BEA Fun and Games
Even though I only signed on Sunday and didn’t participate on a lot of other events, BEA was surreal for me. This is because I vividly recall last year when I read everyone’s BEA updates but didn’t attend. At that point, Prophecy had already sold but was still over a year away from publication. It was too soon for my publisher, Little Brown Books for Young Readers, to send me and honestly, I didn’t see the point in paying to go myself.
But I *do* remember thinking, “Next year at this time my book will ALMOST be out and I’ll be at BEA.” I knew I’d be going because it was listed in my marketing plan, but it seemed so far away that I just put it out of my mind.
For me, BEA weekend started on Thursday with the Teen Author Carnival at Jefferson Market Branch Library (see post below). We drove home (it’s about an hour-and-a-half from our town to the New York City), spent Friday taking care of things around home, and drove down again Saturday morning for brunch with the 2009 Debutantes who were in town for BEA.
We met at the Blue Water Grill, and I can’t tell you how much fun it was to meet so many of the people that I’ve spent the last year-and-a-half communicating with online. I had oysters and salad and schmoozed with Jonny Skovron, Neesha Meminger, Shani Petroff, Megan Crew, Pam Bachorz, Aprilynne Pike, and Jenny Moss.
It was so much fun to laugh and chat, and I was especially glad that Jenny brought her wonderful teens, Christine and John, because they were able to keep my own teen entourage company. I think they had as much fun as we did! We were also lucky enough to be joined by Josh Berk (THE DARK DAYS OF HAMBURGER HALPIN) and Anna Jarzab (ALL UNQUIET THINGS), both of whom will be debuting in 2010 and are a part of debut group The 10’ers.
After brunch, the teens and I took a subway back to Times Square where we stood in line for tickets to the play, Reasons to Be Pretty. After checking into the hotel and cleaning up, we went to a French restaurant for dinner and then hit the play. We had a great time and walked all over town afterward in search of a Pinkberry. Sitting outside near a lit fountain while gorging ourselves on frozen yogurt was definitely a highlight!
Sunday, we headed over to the convention center after breakfast. I’ll admit I was a little freaked out to see the lack of crowd. I mean, I knew it was the last day and I’ve been to enough conventions to know that the last day is always dead. Still, it hadn’t occurred to me that this meant very little traffic for my signing. I knew I was lucky to get the signing slot at all, though, because LB usually reserves signing slots at BEA for Fall/Winter releases. I resolved to do my best to hand out as many ARCs as possible and to NOT be disappointed if we didn’t get a lot of traffic.
Turns out my fears were completely unfounded. I’m happy to say that we had a huge line that continued throughout the signing until every one of the 250 ARCs that LB brought were given away. I credit LB for putting together a great display and my teens for doing a great job directing people to the booth, but I was also incredibly heartened to see so many people come up to the booth with the name of my book written on a list of books they’d specifically come to snag. I even had a few who said they’d come that day for the sole purpose of getting their hands on my book, and to all of these people, I extend a big thank you for coming out the last day of BEA and standing in yet another line for a copy of Prophecy of the Sisters. One of my very favorite parts of this process is meeting and talking to so many new people, and I genuinely enjoyed saying hello to each and every one of you.
As for pics… well, I’d like to say I have some of my actual signing, but the truth is I didn’t have a minute to come up for air and my teens were busy handing out books the whole time!
I did get to hang out a bit more with reviewer bloggers Steph, Mitali, Laura, Alea, and Sharon, though, and I’m pretty sure someone got a picture of us all with my incomparably talented editor, Nancy Conescu, and my awesome publicist, Rachel Wasdyke. If so, I’m sure it’ll turn up on someone’s blog somewhere!
I also want to send a personal thank you to Vania, of Reverie Book Reviews for Tweeting my trip through updates that I texted her! I still haven’t figured out how to Tweet from my phone, so Vania was able to keep everyone posted for me during the 48 hours I was in the City, and I really appreciate it!
Also, Laura of Laura’s Review Bookshelf, came armed with VERY special gift that she passed off to my daughter. I regret that I wasn’t able to talk much to Laura because she was only there during the signing and I didn’t have a second to step away, but when it was all over my daughter, Rebekah, informed me that Laura has brought us an ARC of Catching Fire, the much sought-after sequel to Suzanne Collins The Hunger Games! All I can say is WOW! What a present, Laura! It was the perfect ending to a perfect weekend.
And it’s not about the ARC, though I’m thrilled to have it. It’s about the fact that someone I’ve been communicating with online took the time to do something so nice and generous for me. It’s about the fact that even though we sometimes we feel disconnected from one another through time and distance, somehow, someway, we DO find common ground, empathy, companionship, and yes, genuine connection to one another.
To all of you that I met this weekend – especially Marie, Frank, both Stephs (Reviewer X and Steph Su), Lenore, Sharon, Laura, Alea, Mitali, Devyn, Genevieve, Michael Northrop, Robyn Schneider, my fellow Debs – thank you. Thank you for taking the time to talk to me and laugh with me.
And thank you for being my friend.
Now, just to see if you’re still paying attention… Tomorrow is the kick-off for my first big contest counting down the final 60 days until Prophecy’s release. I’ll give you a teaser – the swag bag for the winning entry includes three gift cards (good ones!), jewelry, chocolate, a movie, a signed Prophecy of the Sisters ARC, and an assortment of other amazing goodies.
So don’t forget to check back tomorrow, kay?