Friday, April 5, 2013

What I Wish I’d Done Differently at BEA (AKA: My BEA Mistakes)

Last year I went to Book Expo America for the first time; (you can find my post-BEA post here). My trip was very rushed and I was there for only two days.   it is an overwhelming, yet amazing experience. As any rookie would do I researched as much as I could, but still managed to make several mistakes.  I hope my insight helps you this year!

I carried too much with me – Do you remember that nerd in high school that always carried a stapler, tape, a ruler, etc.? You name it, he or she had it!  Well, I’m that kind of nerd.  So of course, I packed a big tote with everything I thought might need (if you were to ask who had 5 lip glosses, a compact, lotion, or deodorant, I did of course!)  Needless to say, I didn’t use half of the stuff I carried and it made my day all the more difficult, the added weight was so not worth it.  This year I got a cute Vera Bradley backpack were I will stuff my essentials.

I left my Kindle at home – BEA lines are LONG.  I knew I had to stand in line, but I failed to understand that these are going-to-Disney-hour+-long-lines.  I mean it!  If you really want a signed book from a popular author, be ready to stand there for a while.  I could have used my trusty Kindle to help me pass the time; it is lighter and so much easier to carry around.

I didn’t distribute as many business cards as I should have – Not much to
explain here, but I carried a whole box of card with me the whole time, but manage to only share a couple dozen.

I didn’t see any of the presentations – I was so concentrated on getting books, running from one line to the next, going back to my suitcase to empty my bags that I didn’t sit down to look at the presentations / panels at all.  I plan to peruse the program this year and make sure that I attend at least one of them.

I failed to talk to more people – I’m shy.  If you talk to me, I’ll talk back and (I like to think) that I’m friendly after that, but I’m not the outgoing type.  I’m determined to do better this year, so watch out people!

I should have taken more pictures – I met a lot of people and got books signed by many amazing authors.  Why am I always so unprepared to take pictures?  It’s like my poor camera falls into the black hole that is my purse (read #1 above) and I can’t find it. Or if I do find it, something always goes wrong… I’m using my iPad or my phone for pictures this year and by golly I WILL be ready!

I wish I could have seen more of the city – Other than Times Square, I saw absolutely nothing!  To be honest I’m afraid of the busy city and I was pressed for time.  This year I’m arriving a day before the convention, I plan to register then, and I hope to do some sightseeing before meeting a group of amazing bloggers for dinner. 

Lastly, let me give you this piece of advice: Don’t stress and enjoy!

I plan to do another pre-BEA post later to tell you all about my plans and maybe another post to share with you the things that I did do right :)

Did you experienced any of these during BEA? Do you have other advice to share?  What is the place that I MUST see while I’m there? 


  1. I LOVE this post, Liza! I did the same thing with my bag - I put so much unnecessary junk in it, and I never took the time to take out my camera. I had my phone in my pocket mostly and I used that because it was easier than digging through my bag to find the camera. I WILL NOT do that this year.

    I also failed to distribute a lot of cards (maybe 2 dozen? And that was mostly the last day when I came out of my book shock) or talk to people. I keep saying that I just feel more zen about this year. Totally still pee-my-pants excited, but calmer in a way. I know what to expect now.

    Thankfully I was able to go to BEA every day last year, but I also spent 5 days in NYC so I got to do some fun stuff. Getting there bright and early Wednesday this year so I have all day in the city before the BEA madness starts. And I cannot wait to see your face at the blogger dinner!

  2. All really good things to keep in mind Liza!

    I want to hit more of the presentations this year as well (Neil Gaiman and Amy Tan? I'm all over this). I'm looking forward to seeing you!!

  3. Last year was my first time going too and I made a lot of the mistakes you did. I, especially, plan to talk to a lot more people because I am extremely shy and didn't talk to nearly as much people as I had hoped last year. Thanks for all your tips! I can't wait until BEA!!

    1. Me neither! So exciting and this year I can take more time off to enjoy it :)

  4. It's always a good thing when you learn from your mistakes :D I'm so jealous on everyone who is going to attend BEA, I wish I could go! Some day I hope ^^


  5. I BARELY made it to ONE panel when I went in 2011. Like you, I was too busy going to signings and looking at booths to make time to go! ;) I'm going to try to get to at least two this year, though I'm not sure where or when. (So many author signings, so little time. Eek!)

  6. I will make it to BEA one of these years but alas, I could only afford ALA this year so I am heading there in June. A lot of your tips seem applicable to it though too. :) Great post and advice.

  7. Business cards! Check! - share them CHECK!
    See a panel - ok
    See the city - Going to see Mamma Mia on wednesday night! Hope to go to a fancy dinner too hehe
    Are you doing the blogger conference this year?

  8. I also made a lot of these mistakes. Namely I didn't bring my kindle or pass out nearly enough cards. I'm going to fix them this year.


I love comments! Please leave me one and I will try to reply as soon as I can. Liza


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