Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A Loner's Guide to Book Expo America

I have been to BEA a grand total of one times and so am highly qualified to give advice. This isn’t “wear comfortable shoes” advice, though you should do that. (Actually, you should wear comfortable shoes all the time. Except when you are trying to chase me down—then by all means wear some torturous Carrie Bradshaw pair).

1. The book that is being given away left and right is going to be the book you are going to be sick of hearing about in six months. So read that right away before hype fatigue becomes a problem. 
2. If you try to crash the librarian’s special reception/lounge, you will be met with stronger language than “quiet, please.” Unless you are a librarian, in which case it is all high-fives and ass-slaps. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t talk to librarians; you should. You should definitely look for them at the bars and buy them tequila sunrises. You really haven’t gazed into the dark void of book nerddom until some glassy-eyed children’s librarian delivers an homily on her love of Ramona Quimby, Age 8.  
3. Do not drop your business card into every “WIN AN IPAD” giveaway. The only thing you will win is an unstemmable tide of email spam.  
4. Drinking game idea: go to a trend panel and do a shot every time someone uses reason or evidence. By the end, you’ll still be as sober as a Japanese nuclear engineer. 
5. Check out the remainder pavilion but don’t dawdle. The dudes who lurk there are a little sketchy. Like drives-a-windowless-minivan-and-knows-his-way-around-a-roll-of-ducttape sketchy. 
6. If you find yourself waiting and hour for an autographed copy of some C-list celebrity’s ghostwritten memoir, then it’s time to reconsider your station in life and your prospects for future happiness. Also, wave to me.
7. Do not tell a clutch of self-pubbed novelists that you write reviews. Save yourself the time by getting on the 6 train to the Bronx Zoo, cutting your femoral artery, and jumping into the piranha tank.  
8. No one likes a free totebag whore. No one that is, except people looking for people to mock on Twitter.

9. To maximize your quality-value ratio, don’t eat at any restaurants between 30th Street and 72nd Street. Unless it is a vaguely “pan-Asian” restaurant. Those places are only slightly below average, but pretty damn cheap.

10. Go to The Strand, but not with a shopping list. Pretend you are in the last scene of Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade and pick out just one thing--“Choose wisely.” 
11. Don’t bother with a map of the Javits Center. Just let the random placement of escalators flow over you.

12. The press area’s refreshment spread might make a Benedictine monk’s fridge look downright decadent, but there are chairs and Ethernet ports. Also, it seems to be scantily policed, so you don’t even have to have a lightly-trafficked literary blog to get in. 
That's all I have for you. Stay tuned for woefully ill-informed and poorly-researched live-coverage from BEA next week!

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  1. Bwahhhahaaa... Did you actually do all of those things last year? I mean, are you giving advice from personal horrible experience?

    We've got to meet up at BEA11, even if it's just to nod and give each other a wave, ok?

  2. You nailed the vibe at the Remainders Pavilion... I kept expecting someone to pull out a briefcase and offer to sell me a genuine 'Rolax' watch.

  3. I'm not so sure about the ass slapping librarians, although we will _definitely_ accept offers of free drinks. It is a profession of lushes like you would not believe.

  4. This makes me super-whoa-crazy-excited to rock the BEA this coming week. I love your Strand advice, never again will I go inside without thinking of Mr. Jones. Though I know I will fail and buy three books. But I will try to choose those three wisely...

  5. Oh, I am jealous! And I'm enjoying the rather snarky side of you!

  6. TNBCC-
    I'll be at bookbloggercon too. Haven't totally decided how coginito I will be, but I'll give you a nod.

    A little fishy down there...

    Ok, ok ass-slapping might have been hyperbole. The drunken confessionals however...

    If you choose poorly, your face melts off. Just sayin.

    I'm only snarky on certain occasions. Like when I have to be around other people, for example.

  7. This is fabulous and all true, you just forgot "If you find yourself on really cushy carpet all of a sudden, you're about to be approached by Scientologists."

    For real: they put out special carpet on their section of the show floor. And it's all L. Ron Hubbard all the time.

  8. See, these are the things that I really needed to know before going. Now I feel prepared. I think I might get a Librarian drunk just for giggles.

  9. Probably some of the best advice ever. Thanks for sharing. heh. Also, Rebecca's advice is also very important to remember.