I missed BEA last year and this year, I was determined to go. A big difference was that I have a book coming out this summer (you might have heard of it?) and while I wasn't formally scheduled for signings due to cutbacks and business meetings and whatnot, I was okay with this because a) I still love to geek-out over books, 2) my daughter was going to have a weekend program in New York that I'd have to be in town for, anyway & 3) due to providence, persistence or the Fates smiling upon me and my swag, Harlequin was planning to hand out my arcs while people stood in line and I could always sign them as a surprise treat! Huzzah!
This, in essence, was my plan.
So while the 4 a.m. trip to New Haven then commuter rail (which was thankfully up and running) and nabbing a shuttle to Javitz may *sound* like an easy trip, I was still a little woozy and wide-eyed when I finally made it to what would be the first of many, many lines** that admitted me into New York's Greatest Book Show on Earth.
Multiply this by a heckuva lot to get an inkling of what this event is really like. BEA is a concentrated mass of book fans, book writers, book publishers, book bloggers, and a whole mess of really good books!
Originally, I was to meet my friend and mentee from the Apolocalypsies, Shari, who is both awesome and talented a person to hang with, but unfortunately had recently wrestled with the Flu Demons and lost. Instead, Shari got me in touch with her friend who joined her scouring the floors last year, a lovely lass named Rachel, who was soon to become one of my very best friends for the weekend and an unstoppable force of bookish glee!
Besides the dark hair, the wild personalities and the passion for silliness, we had absolutely NOTHING in common.
Neither one of us are shy by nature and perhaps the word "driven" in our case should have been followed by "clown car" but we both had a lot of Things We Wanted To Do and together, armed with a heaping dash of moxie and a penchant for smiles and talking to EVERYONE, we joined forces with a couple of other great gals waiting in line and the four of us took on BEA like the Super Friends, nabbing books, places in line, early tickets or advance drop schedules, sharing amongst ourselves and nearby friends-of-friends to create an experience that none of us could have produced by ourselves. Truly, a full-on collaborative win!
BEA Attack Force Alpha Squad reporting for duty & taking names!
Picture us going to panels and signings and meeting for lunch (which, for me, was most often taken sitting in line for a signed copy of some highly coveted book or holding our place another one of the crew got back with snacks) and otherwise approaching the day like a family trip to Disney or a Level 3 CovOps mission. I got to meet tons of online bookish buddies like bloggers S.F. and Mitali as well as author pals like this bunch pictured here:
That's Susan Adrian, Diana Peterfreund, Frankie Diane Mallis, Jeri Smith-Ready, Victoria Schwab, Julie Kagawa, Tommy Greenwald, Gretchen McNeil, Page Morgan & Erica Cameron. This does not include the slew of folks I got to trade hugs with but didn't steal their souls on film, most notably Kendare Blake and Sarah Beth Durst.
And, of course, I was a just another rabid fangirl like everyone else and couldn't wait to meet big-time authors of books that I love!
Ooo! There's Ally Carter, Mo Willems, Holly Black, Faith Erin Hicks, Lauren Oliver and Lemony Snicket!!!
Not pictured here are the ever-swoon-worthy Neil Gaiman, Chuck Wendig, Kami Garcia and Cassandra Clare.
Thank goodness I had a half-full suitcase and plenty of sleep, right? This crowd was enough to make *anyone's* head spin! But I had a surprise waiting for me... One of the things that some publishers provide is a scheduled "book drop" where arcs will be offered for a limited first-come, first-serve basis that do not involve signings and if you want one of these hot titles, you better be on your toes! Rachel's posse and I were primed for a number of must-reads, but I was also here promoting myself and my next book so I went to Harlequin's booth to ask if INDELIBLE was a scheduled book drop so I knew when to direct people there if they asked. Well, one of the Harlequin Teen Dream Team from Toronto happily brought me over to the giant posters that showed the scheduled signings and...I was there!!!
Look? See? "Dawn Metcalf"--that's ME!!!
After a momentary rush of blood and chorus-of-angels back-lighting, I realized that I'd told everyone on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads and my blog that I wasn't going to be signing at BEA and now I really was! I had to act fast:
So I hurriedly contacted everyone on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads and my blog and asked some friends for a quick signal boost, which must have worked because while, I got to do this:
I also got to do this for a few hundred folks:
In fact, we RAN OUT OF INDELIBLE ARCS! So I began signing bookmarks, then catalogs, then handed out temporary tattoos...it was amazing as I sat there next to superstars like Elizabeth Scott and Amanda Sun (who are both as nice as pie) I got that I was a real live author*** in public and for real!
Yeah, so: mind BLOWN!
This was my BEA recap post fit for public consumption. Next, there'll be a behind-the-scenes report in my "BEA Recap: Part the Second" coming soon! There are still contests, giveaways & news on the horizon...not the least of which is my BOOK TRAILER REVEAL which I have been waiting to share for months & months and will do so with a little incentive attached. Watch for it on Wednesday, June 12th--same bat-time, same bat-channel.
And thank you, Super Friends!!!
** I actually joked about this when I got to the bathrooms and asked the ladies in front of me who was signing? ;-)
*** Which, I always say, is better than a real dead author because that would be sad.