Book Expo America is a chaotic, fun, and informational industry event that is a definite must for anyone who takes publishing and reading seriously. I was fortunate enough to attend last year as an author and this year I will be attending as a book blogger. Last year was my first time attending BEA and I met so many wonderful people, and am looking forward to seeing old and new faces this year. I know a lot of you are attending for the first time this year, so I thought I’d share some helpful tips to help make the show less stressful for you. If you have any of your own tips, leave them in the comment section!
1. Bring business cards
Having professional, easy-to-read business cards is instrumental for BEA. Make sure to have them on you at all times because you never know who you’re going to meet. BEA is not only a great event to meet authors, it’s also a great place to network. My suggestion is to make sure your card is simple, yet personalized enough to help publisher reps identify you and your work. Include contact information, including your name, email address, and URL. Some people put their mailing addresses on their cards, but I prefer not to hand out my personal address unless asked to. If I worked for a specific company, I’d be willing to put the company’s address, though.
Last year, I used VistaPrint for my cards, but this year I went with TinyPrints because I wanted something that was more me. Definitely check out Moo and GotPrint, too.
|Front of new card|
|Back of card. Blurred part is my phone number.|
2. Make your schedule
The BEA website allows you to make a list of all the events you’d like to attend at the show and I highly recommend doing this. You can print the list and highlight the ones you really want to attend. Many events overlap with others, so double check times.
3. Don’t follow your schedule
I know, I know–this negates #2. While having a schedule is helpful, I don’t advise following it to the T. You’ll miss many other wonderful signings and giveaways if you only follow what you’ve printed.
4. Wear comfortable shoes
You’re going to be doing a ton of walking, both inside the Javits and outside. So be sure to wear comfortable footwear.
5. Bring suitcases
There are a couple of luggage check-in areas where you leave your suitcase to fill up with books later. This will keep you from having to walk around with a mountain of items and gives you a nice little break from the show here and there. Be sure to keep your ticket on you at all times. No ticket, no luggage area entry.
6. Have fun
While BEA is a professional, industry event, it is important to have fun, too. This is a great way to meet other readers, writers, bloggers, etc…and you won’t be sorry you went. Don’t try to do everything at once. Go slow, be patient, and enjoy the show.
If there is anything in particular you have a question about, let me know in the comments!