an author signing anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour before the signing. If there is an author you are desperate to see, get there early. Copies/signing times are often limited and that means not everyone in line gets to have a book or meet an author. Lines will frequently be cut off because there are more people in line than there are copies of the book. If there are 5 signings you want hit all between 10:00-11:00, realize this likely won’t happen and prioritize what’s important.
3. The Publishers & Workers
Please bear in mind that the people you see manning these awesome booths are working. Most booths have tables that are used for meetings that happen during BEA. If you need help, find someone who is standing around there to ask for help—don’t go interrupt a meeting to beg for a copy of a book you’re dying to read. Find someone on the floor to help you that doesn’t look like they’re in the middle of a presentation.
4. The Aisles & Booths
As previous stated, you'll see lines everywhere for signings. A lot of a publishers get angryif you block their booth. Just be patient and try your best not to block the aisles. This includes during non-signing times. If you and your friends need to regroup, take it off the floor to the cafe outside the exhibit hall or to one of the lower levels. People will be rushing everywhere, and you're likely to be banged around a lot or pushed if you're just standing there like a bump on a pickle.
That’s really the gist of everything. When in doubt, ask. Feel free to ask any questions here and I’ll do my best to answer them and help you out. If you’re at BEA and get turned around or confused, reach out and ask someone. J
See you there!