Saturday, June 1, 2013

BEA Highlights

I'm back!  After an awesome four days at BEA, I am both exhilarated and exhausted.  I was planning on writing an expansive, detailed account of each day after I got home.  And each day, I would get home, take pics of my new books to share,... and then pass out.  SO I may still do a couple of recaps, but for now here are just some of the highlights of the past four days.

My Top Five Favorite Author Meetings
  • Veronica Rossi (signing Through the Ever Night)
    • Veronica Rossi was the first big author I met over the past four days, as well as the first author signing I've ever been to in my life.  We chatted about Perry, and I told her how engrossing Under the Never Sky was, how it just sucked me in.  She was funny, talkative, completely down-to-earth.  Of all the authors I met during BEA, she's definitely my favorite.
  • Ridley Pearson (signing Choke Point and Kingdom Keepers V)
    • Ridley was cool because he came out to greet everyone on the line 15 minutes before he was supposed to start signing.  He introduced himself, shook everybody's hands.  He just went the extra mile for his readers.  And when I saw him at another signing the next day, he remembered me, and that's always cool - to be remembered even though he's talked to hundreds of other people since then.
  • Brandon Sanderson (signing The Rithmatist)
    • So I told myself I wouldn't have any fangirl moments or get all tongue-tied.  And then I met Brandon Sanderson.  I told him how I loved Elantris, and I was excited that he'd written a YA book, and then he asked me if I had any questions for him.  My whole mind went blank.  Luckily he was really cool and ignored my awkwardness (for which I'm eternally grateful).
  • Michelle Madow (Remembrance)
    • I actually met Michelle Madow thanks to her mom.  I was in line to meet Rick Yancey, author of The 5th Wave, and I started talking with the women in line with me, and it so happened that Michelle's mom was standing behind me.  She told me about Michelle's new series, and then Michelle herself came to stand in line too.  And we chatted in line for about 30 minutes, which was a really cool way to meet and get to know an author.
  • Bennett Madison (signing September Girls)
    • I just wanted to give him a hug!  He was so nervous because this was his first BEA event, and he didn't know what to write in people's books.  He asked me if I had any good ideas for inscriptions (I didn't), and then apologized for writing "the lamest inscription ever."  He was just so cute!

The Top Five Most Interesting Things I Learned at the Bloggers Conference
  • Twitter, Twitter, Twitter!  It was everywhere I turned.  Turns out that Twitter is one of the best ways to build a following for your blog, rather than a Facebook page (which I wanted to do).  Of course you can still have the Facebook page as well, but it's Twitter that will be doing all the real work.  And I've resisted it for so long.  But apparently, in this one case, just because everyone else is doing it... I should too.  So I did.  My "handle" is @The3RsAlmost.
  • Wordpress is everybody's favorite (but I'm sticking here for now).  So I've been thinking about moving the blog to Wordpress for awhile, but I've been really nervous because blogger has been so easy to use.  And they made the transition sound kind of scary, although other bloggers said it wasn't that big of a deal.  Whatever the case may be, when I'm ready, I'll take that next step to Wordpress, but until then, I'm going to enjoy Blogger's simplicity.
  • Editors make awesome cheerleaders.  There were a few ARCs during the YA panel that I wasn't really interested in... until the editors talked about them.  They were brilliant at selling these stories.  So brilliant that as soon as the panel was over, I went back and picked up the ARCs I had passed by.  Maybe publishers would make more money if they just used their editors as their salesmen.
  • I need a reviewing policy.  I never thought about posting a reviewing policy before (I never even knew people did that), especially since everything I've reviewed in the past was something I bought or borrowed from the library, never an ARC or free book from a publisher.  But now I have a ton of ARCs, and I met with Sourcebooks about receiving more (you rock, Valerie!), so now it's time to come up with a policy.  I also apparently need to "disclose" whenever a book I'm reviewing is an ARC or freebie (that's all they talked about at the ethics *yawn* forum).
  • It's okay to feel discouraged or to lose the passion.  For a big period of time, this blog suffered from me feeling pretty blah about it.  I felt like it had become a chore.  It wasn't something I was just having fun with anymore.  Then last year, I decided to get back in the swing of things, actually get involved in the blogging community (which I never knew existed), and start having fun again.  But sometimes that blah feeling can set in again, and guess what?  It happens to all of us, not just me.  I felt encouraged by the fact that other people were able to say that it's a constant struggle to keep finding the joy in blogging.

Just A Few of My Favorite Moments of BEA 2013
  • Meeting lots of other bloggers who were all so welcoming and talkative.  As well as the librarians and teachers I waited in line with.  You all helped me navigate my first time at BEA, for which I am so grateful, and you were all such great people that I felt just like I was at a giant party with friends, rather than a trade show.
  • My name getting so much attention.  I know my name is unusual (Ashling), and people tend to comment on it.  But this week, almost every author I met wanted to talk about my name, instead of their books.  I actually didn't even get a chance to talk to Cristin Terrill for more than a second because I ended up chatting with her editor, Emily Meehan, about Irish names.  Which was really cool and unexpected.
  • Friday's author breakfast was SO cool, because I love Rick Riordan so much.  His three series are some of my favorites, and I could read and re-read them over and over again.  Plus, I got a Camp Half-Blood t-shirt!  And Veronica Roth was also there, and even though I'm so jealous of her for writing a bestseller before she was 24 (I wish it was me), I really enjoyed her speech.  I thought it was insightful, personal, and meaningful.  Veronica said she was nervous to have follow-up Octavia Spencer, Mary Pope Osborne, and Rick Riordan, but she did a great job.  Kudos to you, Veronica!
  • Being able to get something for each of my siblings.  The nice thing about having a brother and a little sister who love to read is that a book expo is a great place to find a special surprise gift.  For my 11-year-old sister, I got a Magic Treehouse mug from the author breakfast.  She grew up reading and loving those stories.  For my brother, I got a signed excerpt of the new graphic novel March.  It's the autobiography of Congressman John Lewis' part in the Civil Rights Movement.  My brother actually met John Lewis on a civil rights bus tour, and the Congressman himself was there to sign it, so I got that personalized to my brother.  And for my younger sister, the one who isn't a big reader, I still found something perfect for her.  Cinda Williams Chima's Heir trilogy is the only series my sister has ever finished.  She loved it so much, she read the whole thing in only a few days; she's even the one who found out that Chima was writing two more books in the series.  So when I found out that Cinda was going to be signing the fourth book, The Enchanter Heir, I got a copy signed to my sister.
And that's it for now.  I'm actually surprised I've stayed awake for as long as I have.  I feel about ready to sleep through the rest of the weekend.  I may or may not write more about BEA, or post pictures of the books & swag I got while I was there.  So at least I was able to give you some of the highlights of my first BEA experience.  Good night!

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