Discussion: The Green Side of Book Expo America

Posted 16 May, 2014 | Mary @ TheBookSwarm | Discussion, Features | 33 Comments

If you’ve spent any time in the blogosphere or on Twitter lately, you’ve probably heard of BEA, aka Book Expo America. Held in New York City, BEA brings publishers, PR folks, authors, press and bloggers to the Javits Center where we collectively swoon over all the fantastic upcoming books. There are lustworthy ARCs, stars galore (both the author type and actor type), and tons of sparkling parties.

It really is quite fabulous and, if you get the chance, you should definitely go at least once. But there’s a dark side to attending (and can appear even if you’re not attending). One that comes in the color green. It’s a monster. And it can eat you alive if you let it.

That’s right. Jealousy. The Green-Eyed Monster. The Elephant in the Room. Judging by all the squeeing on social media, you may think you’re the only one who feels this way but you’re not. It can happen to any of us, striking without warning, even when we’re really excited about something. The grass is greener and all that.

Why might you still see green even if you’re attending such an awesome event? (And, really, this goes for any such event, not just BEA.)

You’re going to get some fabulous books (though maybe not every one you’re hoping for. Mortal Heart, for example, is one that just about every blogger I know is lusting after — including me — and I just don’t see how everyone’s going to walk away with an ARC. Please don’t push and shove or bite for this book. It might be at the top of your/my/our to-get list but it’ll be on sale soon. Don’t be a dick trying to get it or any other book, for that matter). 

You’re going to meet awesome authors (though you won’t be able to meet everyone and you certainly won’t get the chance to talk to everyone, especially those who are signing because you really need to smile, say hi, let them sign and go. Seriously. The lines are too long for a chat). 

You’re going to run into some fabulous online friends (though you may not get a chance to hang out, depending on how busy they/you are or how packed everyone’s schedule is). 

You may get to attend some of the many free events held around town (though you won’t be able to do everything. Some events are at the same time; some are across town from one another; some are so crowded you couldn’t squeeze in if you were Flat Stanley).

You may even get invited to some parties thrown by various publishers (though you might not get a single invitation, even if all your bloggy friends are invited to everything and you think your blog is just as awesome as theirs. Life’s not fair. Suck it up, find an awesome restaurant or bar or even just chill out with a new book).

Don’t let the Green Eyed Monster rule your life. Don’t spend the weeks (well, less than a week and a half in BEA’s case) leading up to the event checking and rechecking your email for invitations that may or may not ever come. Don’t obsessively read Twitter and let the monster nip at your heart as you see another blogger squee over yet another invitation to an exclusive party.

Go. Have a great time. Meet wonderful people. Enjoy the all the city has to offer, even if your friends are at a publisher party with a free bar and time to actually talk to authors. *twinge* Those pangs of jealousy can be a bitter pill. But you know what? It’s best to swallow it down, chase it with a frosty adult beverage and kick that sucker to the curb. Whether you’re a new blogger or if you’ve been around the block for years, if you just relax and take things as they come, you’ll have a better time for it. (This doesn’t mean don’t have a plan. Just be flexible about it. You never know what’s going to fall into your lap!) 

And if you’re going, leave me a comment! Look for me! (Yes, we’ll all be staring at badges, looking for names, which feels like you’re checking out the other person’s boobs but we all know what’s really going on.) Don’t be shy. (Again, it’s hard. I know. But if I can do it, you can do it.) Talk to people in line. Squee over an awesome book or author or even the Corona you got while waiting in line (Cheers!). And, most of all, enjoy the craziness that is BEA, and shoot that damned Green-Eyed Monster down dead should it cross your eye-line. It’s just not worth it.

And if you’re looking for some advice posts, check out these lovely bloggers to help you get organized for the big event:
Bewitched Bookworms (BEA2U 2014, which also has links to their other BEA posts)
The Irish Banana Review (BEA 2014, with links to a ton of other posts by both Hannah and other bloggers)
Shae Has Left the Room (Parts I, II, III, IV, V)
The Perpetual Page Turner (NYC Bucket List)

About Mary @ TheBookSwarm

33 Responses to “Discussion: The Green Side of Book Expo America”

  1. Every year when BEA starts, I feel awful about living in Europe. But on the other hand, at least I avoid all the jealousy and drama. I’ve been watching it from afar from years now and it makes me very sad. I am however looking forward to your post, once you get back, and Jenny’s, and several more.
    Enjoy!

    • Even when I’m lucky enough to go, I enjoy reading everyone else’s post because there’s no way one person can do it all. SOME DAY, Maja! Some day, we’ll get to hang out IRL!!

  2. This is such a great post Mary and you are right about everything, I would love to go to BEA one day, but love experiencing it through people’s blog post and tweets! I hope you have a lovely time!

  3. Great post. We’ve never been, but we’ve seen what you’re talking about play out on social media… BEA should be a celebration of books between the book-loving community! Here’s to bringing it back to that. 🙂

  4. I live an hour away from NYC but always have exams during BEA, which is why I never get to go. It’s a shame but I’m so glad that other bloggers get to go and share their experiences — it’s always nice to hear about it. 🙂

    • I’m completely lucky that I have a principal who will give me the time off. It is exam time, too, but my students don’t take one — we have a project instead.

  5. I ADORE YOU MARY!!! Yes to everything about this post. BEA, as much as I love it, brings my blogger insecurities right to the forefront every year no matter how much I tell myself I’m not going to let invites or anything else bother me. It can’t be helped I don’t think. Each year I get better about it though, and this year I’ve stayed pretty far away from Twitter which has been a good thing for my self-confidence 🙂 I cannot wait to see you. Be prepared for a scene my friend:)

    • *huggles* I think everyone has blogger insecurities in some way or another. It can’t be helped but, as long as we can move on, I think we’re all good. And WHAT a scene it will be, doll! I ADORE YOU, TOO, JENNY!!

  6. I hope you get The Mortal Heart! I hope they have it at the ALA when I go end of June as well! These events are strange but fun. I always feel overwhelmed. I don’t advertise what I get because of that green-eyed monster. Enjoy your Corona in line if you get it, Mary! 🙂

  7. I thought you were going to inform me how to recycle my ARC’s! Darn it!!

    It hunk it’s really important to remember you just can’t be everywhere at once – you need to let some books/authors go. You won’t die if you don’t get EVERY book.

    I don’t get invited to any parties but then again I’m so shy and unsocial that I don’t really put myself out there so I’m no offended anymore.

    I remember when everyone wanted to see what you got but now you’re bragging if you post pics. So I just go, have fun and I don’t pay attention to all that other stuff.

    My husband actually saw someone get shoved down on the ground for a Richelle Mead book. No book is worth hurting people for.

    • LOL! That is a challenge, isn’t it? Definitely good advice. Are you going this year? I hate that someone got shoved down over a book. Come on. I love books but it’s a BOOK, not the apocalypse. Sheesh.

  8. I wish I was going, but these days with two small kids and living clear across the country it isn’t doable. It is on my bucket list though. Some great tips up there. I hope you get a copy of Mortal Heart 🙂

  9. I can’t go this year because of a work trip and I’m actually a little relieved, tbh. It’s a lot of fun and a fab way to meet other bloggers but sometimes the crowds make me crazy and all I want is to go throw a blanket down in central park and read and nap. Also I always have major NYC fomo the entire time—when I’m waiting in an especially long signing line I’m always thinking, I could be in soho shopping right now, or eating a shake shack burger or getting a cupcake at magnolia bakery or walking the brooklyn bridge. WHAT AM I DOING trying to get this arc that will be on netgalley in a month? Then I talk myself back into and out of standing in line a few more times before finally getting my book signed. It makes me anxious! 🙂 Anyway all that aside, it really IS a fun time (I’d totally be going if not for work) and I can’t wait to see your post when you get back!

    • I do have such a hard time with crowds. Too much time in/around them and I shut down. Central park with a blankie sounds like a good plan. And you’re so right about the ARCs being on Netgalley the next month. *snort* So true. But, even with all the craziness, it really is such a good time.

  10. *crosses arms over chest* Um… 😉 LOL

    I can see how you can get caught up in the green eyed monster. It is so easy to do with anything that you want. I just remind myself who I want to be and then deal with not getting everything I want. I mean it might end up being a relief that you don’t have to push yourself to read all the coveted books and can enjoy the ones you do get. Great post!!

  11. So well said dear! I know that even as a person attending BEA it is easy to get jealous about the invites and books and all that jazz that you’ll miss out on even if you go. The best thing is of course to remember. They are just books – you can buy them later. Excellent advice. I know I was sad when I heard about invites going out but I remember how hectic it was last year and frankly – I’m going to enjoy myself and go watch a broadway show! Newsies here I come!

    • You’re going to be there? We’ll have to catch up!! And I’m going to do the same — find some good places to eat, maybe see a show or two. It’ll be awesome.

  12. Such a good post! I’ve never been to BEA and yes I’m jealous of everyone else, but I’m also a bit relieved because it would be so hard to decide which things to do! I have been to ALA so I know that it’s easy to get jealous when some others get the book you’re DYING for, etc. It’s nice to remind people, just relax and don’t let things get to you. I want to go just to meet all you other awesome bloggers!

    • It really is so hard to decide what to do. This year, everything seems to be on Wednesday! But you’ve got to pick and choose and be happy with your choices. Maybe next year, you’ll come! 🙂

  13. Oh I so hope to go one year. To a lot of the different events. I’ve been to some of the smaller cons and really enjoy them. Great advice Mary and something that can so apply to just the blogging world in general. It’s hard to not let that sneak in sometimes over this or that. Hope you have a fabulous time and meet up with some great people (and oh the book staring. lol I so remember that from the ones I’ve gone to. lol)

  14. I am SO excited for this. I haven’t alerted any publishers to garner any invites, because I doubt I’ll have time/means to go around at odd times. I’m mostly going to see how it is this year so I’ll be better prepared next year. If I go. Heh. Fabulous post, Mary!

  15. Allllways good advice to avoid the green-eyed monster whenever possible–I’m glad you posted this when you did, especially for newbies who are going. I’m just excited for you that you will be there! That in and of itself is an AWESOME thing, and I’m so glad my co-blogger Kim will get to meet you! If I’m jealous of anything, it’ll be of that. 🙂

    But c’mon, you’re telling people not to bite if they see a pile of MORTAL HEART ARCs? You’re asking a lot.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

  16. Fabulous post! I definitely have jealousy issues every BEA time. Mostly it’s about invites to parties. This is the first year I’ve ever gotten invites (I got 3). In the past, I’ve only gone as people’s Plus 1. I’m super excited to get party invites but I’m still kind of jealous over people who got more than me – or to other publishers. I know I’m being silly.

    Can’t wait to see you! Are you staying at the same place as last year?

  17. I LOVE YOU – with that being said – this post is brilliant. And yes I do realize thatI am late to comment… As much as it hurts to admit, I’m also being jealous every once in a while, mostly about events.
    Books I can mostly hold my cool because I know that I am going to read them anyways and get a eCopy a few weeks later. Apart from Penguin who simply hates my guts lol 🙂 So my plan last year was just to get books I really wanted to own and where I wanted to meet (at least shortly) the author 🙂 Made the whole experience so much easier and more relaxed!