BEA 2014

So BEA… where to start?

Everyone at Momofuku

Everyone at Momofuku

I travelled to New York on my own and meet up with Faye, Debbie & Caroline at our apartment. Once we got sorted, found food (via Central Park) we meet up with Jamie, Alexa & Elena.

Despite the lack of sleep I enjoyed myself, though I have no idea how much sense I made. Sorry everyone! 😛

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Then the next morning it was time for…

BEA Blogger Conference

I’m going to start by saying that the Blogger Conference didn’t turn out to be what I expected and I’ll go into that in a moment but Maureen Johnson’s keynote was brilliant. I met some nice people that day and because everything had structure we could take it easy, which was nice given how tired I was.

The Blogger Conference had workshops/panels in the morning and afternoon. You had the choice of two each hour, I picked mine based on the years of blogger experience BEA stated they were suitable for.

Personally, I didn’t get as much from these as I hoped. Most of the advice didn’t feel applicable to me. There was also a lot of conversation about “branding” and how to sell advertising on your blog, I gather this is much more important in the US (Is it? Or is that the BEA approach?).

And then we come to THAT panel. “The Publishing Process: How Bloggers Have Changed the Game”. That was what it said in the program, fact is that is what it still says on the BEA website, you can check it here. I now know that was the panel thought they were talking about wasn’t what the audience thought they were there to hear. It’s the organisers fault, if there was a change they should have stuck a notice on the door or had someone announce it prior to the panel starting.

20140606_231604

Website & program talk about “book blogger” you can understand the confusion.

At the time I sat there feeling more deflated by the minute. I love blogging and hearing how little value that seemed to have* hurt. We ended up leaving the panel and blogger conference early.

If I’m to return to BEA (which I think I will at some point) I don’t think I’d attend another blogger conference. Having since spoken to other bloggers and their experience in previous years there doesn’t appear to have been a lot of improvement.

You can watch Faye, Debbie & Caroline video of the Blogger Conference & Author Teen Carnival below. (I skillfully avoided the camera by sleeping!)

*I know from Alexandra Bracken subsequent post
that these panel comments were not meant in that context but at the time,
without the hindsight of knowing BEA organisers had messed up, it is how it felt.

BEA

Prior to going I spent hours online researching. I read so many blog posts about BEA. Tips, what books to look out for, etc. Preparation helped a little – knowing that you could take a suitcase and leave it at reception was great but when it comes to actually attending BEA… yikes.

It’s massive, confusing, filled with people (some of which will happily push you out of the way) there is one tip I do have: Never ask the helpers for help. I tried this a few times, either for directions to find a room/booth and not once did they know. Not even when it came to the nearest bathroom.

Despite all the mayhem it is an experience I’d recommend to booklovers. Maybe not every year but something you should do at least once. It is thrilling.

Apart from being handed books you get to meet so many people, not just authors (although there were some moments; I meet Alethea Kontis for example and managed coherent sentences, also meet A G Howard – both of who remembered my jewellery making) but other reviewers, publishing professional. I stood next to a librarian in line for a while and we talked about all sorts. She explained grumpy cat for one – I still don’t get it. Sorry!

BookCon

I believe this will be different next year but in 2014 BookCon and BEA joined on the last day. Only BookCon was in about a third of the floor space and It. Was. Ridiculous!

Compared to Saturday the previous 2 days at BEA were suddenly tranquil. Did not enjoy that day very much (apart from the #WeNeedDiverseBooks Panel, separate post for that coming soon) – mostly hid in the BEA part of the floor and left pretty early after getting my fill of elbows in the side.

Has anyone been before? Is BookCon always like that or was it just this year?

BEA Books

BEA Books

Did you go to BEA this year? How was it for you?

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