Feature: BEA & BookCon 2016 Event Wrap-Up
Book Expo America (BEA) & BookCon 2016 is officially in the books! 🙂 If you’re not familiar with BEA, it’s North America’s largest book convention for industry professionals. According to the website:
“It’s the best place to discover new titles and authors, learn about trends shaping the book industry, and network with those who have a passion for books and reading.
Immediately following BEA is BookCon, the consumer extension of BEA and the ultimate fan event where storytelling and pop culture collide. BookCon offers fans unprecedented access to authors, publishers, celebrities and creators of content that influence everything we read, hear and see.
BEA and BookCon combine to make the ultimate event destination for the publishing industry and booklovers worldwide.”
This year BEA was in Chicago at McCormick Place, I really liked the location, but I had some hurdles getting my books home on a plane. Since I have been back since late Sunday afternoon, and it’s been a week, I figured I better write my wrap-up post, but I was waiting for my shipped books to arrive! I had a blast, but I was also so worn down, that I wished I had off from work this week to recover. Not only for my feet & back (books are heavy!) to recover, but also my brain and body. I ate like crap. I slept like crap. I didn’t consume nearly enough caffeine and of course came down with a migraine on Saturday night, thankfully all the events were over, but have you ever flown with a migraine?! The pressure was awful, my bags were heavy (went over the 50lb weight limit so I had to pack up a carry on tote full of 15lbs of books!) that I then waited for over 2 hours in security at Chicago Midway with about 25lbs of books on my arm & back, then ran to my gate just as boarding started! Who would have thought being at the airport 2.5 hours early for a flight that takes less than 1.5 hours wouldn’t be enough time! I am excited BEA/BookCon will be back in NYC next year, so I can take the train which has no baggage weight limits!
But enough about all that…lets talk about the good stuff – books & authors!
Books. So many books! I will try and do a little summary of each day’s haul and will highlight what was the best of each day.
Wednesday the 11th:
In my head the first day should have been an easy half day. I thought I would get the layout of the hall, and get all the different booths schedules to plan the next 2 days. Instead I ran around like a chicken with not enough books in my basket! So many Advance Reader Copy (ARCs) drops on the first day. It was madness. My back & feet were killing. After this day I left my purse in the car & wore sneakers the rest of the week no matter what I looked like! Also, it was so hot in the exhibit hall, so all those sweaters I brought became wasted luggage space.
Wednesday’s Most Exciting ARCs:
(in no particular order – links to goodreads)
Aerie (Magonia #2) by Maria Dahvana Headley
A Shadow Bright and Burning (Kingdom on Fire #1) by Jessica Cluess
The Forgetting by Sharon Cameron
Learning to Swear in America by Katie Kennedy
The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis
Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland
Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge by Paul Krueger
Thursday the 12th:
Thursday we sat in traffic for over an hour traveling in the morning rush hour commute to get to McCormick Place from our hotel. I chose to save a lot of money on the hotel by staying outside the city, and since my book friends Sophie & Stephanie drove from Montreal so we all stayed at the same hotel and split parking for the event. It was great to have a car at the event, we were able to make trips to unload our books, if only the traffic wasn’t so crazy! But Thursday was amazing.
Thursday was filled with actual author’s signing their ARCs or finished copies. I was so excited! I finally met David Levithan who was signing ARCs of The Twelve Days of Dash & Lily which he cowrote with Rachel Cohn (who I wished wholeheartedly was there too, but…) and then I stalked him later as he signed finished copies of You Know Me Well.
As I was waiting in line for Amy Lukavics to sign her ARC of The Women in the Walls, I met debut Harper Collins author, Keira Drake, whom was so kind and funny and was blown away that her ARC of The Continent was on my “ARC must list” — I even showed her my list to prove it! Her selfie game is on point.
I was also blown away by the beautiful Tahereh Mafi, as she is always flawless and was signing ARCs of Furthermore! The cover art is so awesome, the only thing I regret is not being able to get a copy for my bestie, Shannon. 🙁 I was also so damn thrilled to get my hands of the newest book from Jennifer Niven, Holding Up the Universe and I got it signed! The official day ended on such an amazing high note waiting for Adam Silvera signing ARCs of History is All You Left Me! Adam was so funny & personable! I am so glad I was stalking his twitter, because the BEA schedule was screwed-up and I thought I he cancelled or I missed him on Wednesday!
We then had an after party hosted by Flatiron books, thank you so much for the invite, where I was able to have a glass of wine and get an ARC of Caraval and Stephanie Garber was there to sign them! YAY! I have heard so much about this book, that I was beyond thrilled to get one without having to fight the lines the next day. We then drove off-site to another after party at a super cool bar called the Tack House, to celebrate the publishing of Cocktails for Ding Dongs, an irreverent cocktail comic book, where I met the authors, had the Tack Room Buck, a bourbon drink with house made carrot ginger beer and mint. It was delicious! I could have drank them all night long.
Seriously, Thursday was beyond thrilling!
Friday the 13th:
It was a dark & spooky day…nah it’s just Friday the 13th. I just woke up at the crack of dawn to get ahead of the traffic today and to attend the YA Author Breakfast. It was really great to hear Dav Pilkey & Sabaa Tahir talk about their upbringings and how it sculpted & molded the authors they are now. I didn’t stay for the entire presentation, because I also needed to wait in line for the ticketed Author signings. Then we were crushed by only 6 tickets available for Heartless by Marissa Meyers, as all of the VIP tickets choose her book ahead of time. We were like 20ish in line, so never was going to happen, but I got my Maggie Stiefvater ticket and that was my *MAIN* priority as she was signing finished copies of The Raven King! But as I met up with my blogger friends, Fallon & Morgan, they got an extra copy of Heartless at the Fierce Reads party the night before and had it personalized to me and everything! So excited and blown away by their kindness! I also got a ticket for Alexandra Bracken who was signing Passenger, as well as Danielle Paige who was signing ARCs of Stealing Snow.
The rest of the day was awesome too, I got a signed sampler of Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor. Signed finished copies of Future Shock by Elizabeth Briggs, Unrivaled by Alyson Noel, and Bone Gap by Laura Ruby. I also waited in crazy long line for a signed ARC of A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir which was definitely one of my *Must List* from BEA16!
Saturday 14th – BookCon16:
Well we woke up the earliest yet & arrived to wait in line at 5:40am and there was at least 75 people in front of us. HARD CORE. I had a wristband plan, one for each session, and I managed 3 out of the 5 and grabbed a backup for a total of 4 signings. I am kind of a lunatic, as I wanted to get in Maggie Stiefvater’s line again, but that was the one I missed, and I didn’t get any from that timeframe. I was OK with this, but I was brooding anyway. My second priority was being one of the first 300 people for the Penguin First in Line event that started as soon as the BookCon floor opened at 10am. That was some craziness, but I mean how exciting to meet Jay Kristoff & Amie Kaufman and got a signed ARC of Gemina.
So I managed to go to the post office after the First in Line event in order to mail 47lbs of books! Since I was flying there was a 50lb weight limit, and books are heavy! I came back from the post office right around 12pm and got into Lauren Oliver’s line & was basically the last person in line, when they ran out of Replica ARCs with the person right in front of me, and a girl 3 people ahead turned around and gave me her ARC! It was the kindest thing I have ever experienced, I tried to convince her it was ok, and she should stay, as I was going to buy the newly design covers of the Delirium trilogy anyway. After that I went into Morgan Matson’s line to buy her newest book, The Unexpected Everything to be signed. It is such a bright fun cover I needed to add that one to my collection! After that I caught Leigh Bardugo & Marissa Meyer Truth or Dare event, and watched Leigh freestyle rap about Crooked Kingdom. I would post a video but she told us we weren’t allowed lol! Then I waited for Laini Taylor & had my entire Daughter of Smoke & Bone series signed! Next line was Nicola Yoon to get her ARC of The Sun is Also a Star signed!
By the end of the day, I was finally able to get into the Owlcrate line which was crazy long all day! Congrats to them! I spun the wheel and actually won something I didn’t get in any of my crates (it was the alternate item). Then I ask Korrina to take a pic with me without being too damn awkward. I felt like I was stalking her because every time I saw her at BEA I said “Hi,” but I absolutely love her story and how she turned a passion for YA books into a real job & I am so happy for her & Robert’s success! Please click my referral link if you want to subscribe to one of the best Monthly YA subscription boxes!
I seriously had the best of time! I got so many books, met so many amazing people, and overall I really hope all of the buzz I learned while there will really translate into a more exciting year of blogging!
From top left clockwise: Kacey Vanderkerr, Stéphanie Bourgoin-Gaudet, me (Kelly), Sophie Vaillancourt, Natalie Taylor (slightly cut out); Stephanie Garber; Me & Alexandra Bracken; Leigh Bardugo; Amy Lukavics; Maggie Stiefvater; and Lauren Oliver.
Top clockwise: Chicago – takeoff from Midway International Airport, Philadelphia, PA, and a cloudy reflection on Lake Michigan.