Well, I did BEA a little differently this year! For those of you who don’t know me or know me as well, I got married this past November so after taking a week and a half off for a wedding + honeymoon, I was trying not to take another full week of for BEA. Plus, after discussing with my BFFs Amy & Alyssa, we decided to put the focus of our trip more on spending time with each other (since we only see each other in person twice a year) and only attending one day of Book Expo America.
With the new schedule this year (Wednesday, Thursday, Friday conference), Friday was our day of choice and the timing worked out really well! I actually flew out Thursday to Connecticut to stay with Alyssa and grab some best friend time… especially since we’d have to get up super early for the conference on Friday! Amy was already there and the three of us just had a nice, relaxing day in CT. We, of course, made a visit to the Book Barn in Niantic which is still my favorite used book store that I’ve been fortunate enough to visit! (I actually grabbed more books at the Book Barn than at BEA. Oops?)
Friday morning we got up before the crack of dawn (literally. My alarm got me up at 4:15am) and got ready to hop the train from CT to NYC. I say hop, but really it’s a two hour train ride! BUT we’ve done it before and it’s a really nice way to save money instead of shelling out hundreds of dollars to stay in a hotel in NYC for a night! We were willing to sacrifice time (and sleep) to save a little money and it worked out nicely! We also got to meet Lauren from Bookmark Lit who is also from Connecticut so she carpooled with us to the train station and we headed to the conference together! After we taxied it to Javits (I’ll tell ya… sitting in the front seat of a cap was an experience), we were ready to take on BEA!
This being my third year, Alyssa’s fourth, and Amy’s fifth attending BEA, we had a bit more chill of an approach. We fully planned on plopping ourselves in the signing line for Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo but since that wasn’t until 10:30, we casually scanned the floor and walked around to check out the booths like we usually do. I was trying to limit myself to what I picked up on the floor and I grabbed a hardcover ARC of Illuminae by Amy Kaufman and Jay Kristoff which I’ve been curious about for a while! Plus… hardcover ARC!? Has anyone even heard of that before? I’m even more interested now! The book looks crazy, full of artwork, illustrations, notes, emails, logs, etc so I am definitely anxious to see what this is all about!
Getting in line for Six of Crows was our priority really for the whole day so on to the line we went! We hopped in just at the right time (a little over an hour beforehand) because it started filling in pretty quickly after that and with this being our only real “must-have” book, it was worth the time to make sure we got a copy AND got it signed! There was a bit of Drama with a capital D when people got miscounted and were told they weren’t going to get books. Macmillan only had 100 copies reserved for the signing and several people came through to count the line (two line admins from BEA and the publicist from Macmillan) and people who were once “safe” ended up getting cut. There were a few stories going around but from what we saw and from what others heard as well, it sounded like they miscounted and let too many people in the line and then on top of that, an unexpected number of people used their “jump the line” passes (which I forget about every year) so that took away books from the people who were in line. Fortunately, my friends and I were safe but there were several people who got cut who were VERY unhappy. I totally understand because I would have been really upset if I had gotten cut BUT drama ensued when one lady took it way too far and started screaming at the poor publicist (whose fault it was not) and from what I hear, security was almost called on her after we left that part of the line. What people will do for these books, man. It’s intense. But long story short, it worked out for us and it was so lovely to see Leigh again because she’s just one of my favorite authors all-around.
After Leigh, we didn’t really have too many other plans! I kept circling the floor with Lauren throughout the day and Alyssa and Amy ended up in line to meet Mindy Kaling (who we didn’t realize would be at the conference (I thought she was going to be at BookCon)) and I picked up a couple other books here and there. I met a few other bloggers in line, passed by Rainbow Rowell (who we couldn’t get in line for since we were waiting for Six of Crows) and totally forgot about Marissa Meyer’s signing to my dismay!! It was for Fairest which I do already own (but not signed) and since she’s one of my favorite authors, I was hoping to meet her again there at the conference but with all of our “chill” plans, I forgot all about her signing! I tried to hop in just to say hello but they wouldn’t allow it. (Thankfully Andi from Andi’s ABCs said hello to her for me at the Macmillan blogger party the night before (which I was also sad to miss but had to since I wasn’t staying in NYC) and Marissa even remembered who I was! Woo!)
We wandered some more, found a few more bloggers, and I stopped by some publisher booths to say hello to Erica and Emily from Bloomsbury and Ksenia who’s now over at Simon & Schuster! We chatted a bit, made some plans, and then finally left BEA at around 3pm in search of food and refreshments!
After food, it was on to meet up with some of our very best blogger friends! The conference was fun but we were more importantly attending to see some of the most wonderful people that we only get to see once a year at events like these! We gathered in Bryant Park just to talk and hang out and it was honestly the BEST time I’ve had at BEA. Publisher parties are fun and exciting and glamorous but to have all of your very closest blogger friends in one place? That’s priceless.
We had a great time just talking about anything and everything — from what was going on with us to what happened on the conference — and I think we were all so excited just to be hanging out and not running around BEA trying to sneak in friend time! Nothing too out of the ordinary happened but it was just perfect that way. I got to chat with some great people and we were all very relaxed after a long day (for us, week for them!) until the party started to disperse for food, events, and even a date!
We thought about stopping by The Strand after the day was done but we were just plain tired (and didn’t need to buy more books) so home we went! We stopped at Magnolia Bakery (as is tradition when we’re in Grand Central) and I got a nice iced coffee to quench my thirst and two cupcakes for the road! Two more hours back home on the train, another 40 minutes back to Alyssa’s house and it was time to crash!
The rest of the weekend was nice too! I got to spend more time with Alyssa and Amy just relaxing, talking, and getting Thai for dinner on Saturday after we went to go see Pitch Perfect 2! It was a really great weekend and as always, I was sad to say goodbye, especially since we never know when we’ll see each other again in person! BUT I did miss my husband and sadly, I had to get back to the real world after a BEA and BFF hangover.
My flight home got delayed but only by an hour so it wasn’t too bad (I seem to always have delays at Bradley?) so I hung out with Alyssa and her boyfriend for part of the day after we dropped Amy off at the train station. I got the airport a bit early and had to say another teary goodbye (it’s always hard) but then I had a nice time just decompressing after a busy few days with Six of Crows (yes, I already started reading) and a couple Yuenglings since I can’t get those in Illinois! I finally got on the plane and headed home, with my book in tow and another beverage since my sister had a free drink coupon that was going to go to waste! Not a bad way to end a great weekend!