Today, it's my turn to give those of you attending for the first time some tips and advice. I'm sure many of the things I have to say have been said before, but that only goes to show you how important those bits of advice are!
**Above all, be prepared to have fun! Many of you don't have anyone in "real life" with whom to discuss books, and the book blog community gives you that outlet. Imagine yourself in a huge convention center with people who love books as much as you do? Yup, you're going to have some crazy fun!
**Don't be shy! Believe me, it's hard to get me to come out of my shell, which is why it's helpful to travel with the more outgoing Serena. But if you don't have a friend with whom to travel, that's okay. Make a plan to meet up with your blog buddies, and don't be afraid to check out everyone's badges and say "hi" to someone you "know." I didn't find a single blogger to be unapproachable, and if we're all chatting online before the big event and we know who's coming, we're looking forward to meeting you and will be looking for you! (Please tell me I don't sound like a stalker! I'm looking to meet you, not follow you around the entire time LOL!)
**Pack light, unless you plan to pay tons of $$ to ship home the ARCs if you're not traveling by car. Don't pack too many clothes or items you won't need. They just take up space that can be occupied by books. And keep in mind the luggage restrictions on whatever mode of transportation you'll be taking.
**Be selective! You don't have to take every ARC offered. Why weigh down your luggage with books you probably won't ever read? I think I took home a total of 8 books last year, and only 5 of them were for me. (I picked up the others for hubby and The Girl.)
**Don't take without asking! Not every book on display is there for the taking.
**Don't think BEA is all about the books! Sure, snagging copies of great-sounding books for free is cool, but that shouldn't be the only reason to attend. At least for me, BEA is about meeting and hanging out with my blog buddies, meeting publicists with whom I am in contact, meeting authors whose books I enjoy, and learning more about the publishing industry.
**Plan ahead! Use the BEA website and the guidebook you receive upon registering to figure out which autographing signings and panels you want to attend. (Be prepared to get up early for signings that involve tickets. And don't forget dollar bills for the donation box; they request a $1 donation per autographed book to help cover costs. That's a small price to pay for a book you'll cherish forever!)
**Don't overdo it! If you're there for the entire event, don't try to see everything on the first day. You'll just tire yourself out and make walking around during the next couple of days more exhausting. Oh, and like everyone before me has said, WEAR COMFORTABLE SHOES!! And bring some drinks and snacks to keep you energized -- especially if you don't want to eat in the food court or leave the convention center to grab a bite to eat.
**Make sure you have a plan for where to stay (the BEA site offers some information and discounts for hotels) and how to get to the city (we'll be going by Amtrak like last year).
**Don't be scared of public transit! Serena and I took the subway and bus several times without issue. Purchase a subway card to save money, and check out the maps to plan certain trips beforehand.
**You CAN go to NYC on a budget! I think Serena and I decided at the end of April last year that we'd be attending, which didn't give me a whole lot of time to save up some spending money. There are affordable places to eat -- you just have to do your homework!
Whew! I hope I covered everything or at least enough to get you all started. If any of you have any questions, just leave them in the comments, and I'll do my best to answer them.
Another reason to attend the biggest book party of the year is the Book Blogger Con 2010 on May 28 at the Javits Center. Book bloggers will gather for panels on marketing, content, ethics, and more.
Unfortunately, I won't be able to attend the Blogger Con. I have to leave NYC that day to travel further north for my brother-in-law's wedding that weekend. So you can bet I'll be looking forward to your wrap-up posts to see what I missed!
Are you going to BEA and/or the Blogger Con? Let me know; I'd love to meet you in May!