BEA Recap: Or One of the Best, Most Tiring, Emotional, Overwhelming Experiences of My Life Part One

Posted June 5, 2013 by Kara in BEA, Kara / 29 Comments

When I decided to go to BEA earlier this year, I knew it was going to either make me or break me. That might seem like an exaggeration, but it’s not. I am agoraphobic, suffer from mild social anxiety, have depression, and REALLY bad feet. And then there are the migraines and the insomnia. I was worried. Worried I wasn’t strong enough, but at the same time, I knew if I didn’t go I would regret it for the rest of my life. And really, how many of us are held back by obstacles that we put in our own way? I could sit there the rest of my life and be held back by my problems and make excuse after excuse, or I could push myself and experience all the things out of life that I always believe I was meant to. You can guess which one I chose.


My bags before I left and my scarf to make it my own.

Part of my fear arose from my fear of flying. It’s not really that bad when I am flying with someone else, but I had this extreme anxiety of boarding that plane all alone. TSA was also a major cause for anxiety. The plane was a little cramped and I should have chosen an aisle seat and not a window one, but aside from that, my fears were unfounded and I psyched myself out for no reason. Aside: this is usually the case with almost everything I do. 

Giselle from Xpresso Reads cabbed it to the airport to pick me up, and I got to meet some of her family and her cousin, Micheline from Lunar Rainbows. It was awesome to meet them both! We waited a VERY long time for a cab only to find out there was a taxi stand right across the street that probably would have saved us a lot of time. But that’s neither here nor there, and we made it back to the hotel and changed quickly to go out for a little while and hit Times Square. Besides the Javits Center itself, this was pretty much the only other part of New York I saw that is a major landmark. There just was no time for that after the long exhausting days at BEA.

Times Square is crazy.


And full of lights and advertisements.

To be honest, Times Square was kind of underwhelming. Dan had always told me this–that it was a complete tourist trap, things are overpriced, and once you see it, 5 minutes later you are like ‘meh’, and he was completely right. Don’t get me wrong. It was nice to check that off the list and everything, but when I go back, I’d much rather see something with substance. I’m that kind of girl.

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Visiting Times Square is a lot like this.

In hindsight, I should not have gone at all because with all the walking the following day, my feet could not handle it and crapped out on me, resulting in me completely missing Day 2 of BEA and I still have not gotten over that. It’s not like I didn’t get enough books (I did really well), I just feel like I missed out on all the fun. But let me tell you, had I gone, I am sure I would have been in the ER. Not even kidding about that. My bones were bruised in my ankles and heels, and my feet were loaded with blisters. I could walk about ten feet before my legs gave out. And I can’t even blame my shoes. They were orthopedic! I just have really shitty feet and I need to go open toed all the way next time. I will buy the same brand but in sandals. But before I get TOO far ahead of myself, I still have to go WAY back to Day one still.

View out my hotel room. North Bergen is UGLY.

I don’t even know for sure when I took that Jersey photo, but BLECK. I know South Jersey doesn’t look like that. SO MUCH industry and factories and garbage in North Jersey. WHAT IS UP WITH THAT? Oh, and we are all staying in NYC next time. It’s worth it to pay a little more for the convenience. Having to wait for a cab and bus it back every day was a ridiculous pain in the ass (not to mention incredibly hilly)and ended up being pretty expensive. We were one of the few that stayed in NJ, and never again. The hotel was pretty nice though and had just been renovated in black marble and stainless steel fixtures.

So we took a cab through the Lincoln Tunnel and arrived at Javits pretty quickly. I took an empty roller bag and a tote but I didn’t really need the tote as they were located on the floor everywhere. Just grab one and go. They practically shove them in your arms anyway. 

Christina and I before the Harlequin Teen Blogger Breakfast.

We didn’t have to wait in the long line on the first day as we had a Harlequin TEEN breakfast to go to. Everyone in our group was invited to this and I think we were all honored to be there. It was my first experience in the presence of authors, and I was a bit starry eyed. The authors spoke first and discussed who they were and their books, and then they did a round robin thing where they came around to the tables and we asked them whatever we wanted. A lot of the HT staff did this too and so we got to talk to the editors and ask questions about acquisitions and NetGalley and the like. It was awesome.

Elizabeth Scott, Julie Kagawa, Katie McGarry, Amanda Sun, and Senior Editor
Natashya Wilson.

Ummmm…I got to hug Julie Kagawa. AND IT WAS AWESOME. I always swore I would never fangirl over an author. But dude, my eyes teared up a little. I just could not help myself. Oh, and we got copies of all of their books, and I had Julie sign my copy of The Eternity Cure and Katie signed Pushing the Limits and Dare You To and I am now determined to read them because I have heard so much and she was so nice. So were Elizabeth Scott and Amanda Sun. You could tell that Amanda was still getting used to all the popularity and excitement and it was kind of adorable, to be honest. Oh, and the danishes and fruit were fab. It was just the pick me up I needed before I started my busy day on the show floor.

Me and Steph Sinclair of Cuddlebuggery fame before we hit the BEA show floor.

Then we entered the staging area with all the publisher booths and the madness began. And when I say madness, I mean madness. It was overwhelming and crazy and just…WOW. I guess to someone who has been to BEA before, they are probably used to it. But my eyes bugged out like

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This is an image of me at BEA. No, really.
Christina can power walk like no one I have ever seen before. It is seriously something to behold. I gave up trying to keep up with her pretty quickly and just walked the floor with Giselle and Micheline for much of the first day.  We’d meet up from time to time to trade books and wait in signing lines, but really, the best thing for anyone to do is shadow someone with experience for a few hours, and then after that, decide how you want to approach the rest of your time there and just DO IT. Don’t be afraid to ask publishers for review copies as a lot of times they are not on the floor to just grab. I got a lot of mine this way, particularly at the Bloomsbury and Scholastic booths. But there are drop schedules too. An example of one:
This was Bloomsbury’s drop schedule. I am still crying over my missed opportunity to grab
Hostage Three. Please approve me on NetGalley, lovely people of Bloomsbury!

At this time I have decided to break this up into two posts, and part 2 will be coming tomorrow. This has just gotten too long and I really want to be able to share and talk about it ALL with you next year so you can be prepared when you decide to go. And you must. BEA is not to be missed. Regardless of whatever ailments you have, suck it up and just do it. I did and I would do it again in a heartbeat. I have already started planning for next year. And if the husband knows what is good for him, he will let me go. But before I leave you today, I have one last photo to make your head explode.

THIS is suitcase row. And this is one of like THREE or FOUR areas where people park their suitcases.
It is bananas. And also the best thing ever. Everything about BEA is the best thing ever.

Until Part 2 tomorrow, happy reading, or whatever it is you are doing. EAT YOUR VEGETABLES!


29 responses to “BEA Recap: Or One of the Best, Most Tiring, Emotional, Overwhelming Experiences of My Life Part One

  1. WOW! And yes, I did eat my veggie, I promise!! So now, you just have to give us part two tomorrow!!

    I’m glad you told your fears to stuff it, and went anyway! And I hope you’re feeling really good about it, too 🙂 You deserve a pat on the back and a big hug 🙂

    I think I would be teary-eyed if I got to hug Julie Kagawa as well, and I actually just started reading Pushing the Limits today 🙂 And I hope I’ll be able to make it to BEA next year, or the year after. I wanna meet lots of bloggers, too!

    Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

  2. Amy

    Awesome post! I am glad that you had such a great time even with having to miss day 2. I really want to go next year. It sounds like such an awesome experience!!

  3. I am loving reading all the BEA recap posts, it makes me really sad to not to be able to go to BEA but I get so impossibly excited seeing posts about it and seeing book hauls from BEA haha.

    So glad you had a fantastic time! I’m pretty sure my eyes would be like that too! It sounds like book heaven ahhhh! Woo hoo can’t wait for Part 2!

  4. It’d love to be able to go someday. I really didn’t think it would be a possibility for me, but I need to try to make it work. I don;t want to miss out on all this fun! My eyes would be bugged out like that, and no matter how hard I tried, I’d probably tear up a bit with a few authors too. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Um. This! “I am agoraphobic, suffer from mild social anxiety, have depression..” Girl, me too! Although I have moderate anxiety and slight agoraphobia. But I find that if I am with people who I know and trust, I am fine. I would love to go to BEA and see how it is. But I need to go with someone that I know. Lol.

    I’m so glad you had a great time! And if I go next year, I will be sure to stay in NY instead. I need to start saving money now.

    • Same here, Ashley! Room with some of your most trusted blogger buddies. I had one I trust pick me up from the airport too so I didn’t have to navigate a taxi by myself for the first time. Now if I went back by myself, I could do it.

      DEFINITELY stay in NYC. We are and we would never do NJ again. Too difficult and stressful.

  6. That picture of suitcases is totally bonkers. I’m glad you got to see so many bloggers you’re friends with–that’s always my favorite part of going to book events. I hope you spent that day you had to skip reading. Who knows if I’ll ever get to the other coast for BEA, but I definitely loved reading the first half of your recap and I look forward to the second half and seeing some of the books you got.

    • Isn’t it? It’s not like that at ALA, huh? And I did spend that day reading. Still bummed me out though. And BEA moves around. It’s going to Chicago in 2015. Thanks, Flannery!

  7. I can’t believe you guys stayed in Jersey! You’re nuts. Unless you’re an every-day commuter, that trip can get super-expensive. Last year, I stayed at a really cheap, ugly Best Western ONE BLOCK from the Javits and it was amazing. It cut down on the foot problem because every time I started hurting, I just went to the hotel room and chilled out for a bit.

    Time Square is kind of meh, isn’t it? I used to go to New York a couple times a month when I lived in Jersey, and even though I had been there a thousand times, I kept going back to TS hoping it would be great. There’s an awesome pizza place, but they’re always packed.

    Anywho, I’m glad you had a blast, Kara. I knew you could do it! It’s a bit overwhelming, but the stress is totally worth the experience you get to take home with you. It’s a year away but I’m already planning for ’14!!

    • I know we are. NEVER again. It was super expensive. We cabbed it in the morning and bussed back at night. AWFUL. Definitely staying in NYC next year.

      Yeah, it was really underwhelming. At first I was like “WHOA, pretty lights! People! Shopping!” And then five minutes later I’d had enough.

      I’m glad you will be there next year! I can’t wait to meet you. 2014 can’t come soon enough!

  8. Oh I loved reading this! I’m so sad I didn’t get to go this year but I love reading recaps. It sounds like you had an awesome time, despite the foot problems (which happens to everybody, though not necessarily as bad as you had it). Julie Kagawa is awesome- I’m fairly sure she’s hugged me too, at least once if not more. Great recap and can’t wait for Part 2!

    • Thank you! I did have an awesome time. And I would have pushed myself and done day two if I could walk at all. I tried. I hobbled around the hotel room that morning testing my feet. I just couldn’t.

  9. Well done on pushing yourself past those anxieties! I am so glad you guys had such an awesome time, it looks like amazing fun. Although maybe not Jersey – ick!

    I’m sure next year you’ll be a pro and AHKJHDF you got to hug Julie Kagawa!

    I can’t wait to see part two – living vicariously through you guys.

    P.S. Strangely, I’m not surprised that Ms Fictions is a power walker 😉

    • Thank you! It was really rewarding to achieve something like that. Jersey is very ick. South Jersey is nice though.

      I wish you could go!

      LOL @ Christina. That girl is like a Nascar driver on her feet.

  10. I recently had to fly solo and I really hate it! I’m so used to being with that person who navigates everything … I just follow. 🙂 It’s just so stressful! And I totally hear you about the shoes. I have to wear orthotics and I still can’t be on my feet for too long. It’s rough.

    I’m sure I would be very big-eyed, too!

  11. So, so jealous but totally happy you guys had a swell time! I wish I were there to meet and talk to authors and befriend fellow bookworms!! In the future I’ll go to a BEA for sure ^_^

  12. Awww hun, I can SO relate to your pre-show jitters. I have some social-anxiety too, paired with migraines AND bad-feet so we were definitely sharing in our concerns without even knowing it! Anyways I’m SO glad to have gotten to meet you and do the BEA thing together, what an experience of a lifetime!!! I agree that I wouldn’t repeat the Times Square thing next year, I want to see some lesser known treasures! Awesome recap post (part 1) – I’m off to part 2! PS- Never again to NJ LMAO Yikes!

  13. Bahahaha, New Jersey is the worst. Also, all the walking we did around Port Authority is what pushed me over the edge, I think. So glad I took two pairs of shoes on Thursday or I might have been with you at the hotel on Friday. Then again, since my books were lost, maybe I should have been. X_X

    *walks away speedily*

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