Well kids, it’s that time again: time to pack up your junk and leave plenty of room in your suitcase for books, because BEA is right around the corner! Actually it will be over by this time a month from now, so SOBS. Anyway, last year I was brand new. And clueless. This year I am less new, and still mostly clueless, but part of that is because of the venue change and part of it is just because I am a ridiculous human being in general. So… good luck with this.
Let’s assume that you already booked your travel and got your passes and stuff. Because you have less than four weeks, so if you haven’t and plan on it, you need to stop reading this post immediately and get yourself to the BEA website and like, Expedia or something. Bye to those last minute bookers among us.
For those of you left, I learned a few things last year. And there’s still a few things I don’t know about. Let’s start with what we do know!
Plan a hiatus.
Not scheduling one was quite literally the dumbest thing I could have done. “Nah, I’ll be fine, I’ll just schedule a couple posts for while I am gone, no biggie!” Except that I sat in horror as I realized that I couldn’t respond to anyone, comment on anything, and that I not only was going to have to make up for it all when I got home, but that I had nothing scheduled for after I returned. Such awful planning. And I seriously have been playing catch up ever since. It could be the downfall of ISAM as we know it. 😕
I wasn’t sure if this was going to be a really smart thing to do, or a really stupid and useless thing to do, but the verdict is in, and it is smart. Look, if you are the kind of person who can get up at 5am and have a nice healthy breakfast, or someone willing to skip a book drop for lunch (seriously, what kind of monster are you!?) then sure, forgo snacks. But as I fall into those categories, you’d better believe that my pop-tarts and granola bars are already sitting in my suitcase. And my first stop after the plane will be wherever sells me a nice big case of Aquafina.
Don’t take an Uber when there are only 100 copies of Truthwitch and your friend is really jonesing for one.
Gah, and especially don’t do it when it is rush hour. In New York City. And you have to go through Times Square. Seriously, what were we even thinking!? I still blame myself, even though it wasn’t like Holly was begging to walk there or something. But she read the book anyway, so who even cares? Nevermind, take the Uber.
Don’t Pack Like You’re Running Out of Time
If you’re anything like me, you’ll hate every article of clothing that you bring. Don’t try to overcompensate and bring more stuff though, because you’ll just hate that too. Forget about it, and just think- the fewer clothes you bring, the more room you have for books, and the fewer decisions you have to make! Win!
Bring along your friends, in spirit and in merchandise!
Look, I wish you could all come with us. But some of you live very, very far away. And it just isn’t possible. So, if you want to really symbolically bring your best blogging buddies along, just throw books in them. Fine, not actually in them, though I doubt they’d mind, but if they happen to make things, you can buy something and then when someone is like “hey, where did you get that amazingly cute and incredibly cute tote?” on the BEA floor, you can
pour one out for your homie tell this nice bookish person all about your blogging friends who are left behind (and also, where they can buy the tote. It’s nice to share.)
I mean, just tell them “It’s designed by Cait!” and they’ll nod wisely, suddenly understanding everything.
Make a schedule, but know you won’t use it (much).
Making schedules is so very fun! People went pretty much batshit crazy when the first list of books and authors was released (present company included), and ran to their spreadsheets.
Literally what I envisioned happening on Twitter.
And sure, it’s fun, and nice to have a general idea of what you’re planning to do. But do you really follow it? Nah. I ended up spilling shit on mine the first day and it got pretty gross. And it was fine. But do know if you have something you simply cannot miss, that’s important.
Go ahead, stalk some celebrities.
I mean, don’t follow them to their hotel room or anything, but if you happen to be milling around Julianne Moore’s signing before she comes out because you know when she does things will get crazy, fast… do it. It’s a great way to make friends, because you’ll get a few pictures in before security shoos everyone away, and they will want copies!
Did anyone really think I wouldn’t be lurking outside of Alma Freaking Coin’s signing?
Prepare for anything
Last year, it was pretty simple. Granted, I almost missed the last bus into the city, and it was nearly 100 degrees, but hey, minor details. This year… what wasn’t complicated would be a better question. Hotel issues (there was one point during which I had four rooms booked- long story), fighting with people about passes, letters to foreign embassies… there is seriously not a thing about this year that is running smoothly. But, it’s still worth it!
Make sure you meet your bookish friends!
Last year I missed so many people somehow! I think maybe I was overwhelmed, or in my own little bubble, or who even knows? But I didn’t get to see a lot of people, but this year I hope to remedy that. Send out a desperate tweet if you need to, just find your people.
Don’t be ashamed about sitting in a corner.
I panic sometimes. I get overwhelmed. It’s not great, but it happens. And there were a few times that I just went off in a corner to sit. And it was nice. Take a few minutes to just cleanse your mind if you need to. Get some space, get away from the crowds. Basically, just make sure you remember to take care of yourself, it’s easy to forget to!
There’s some stuff I still don’t know about though! I’ll make a list! Feel free to answer any of these if you are in the know!
- Different venue so… where are all the Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks located? This is of utmost importance.
- What the hell is a Reader’s Pass? I still don’t get it.
- How do I behave like a normal person around authors? Especially the ones who are younger than me and make me sad about my life choices?
- What color should I dye my hair? I don’t know. I have to dye it because my mom bestowed some nice early grey hair genes on me. It’s like the only genetic thing I got from her, but there it is. This isn’t even really a BEA question, but more of a random one.
- How does one ship books? I feel like since I am flying this time, I will need to ship the books. But… how?
So, are you joining us in Chicago? I really hope so! If not, just think about like, how tired I will be and how much my feet will hurt or something. You can even wish rain on me, though I’d rather you did not. But I understand. And hey, have you been to Chicago? We can talk about the city in general!