Apr 6, 2013

BEA Tips & Tricks: Part 6

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. These
books 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 angry
if 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!


  1. Thanks for doing this post!

    Is the power readers pass different from the avid reader program then? Do you recommend one over the other? Sorry for the twenty questions!

    And they give you books at the autograph signings? That's really amazing! This is all very overwhelming aha!

    1. Hey Hannah!

      Yes. The Power Readers pass is a single day pass only valid on 6/1. They are selling these tickets to the public (BEA is an industry only event, meaning you must be involved in the creation and/or selling of books in some way - author, publisher, librarian, blogger, etc.). The Power Readers pass allows someone who just wants to go because they are a book fan to go.

      The Avid Reader Pass is an added benefit for BEA attendees. This pass costs $95 and is in ADDITION to a BEA pass. Some signings are ticketed for BEA. These are typically celebrity or high profile authors that they know will draw a large crowd, so they give out tickets (for free - they're more like place markers, I guess) each morning for that day's signings. If they have 100 copies of that book for an author to sign they give out 100 tickets and THAT'S IT. You must have a ticket to claim that book during the signing and it ensures you will get that book/meet that author.

      People line up at 6 am to get these tickets. The Avid Reader Pass gives you 8 of these tickets beforehand (4 for 5/30 and 4 for 5/31). When the ticketered author list goes a few weeks before BEA, the Avid Reader Pass gives you the option of getting a ticket online then and there. No waiting in line at 6 am or anything. It also lets you jump to the front of one line in the Autograph Area once. So if there's a signing you really want to hit but are running late to and you get there to see the line is alread 150 people deep, you show the people manning the front of the line your pass and you skip ahead of everyone. You only get to use this part once the entire conference, though.

      Also, the Avid Reader Pass is tax deductible and it covers your donations for the Autograph Area during BEA (they ask you donate $1 per book you have signed, but this covers all of it for you).

      Make sense?

    2. Just an FYI: I registered for BEA this week and the Avid Reader passes are all sold out. The step down from that...the Reader passes? are still available. :)

      Great post!
      Michelle @ Playing Jokers

  2. This year I hope to be better prepared for the craziness of it all. Although I tried to be prepared last year, BEA can be overwhelming. The lines are really long, especially for YA. I appreciate that publishers try to make most of the in-both signing smother by having staff help keep people out of the way.

    Great post Hannah :)

    1. I vow to be more prepared and just overall calmer, you know? :) Last year was chaos.

  3. This was one hell of a comprehensive feature Hannah! I wish I had read something like this before my first BEA, I might not have been quite so overwhelmed then. That's probably a lie. I was overwhelmed last year even knowing what to expect, but at least I could have been better prepared. I felt like last year the publishers and the BEA team vastly improved the way in-booth signings and the lines for them were handled, the year before was an utter nightmare. Traffic was much better last year, so I can only imagine it will be even better this year:)

    1. When I said to a friend I wanted to hit the Harlequin Teen Hour signings last year, she said, "Good luck. It's a disorganized madhouse." But I thought the lines went fine! Long and windy, sure, but fine. People did say in line that it was being handled much more efficiently in 2012 than in past years, and you're right - hopefully it will be even better in 2013!

      The biggest issue was blocking booths. I felt bad when I was in a line that blocked someone's booth, but what are you gonna do? I mean, it is what it is. Hopefully the BEA staff will be better prepared for that this year.

  4. It's so awesome of you to do these posts. One thing I recommend is to keep your wits about you at BEA. You're in a huge place with a ton of people and SO MUCH distraction. Try to keep in mind where you are and what you're doing, and your place in relation to others. This includes not stopping right in the middle of an aisle or blocking a booth. And budget lots of time for your potty trip, because there will be a hell of a line.

  5. So siked Hannah! SO siked! I cant wait! My one measly day last year was not enough. Its overwhelming and loud and large and everything but its all awesome.
    I am going to read ALL of your BEA posts and have my battle plan in place this year.
    I went in blindly and was so lost but my lost-ness led me to meet some cool authors and ppl (like the worlds tallest man and rachel ray and wendy delsol) oh yeah I came across a booth with a 8 ft sub, beer, and pieces of yummy cake! For free! I was like WHOA DOGGY. I chilled there for a bit and chatted up some cool ppl who write humor books.
    Thank you Hannah. I think its great you have these posts up. I am going to write one before BEA about my experience. It will be more of a humorous don't do what I did post (Ill link back to you for the correct way to do it) it'll be fun and hopefully get the peeps pumped for BEA13!

    1. Oh, yay! I can't wait for your post, Fran! That'll be awesome. :)

      And wander, especially towards the end of the day, was great. I was so relaxed and able to process more then.

  6. PS: The Rachel Ray crowd? WHOA DOGGY! I had bruised shins, toes,feet, and ribs for DAYS! They love them sum Rachel. I have never been stomped on, pushed, elbowed so much in my life & I have been to mosh pits!
    That was the ONLY "incident" of its kind. All the other signings and what not were busy but cool and in control.
    The bloggers repped like troopers. It was nice to meet cool bloggers in the autograph lines in the back to chat with and hold places in line for and get advice from, etc.


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