As I didn’t attend the blogger’s conference on Wednesday, my first official day of the BEA experience was on Thursday. I’m told that the line-up for the ticketed author signings begins quite early in the morning because they’re given out on a first-come-first-serve basis starting at 7am. Debating whether I wanted to go that early to get a ticket to see R.L. Stine, I eventually decided to do it and get the full experience. Arriving at about 6:40am, I found the line-up for it on the south end of the building just as the line-up started to move. Great timing! I received my blue R.L. Stine ticket, but even with the ticket, it still says that it’s not guaranteeing a spot so show up early. At this point, it wasn’t even 7am yet, and the exhibit hall didn’t open until 9am so I joined the already 30+ deep line of people queuing up to go in. Thankfully found a familiar face (Terri @ Read & Riot) and hung out there until we spotted Jenn (Lost in a Great Book), Jen (The Misbehavin’ Librarian) and Cait (Escape Through the Pages) who joined us in line.
At about 8:45am, people in Allegiant t-shirts started gathering on the other side of the walkway where we were sitting. Standing stoically and facing forward, all the people in line were abuzz with anticipation when suddenly the group closest to the entrance called out one of the faction names. Subsequently, every faction was called down the line several times before they moved towards us and handed us lovely Allegiant tote bags! Shortly after that display, the head(?) of BEA was speaking up at the front but the sound was so poor that nobody could hear what he was saying. Everything was muffled and echoing in the large open space so unfortunately most of us couldn’t hear a word he was saying. The doors to the exhibit hall opened momentarily after that and people who weren’t waiting in line and just hovering on the sides all moved in towards the entrance as well. The people checking tickets and passes should have handled that better because some people had been sitting in line for over 2-3 hours.
Immediately, we made a bee-line over to the Penguin booth, which was the closest one to us in our line of sight. Grabbed an awesome Putnam tote bag that i ended up using countless times for the rest of the days I was in NYC. There were piles of ARCs all around their column but I was MOST excited to pick up a copy of All the Truth That’s In Me by Julie Berry. Ever since I heard about it during the Razorbill Fall Preview, I was looking forward to checking this one out! We then moved through the exhibit hall to a few other publishers before lining up to see Kendare Blake signing her new book Antigoddess. After that, we all split up to line up for our separate things and I headed over to the Scholastic booth to get a lithograph of the first (new!) Harry Potter cover signed by artist Kazu Kibuishi!
At this point, I already needed to do a book drop at my little suitcase that I checked in. What a fiasco that turned out to be! All the suitcases were lined up in aisles at one of the two “coat checks”. The woman just wordlessly points to where my bag is, so I squeeze in to put my books away. Not 2 seconds later, she’s yelling at me to move and get out of the way because other people (who kept saying they weren’t in a rush) needed to get by. Given the 6 inches I had to go either forward or backward, there was nowhere for me to go, and I told her so. I didn’t know what she wanted me to do, climb on top of everyone’s luggage and perch myself there while these people moved by?? It was insanity. The kind woman who was willing to wait, while passing by me after I squeezed some space, said not to worry about it but who would have thought my first real frustration at BEA would come in the little coat check.
I managed to dash over to the YA Editors Buzz Panel and catch the last half of it which featured 5 editors talking about 5 big buzz books in YA. Those included Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl, Anna Jarzab’s Tandem, Cristin Terrill’s All Our Yesterdays, Amy Rose Capetta’s Entangled and Sara Farizan’s If You Could Be Mine. After the panel, they had a table outside with copies of the books and while I naively (and “civilizedly”) stood in line waiting my turn, others swarmed the table so the only copy I ended up getting was Sara Farizan’s book – which is perfectly fine by me. I’m so excited to read this one! Also met up with Ardo (A Wordsmith) at this point.
I wanted to catch Lauren Oliver and Veronica Roth signings but I was already tired and figured I owned Requiem anyway (and wasn’t in the mood to stand in another long line-up at the moment). Ardo and I wandered the floor a bit before feeling starved and went to meet up with the Jen(n)s for lunch. Entering the food court, we were bombarded with packed tables everywhere. Thankfully, a group of 3 were just getting up and offered us their seats. We got to chatting before realizing it was Michelle Madow (author of Remembrance/Transcend Time series) and her family that was giving us their seat! Her mom took a pic of us with her before they headed off, leaving us with the great idea to split a large pizza.
After that, it was about 1:30pm and I wanted to check out what the line situation was looking like for R.L. Stine signing at 3. So once Ardo and I wandered the graphic novel area for a bit (and spotted Aubrey & Margot of Epic Reads!), we scoped out the autographing area and there didn’t seem to be a line forming yet so we went to go sit down for a bit. Spotted Jess, Emilie & Kathy – the Ottawa bloggers – while resting our weary legs. Nearing 2pm, I went over to check it out and saw that the line was just forming, so I plunked myself down as spot #2 and settled in for an hour of reading. Ardo went to check out the Faith Erin Hicks signing (and came back with a signed copy of Adventures of Superhero Girl for me! <3) before coming to keep me company a bit longer. Had some interesting moments with people not having any awareness to those around them (which I’ll discuss in my post mortem on Friday) but otherwise, it was finally time to line up and see my favourite childhood author! I told him how I loved his books as a child and he goes “And look, you turned out okay!” to which I replied, “You may be the reason why I’m so interested in the paranormal now….” 😎
Being right at the front of that line meant that I could zip over to the line of the other author I wanted to meet: Tracey Garvis-Graves! I loved On the Island, so I was really excited to get to meet her and pick up her second book! She was so sweet and I told her how I loved the first book due to the Lost-y love. She said that was partial inspiration as well, because she wanted to write a story about being on a deserted island.
After all that, I decided to finally call it a day. This first day felt like a blur to me. There was so much going on and the initial experience was just so overwhelming. I left to go back to the hotel at about 4pm or so to freshen up before heading over to the Scholastic reception. (More on that later this week!)