|My final haul, minus swag and bags.|
Things I Learned at BookExpo America 2016:
1. Airports are the tenth circle of hell.
I'll let the other girls fill you in on their truly terrible travel experiences, but even I, who's flight went perfectly fine, hated O'Hare. I came into terminal 2, while everyone else was in 3. (Or 4, depending on who was texting,) The signs for baggage claim were so confusing I ended up calling my girlfriend and having her navigate me via the internet. So great start on my adulting!
As I hit terminal 3, Morgan was just deplaning, so I went to find Jessie and meet Lindsey and Ashley for the first time so we could all ride to the hotel together. I'm very sorry to all the people trying to get their bags at 11 am, who got to experience me screaming Jess' full name and launching myself onto her. First impressions, I do them good. Then Morgan's bags got stuck/lost and we couldn't get a cab big enough for all of us and poor Laura, who drove, was waiting on us and it was super frustrating and basically suck it, O'Hare.
2. These are your people.
I came to that realization many times over the weekend, but my first real, like "wow I love these girls" moment came when we went down to have drinks with Sharon Cameron. First, Sharon is beyond nice and was so lovely and kept trying to feed us but I wasn't familiar with her work at all, (SORRY SHARON!) so I was kind of out of my depth and I could feel an anxiety attack starting, so I tapped Gillian and told her I was going back to the room and then I was anxious like, "all my roommates are going to hate me and think I'm a flake" so I DM'd them because I can do internet and they all got it and that's when I realized that the Boozy Lady Knights are my friends for realsies.
3. Lines are more suggestions and everything is anarchy.
So day one of BEA we all got up and showered and we're bright eyed and bushy tailed and Gilly got to be on a panel and we're all proud of her and we show up to get our badges and...
Well damn. First, we're told to join the end of the line and "snake". Then the snaking is taking too much space, so we all need to stand and compress together. But now we're just in a mob and the woman going around trying to keep us in order just tells the six of us to "merge in", like that won't start a riot, and the line finally opens and there's no line anymore, just a stampede to the Scholastic booth for their first drops. (I got Sharon Cameron's The Forgetting ASAP because she was seriously, so. nice.)
This isn't even including the Macmillain stampede on day 2 or the 3.5 hour wait for Gemina.
4. They call it a haul, because you are hauling those things around.
Even on days when I was like, I'm only going to get two books, I always ended up with at least four in a bag. You're constantly discovering books you didn't know about and, and this was a new one to me, less hyped books are sometimes brought to you. Waiting in line for a hot new MG? Someone's assistant will just take a big old stack of 700 page non-fictions and start passing them out. (And then you and Gillian get to geek out over the 200 page bibliography, like whoa.)
a) Now my whole body hurts and I'm possibly dead.
I know I'm not a physically fit person. I work a desk job 60 hours a week. But I felt I had a decent handle on "go here, stand, go there, stand again." LOL, I do not. Especially on day one, even though it's only a half day, I was carrying twelve books between two bags on each shoulder and sprinting between drop lines.
Thank god for pubs and their tote bags. I was not prepared.
5. It's not all books.
Publishers and publisher-adjacent companies are coming up with super interesting swag. Litographs is doing their Alice Chain, where everyone gets temporary tattoos of lines from the book and they publish them online:
Wiley had a photobooth that lets you turn your pictures into gifs, (with subtle branding of course.)
Disney gave out phone chargers (that definitely do not project Eoin Colfer dressed as Iron Man) and Tony Stark-tails, while Out of Print had a basket full of Fahrenheit 451 match boxes.
The comics row was impressive. Image gave out all their number ones, which is a great deal as Saga and Rat Queens are basically amazing. Next door, Lion Forge had Robin Christensen Roussimoff signing posters of her dad.
It's cliche, but there really is something for everyone. (Except adult historical fic? Our search for that did not yield any results.)
6. There's a lot of down time.
I don't just mean standing in line, although you're going to do that. The con is over at five. You have so much free time to be with your friends, it's kind of insane. We saw two movies, did a museum, had a massive drunken CaH game, watched two Disney movies, one Don Bluth movie, three episodes of Friends, and I finished a romance novel.
|Seven clowns in a car. Not available: Gilly in Meg's lap|
|Hello, we're from the internet.|
7. But there's also not enough time?
With approximately six hundred people yelling, "hey we should hang out later!", it's impossible to get enough one on one time with everyone. I was so looking forward to seeing Bekka, Meg, and Angie and I feel like I didn't get a quarter of the time I wanted to talk to them. I was really looking forward to meeting Steph, and I only got to see her for about five minutes at a party! My SandersonArmy girls caught up for one pic, but then it was off to the four winds for us all. I need BEA to be like a city we can all just move to.
|Quick, take a selfie to prove we were in the same place!|
I was fortunate enough to get an invite to the Macmillan Childrens/Fierce Reads party and it was a highlight of the trip. Coming home to a lot of drama and discussion about how bloggers fit into the publishing industry would have been a lot harder if I hadn't had Mac telling me that I'm the fucking shit. They made us these amazing goody bags, complete with a note from Brittany in New York since she couldn't be with us and it was just such a fun atmosphere to talk to Leigh Bardugo about why she should never come to Toledo. (Just don't.) Caleb Roehig, Heather, and I all got to bond over the midwest and how none of you know what our food is. (I'm serious about the buckeyes Caleb, hit me up.) When I went back to the table Jessie and Bekka were at, there was a brunette in a cute dress in my vacant seat. Long story short, Marissa Meyer.
|Caleb meets PocketJamie|
|This would be Marissa's view.|
Party it up friends, it really is the best.
At one point on day two, I got separated from everyone. As I'm walking through the convention center, there's Laini Taylor, who I ADORE. Wearing squirrel ears. Just there, being Laini Taylor. Then I walked past Eric Smith. I make it to my queue and who's behind me but Caleb Roehig again? Want to see Ransom Riggs and his shiny silver shoes? To the left. Jay Kristoff in all his imposing seven foot glory? Back there, geeking out with Amie Kaufman.
a) But they're also people, so maybe let Jay walk and stop hitting on him and Ransom?
10. It's going to blow your mind.
Ok loves, that's about it for me. If you want to see the full list of the books I got, check my BEA16 tag on GR, and stay tuned to Ageless Pages for so many reviews! Jess should have her own haul up this week as well. (Spoiler, she reads three times as fast as me, so she had to SHIP HER HAUL HOME.) And for everyone who made this one of the best weeks ever, another heartfelt thank you.
See you in 2018.