1. Know What You're Getting:
BEA registration is a confusing mess. I know. This was my third year registering and I still had to backtrack and fix mistakes. But I keep seeing people mixing up passes and buying more than they need. Let's clarify this, OK?
-Blogger Con: This comes with not only a pass to blogger con on Wednesday, but also a 4 day pass to BEA (Wed-Sat).
-BEA Badge: This is a pass that covers all 4 days of BEA (Wed-Sat). It does NOT include the Blogger Con. You can watch people set up on Wednesday I guess...?
-Single Day Pass: Only covers (can you guess?) one day.
-BookCon (formerly known as Power Reader): This pass is only valid on Sat. and gives you limited access to the show floor.
-Press Pass: The elusive "free" pass. Yes, this covers all 4 days of BEA in addition to some seminars on Wednesday. You also have access to the press room. But while this pass is free of charge, please understand it is given with the idea that you are not only reviewing the books you get at BEA, but also BookExpo America as an event. Tweet, facebook, and instagram while there and/or make a recap post when you get home.
*People who have a BEA pass for all 3 days are automatically included in BookCon. No additional pass is necessary. BookCon attendees, however, will not have access to all of BEA.*
**The BEA site says they have 4 day passes (thanks, Julie!) but I don't know why. Nothing happens on Wednesday if you aren't going to blogger con or meetings. I guess you can ... stand there? But not on the floor.**
2. Think Before You Post:
Most of us are adults, but that doesn't mean you throw out the stranger-danger talks your mommy gave you as a kid. When planning meetings, talking about hotels, and days/times of plans, be aware that you are blasting your location for the world to see. Save the specifics for DMs, emails and texts.
3. When In Doubt - ASK:
My first BEA I had no clue what to expect. Little newbie me actually emailed random bloggers I found who had attended BEA and asked for advice. And you know what? They helped me. Graciously, kindly, and wonderfully. One of those people is a dear friend of mine to this day (3 years later).
The point is, people want to help you. If you're worried about inconveniencing people, then here you go. I am freely offering myself up for questions. Email me, message me, tweet at me ... heck I'll even Skype with you. But don't be afraid to ask questions that can save you time and money.
4. No One Likes a Braggy-Pants:
Get invited to a super awesome, super exclusive party? That's seriously awesome for you. Not so awesome for the 100+ people that didn't get invited. When celebrating about party invites, keep it classy. Don't rub it in other people's faces.
5. You Can't Do It All:
You cannot hit every single signing you want to attend. You can't. There are lines. Some lines have lines. Prioritize your signings. I cannot stress this enough. Yes, everyone giggles when I mention my color coded schedule and laminated floor plans (I have issues, OK?), but my plan keeps me sane. I know what I can't miss and what I can live without.
6. If You Want to Be Hercules, Have Your Chiropractor on Speed-Dial:
Inevitably this happens every single year despite warnings all over the place. You are convinced you don't need to check a bag (suitcase, cart, pack mule, etc.) and you can just carry tote bags all day. Yeah, OK. Forgive me as I wheel my suitcase by your broken body on my way out.
All kidding aside, BEA is intense. You are carrying a lot of extra weight with books. I don't care if they're in a tote or a backpack. All that weight is not good for your body for days on end. You will have blisters, you will have muscle cramps and you will be exhausted (and not in the fun, BEA-brain kind of way).
7. Protect Yourself:
I love NYC. I adore the city to pieces. If I could afford it, I would probably move there. That being said, be safe. Be aware of your surroundings, especially if you aren't familiar with big city settings. Make sure you have the phone numbers for your roommates programmed into your phone. Not staying with roomies? Have your friends' numbers saved that will be around. Make sure you have a portable battery not just so you can tweet/text/facebook all of BEA, but so you never get stranded in the dark with no cell phone. Use the buddy system when you can.
8. Don't Be An Ass:
Every year - every year - this happens: I'm sitting in line waiting to get into BEA, in my spot that I have been in since 7 am, and at 8:45 someone walks up to the front of the line and tries to nonchalantly stand there to get in before everyone else. Or will flat out try to bypass the Guardian of the Entrance by saying, "Oh, no, it's cool. I have a pass that lets me in there."
Cue the entire line laughing and the guardian telling you, "So do all those people behind you." If you want to be first inside at BEA, you need to get to the Javits at 6:30 or 7. Want to be first in line for a big signing? Get there at least an hour ahead of time. Don't think you're the one person who can bypass the lines. This isn't DisneyWorld. There is no express pass - unless you bought the Avid Reader Pass. But even then, you get one line jump. ONE. Don't get cocky.
9. Do Not Get Overwhelmed:
Easier said than done, I know. I've been there. But when you hit that point at BEA where you're all turned around and being pounced around like a pinball, step back (preferably out of the aisle so you don't get mowed down) and take a breath. Calm down. Missing one or twelve books isn't the end of the world. You can always buy it when it is released or get it from the library.
10. Have Fun:
BEA is a fantastic whirlwind, but my biggest regret of the first year is not taking the time to just wander and see who I could meet, what I could discover. I was so focused on getting the most out of my BEA experience that I almost missed out on the fun. This year? Yeah, the books are cool. But more than anything I can't wait to be in the city and hanging out with some of my absolute favorite people.