As most of you already know, a week and a half ago, I traveled to the biggest book event in North America: BEA!
BEA stands for Book Expo America, and this year it was held close to home in the Windy City! Usually this event is held in New York City, but for this year only, Chicago became the host, so it was VERY easy to make arrangements for me to go.
I had so much fun over the course of the three days. I was able to meet some fellow bloggers, favorite authors, and new authors that I can’t wait to dive into 🙂
I discovered BEA through BookTube about a week before last year’s (2015) expo, so I was able to see all of the exciting videos, photos, and posts on all of the social media platforms as it happened. I was sold! So for the next year, I waited for the badges to become available to grab…
6:30am – With my mom as my plus 1, we drove into the city for the BEA Blogger’s Conference which would begin at 9am. We anticipated the morning traffic, so we left with plenty of time to get there.
8am – Arrived at the McCormick Place where the event was being held. We walked straight to the Registration desk to get our badges for the entire event, took a few pictures, and then glided back down to the conference room for a little breakfast until the Blogger’s Conference began.
9am – BEA Blogger’s Conference! The first hour was a very inspiring keynote given by Erin Loechner, the professional blogger and author of Chasing Slow.
10am – Breakout session 1 : Making the Right Connections: Publishers and Bloggers
This was my favorite part of the conference. I took ALOT of notes while we got to hear Q&As directly from some of the top publishers and bloggers.
11am – Breakout session 2: Creative Content: From Ideas to Tools
This was a fun panel on how to use creative content through various platforms such as Instagram, a Blog, and Twitter.
12pm – Lunch time and raffles! *Sadly, I wasn’t the lucky number* We received a $15 voucher for the cafeteria located in the center which had pretty decent food. Hot dog and fries anyone? 🙂
1-430pm – During this time, the conference continued with Blogger Table Talks which brought experts to you to talk about the their specialty in the industry. We did not stay for this part, so I don’t have further info on how this went.
We decided to leave the Blogger’s Conference early to go to the opening of the BEA exhibit hall which was open that day from 1-530pm. The conference was weirdly scheduled from 9-5pm which overlapped the actual showroom time. *sad face* I would have preferred to have the conference scheduled separate so it wasn’t a pick and choose. Maybe next year?
For the first day, there wasn’t much of a plan. Since this was our first time, I wanted to keep the first day as a discover/walk-around kind of day. It wasn’t until we entered the floor that a schedule became evident.
At the booths that were giving away swag and books throughout the event, they also gave out schedules for when the galley drops would happen. We collected these and began to figure out where we would be and when. My goal was to collect as many YA books that we could for review, so with two people, we were able to split up to maximize our time between publishers, galleys, and signings.
There were so many booths to visit that we stuck mostly to the YA-oriented publishers which were conveniently grouped in the same area. Booths we were most anticipated to see first included Macmillan, Bloomsbury, Quirk Books, Litographs, Abrams, and Harper Collins.
If you aren’t familiar with the company Litographs, they are a smaller company that print imagery using only the words from a selected entire book! (See photo above)
During my pre-planning, I discovered that they were creating the longest tattoo chain, and anyone was welcome to be apart of it at their BEA booth. And of course they chose one of my favorites, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, as their inspiration, so how could I pass that up?! 🙂 I was #5250 with the phrase, “Eager eye and willing ear,”. All I had to do was email them my picture and the number and I was in!!
5pm – After having soo much fun, we left the show a little early with our aching backs and shoulders from the HOURS of carrying all of the books and goodies. We took a taxi to our savior-like hotel and immediately passed out when our sore backs hit the beds.
I was so exhausted I forgot to take a picture of our day’s haul *sorry*, but I can say it was around 30 books or so. Even with it only being our first day, I was very surprised on how many books and tote bags we came back to the room with.
And it definitely got me excited for Day 2….
Stay tuned for the next installment of My BEA Experience! Subscribe below for links to my posts as soon as they are released 🙂 Thanks for the growing support!