BEA is coming, guys! All three of us will be attending this year and words cannot express how excited we are about this. Since we know a lot of those who are going will be first-timers, we thought we’d pool our collective resources and give as much info on the conference as we can!
BEA with Great Imaginations will be in two parts. Today we’re going to talk about preparation for the conference, from what to pack to what to bring with you on the floor. Next Wednesday we will cover navigating the floor and how to get your books home.
What to pack
Clothes and shoes:
I’m going to be up front about this: your feet are going to hurt no matter what you wear. People preach about comfy shoes, but you will be on your feet for ten hours a day, three days in a row. They will hurt. However, that doesn’t mean you should just go all out and wear those stilettos. No. We recommend wearing shoes that you are most comfortable in during your day to day life. For me, that means flip-flops. But Kara will be wearing flats and slip on sneakers. Lyn will be wearing tennis shoes.
BEA is supposed to be business casual, but Kara actually felt a bit overdressed last year. My advice is to wear something comfortable but a little dressier. Capris and a blouse, or a simple dress. Pants are fine, too, just be aware that New York City is oppressively hot and humid at the end of May.
You’re going to want to bring a camera, either a camera phone, or a little point and shoot camera. Not only will there be opportunities to meet authors and fellow bloggers, but you’ll be in one of the most amazing cities in the world, and you will definitely want to capture that.
An e-reader. They’re not very useful at the conference, but if you are traveling long distances, an e-reader is easier to read from than a book, plus it takes up less space when packing to go home.
Whether or not you want to bring your laptop is totally up to you. When I went a couple years ago, I had plenty of downtime in the evenings and used that time to blog. Kara, however, left the computer at home and just opted to check her email at the business center in her hotel. Now, sometimes a publisher will hand out flash drives or other digital content that you can only view on the computer, so keep that in mind. As for me, I will be packing my Nook, which doubles as a tablet. That way, I can keep myself connected, but without lugging around an entire computer.
This probably comes without saying, but don’t forget your chargers! And if you have backup chargers, bring those too. Your phone will most likely die while you’re walking the floor, so you want to be prepared.
What to bring to the Javits
Business cards! Don’t be like me – I completely forgot mine when I went and it was the worst decision! You’ll be meeting publicists, authors, and bloggers, and the easiest way to exchange information (and remember it) is with a business card. Your business card should include:
- Your name
- Your blog’s name and url
- Your email address
- Your twitter @
- Other social media contact information
- You may choose to include your mailing address. This could be helpful for publicists to have on hand, but do remember that you’ll be handing these out to everyone, so you may not want Average Joe Blogger to have your address
- Finally, I recommend choosing a stand-out design that not many other people will have. You will have tons and tons of cards by the end of the week, so you want something that will stick in your recipients’ minds
First aid kit, or at the very least, band-aids. I know Kara wishes she brought some bandages with her to help with her blistered feet. You’ll never know what might come up.
We also recommend bringing hand lotion because constant book-touching will quickly dry out your skin. I would also bring hand sanitizer, just because you might be shaking a lot of hands and touching a lot of public surfaces.
Mints or gum, just something to freshen up your breath. You’ll be talking and talking and that will definitely dry out your mouth. You want to make a good impression, so have some mints on hand!
A suitcase to store your books in. They do not allow backpacks or rolling suitcases on the floor, but there is an area where you can check your bag. Then, as you amass books, just run over to the suitcase area, stash your loot, and go back out there. As for carrying your books around with you, there are tons of tote bags available all over the floor. Seriously, I left with a mountain of tote bags!
Water and snacks. Please, remember to drink water! Kara got very dehydrated while she was there because she forgot to drink her water. It’s hot, humid, and sticky, and we don’t want anyone collapsing. Also, if you’re prone to blood sugar drops especially, have a protein bar on hand to snack on in between meals. As for meals, there is usually a hot dog truck outside the Javits center, but there is also a (slightly overpriced) food court. You may also choose to go off-site for lunch. That all depends on your schedule and how well you feel you could navigate the city.
We hope this helps you feel a little more prepared for BEA. Do not hesitate to ask questions in the comments section, and if you have anything to add, feel free! And don’t forget to stop by next Wednesday when we will discuss navigating the conference floor and getting your books home.