Day Two went much better - I went against my instinctual resistance against taking Pills For No Reason and swallowed two Benadryl the night before to ensure a good night's sleep, and woke up feeling much better.
So today was the Book Expo itself, and I was prepared. I took my purse, my water bottle, and the smaller, empty rolling suitcase I'd packed inside my larger rolling suitcase and took the shuttle to the Javits Center.
The place was enormous and they had special designated areas where you could check your suitcase for $3 and come back to refill it as much as you wanted.
There were two entrances to the Exposition Center - one had an enormous long line of people waiting until the doors opened at nine, and the other only had about a dozen people. I choose the shorter one - which really didn't make much difference. Apparently the right-hand entrance was more popular because it opened closer to the Big Six publishers' booths, but it was faster be the twelfth one in left-hand entrance and just walk over to the Big Six then wait around at the back of the right-hand line. And while I waited, I had a lovely chat with some librarians from Canton, Maine - one of whom got her Master's at my hometown university and was inspired by our School of Library Sciences to become a librarian.
But back to Book Expo! The librarian (whose name I shall remember once I paw through all my business cards at the end of this trip) gave me a lot of good tips - like how most of the free piles of ARCs are put out in the morning and how the Expo really calms down in the afternoon, which is a good time for socializing and networking.
So when those doors opened, I took off like a rocket! I found out the map I made was less than helpful in nearly all respects but it was really easy to find the bigger publishers because of their large banners and displays.
I have to admit, before BEA, I searched for pictures of the exposition center and never could find very many that weren't "official." I wondered if cameras weren't allowed on the exposition floor. Nope - rather, I found out that, at least on the first day, you'll spend too much time running around and dodging people and standing in line and looking at everything to even think about taking your camera out of your purse.
There is seriously SO MUCH to look at. The Big Six publishers (MacMillan, Penguin, Random House, Simon and Schuster, Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins) all had enormous booths and lots of giveaways. I stuck mainly to YA but there were a lot of lit fic titles that looked excellent, too. Pretty soon, I definitely needed to secure my swag in my checked luggage - twice!
I also stood in line for about forty-five minutes to get an autographed copy of Cathrynne M. Valente's The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There! Definitely one of my must-have ARCs! And Cathrynne Valente was so nice!
Lunch was a hideously expensive and greasy pizza - not the wisest choice, I suppose, but it was delicious. Had a headache sometime after lunch, so I decided to head back with a cab - but I was in a much better mood. I was productive, I'd networked (I passed my card out to a lot of different publishers, saying I was a blogger who was interested in YA, fantasy, romance and literary fiction), and I'd gotten lots of free books.
After another nap, I felt well enough to return to the Javits for the Meet the Apocalypsies panel - where several authors whose debut novels came out this year assembled in one room to talk and sign swag for fans, while cookies and promotional doodads (bracelets, bookmarks, etc.) were served. And every fifteen or so minutes they'd hold a draw for prize packs of their books. Met Ana from the Booksmugglers there, and Janicu, and Jessica from Read React Review - and fangirled over two of the ladies from Forever Young Adult.
The panel was interesting - a good idea, and well-executed - except it might have gone better in a room without quite so many chairs. People had to squeeze around them and twist around while sitting in them and all in all it was very cramped and hot. At the same time, it was a great idea and I talked to a lot of cool authors - including Leanna Renee Hieber, who has ESCAPED THE DEBT-RIDDEN CLUTCHES OF DORCHESTER, PRAISE JESUS! She's now got new books with a far better publisher, even though Dorchester still hasn't fully paid up for her other ones!
And finally - I won one of the prize packs! Which included Hieber's Darker Still and Emily Danforth's The Miseducation of Cameron Post, which has been on my wishlist since forever. After lots of chatting, it was back to the hotel room for a delicious supper of Backpack Granola Bar, after which I cabbed it out to the Jefferson Market Library for the Teen Author Carnival.
The Teen Author Carnival was a fantastic event. While I'm sure the Book Expo facilitated the ENORMOUS number of YA Authors being all in the same vicinity, it was a separate event. Lots of cool YA authors were there - the fabulous Hannah Moskowitz, Tom Pollock, Kody Keplinger - I mean, hot damn, some of those authors are young. I need to step up my game with my novel already! There were a couple of very interesting panels and some nice prizes, and the Jefferson Market Library, in the Village, is gorgeous.
More posts to come!