BEA Breakdown (or, How I Survived in a Mosh Pit of Book Lovers)

WE HAVE RETURNED FROM BOOK EXPO!

Well, more accurately, we returned on Wednesday night. But it’s taken us this long to take an inventory of all the tote bags, books, buttons, pens, postcards, and other various swag-related goodies we snagged from the exhibitors’ tables. And, of course, we dove into our new collection of books headfirst. But first things first…

Ashley was able to attend BEA on Tuesday AND Wednesday, so she can report on the goings on she experienced on Tuesday. On Wednesday, we arrived in NYC at about 8:15, with what we hoped would be enough time to secure tickets to see John Green. We didn’t (DAMMIT). The exhibits opened at 9:00, so we finalized our game plan while we waited in line to rush the exhibitors’ floor like a sorority house. It should also be noted that anyone who says Mo “Williams” (instead of Willems, which is the correct name), does not deserve a ticket to see the man (yes, man behind me in line, I’m talking to YOU!)

Waiting for the exhibits to open

Once they opened the flood gates, we were in! Our first mission: SECURE A TOTE BAG. Once we grabbed what would be the first of many, we set out for the Little, Brown Books for Young Readers booth. If you can manage to get there early, they usually have piles of ARCs to give away, along with great swag. Once we got there and casually started to grab some freebies, it was as if someone teleported us back to the 1960’s and someone announced the Beatles were coming. Wall to wall people suddenly filled the booth. There were mano y mano match-ups across the exhibitor floor as people started violently wrestling each other for books, their free tote bags swinging every which way.

Ok. That is not even close to true. But the “wall to wall people” part is pretty accurate. As we tried to make our way out of the hordes of people, more and more people kept pushing in to grab books. It truly was the book lovers version of a mosh pit. I don’t have a picture of this madness, however, mostly because I was afraid I was going to die.

Courtney Allison Moulton

Once we escaped that bit of insanity, we made our way to the Autographing Area (also known as “the cattle chutes”). The Cattle Chutes are nothing more than long, cordoned off aisles meant to accommodate up to 25 authors and lines of fans waiting to get books signed.  Ashley made her way to Linda Fairstein while I went to see Courtney Allison Moulton, who is AWESOME and I want to be my new BFF (but not in a creepy, stalker way). One of the best parts of BEA is being able to talk one-on-one with authors and find out what they’re like in real life. Some authors are there just to make an appearance and sign books, and others are there to get in touch with their fans. C.A.M is definitely in the latter category. I only talked to her for about 30 seconds, but she is the most down to earth person I have ever met. She loves her readers, and loves opportunities to give something back to them. Her exact words to me were, “I love books and you love books and I love that you all love books!” I won’t lie… I haven’t read her books (yet!), but I was so impressed with her attitude towards her readers and I am definitely a huge fan. The world needs more authors like Courtney Allison Moulton!

THE CATTLE CHUTES!

After the signings, we browsed around for a little while and bounced to a couple different booths, picking up more books and swag (including tote bags) as we went. We grabbed an early lunch and then made a plan for the afternoon. Our goals were to hit Veronica Roth (not literally) and the Pitch Dark: Dark Days of Supernatural signing by HarperCollins at 1:00 and Libba Bray at 3:00, with a pit stop or two in between if time allowed.

On the way, we caught the tail end of the Harlequin Teen signing. We got in line, but just missed the cutoff, so we didn’t get to meet the authors or get books. But that was ok. We still grabbed a quick (read: blurry and horribly framed) shot of all the authors wrapping up the signing! Featured authors included (in no particular order) Julie Kagawa, Kady Cross, Katie McGarry, Cayla Kluver, and Cara Lynn Shultz.

The girls from Harlequin Teen finishing up their book signing

We knew the line for VRoth and her fellow Supernatural authors would be insanely long, so we headed to their line around noon for the 1:00 signing. And we were numbers 98 and 99 in line. Yup. That’s right. An hour early and we could potentially have missed the 150 person cutoff. So we sat and waited. And waited. And waited.

The 97 people in front of us for the Dark Days signing.

See those blue numbers hanging from the ceiling? We needed to get to 3300. Yea. It was a long wait. But totes worth it.

While we were waiting, Ashley was able to run down and see Diana Peterfreund and got an ARC of For Darkness Shows the Stars (which she is positively raving about! You can read her review here.) And then we FINALLY reached the front of the line! We were able to see and get signed books from (from left to right): Elizabeth Norris (Unraveling), VRoth (Insurgent), Bethany Griffin (Masque of the Red Death), and Aprilynne Pike (Destined).

I hate them all for being so beautiful and wonderful.

Then we headed to Libba Bray’s signing of The Diviners! The line was just as long, if not longer than the Dark Days girls. Luckily, we got our spots and special burlap pouches with a Diviners necklace to mark our places in line. Libba is amazingly awesome and is an absolute riot. We all got signed ARCs, and by the time the bus had us back home, I was already 3 chapters in and it is fabulous, not to mention completely addicting and creepy as all get out.

Promo poster for The Diviners

Libba Bray being generally awesome.

All in all, it was quite a successful day. I got about 7 or 8 tote bags, a Beautiful Creatures pen, abundant catalogs from several publishers (so now I can check out the hot new up and coming titles!) and a glorious stack of brand new, shiny books!

My haul for the day

If you are a true lover of books and find yourself near NYC next June, I highly recommend you find a way to go!

My words of advice to first timers? The first thing to do is GRAB A TOTE BAG.

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