Monday, March 31, 2014

Guest Post | BEA Tips Part 2 from The Overstuffed Bookcase | What to Pack

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. 
We featured BEA Tips Part 1 this past week and today we have BEA Tips Part 2.
Part 2 is all about WHAT TO PACK

So, here you go! I hope this helps you just as much as it helped us! 

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BEA Tips Part Two:  What To Pack

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 Two of my tips:  What To Pack, where I’ll talk about all the things that you need to make sure to pack for your trip to BEA.  Make sure to check out Part One:  Before You Go, and Part Three:  While You’re There, which will be posted soon.  And if you have any questions, feel free to email me at theoverstuffedbookcase (at) gmail (dot) com, or send me a tweet at @OverstuffedBook!



-Comfy shoes.  This is a must.  I wore a pair of ballet flats last year that were super comfortable, but my feet still ended up swelling like crazy.  It probably also had to do with the fact that I was in lines at BEA all day and walking around NYC all night.  I don’t really know what shoes would have been better for my feet, other than tennis shoes, but those aren’t great because you want to dress business casual for the conference.  So I’ll probably end up wearing those same shoes again, or something similar.

-Business casual attire.  I got away with wearing nice black skinny jeans that really didn’t look like jeans, with nice tops.  But I wouldn’t recommend wearing regular jeans.  This is a professional event, and you’re there to represent your blog or company, so you should dress for the occasion.

-A sweater or wrap, in case you get cold.  I don’t remember being cold at the conference last year, but I will be bringing a light sweater with me again, in case the AC is blasting.

 For The Conference Itself

-Business cards.  If you have business cards for your blog or company, it’s a good idea to bring them.  Bring lots.  You might not hand out too many, but it’s always better to bring more than you think you’ll need.  I bought a stamp last year that had my address on it, and stamped the back of some of my cards with it.  That way, my cards don’t have my address on them when I don’t want them to, but if I’m giving my card to a publisher, I want them to have my address.  I ended up stamping too many of my cards, and then I moved, so I have tons of cards with my old address on them now.  I’m planning on buying some address labels to put over the stamp, and give those out to publishers this year.

-Your BEA Registration Receipt.  You should get an email after you register, or you might have seen a screen after you registered that said “Save this screen for your records” or something like that.  I believe I got an email.  It will be your registration confirmation, and on it will be your badge number with a bar code, plus all your registration information.  Print this out and bring it with you when you sign in at the event.  They will then give you an actual badge.

-Your schedule/wish list.  Once they announce all the books and authors that will be at BEA, I recommend that you make a spreadsheet.  One of the bloggers in the GoodReads group shared her spreadsheet last year and it was so helpful!  This is what my spreadsheet for last year looked like (Which is all thanks to Lexie from Poisoned Rationality. She rocks! ):


I made a schedule for each day, with all the books/authors that I wanted to see.  I listed the time, the author, the book, the type of event (whether it was a regular signing, an in-booth signing, a galley drop, or an appointment with a publisher), where it was located, and who I was getting this book for (I picked up one book each for a few other bloggers last year).  The spreadsheet is also color-coded, so that if there were multiple things going on at the same time, I could easily see which one I would rather try to go to, and if I was able, I could still try to catch the other one.  But let me just tell you—I came home with several books from BEA, but I was really only able to get my must-haves.  There just wasn’t enough time to get much more than that!  I also left room at the bottom of the spreadsheet for notes to myself.  I also made spreadsheets for galley drops, and for other events going on during BEA. (Thanks again to Lexie for sharing her spreadsheet—it was such a life saver!)

-Some other ideas for things to pack:  tissues, band-aids (in case you get blisters on your feet—I did!), some kind of folder or binder to hold all the business cards that people give to you (I used a coupon organizer), a nicer outfit or dress if you are going to any kind of publishing events or Broadway plays, a few pens, a notebook, and a book or two (you will be getting lots of books at BEA, so you don’t really need to bring too many with you to NYC!).  I also brought a wireless cell-phone charger with me, because it seemed like the Javits center really drained my phone’s battery!

So those are my tips of what to pack for your trip to BEA.  I may have forgotten a few things, and if I remember I’ll be sure to leave a comment!  I’d also love to hear if anyone else has any ideas of things you have to remember to pack for your trip, so leave a comment or shoot me a tweet at @OverstuffedBook.  And be sure to check back for my third and final BEA tips post:  While You’re There!

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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 3 coming soon!

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3 Responses to “Guest Post | BEA Tips Part 2 from The Overstuffed Bookcase | What to Pack”

  1. Kate @ Midnight Book Girl

    Great suggestions, Andrea!

    This will be my third trip to BEA, and I’m super excited! For the shoe wear, I’d suggest really comfortable athletic sandals- that’s what I wore. Maybe not the classiest of footware, but unless you’re use to lots of standing you are going to have foot issues. My first year I basically haunted the booths that provided comfy carpeting.

    Another thing that worked for me last year was I had a canvas tote bag with my book blog design on it that I ordered. I think I used cafepress, but there’s tons of sites where you can create and order a personalized tote. It was a way for people to recognize me and my blog easily and it was a good conversation starter too.

    As for the business cards- this year I picked up a business card portfolio at Barnes and Noble that holds over 100, kind of like a purse sized photo album for business cards. I filled the first half with my cards and the second half will be for ones I get. I suggest writing down where you got the cards for memory purposes, but I usually forget to. But this year I at least plan on making sure I visit all the sites on the cards right away so that I can maintain some of these awesome friendships that get struck up in line whilst waiting for books.
    Kate @ Midnight Book Girl recently posted…The Midnight Hour Wrap Up: March 2014

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