BEA (Book Expo America) is something Christie & I have dreamed of attending and this year, it is actually happening! We are so excited, but also incredibly clueless as to what to expect. So, what’s a better way than talk to a fellow blogger who has already gone?
We reached out to Andrea, who is the blogger over at The Overstuffed Bookcase. She’s been to BEA and knows what to do before you go, what to take with you, and what to expect while you’re there. We originally planned for just one post, but once she got started, Andrea realized just how much a newbie to BEA would need to know. So, BEA Tips from Andrea will be broken down into three different guest posts.
Today, BEA Tips Part 1 is all about what you need to do BEFORE you go.
So, here you go! I hope this helps you just as much as it helped us!
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BEA Tips Part One: Before You Go
Hi everyone! My name is Andrea and I’m the blogger over at The Overstuffed Bookcase. I’ve had my book blog now for over two years, but I’ve only been to BookExpo America (BEA) once, so I’m in no way an expert. However, I do think that I can share a few tips with those of you who have never been before. This is Part One of my tips: Before You Go, where I’ll talk about actually registering for BEA, the pros and cons of the BEA Bloggers Conference, tips for picking a hotel, and the BookExpo America Goodreads group. Check back soon for Part Two: What to Pack, and Part Three: While You’re There. And if you have any questions, feel free to email me at theoverstuffedbookcase (at) gmail (dot) com, or send me a tweet at @OverstuffedBook!
BEFORE YOU GO
BEA Registration Packages
When you sign up for BEA, there are a lot of different package options. You can go to the 3 days of the convention (Thursday-Saturday), you can simply go on Saturday as a Power Reader or pick a single day to attend, or you can add on some of the other conferences going on during BEA, like the BEA Bloggers Conference and Author Breakfasts. Find the schedule that works for you and your money situation. If you can’t go to ALL the things, don’t worry—there is plenty to do even on a single day!
Also when you sign up, you need to find out what badge category you fit into. If you’re a librarian or bookseller, for example, you’d be in the Book Buying Professionals category, and if you’re a blogger, you’d be in the Publishing Professionals category (which sounds so fancy, doesn’t it?). Lots of bloggers also try for the Press Pass, which I believe is free, but don’t quote me on that. But I think they have a strict set of guidelines for who can qualify for a Press Pass, so I’ve never tried.
Last year I signed up for the BEA Bloggers Conference which included the 3 days of BEA itself, and that’s what I’ve done again this year. I thought about adding some of the author breakfasts, but decided against it, but I’ve heard they can be lots of fun! The Badge Categories can be found here, the pricing list can be found here, regular registration can be found here, and if you want to register for the Blogger Con plus BEA, you can go here.
BEA Bloggers Conference
The Bloggers Conference has its pros and cons. I heard that in 2012 it was not very worthwhile to go. Last year it had its issues (like the Buzz panels, which told bloggers about books we already knew about) but I also enjoyed it. To me, the BEA Bloggers Con should be mostly about bloggers. Sure, you can thrown in some publishers and agents and authors as speakers here and there, but I’d much rather hear from bloggers. And fortunately, it seems like the Conference Advisory Board has worked hard to make this year much more about the bloggers. (And I just found out that author Maureen Johnson will be a keynote speaker at the Blogger Con! Yay! She’s hilarious.)
This year the schedule is definitely geared more towards bloggers and helping us to make our blogs even better, with panels about design, blogging tools, placing ads on your blog, vlogging, etc. It sounds exactly like the kind of conference bloggers want and need! Plus there will be a mingle session at the end, where you can talk to other bloggers. Last year, there wasn’t much time to meet and talk to other bloggers, which is why I came up with the BEA Book Blogger Picnic (which will be happening again this year—more info below!), but it seems like they’ve incorporated more blogger mingling time in the Blogger Con this year.
They also normally have some free books at the Blogger Con, which is a great bonus. I think that this year, the Blogger Con will be even better than last year, and if you’re a blogger and you haven’t signed up for it, I highly recommend giving it another thought! You can find more information on the BEA Blogger Con here.
There are TONS of hotels in NYC, so obviously there are a lot of different places to stay, and different ways to find the best one for you. And also, if you have friends/family who live nearby that would probably be the best way to save yourself some money. But if you do go the hotel route, I suggest that you try to find a hotel on the official BEA hotel list, which can be found here. The benefit of choosing one of these hotels is that you can get a cheaper rate if you go through onPeak, BEA’s “Official Housing Partner,” and also because there is a shuttle that stops close by to the hotels and takes you to and from the Javits Center. The shuttle schedule is not up yet, but hopefully will be soon. You can also book flights through onPeak at a discounted rate.
GoodReads BEA Group
I also suggest that you join the GoodReads group, BookExpo America. It is a closed group, so you have to ask to join, but a lot of the people in the group have been to BEA multiple times, so they have great advice, plus the group has tons of threads about authors who are attending, BEA tips, and all kind of other things.
Well, those are my tips for before you go to BEA. I’m sure I’ve forgotten a few things, and if you have any questions, leave a comment or shoot me a tweet (@OverstuffedBook). And be sure to check back soon for parts two and three of my BEA tips!
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Thank you so much Andrea for providing tips to those of us who have no idea what to do in preparation for BEA this coming May. We hope to meet you while we’re there!
Stay tuned for Part 2 coming soon!