BEA Trip Report
Number of people that Sarah normally sees in a day: 2
Number of people who attended BEA: 30,000
Okay, here's what Book Expo America was like: imagine that every publisher in the United States magically transported a row of their offices (complete with carpets and closets) into an enormous room, broke down the walls on two sides, and invited 30,000 of their nearest and dearest to traipse through while carrying up to six tote bags each full of books that they swung wildly about as they scoured the "offices" for freebies.
Select highlights from the weekend include:
- Scouring for freebies on Friday with Scott Westerfeld, Maureen Johnson, John Green, and Kate Schafer.
- Scouring for freebies on Saturday with my fellow 2k7ers: Carrie Jones, Greg Fishbone, Laura Bowers, Jo Knowles, and Paula Chase.
- Scouring for freebies on Sunday with fellow Razorbill author Jay Asher (also a 2k7er). (Jay's book is being made into an audiobook by Random House's Listening Library division. He was nice enough to introduce me to the fine folks at the Listening Library booth.)
- Chatting with some of the terrific people from my publisher, Penguin Young Readers, who made INTO THE WILD a reality. These included Jess Michaels, Ben Schrank, Doug Whiteman, Mary Margaret Callahan, Holly Ruck, Meredith, Ev, and Todd.
- Making a total fool out of myself by gushing like a fangirl at Eoin Colfer, Sharon Creech, Jan Brett, and Brian Selznick. (Not simultaneously.)
- Having a lovely lunch with the lovely Jeri Smith-Ready.
- Hanging out at the Mirrorstone booth with Tiffany Trent (also a 2k7er), Nina Hess, Shelly Mazzanoble, and other very cool Wizards of the Coast people. (Best booth in all of BEA. They had a COUCH. Plus they're all really nice.)
- Hanging out at the ABC (American Booksellers' for Children) reception at the Copacabana with Jordan Sonnenblick, Maryrose Wood, E. Lockhart, K.L. Going, Jo Knowles, etc. (Yes, the song was sung. And Jordan made me promise that if he died at the Copa, that I would sit there so refined and drink myself half-blind. This was not as unlikely as it sounds since Jordan's allergic to shrimp, and nearly every appetizer involved shrimp.) After the reception, I got to eat dinner with a table full of awesome people including Brenda Bowen and Nancy Fraser.
- Hanging out during and after Simon & Schuster's Spiderwick Chronicles party with Holly Black, Cassie Clare, Scott Westerfeld, Justine Larbalestier, Maureen Johnson, Delia Sherman, Ellen Kushner, etc. HUGE thanks to Holly for getting me into the party. She is sooooo sweet.
The Spiderwick party was the coolest part of the weekend. It even had special effects: Maureen had just eaten the entire gummy spider in one bite from her spidertini (apple martini with a gummy spider -- tastes like liquid baby aspirin) when the caterers told us to step away from the wall. We did. Some speeches were made, including a lovely one by Holly, and then we all had to recite an incantation asking for sprite-power. At that point, there was a VERY loud noise, fog rolled in, fantasy-esque music began to play, and a garage door raised up to reveal...
... another room decorated with large butterflies and giant mushrooms. The bar was draped with a Premium Saltines cracker sign, and I very cleverly asked, "Why is Holly's party sponsored by Saltines?" To which, Scott very patiently explained, "It's not. We've been shrunk down to the size of sprites." And that's when I noticed the tables made to look like giant sticks of gum, the huge butterflies on the ceiling, and the room divider that looked like blue jeans. Oh, and there was also the Largest Hamburger I've Ever Seen. It was a real hamburger which they sliced up like cake.
And they even had a guy taking souvenir photos, like the kind they take at the zoo where they photoshop your image into the monkey cage. (Well, sort of like that.) Check out Maureen and me with some Spiderwick sprites:
Not enough name-dropping? Here are a few other very cool people that I saw/met/talked with for at least a few seconds at BEA, in no particular order: Sara Crowe, Ally Carter, Bruce Coville, Zahra Baird, Libba Bray, Lisa Ann Sandell, Sheila Ruth, Peter Glassman, Kelly Link, Gavin Grant, Carol Chittenden, Jenn Laughram, Monica Edinger, Betsy Bird, Theo Black, John Joseph Adams, Mary Brown, Barry Goldblatt, David Lubar, Laura Anne Gilman, Andrew Karre, Melissa Marr, Rachel Vater, Anne Hoppe, David Levithan, Jeannine Garsee... and several other wonderful people who I apologize to for not mentioning.
I also passed within 20 feet of Alan Alda and Peter Yarrow, but I suppose that doesn't really count. :)
In the end, I walked away with 26 free books, one stuffed polar bear (from the National Geographic booth), and lots of bookmarks including this one for the first book of Tiffany Trent's Hallowmere series:
How cool is that! Now I'm not just a blurbee but a blurber too!
And today I'm back to my normal day, where I get to see a sum total of two people. But hey, they're pretty cute, so it's all good.