My First BEA (AKA, What I Did Right at BEA)

Posted May 6, 2013 by Liza in BEA / 2 Comments

Last year I went to Book Expo America for the first time. It was an amazing experience, and as with anything new I made several mistakes (see my previous post here).  Now, let me tell you about what I at least in my opinion, did right.
Research – I’m a planner by nature (or an obsessive perfectionist and overachiever according to hubby!), thus I read as much as I possibly could about BEA.  I found some amazing advice that I wisely took.  Some of it is (obviously) the reason that I did some things right at my first visit to BEA. I also joined the Goodreads’ BookExpo America group

Schedule – I got this idea from the always wonderful Lexiefrom Poisoned Rationality and I spend hours going over the schedule at the BEA website, plus the known books that were going to be distributed and made a spreadsheet in Excel that I kept with me at all times.  Please be aware that some of the signings take place at the same time, so unless you can clone yourself or have help, you cannot be in two places at the same time.  This is what it looked like:  (btw, I’m already working on the one for this year)

Note that there is a tab for the Autograph Area and another one for In-booth Signings , this year I’m liking the titles to Goodreads
Wear Comfortable Shoes– Have you been to an amusement park?  Remember the long lines to get into Space Mountain at Disney?  BEA is sort of like that in a sense.  There are LONG lines and you spend most of your day on your feet.  This is not the time to try a new pair of shoes people!  Not only did I wear comfortable shoes, but I brought a different pair in my suitcase, which came very handy.

Check-in a Suitcase – I cannot stress this one enough.  Unless you plan to go and pick up, say, 10 books bring a suitcase and check it in.  The ladies in charge are wonderful and have the patient of saints.  Oh, and don’t bring any totes or bags with you as they are plenty of them to have, just remember to make frequent trips to your suitcase (your back will thank you later).  Also, you can pack things in your suitcase, like your umbrella or water bottles so you don’t have to carry everything with you.  Another tip is that packed my clothes in a smaller back and then put it inside my bigger rolling back (the one I checked in).

Bring Snacks – Those of us with kids know how they get around excitement and new people; they don’t eat and they forget to go potty (hopefully you master this by now! 🙂 Well, it’s hard to stop and take an hour or two to hunt down a viable food source.  Bring snacks with you and you will be much happier!

Do you have some tips for me?  Did you follow any of these?  Is this your first BEA?


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2 responses to “My First BEA (AKA, What I Did Right at BEA)

  1. Found it through your GR profile instead! hehe. So you packed spare clothes in your checked bag that you checked at the BEA luggage area? Good idea about stashing water and more snacks in the rolling bag i will definitely do this. This is my first year – I’m so nervous. I love your spread sheet I must do something like that also. But know WHAT books are going to be there is killing me since we don’t know them all yet!

  2. This is a fantastic, succinct post that really hit on the “musts” for BEA. It still amazes me when I hear people aren’t bringing a suitcase or something to check – even a small bag. Carrying 10 books for more than an hour SUCKS.

    Great post, Liza!

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