BEA, aka Book Expo America, is a convention I've attended for several years in my role at HarperCollins, so unlike most book bloggers, last year was not my first BEA, but it was the first BEA I was excited about in a long time. Why? Well, because for the first time, there was a sizable number of new people attending the convention who are excited about books, who read them in great numbers, who buy them in perhaps even greater numbers (those TBR piles always outweigh the "have reads"), and even better than that? They recommend them to literally thousands of people through their ever-increasing network of readers of their blogs, followers on Twitter, friends on Facebook and more. Book Bloggers arrived at the 2009 BEA and it was FANTASTIC to have their energy injected into the event.
I was lucky enough last year to moderate a panel of book bloggers and we were overwhelmed at the response - the room was packed with publishers, booksellers, authors and other bloggers and the spirited conversation clearly indicated that there is much that all of us need to discuss and understand about how we all work and how we can all work better together.
So, do I think book bloggers should attend BEA? Absolutely. And do I think they should further attend this year's inaugural Book Blogger Convention that will take place on Friday, May 28th immediately following the convention? Without a doubt. If last year's event taught us anything, and if ongoing conversation on Twitter and the blogs prove, bloggers have so much to learn from each other and the connections we can all make at BEA and the BBC are so valuable. And it looks like one can now sign up for BEA and the BBC in one fell swoop, check out the official site for details.
The organizers of the Book Blogger Convention asked several of us to share our tips for bloggers coming to NY and to BEA. Candace at Beth Fish Reads set the bar high with her advice today, and I hope I don't repeat too many of them here - but hers were all so good! Here are mine:
1) Plan to meet up with a few blogging friends you know and a few you only know via the blogosphere and Twitter. Better yet, plan a meet up before BEA starts. Going in with some friends already made can really enhance your show and you'll help each other find all the best giveaways and signings.
2) Get business cards made up. The publishers and authors you'll talk to will want a way to reach you, and cards are the best way to pass along your information.
3) Let publishers and authors know you have a blog when you talk to them and let them know what, if anything, you specialize in and what you're looking for.
4) Be discriminate in the books and galleys you grab. At your first show, you'll tend to pick up nearly everything in sight. You'll soon be weighed down with far more than you carry. Try to take just what interests you and you'll be thankful for the more judicious selection.
5) If you can't hold back, be assured that the convention center does have a facility for mailing packages home to yourself so you don't have to haul everything around.
6) Tweet and blog about your day for those of your blogging and twittering friends who can't attend the show - they will want to hear about what you're doing and they'll learn from your experiences as well.
7) Attend panels and speak up! You are the new voices spreading the word about books and publishers and authors want and need to hear from you!
8) Set a night aside to do something very New York - go to a Broadway show, see some music or go out to dinner at a fabulous restaurant (or, all of the above). Sign up for the Broadway Box newsletter now to get tips on discounts on all sorts of shows, on Broadway and off.
9) Set an afternoon aside to take a literary pilgrimage - chances are one of your favorite authors spent some time in NY - find out where they lived, ate and drank, and go on a literary journey. (makes a great blog post upon your return home!)
10) Have fun! This is work, but it's also an incredible opportunity surround yourself with people who, like you, love books!
Be sure to check out the other bloggers participating in this blog tour about BEA and the BBC, including Dawn at She is Too Fond of Books, who is also posting today, and I hope to see you at both shows!