May 17, 2013

BEA Tips & Tricks: Part 8

Tips & Tricks - 
Part 8: Schedule Mania

The schedule.


This is something BEA enthusiasts, book lovers, and attendees have been avidly awaiting. That blessed moment when you realize the author signing schedule has been posted and you can start formulating a plan of action. It’s also the time you feel like your stomach’s going to fall out of your butt because you realize there is no freaking way you can be in 20 places at once.

Everyone has their own way of planning. Their own way of attacking BEA, if you will. Some just go and wander and see what happens. Others plan to the nth degree and wind up having a mental breakdown when their plans get shot to hell. The vast majority of us fall between those two.

Last year I procrastinated and kept saying I had plenty of time and then two weeks before I went to BEA (when I told myself I would start making a legit schedule), my personal life shifted into mega overdrive. I wound up with a new job which meant I had to quit my old job, had my wisdom teeth removed, and my brother opted to get married in a whirlwind flash—we seriously threw a wedding together in 2 ½ weeks the end of May/beginning of June.

I started a schedule and never touched it because my life got so chaotic, there was no way I could take the time to finish. Thankfully someone awesome (Julia) sent me a copy of her schedule which I mooched off of, and I managed to fumble my way through BEA last year.

This year I’ve already started my color-coded schedule that will hopefully help me retain what precious scraps of sanity I have left. Several other bloggers have made awesome schedule tips posts, and I’ll link to those at the end of this. This is my take on the schedule.

1. Booked Solid
It is so easy to look at that glorious BEA schedule in front of you and start happily clicking signings you want to attend. Then you get to the last page and realize you’ve clicked over 100 books you want to get signed.

This is fantastic! You will get 100 books signed by authors you love!

Wait, a second. You want to attend 6 signings from 11:00-11:30 on Thursday. No problem, right? You just can’t hang and chat with the authors for a while. You need to keep jumping from line to line to line to—

Not gonna happen, my friend. It’s not gonna happen. For every signing you want to go to there will be another 50-250 people in line. And did I mention there’s limited copies of these books authors are signing? And that in the autographing area they really do make the author stop signing when their time is up, even if there’s still 100 people in line and more than enough books for everyone?

This is why you need a plan going into BEA and why you need to prioritize.

2.  Check Your Priorities
There are so many incredible authors I want to meet at BEA. Fact is, unless I bring my handy dandy cloning machine, I will not meet all of them. For example, on 5/31 Kat Zhang, Susan Dennard, Erin Bowman, Katie Cotugno, Joelle Charbonneau, Rick Riordan, and Richelle Mead are all signing at 10:30, most of them for only 30 minutes.

Unless there is a sudden BEA plague and I am the only one there that day, I cannot hit all those signings. Despite my intense love for each and every one of those authors, it won’t happen.

The key is to figure out which one signing I want to hit the most. And then the second most important one, and so on. And there is nothing wrong with having 6 possible signings to go to at one time as long as you realize you can’t make them all.

3. Overschedule Your Heart Out
I habitually overschedule myself at BEA. I have 6-7 signings at the same time. This way if I can’t make one, I have a backup. If I get done a signing, I scope out the others I was interested and hopefully join in on the fun.

There is so much going on at BEA, it is damn near impossible to keep it all straight. Don’t try to make yourself remember everything. Make a schedule and keep it handy.

This is just a quick overview, but check out these awesome schedule posts others have made:

Bewitched Bookworms
Poisoned Rationality


  1. Great tips Hannah! I never thought of over scheduling but I think it's such a great idea! I'm working on my schedule and I'm a little overwhelmed by everything. There's too many authors! It's so stressful. But I'll have to choose and that's going to be the hard part. Anyways I love these post! They are very helpful.

  2. Love these posts, Hannah. Keep 'em coming!

    It seems like common-sense now, but as I've been working on my schedule, it did not occur to me to schedule more than one event at once. I guess I assumed that I would just magically get to meet every author I wanted???

    Just so I have an idea what to expect, can you give an estimate of the percentage of author lines you've stood on who you actually got to meet?


    1. I was a big fan of multiple author lines (like the Harlequin Teen hours where they had 4-5 authors signing their books at once or the Dark Days signing where they had 4 authors). Those were great. I would say daily I stood in 6-10 lines?

      I made a HUGE schedule with a ton of signings, but I got 60% of those books at galley drops. If I had the galley, then I didn't need to go to the signing.

  3. Can you imagine what it would be like if there were only 10 people at BEA one day? It would be like having an amusement park all to yourself! *dreamy sigh* So obviously that won't ever happen, but as you are well aware, I have every author signing I want to attend on my schedule with one or two in a single timeslot highlighted as my "cannot miss" signings. Everything else is if I have time or if I can get the Moms there in my stead:)

    1. Wish I had a pair of "Moms". Oh, wait - I do. But mine would rather be shopping and on TV in NYC than at a book convention. LOL

  4. Quite true my friend! I'm still trying to figure out how to get Wild Cards and be at the Harlequin Teen hour at the same time...

    I did over-scheduled myself last year and got very disappointed when I realized that the lines are SO LONG. If you really want a signed book you must plan to be there 60-30 minutes before the signing time. This time around I think I'm targeting my must haves and then see if I can get a copy of the book or galley form the publisher.

    Great post!

  5. I didn't schedule last year and just "jotted" things down. This year I'm like you color-coding away !


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