It is official: I am still going to the Book Expo America this week. I started questioning whether it was prudent for me to go last week, but I decided before the weekend that I would go.
So I will be at BEA Thursday and Friday!
As a newbie to BEA, I have read all the awesome BEA posts from other bloggers: what to pack, what to expect, etc. So I have taken most of their advice and have taken the following steps:
- Everyone says wear comfortable shoes. Well, my feet are what I call ‘meadow feet’. Some people have feet that could easily walk through a jungle floor without a scratch because of how tough they are. My feet clearly are so evolved that only really soft shoes allow them to go unscathed. Literally, almost every kind of shoe gives me blisters. And do my feet callous and get tougher? No. They just get scarred. ANYWAYS, I didn’t want to walk through BEA wearing flip flops or sneakers. I know people will, but I have also read that in the end, this is a professional event. And sneakers and flip flops do not equal professional to me. Call me a snob, but I call it being professional; first impressions go a long way. So I got myself a pair of Sperry’s; they are super comfortable, and walk a line between being casual and professional. I think they are a much better choice than my ratty flip flops or ancient sneakers.
- The choice of a bag is apparently crucial. I was trying to avoid buying a whole new bag just for the purposes of an event. So I’m opting for an old school back bag. Sure, it might get a little disorganized, but with the 2 front pockets, I should have enough division between newly acquired books and my band-aids (for my feet), wallet, and cheat sheets. I will of course be checking a suitcase at the center for any surplus of books I might attain.
- I am not going to drive anymore; taking a bus is much cheaper and hopefully less stressful. A bus from DC to NYC roundtrip costs ~$50. One tank of gas in my Beetle costs ~$40. Parking in NYC costs ~$35/day. Do the math. I did. So I will be taking an EARLY bus to NYC Thursday and leaving after the expo on Friday. While a train would definitely be quicker, it is more expensive, particularly when you’re looking at ones leaving in less than a week.
- I got two different kinds of business cards: one set that is definitely for professional networking and the other specifically for the blog. The ones for the blog are sort of catchy, I think. Given the name and theme of my blog, keep an eye out for actual playing cards with a label with my blog information on it.
- I plan on packing some packing tape and a Sharpie in case I really do get as many books as veterans claim to get and need to ship home Day One’s haul home. I will also not be using FedEx or UPS thanks to the awesome discussion on Goodreads’ BEA group; USPS’ special rates for media mail make it a much better pick.
- Plan, but don’t get too carried away. I am trying really hard to find a balance between getting the most out of this trip but also not being too tied to a schedule. I don’t want to be bummed by the end of my trip because I didn’t do everything I wanted. At the same time, I don’t want to walk away realizing how much I missed because I had just wandered around without a plan. So I have a really nice Excel spreadsheet that has everything I’m interested in from events, to signings, to galley drops. I have made it so I have only one top priority each hour with plenty of lower priority items just in case. I will have that both printed and in my Google Drive account so I can refer to it constantly throughout the day.
- I have made a little itinerary cheat sheet for myself. It has the addresses of everywhere I might need, the reservation numbers, etc. I want to plan on not relying on my phone or a computer at all.
- I plan on trying to not use my phone that much while I’m at the expo to conserve battery. Hard copies of a schedule work just fine for me.
That’s all that I can think of for now. Perhaps I will post an after-action report on my trip with what worked and what didn’t. I’m still trying to decide if I want to bring a laptop or not. I don’t imagine that I’ll even want to bother with one during my one night there but I also don’t want to lament not having it…
What steps have you taken to prep for BEA? Will I see you there? What are you most excited about?