The Sunday Salon: Pictures and Lessons from BEA

by Kim on May 29, 2011 · 49 comments

The Sunday Salon.com I’m the kind of person that writes everything down. I have a ratty little notebook and a pen that comes with me everywhere. I carried it around BEA, and took a bunch of notes about things I just didn’t know before I got there. These notes helped me form some ideas about what I might do next year to make BEA even more fun for me.

I also finally managed to get the few photos I took online, so I want to share some of those with you since pictures — especially of something as huge as BEA — are worth just as much as any words I can come up with. (You can see the rest of my photos on Flickr).

Anastasia and AshAnastasia and Ash in front of our hostel, the Chelsea Star Hotel.

This year… I registered as a blogger through the Book Blogger Convention.

Next year… I will try to register as press. When I went to the press area at BEA, I found out that bloggers don’t have access to the press room – and can’t register as press at the event. I also didn’t bring any evidence that I work as a freelancer writing about books, so was not able to have access to that area. I’m not sure what mythical perks exist in the press room, but I want to find out!

Reagan, Teresa, Sheila, and Ash at the Harper Collins Celebration of Book Bloggers.

This year… I planned to do my calendar entirely on my amazing new smart phone.

Next year… I will print out a copy of my schedule ahead of time. On my first day of BEA, I practically ran through my entire battery trying to see the list of things I wanted to attend and trying to add more signings. I know print outs are old-school, but having a written list would have really helped me. I will also make sure to write down all of the location information for events – I got lost a couple of times because I didn’t have enough information. Javits also has the amazing ability to eat the Internet, so counting on the BEA Mobile app for information is not a good idea.

Candace and DawnCandace and Dawn at the Thursday morning author breakfast where we saw Jim Lehrer, Roger Ebert, Ann Enright, and Erik Larson.

This year… I didn’t make a plan for which publishers I wanted to go see.

Next year… I will go through my recently-reviewed books to check the publishers so I have some good talking points to start conversations at various booths. I think this will help me meander less around the show floor, too.

Colleen Ash and FlorindaColleen, Ash, and Florinda at Etaly for dinner on Friday night.

This year… I tried to break in a pair of shoes the week before BEA.

Next year… I will take care of my feet pre-BEA so they are well-rested and in good shape for all the walking.

BEA booksMy 38 books and two sample chapters from BEA. Where am I going to put all of these??

This year… I had no plans for restaurants to go to.

Next year… I’ll actually do some research so I know some places to eat around the city when I head out to dinner with other bloggers.

Despite all of these lessons, overall I’d say I had a great BEA. I grabbed many great books, made connections at some publishers that put out quality nonfiction, and met many, many of my favorite bloggers in person.

BEA isn’t an event for everyone – it’s a trade show for the publishing industry, and it takes awhile to get acclimated to the huge show floor and all of the people wandering around. But if you give it some time and are the kind of blogger that wants to review new books and connect with readers and publishers, it’s worth the effort.

I’ll have one more update about notes from BEA, and then the blog will be back to regularly scheduled programming :)

{ 49 comments… read them below or add one }

Amy May 29, 2011 at 4:32 pm

Great post! Definitely save these tips for next year! I have a notebook I carry everywhere with me, too…if I didn’t, I’d never remember anything!

I’m glad you had a great time! Thanks for sharing some pics. Looks like you got a few books to read, too :o)

Happy Memorial Day!

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Kim June 1, 2011 at 5:14 pm

I would never remember anything without that notebook, Amy. I’m not sure when my memory took a dive, but it’s terrible! And yes, I have so many books. It’s ridiculous!

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Ash May 29, 2011 at 4:39 pm

All good tips! I printed out things I wanted to see but next year I’d like to have a more extensive list. It will probably help that it won’t be my first time next year so I’ll have a better idea of how things work and people I’d like to talk to.

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Kim June 1, 2011 at 5:15 pm

Yeah, I’d like to have a better list going in too, Ash. I think it being the second year will help a lot, making that first morning less overwhelming :)

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Jenn's Bookshelves May 29, 2011 at 4:45 pm

It was so great to see you again! Great tips!

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Kim June 1, 2011 at 5:16 pm

It was so great to see you again too Jenn!

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Naomi's Book Reviews May 29, 2011 at 4:54 pm

Great post, I liked the this year next year comparisons. I Amin the UK so no Bea for me so I like to read the blog posts.

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Kim June 1, 2011 at 5:16 pm

Even though I was there, I’ve liked reading the blog posts on BEA too, Naomi. There’s all sorts of things I missed!

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Vasilly May 29, 2011 at 5:23 pm

I love looking at the pictures from everyone’s BEA posts. Great tips! If I go to BEA next year, I’ll be sure to keep them in mind.

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Kim June 1, 2011 at 5:17 pm

I wish I’d taken more pictures, Vasilly. I’m just terrible about remembering to do it — these are some of my only ones!

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Anastasia May 29, 2011 at 5:39 pm

Yay, a great post! I agree about having a list on paper– there’s so much stuff not publicized before BEA that you have to add it in, and it can get messy. I saw some people carrying around spreadsheets, which I may try to do next year (with room to add things in, too).

And yes, I definitely need to bone up on my publishers. I think this year I mostly stuck with the big ones, which mean I (mostly) missed out on smaller pubs because I didn’t remember them/their books– or just couldn’t find them. And then when I got to pubs I couldn’t remember some of the books I’d read of theirs! (Kinda embarrassing.)

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Kim June 1, 2011 at 5:18 pm

A spreadsheet would be a good idea, if I’m motivated enough to make one, Anastasia. I stuck with mostly big publishers too, but did catch a few small ones I was familiar with. I’m hoping to do more small pubs next year.

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bermudaonion (Kathy) May 29, 2011 at 5:49 pm

I agree with you about the schedule. I had mine written in a notebook and left space to write notes between events. I didn’t write as many notes as I had planned, but the notebook was still a great way to keep up with myself. It was wonderful to see you!!

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Kim June 1, 2011 at 5:18 pm

That’s a smart idea Kathy. I wish I’d done that, since I have a notebook with me all the time anyway.

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Alexia561 May 29, 2011 at 6:03 pm

Great post! And what a good idea about going through your recently reviewed books in order to have talking points with the publishers. Never thought of that, but it’s a great suggestion! Looking forward to hearing more about your BEA experience!

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Kim June 1, 2011 at 5:20 pm

I think that was my best accidental discovery, Alexia561. That’s definitely a strategy I’m going to use next year.

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Amy May 29, 2011 at 6:56 pm

Great advice and plans for next year. I’m definitely glad I printed out my schedule and had a mini idea about who I wanted to talk to, it did help a lot. Though next year I must plan to take pictures :)

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Kim June 1, 2011 at 5:28 pm

I saw your printed schedule and was so jealous, Amy! I had a short list of publishers too, but next year I want to be a little more focused (and also take more pictures!)

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debnance at readerbuzz May 29, 2011 at 6:57 pm

Next year, I swear that I will find a way to go to BEA. Lucky, lucky you.

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Kim June 1, 2011 at 5:29 pm

That would be great, debnance! It would be fun to meet you.

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Teresa May 29, 2011 at 7:40 pm

I like your printout and talking points ideas. Most of the time I was happy to just wander aimlessly, but I think I would have approached more publishers if I could remember some books of theirs I’d reviewed recently or one I’m particularly excited about. The small presses seemed especially happy when I mentioned one of their books. If I go back next year, I’ll bring a notebook with some of that information jotted down.

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Kim June 1, 2011 at 5:29 pm

I’m not a good aimless wandered, Teresa. I get antsy and feel awkward. I like walking with purpose :) And I agree – small presses or imprints seemed most excited to talk about recently reviewed books.

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Trisha May 29, 2011 at 9:13 pm

Love the tips for next year! I’m definitely old school and print my schedule out for everything!

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Kim June 1, 2011 at 5:30 pm

I normally print schedules, Trisha, but this year thought the phone would work. It just wasn’t quite as simple to use as I hoped it would be.

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Sheila (Bookjourney) May 29, 2011 at 9:36 pm

Great post! I am going to do author breakfasts next year! I am really bummed this year that I did not so them. :)

Fun seeing you again – as always!

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Kim June 1, 2011 at 5:31 pm

It was so fun seeing you Sheila! I liked the one author breakfast I went too — I sort of wish I’d gone to the other adult one because Mindy Kaling was there.

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Esme May 29, 2011 at 9:49 pm

Kim, I like print outs-call me old school. I want to see a larger photo of those books you got. When I went last year I made a list of restaurants that I wanted to hit-that was fun as NYC is an awesome city and I wanted to take advantage of being there. I also think there is some importance in not having a tight schedule and being spontaneous. It is too easy to restrict yourself.

How was your hotel?

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Kim June 1, 2011 at 5:32 pm

I’ll try to put up another book photo that’s bigger — they don’t photograph well. Next year I’m going to do some more NYC things rather than just Book Expo, Esme. The hostel was fine — nothing fancy, but worked for sleeping.

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Leeswammes (Judith) May 30, 2011 at 2:19 am

Some good ideas there, Kim. Thanks. I don’t think I’ll ever go to BEA but there are other bookfairs near where I live and these suggestions will help.

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Kim June 1, 2011 at 5:32 pm

Yes, Judith, I think these would work at smaller book festivals too.

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Rebecca @ The Book Lady's Blog May 30, 2011 at 7:07 am

It was great bumping into you several times on the show floor, Kim, and I loved seeing these photos.

I did register as press, and I’m sorry to tell you that all you’re missing in the press room is weak coffee and three slow-ish desktop computers. I was hoping for, say, a power strip or charging station, but no such luck!

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Kim June 1, 2011 at 5:33 pm

Thanks for demystifying the press room, Rebecca :) It was really great bumping in to you as well!

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Florinda May 30, 2011 at 1:08 pm

I had a great time every time I saw you during BEA/BBC week, and the fact that I actually am old enough to be your mom didn’t make the slightest bit of difference :D!

I didn’t write much down. I actually think the rounds could be manageable on a smartphone, but making some notes in advance in your own calendar or notes app might be easier than relying on BEA’s mobile app. Your tips on preparing for approaching publishers are golden, and thanks for introducing me to some of your nonfiction favorites!

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Kim June 1, 2011 at 5:37 pm

I feel the same way Florinda — I had so much fun hanging out with you! And I’m glad we finally met, instead of me just thinking we’d met already :)

I should not have relied on BEA mobile for things — it was just too slow on the Javits Internet connection.

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Meg May 31, 2011 at 7:20 am

Thanks for a fun recap, Kim! I appreciated your lessons learned, too — I’ll definitely keep those things in mind, especially if I’m able to make it to BEA next year. I’ve only been in town for the BBC the past two years and wish I could have networked more with other bloggers and publishers.

It was great seeing you again, as always, and I’m looking forward to more fun next year!

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Kim June 1, 2011 at 5:38 pm

I think you’d have a lot of fun at BEA if you were able to go for a day or two, Meg. There’s a lot of popular fiction and women’s fiction being signed at various booths. Plus, I’d love to see the beautiful photos I know you’d take. It was great to see you again too!

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Cass May 31, 2011 at 8:10 pm

Kim, we ended up with the exact same number of books. HOW IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE. Weirddddddd.

ps yer awesome.

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Kim June 1, 2011 at 5:39 pm

Wow, Cass, that is just WEIRD! You’re awesome too :)

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Coffee and a Book Chick June 1, 2011 at 11:45 am

It was so great meeting you!! You are so nice – next year we’ll have to hang out!

I love this post – the way you broke out what you did this year and what you need to do next year is a great way to reflect and remember. I thought I knew what I was doing with preparing my feet as well, but not quite! Next year will be a much different experience with that; I’m still recovering from blisters on the bottom of my feet – ouch!!

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Kim June 1, 2011 at 5:42 pm

Yes, absolutely, we should hang out more next year! I have a blister on the bottom of one foot, and some recovering ones on my heels. I really need to take care of my feet better next year :)

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Heather J. June 1, 2011 at 8:49 pm

I’m not sure if you saw it but I had all my maps/notes/schedules bound together and I took it with me EVERYWHERE. It is my lifeline during BEA. Made my life MUCH MUCH easier – not sure what I’d do without it. :)

I love BEA for the opportunity to meet publishers/publicists face to face, and for the way it gets bloggers together to celebrate books. I hope to continue attending, but I also fear that some bloggers are giving all of us a bad rep there …

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Kim June 4, 2011 at 8:44 am

I did see your binder Heather, and was amazing! Super organized. I’ll have to put something like that together for next year.

I didn’t really hear anything about bad blogger behavior at BEA, but maybe I was just not looking for anything on it. I hope that’s not the case, but honestly, I saw a lot of craziness on that first day and I think it was coming from all sorts of people.

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Trish June 5, 2011 at 2:58 pm

If I ever head to BEA (which I think I”m too chicken to actually do), I’ll definitely be referring to this post! But mostly I just like seeing what everyone looks like. ;)

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Kim June 7, 2011 at 7:15 pm

Don’t be chicken Trish, it’s a lot of fun! I love seeing bloggers in person too.

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Serena June 7, 2011 at 7:14 pm

Thanks for sharing the lessons you learned that will help you get a better experience next time. I can tell you from experience, registering as press last year, that the press room really has a few computers, some nasty coffee, Internet access and tables…I didn’t find it worthwhile, but I also didn’t blog live from the event and wrote up my posts when I got home…it may have helped if you needed the net for things, but I didn’t. I’m not sure if any of that changed since I went, though.

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Kim June 7, 2011 at 7:17 pm

That’s good to know, thanks Serena. I’m sort of curious if having “Press” on my badge rather than “Blogger” would change how people respond at booths. I sort of doubt it, but I’d be curious. Plus, I like access to secret things :)

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Serena June 7, 2011 at 7:19 pm

I didn’t find it helped one way or the other because you’d have to put your blog name as the outlet (though in your case maybe not) and then the publishers’ etc. ask you to explain what that is. Access to secret things is good in most cases. I’m glad you had a good time…I liked the pictures by the way…Great shots! Was that long panel that spilled off the table from BBC and was it the niche panel?

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Kim June 9, 2011 at 8:40 pm

That’s a good point, of course your blog would be the name on the tag regardless. And thanks about the photos — some of them were good, others… not so much. The long panel was the BBC niche panel – so many people!

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Serena June 10, 2011 at 3:46 am

I was sorry to hear that the BBC niche panel did not include poetry, which is a major literary genre…though I suppose that’s because so few people actually talk about it on their blogs. Still, disappointing.

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