BEA with Great Imaginations – Part Two: Navigating BEA

Posted April 23, 2014 by Kara in BEA, Kara, Lyn / 4 Comments

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 is in two in two parts.  Today we’re going to talk about how to get around the Javits, and how to get your books home.  Last Wednesday we covered preparing for BEA, including what to pack, and what you might want to have on hand at the conference center.

Navigating BEA

There is going to be a LOT going on the week of BEA, from the conference itself, to publisher parties, to outside events at local bookstores and libraries.  We suggest settling on your plan of attack before you land in New York.
  • BEA will post autographing schedules.  On the BEA website, there will be listings for both the autographing stage and for in-booth signings.  My suggestion is that you figure out which of these you feel you need to get to, and then working the rest of your schedule around them.  There are books available at signings that are not available during the ordinary book drops.
  • Speaking of drops, most publishers will give you a card on Day 1 that details their scheduled book drops throughout the next two days.  
  • Don’t forget to schedule in mealtimes.  This totally slipped my mind the last time I went and I ended up scarfing hotdogs from a truck in the five minute downtime between signings.  0/10.  Would never do again.
  • Give yourself some wiggle room.  You might hear of an event or signing that you missed while planning, or maybe you’ll meet a few bloggers that you really get along with and want to go to dinner with – basically, you never know what might pop up and sound fun and exciting.  So give yourself some room for spontaneity.
Print a map! I actually think there are BEA apps for this too, but either way, get your hands out the layout of the floor.  I missed out on a lot of book drops and other opportunities because I couldn’t freaking find anything.  There are huge banners over publisher booths that will help you locate them, but for smaller presses that may not be an option, so you’ll want to be sure you won’t miss anything.
I also recommend downloading a subway app to help you get from point A to point B.  


Some conference etiquette to keep in mind:


  • Cutting in line.  It’s one thing if 1 or 2 people join a friend in line.  It’s an entirely different thing if you take your group of ten and just cut in front of everyone else.  Don’t do this.  Especially do not do this in numbered lines.  Some books have limited copies and so the publicists will count out the individuals in line and cut off the excess.  Cutting in these lines means risking the availability of a book for those behind you.  It’s fucked up and inconsiderate.
  • Donating.  There are boxes on the author stages for those who wish to donate.  Some people donate $1 per book.  I shoved a $20 in at the beginning of Day 1.  It will be entirely up to you and how much you can afford.
  • Clear the aisles.  There will be a mad rush to get from place to place.  If you feel like walking at a slower pace than those around you, move off to the side so those who are in a hurry can quickly and safely get around you.
  • If you see a blogger you know, don’t hesitate to introduce yourself.  Just like you would be excited to be recognized for the work you do on your blog, other bloggers will appreciate the same.  We’re a friendly, if shy, bunch, and we won’t bite!
Getting Your Books Home
There are quite a few ways to get your books home.  The easiest way is to obviously just take them with you if you are driving, but for a lot of people, that isn’t an option.  I’m going to take you through a few options that will definitely work if you live in the US.  I’m sorry to our international followers, but since I live in the US, those are my only readily available resources.
Carry them in your luggage.  I’ll most likely be carrying my clothes and things in a backpack, and the majority of my books home in a suitcase.  It’s cheaper for me because I’ll be traveling Greyhound, and thus will be handling my own luggage.  For those taking planes or even trains, the cost of checking a second bag is minimal, so keep that in mind.
UPS or FedEx.  There will be shipping stations inside the Javits center, where you mark your name on a box, fill it throughout the day, and ship it directly from there.  This will be expensive, and I’ve heard there are outrageous price markups per box.  But FedEx and UPS are generally reliable (though not where I live, sadly.)
The Post Office.  This will most likely be your cheapest option, since they do offer media mail.  The PO also offers different shipping options, including flat rate boxes.  However, a lot of bloggers had terrible experiences with the PO workers themselves, and then received damaged books when they finally arrived (IF they arrived.)  
Obviously, each method has its own pros and cons, and so choosing which way to ship will be up to each individual.
We hope this helps prepare you a little bit for what to expect, especially if this is your first time going.  Closer to the conference we will be putting up a post about how to recognize us in case we run into each other while in New York.  Again, if you have any questions or anything to add, feel free to do so in the comments!

4 responses to “BEA with Great Imaginations – Part Two: Navigating BEA

  1. Hoping I get to run into you three this year. Not new to this but I am so grateful for posts like this to help out others who have not been before. I wish I has info like this the first year I went, I don’t think I would have been so overwhelmed when I did go.

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