11-ish Things I Learned at BEA 2011

In no particularly order –

  • The HarperCollins team is just as awesome in real life as they are in emails & on twitter. They publish great books AND they throw a hell of a party.  What more can you ask for?
  • Have you seen the vlog, Books Are My Boyfriends? If not, you need to!  Kit is exactly like that in real life. Super friendly, super upbeat and a lot of fun to be around.
  • Margaret Atwood’s agent, a  sweet woman who has worked with Ms. Atwood for decades, calls her “Peggy”.
  • If you get a tattoo of the Two Dollar Radio logo – which is a nifty, retro line drawing of a radio – they give you their entire collection of books for free. F-R-E-E. That’s their entire backlist, plus all the new books they publish as long as the company is in business. But you need to provide proof. Two Dollar Radio, you’ll be hearing from me soon…
  • Greg Olear, author of Totally KillerFather-Mucker (coming out in October) and Senior Editor at The Nervous Breakdown is almost as obsessed with Stephen Colbert as I am. He may disagree. We’ll be arm wrestling BEA 2012 to determine who loves Stephen more. That is, unless one of us can produce an actual restraining order with both Stephen and your name on it (might as well clarify the rules up front) before then.
  • Chuck Palahniuk may be the nicest person on the planet. Seriously. He signed 175 galleys of his new book (as reported by @andrewtshaffer), all personalized, had something nice to say to everyone, never stopped smiling AND posed for pictures. Don’t think that makes him nice?  Imagine how many times he probably had to listen to “The first rule of BEA…”

    "I'm so glad you loved CHOKE.... here, have a seed packet"
  • Speaking of lines. When Random House organizes a line, they ORGANIZE a line. And nobody f#@!$ with the Random House line…. *low and menacing voice*no-body.
  • You need to be following Kim from Sophisticated Dorkiness & Anastasia from Birdbrain(ed) Book Blog.  They’re amazing.  Kim is my go-to girl for Non-Fiction. Anastasia is a YA guru.
  • Less than 400 translations are published yearly in the U.S., including technical manuals. That’s right, the instructions for your cell phone and the pictograph telling you how to put together your IKEA LACK table are part of that number.
  • Romance authors get slightly offended when you tell them you don’t review romances, particularly if you mention your blog is named BookSexy Review.
  •  Levi Asher & I cornered Evil Wylie  (O.K., so he didn’t look all that cornered. In fact he looked quite comfortable, smiling and with a drink in hand. He even gave me a button.) and questioned him on why Simone de Beauvoir & Jean Paul Sartre made it into Andrew Shaffer’s new book on Great Philosophers Who Failed at Love. He makes a strong and convincing case on why they belong there, despite what those French Canadians say.
  • Levi Asher is now publishing the equivalent to small chapbooks on the Amazon Kindle. I just bought Why Ayn Rand is Wrong (& Why It Matters). His blog Literary Kicks is probably the oldest literary blog in the country and Levi is my personal blogger icon. If you are looking for a smart discussion of literature & philosophy (& who isn’t?) Litkicks is the place to be.
  • Did you hear about my amazing reunion with Lori from The Next Best Book Blog… all thanks to Book Expo 2011 & Random House?  That’s right, they’re not just “Bringing you the best in fiction, nonfiction & children’s books”... they’re bringing people together. (Hallmark, watch out!)
  • Rachel from A Home Between Pages and I had an incredibly awkward introduction/conversation at that same Random House party. But she eventually forgave me (I think).  In person, she is the Goddess of Snarkiness.  I will be following her like our parents followed The Grateful Dead.
  • The entire population of Iceland is now writing thrillers. Fortunately the entire population consists of only 318,452 people.
  • And, finally, I have seen the shy & elusive Reading Ape
from left to right: Books Are My Boyfriends, the fabulous Margaret Atwood & her lovely agent, The Next Best Book Blog (& Club, for you Goodreads fans), and BookSexy Review

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BookSexy BEA Survival Guide

Book Expo America (BEA) 2011 is happening at the end of the month and if you’re on Twitter there’s several hashtags going around with updates and excited chatter.  A small flurry of Tweeters at the hashtags #BEA11 & #BookExpo asked for some tips on what to bring, where to go, how to dress.  So, if you’re attending BEA this year, here’s my advice.

What to Wear

Dress nice, but be comfortable.  Avoid jeans & t-shirts.  Think business casual.  But the most important thing to remember is to wear something that you’re comfortable & confident in.  Because you’re going to be walking up to and starting conversations with a lot of strangers.  For me, that means heels for at least the first day, when I’m visiting the various publishers’ booths.  I know most people say to wear comfortable shoes…  and I make sure mine are well broken in (I’m not recommending stilettos!). My reason? I’m 5′-4″.  I like the extra height heels give me the ability to see over the crowds.  It’s probably not the most sensible thing in the world, but it works for me.  Find what works for you.

What to Bring to the Javits Center

Travel light.  The tragic truth is (something I learned the first time I moved):  books are heavy.  The Javits Center is huge.  You’re going to do a lot of walking so you don’t want to be weighed down anymore than necessary.  So stick to the basics.   Pre-print the schedule of events and autographing authors. Highlight the ones you want to see.  Bring a pen (I like fine point Sharpies), a small pad (Moleskines Rock!), and business cards (LOTS of business cards).  I try to throw a few granola bars into my bag, as well, since I forget to stop to eat when I’m busy.  And try to bring a SmartPhone.

The SmartPhone. 

If you have a SmartPhone prep it beforehand.  Get an app for your blog & email (eliminates the need to lug around your laptop or netbook).  Set up a Twitter account if you don’t have one already and follow the hashtags.  If you can sync your Google Calendar to your phone, do it – it’s a great way to set reminders for where you want to be, when.  Clear your photos – make sure you have enough room in your memory for new photos and that your flash is on.  Bring your charger.  (If you’re a blogger you get access to the Press Lounge, which provides a spot to plug-in and re-charge).  And don’t forget to download a NYC Subway Map app…it helps.  Even native New Yorkers use the subway maps.  And having it will come in handy for my next post in this series (there will be 3 posts total), which will list my Top 10 BookSexy Tips on What To Do Outside of BEA.

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