Monday, June 22, 2015

Amy Went to BEA!


The last weekend in May I had the privilege of attending BEA (for those of you who don't stalk follow the publishing world, BEA stands for Book Expo America and is the big book conference in the US). It was an amazing experience. It was also a very crowded one.

I went into the experience with the plan to make the most of it. I printed schedules and maps for each day. I color-coded them. Then before I could even use them they were destroyed in a freak water-based incident.

I don't like to talk about it.

Anyway, I was up late the night before because I procrastinate and for me packing is an event - a terrible game of possibilities.

That's what happens AFTER I make a list.

That's how I ended up in a train station at 5AM with forty five minutes of sleep and a large, very orange suitcase.

But we got there with lots of coffee and I got to see some amazing things.

I went to some cool panels that usually went like this:

I even got to give Jory John my business card. Jory John has a business card with Stick Figure Amy on it. The very idea is madness.

As member of the ABA (American Booksellers Association) I was allowed to attend some really amazing events. I saw Moïra Fowley-Doyle (whose debut The Accident Season is out later this year and is amazing), Nicola Yoon (same with the later this year and brilliance for her debut Everything Everything). And at one of these events I even had the privilege of meeting Jacqueline Woodson. Then poor Jon Klassen. I say "poor Jon Klassen" because I pretty much swooned at him.

Then on Friday I went to the Children's Breakfast and saw Oliver Jeffers, Rainbow Rowell, Nathan Lane, and James Patterson speak. Oliver Jeffers drew pictures as he spoke and if I wasn't already madly in love I was definitely a goner by that point. 

There was an author speed dating and I saw (if I recall) 16 authors in rapid succession for six minutes at a time. Adam Rubin and Daniel Salmieri were wonderful. Adam Silvera is utterly charming. Gitty Daneshvari is hysterical. My brain pretty much exploded.

At tea I got to sit with Leigh Bardugo who recognized me from the internet.

And she's just an amazing person.
Also, Six of Crows is beyond brilliant. Read it when it comes out.

Then there was Scott Westerfeld.

And one of my packing fear came true when I spilled tea on my dress. 
And one of the weirdest things of the conference was just seeing these amazing authors walking around and trying not to freak out.

I leaned down to fix my shoe and:
I was so surprised I started choking and had to flee the scene.

It felt impossible. Like some alternate world. I couldn't possibly be in the same building as these people. 

I ended up in a room with Libba Bray after getting elbowed in the head trying to get in line for her signing (I abandoned the line at that point) and I totally panicked. I knew she'd just been signing for almost two hours and so when I saw her I couldn't think of anything better than to thrust the book at her and say: "I have an awkward and unfortunate question, will you sign this?"

Which is how this happened:

The whole experience was amazing.

I feel like, for the sake of my job and the possibility of going again I need to point out that I did see a couple of our sales reps and took notes on panels and signings that were well attended and the big buzz books this year. 

I did so many more things than I had the chance to stick figure (and some stick figures I started but couldn't finish or had to cut short). I couldn't manage to cohesively put together a short strip about seeing the Merry Sisters of Fate (Maggie Stiefvater, Tessa Gratton, and Brenna Yovanoff) all together. Or hearing Leigh Bardugo defend a woman's right to wear whatever she wanted to someone who wanted to shame cosplayers. Or even getting a free evening to sit in Bryant park and unwind a little and get some writing of my own done.

Or just the sheer amount of coffee involved in the whole experience.

And I went to BookCon that weekend too and got to watch Marissa Meyer and Leigh Bardugo play Truth or Dare and Margaret Stohl on a Women in Marvel panel for Black Widow: Forever Red (which is also really good).

The whole five days were amazing. Exhausting and sometimes overwhelming but just amazing.


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