BookExpo America 2015 Totally Rocked! (Recap & Book Haul)

BookExpo America 2015

I’M HOME!!!

And exhausted.

It’s definitely going to take me a while to catch up with my inbox (200+ email X_X) and get back into the swing of things.

Day 1: Blogger Con

Me standing in front of the Javits Centre before Blogger Con The main room at BEA Blogger Con

I had a great time at Blogger Con this year! I met some truly awesome people, including:

Rhys and Cialina at Blogger Con Rhys from Thirst for Fiction and Cialina from Muggle Born.
Deitre from A Leisure Moment and her husband Deitre from A Leisure Moment and her husband.

I also met a ton of other great bloggers and even some of my hosting clients (that was so awesome!!).

I was on two panels this year and they both went brilliantly! I was disappointed in the attendance for the second panel, but that was to be expected, given that we were competing with the BEA showroom floor. πŸ™ Boo! Poor decision.

Me and the three other speakers at the BEA Blogger Con panel for Optimizing Your WordPress Blog

Me, Brittany, Rhys, and Cialina — Speakers for the Optimizing Your WordPress Blog panel

The audience at one of the Blogger Con panels Me and the two other speakers for the Going Beyond Blog Formatting panel

Going Beyond Blog Formatting panel

Photo of me speaking at BEA Blogger Con
Photo of me speaking at BEA Blogger Con

I did hit up the showroom floor for just a bit after lunch and grabbed Illuminae. There were so many copies!!! I thought they were only going to have like 100-200, but I swear they had like 500+.

I wish I had stuck around a bit longer, but I was feeling tired and bleh. Plus there wasn’t much on my schedule for Wednesday. My main focus was Blogger Con.

Did you miss Blogger Con? Download the slides!

If you missed Blogger Con, not to worry! I’ve got you covered! You can download the PowerPoint presentations for both of my panels on my Bloggers Conference page.

Thrusday & Friday: BEA Show Floor

Illuminae staircase at BookExpo America
Disney booth at BEA
Poster for the Harry Potter illustrated edition

Passenger

The main event for me on Thursday was Passenger.

A pile of Passenger ARCs by Alexandra Bracken
Alexandra Bracken signing an ARC of Passenger
Alexandra Bracken smiling at BookExpo America

I hung out in this line with Rebecca from The Library Canary. She was THE BEST line buddy!

Waiting for Passenger with @nosegraze! #BEA15

A photo posted by Rebecca Lockhart (@librarycanary) on

There was also this super awesome guy in his booth right next to Alexandra Bracken’s signing:

A guy in a fancy blue outfit

Definitely one of my BEA highlights.

And these pirates:

Two people dressed as pirates at BookExpo America

Harlequin (or not)

I would have loved to get some Harlequin books but I DESPISE how they do their signings. They have like 5 authors all signing at once so you have to wait in this MASSIVE line, but it really sucks because most people only actually want like 1-3 of the books—not all of them.

Then after that signing, Harlequin has NOTHING going on at their booth. No more signings, no galley drops. Nada.

I really wish they’d spread the signings out instead so that the lines would be shorter, more manageable, and so more would be going on at their booth rather than only one huge event.

Harlequin booth at BEA

Alas, I didn’t get any Harlequin books. Oh well.

The Chinese area

The China zone at BookExpo America 2015 Wall of books in the China zone

The Chinese area at BEA was huuuuuge! It was totally zen though—I loved it. Very spacious and peaceful looking. A lot of people hung out there and read for a bit.

Awesome leather journals

The booth full of leather goods, including journals and bags Leather journals

There was this one booth that had a ton of gorgeous, handmade, leather journals. This booth was right next to Macmillan, so I checked it out while waiting for the All The Birds in the Sky signing. Look how gorgeous they are!

A bowl of mini, red, leather journals
Three red leather journals with gems in the centre
Leather bags and journals on a shelf

Macmillan

Macmillan's booth at BEA

I was so impressed with Macmillan this year. All of their signings and galley drops were SUPER organized. They had clear signs for every line and even the galley drops were ticketed. They dealt with people lining up for them 30+ minutes early… it was just fantastic. Go Macmillan!

A Macmillan employee holding a sign saying "Middle of Line"
Macmillan signing and giveaway schedule at BookExpo America 2015

Julianne Moore

Amy Cuddy and Julianne Moore at BookExpo America

I attended a panel with Julianne Moore in conversation with Amy Cuddy, about Amy’s book. I didn’t stay for the whole thing, but I popped in, snapped a few photos, listened to them chat, then headed out for another signing.

Undertow

I met some really great people in line for Michael Buckley’s Undertow. Plus, Michael was SUPER nice! Before the signing started he walked all the way down the line introducing himself, shaking peoples’ hands, and thanking everyone so much for coming. He said, “I’ve never had a line this long before!” What a nice guy!

That’s me in the blue shirt and pink pants!

The autographing area (or not)

I kind of avoided the autographing area this year. It wasn’t exactly intentional, it just happened that way. I only got ONE book from the autographing area and everything else I picked up at an in-booth signing or galley drop.

Thoughts about BEA15

  • The lines were much better organized than last year.
  • I loved to hang out downstairs if I needed a break. Tiffany and I had an awesome one-hour chat down there!
  • I was super relaxed this year. There were a lot of books that I missed off from my schedule, but I didn’t mind at all. I’m super happy with my modest haul!
  • The Starbucks line was long (like 20 minutes) but I braved it twice this year.
  • I hated that Blogger Con overlapped with the BEA showroom floor on Wednesday. HATE HATE HATE.
  • People who save your spot in line while you run off to another galley drop are SUPER AWESOME.

Final BEA book haul

ARCs from BookExpo America 2015

Only 13 books! Can you tell I was super picky this year?

In previous years I was left with 10 unread books (2013) and 11 unread books (2014) so this year I tried to massively cut back on the amount of books I took. I got about half as many books (if not less) this year than last. So hopefully I’ll be able to read them all!

Book list

The books shown in the photo are:

Did you attend BEA? If so, how was your experience?

Will you be at BEA in Chicago next year?

Photo of Ashley
I'm a 27 year old California girl living in England (I fell in love with a Brit!). I like to inject a little #girlpower into the WordPress development community by teaching women how to be coding badasses. more »

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64 comments

  1. I really wish I could have attended BEA and I would have loved to have been able to sit in on your panels. I have really loved reading about everyone’s experiences though and seeing your pictures almost makes me feel as if I was there (almost!).

    I have totally downloaded your slides and will be checking them out (well, probably tomorrow since it’s getting a bit late and I have to be up early lol). πŸ˜‰

    Thanks for sharing your experience and I hope you enjoy your book haul.

    Brin recently posted: From Page To Screen
  2. Thanks so much for allowing those of us who couldn’t make it to BEA this year to download your Powerpoints – I was wishing that I’d been able to be there and bask in your wisdom. πŸ™‚

    I am SO glad to hear that the lines were handled better this year (Macmillan sounds particularly organized) – last year, that was definitely my biggest complaint!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction recently posted: Top Ten Books I Want to See on the Screen
    1. Oh that’s awesome Amanda! I’d love to see you there!

      I’d love to be on more panels, but this was my second year doing them, so I imagine they might be sick of me or at least want “new blood”, which is fair enough. So I’m not expecting to be invited again next year, but I wouldn’t say no if asked. πŸ˜‰

  3. This was my first year attending! I really liked it! But I also did not enjoy how the Blogger Con overlapped the showroom so I missed Truthwitch πŸ™ I also did not enjoy the way Harlequin set up their signings. There was one time I only wanted ONE of the books, and it was the one at the end of the group.. It was so awkward. I found that a lot of spots though had pretty good organization for their lines. Like MacMillan (like you said) and Penguin Radom House (although they were a little PICKY). I found the autograph area pretty organized, too.
    PS I’m totally in one of your pictures!!

    Beth @ Fuelled by Fiction recently posted: Going to NYC for BEA!
    1. It’s so awesome that you’re in one of my pictures!! πŸ˜€ Right on!

      And yeah I missed Truthwitch for the same reason. It was just such a bad idea! This was the first year they’d overlapped the two and I’m so mad!

  4. I’ve been looking forward to your overview post of BEA! I’ve never been to BEA, but my husband and I have already agreed that I’m going next year (I’m saying to celebrate my 30th birthday). SO I’m so, so excited, I just need to figure out how much I need to start saving!

    I would be so happy with only 13 books too. I’m not gonna know what to do with myself!!

    I work for a division of Penguin Random House – what did you think of their booth? Don’t worry, if you hated it, you wont offend me. I work for the video game strategy guide division.

    1. Omg it’s so awesome that you’re going next year, Lauren! Hopefully we’ll see each other. πŸ™‚

      Penguin Random House’s booth was great! I didn’t do any signings at their booth, but I swung by for a few galley drops (like Reawakened, which I already read and LOVED!). I mostly snuck in at the end of those drops so it wasn’t super hectic at the time.

  5. This is a great breakdown and analysis for those of us who didn’t attend. I am thinking about Chicago, it’s a city I’ve never visited. Smart to be picky about the books you went after. Less for you to drag home and you’re leaving titles you don’t desperately want for those who do.

    Elizabeth recently posted: Books Into Movies
    1. I’ve never been to Chicago either—next year will be my first time! I’m excited because I’m not a fan of New York and I’m looking forward to a new scene, you know?

  6. Can I just say I am TOTALLY with you on the Harlequin line. I refused to stand in it. I wanted The Legacy of Kings, but I have all the other books and wasn’t willing to wait for over 2 hours to get 1 book (which was the last in the line!). I will be happy reading egalleys of the books. For me, this year, BEA just wasn’t what it has been in the past. I was super unorganized and just wasn’t into it as much as I wish I would have been. Plus I wasn’t willing to wait on all those massive lines, or rush in for tickets to books and get trampled. I took it easy and still came home with a nice haul and some really great books from a few of the smaller publishers!

    1. The Legacy of Kings was what I wanted too! But like you, I had no intention of waiting in line for like two hours for it X_X

      I actually swung by the Harlequin booth at the VERY end of the huge signing (where there were only like 5-10 people left) and I almost thought I would be able to get a book after waiting only 5 minutes, but then they cut the line off because they ran out of books.

      I just hate how Harlequin does this every year. I seriously wish they’d switch it up and do one signing at a time scattered throughout BEA.

      1. Yeah, the way they do it is odd, I agree with that. I know they give a lot away at the breakfast. I could not make that this year since I didn’t stay in the city. I downloaded a digital version of Legacy of Kings, instead. I did talk to my contact who said she would be happy to send me one if I wanted. I give my ARCs away for the most part, so it would just go to someone else anyway.

  7. Your panels were great! It was good to meet you in person. πŸ˜€

    Personally, I don’t think BEA is my thing — i’m not huge on waiting in line or having to deal with grabby hands all around me. We did get a lot of books we did want on our list, so that was successful at least! And Harlequin ticked us both off — we wanted one book and was not going to waste our time in line for two hours for it. Nope.

    If anything, I wish the blogger portion was longer! I wanted to attend more of the main panels at BEA, but it felt like there was no time with all the line waiting. I don’t know how people can do it year after year!

    Anne @ Lovely Literature recently posted: Books we’d love to see as a TV series or movie!
    1. Thank you Anne! It was SO WONDERFUL to meet you! Thanks for coming by the panels. πŸ™‚

      I’m sorry BEA wasn’t really your thing. I do love BEA, but I’m with you in that I like Blogger Con best. I just love being able to talk about blogging, meet other people, and network a bit.

  8. I see my back in one of the pictures! lol. Ya I was bummed that some of the bloggers panels were during the same time the show floor opened. I wanted to go to your afternoon one but there were also things I wanted to pick up. I like your laid back approach. I was trying to be more like that. Especially since I had gone to ALA Midwinter.

    Now I wished I had talked to Michael Buckley. I actually read Undertow maybe a month ago or so…I really enjoyed it. I wanted to stop by and tell him but the line was already over and I’m an awkward person so sometimes I look at people but can’t think of anything to say. ha

    1. Haha, awesome Jen! πŸ˜€

      I bet Michael would have loved to talk to you. He was SO FRIENDLY! I didn’t know about him or his book before going to BEA, but he ended up being my favourite author at BEA just because of how nice/social he was. So many authors barely even say “hi” when they sign your book. One girl told me that she waited in line to get a book signed, and the author never even looked up at her! O_O

  9. It looks like you had an amazing time at BEA! And you got some INCREDIBLE books! I hope you love, love, love them all! I have never been to BEA. Maybe next year will be when I finally get to go πŸ™‚ I am off to check out your blogger con presentations πŸ™‚

    I hope you have a fantastic week πŸ™‚ Happy Reading!

    Michelle @ Book Briefs

    1. Yeah that’s what I was afraid of. I feel like a lot of people already choose not to go to Blogger Con, but I knew that it was going to be 50x worse when it was ALSO having to compete with the BEA show floor. I was betting that most people would choose the show floor over Blogger Con and they did. πŸ™

  10. Thanks for taking so many awesome pictures and giving those of us who couldn’t attend a feel fo what it’s like as well. I am hoping I can attend a book convention once, but here in Europe there aren’t that many book conventions.
    It does look busy, but I guess that’s understandable. Sounds like they organized it better than last year, although that’s sad the Harlequin signing was done so weird, I can understand some bloggers want all 5 books but most probably only go there for 1 or 2 authors and still have to wait in the whole line.
    You got a nice haul, it probably is important to be picky, else you can never get all the books. Although it must be hard to resist grabbing all the books.

    Lola recently posted: Review: Suspected by Rori Shay
    1. Where in Europe are you? Netherlands, right? I know there are a few conventions in the UK, like:

      * London Book Fair
      * London Comic Con (there’s a YA book section of that)

      Obviously that’s convenient if you’re in the UK, but maybe not so much for the Netherlands. But at least it would be cheaper than flying to New York (or Chicago).

      Harlequin does that annoying 5 author signing every year and I hate it. I don’t see them changing it any time soon but I REALLY wish they would.

  11. Yes I live in the Netherlands. Maybe once I am doing a bit better financially that it’s worth checking out those UK conventions, I would love to attend a book convention. And the UK is certainly cheaper than flying to the US and I can travel by train to the UK (I am terrified of planes).
    I heard of the London Comic Con last year, when one of my favourite authors would be there for a signing, but I wasn’t able to attend. There is also a convention in Germany, but so far not many authors I heard of attended those and my english is a lot better than my german.

  12. Looks like you had an awesome time at BEA! I’m so jealous! I’m definitely going to take a look at the slides from your panel.
    Sadly, while BEA was happening I was at home studying for exams. I won’t be able to attend BEA next year either because of school. Oh well. I’m sure I’ll be able to go someday.

    Sidenote: How do you get your pictures side by side?

    Dana @ The Unprinted Protagonist recently posted: Why I named my blog β€œThe Unprinted Protagonist”
  13. I am loving everyone’s pictures and posts from BEA. Seems like such an amazing experience. I’m hoping to make it to BEA next year in one of my favorite cities. Lived there for 2 years. Looking forward to revisiting some of my favorite restaurants.

    Bree @The Things We Read recently posted: June's Hitlist
  14. It was so awesome to meet you!! I had such a great time hanging out in the Passenger line with you, though I’m disappointed you didn’t share the awesome story of the way you got that picture of the guy in the blue suit. Lolol that was hilarious, definitely a highlight of BEA. I’m hopefully going next year and may try to do blogger con as well for the first time since I’ve never done it before so hopefully I’ll see you there! And great job being picky about your books!

    P.S. I also hate the Harlequin signing, but there were only two books I didn’t want (I’ve already read the JLA one, but I can give that away easily) so I figured I’d just run through it to get them all. But I do agree about them needing more signing times if they really want to do it that way because you seriously have to line up an hour early if you want to get through the line. Maybe if they get enough negative feedback they’ll change it? Though I’m sure some people love having all the authors in one place at one time so they don’t have to choose between them.

    Rebecca @ The Library Canary recently posted: BEA 2015 Recap
    1. Oh gosh, you’re right! I totally should have added that in! HAHAHA!

      I think Harlequin probably gets some good marketing out of their signing. Like, it sounds good on paper to be able to say, “Meet 5 NYT best selling authors all at once and get your books signed!”

      I don’t know…

      That line just takes up SO MUCH of the day, you know? I’d have to sacrifice like 2-3 other galley drops/signings to make it, and it’s often not worth it for me. More often than not I only want one or two of the books!

  15. I was at the blogging conference and I enjoyed your presentation. I have been blogging about a year (both for me and for my courses at Rutgers University) and still know so little. I was impressed with your knowledge and I enjoyed your post on attending BEA. I agree with you that it was exhausting and, in fact, I was in bed all weekend with a virus or something. But you are absolutely right that it was very exciting and it is making me wonder whether I should self-publish my next book or try to go through a publisher. My suggestion is that you take all of your ideas and know how and write a book for users of WordPress. I find it very difficult to use and navigate around. Also, I was wondering if I could re-post some of your photos of the exhibits at BEA? I forgot totally about taking photos – probably because it was my first time attending and I was overwhelmed with everything.

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Joe. πŸ™‚ Thanks so much for coming!

      I am actually planning on putting together an e-book, I just haven’t had the time yet.

      You’re certainly welcome to re-post my photos and long as you provide a link back to my blog as the credit for them. πŸ™‚

  16. Thanks for the rapid reply and for permission to use some of your BEA photos (just some of the panoramic ones). I will certainly provide a link to your blog. In fact, I have been emailing friends the link because your post was so amazing (and your whole blog, too). Concerning an Ebook, I would definitely try using Pressbooks.com to write your Ebook. They nicely interlink and you can use the export function in wordpress to produce a file that can be imported into Pressbooks. Once your posts are in Pressbooks, it provides a staging area where you can organize your posts! If I can do it, it would be a breeze for you!

  17. Sounds like you had a fantastic time at BEA once more, Ashley! I saw your response to Lola up there, and I just wondered if you’re going to London Comic Con? It’s during the fall vacation here, so I might be able to squeeze in a trip to London πŸ˜‰
    I’m not sure if I’ll come to BEA next year or not… I kind of fell in love with RT, because the hotel where the convention was at was also the place where most of the participants were staying, so we could all hang out in the evening as well… I do love Chicago, though, and some bloggers I love are going. Choices, choices πŸ™‚

    Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews recently posted: Review: Kodiak’s Claim – Eve Langlais
    1. I haven’t decided about London Comic Con. A few reasons:

      1) I feel really bad about this, but I’m not sure if there’s anything there book-wise that I’m actually interested in. I’d only be going for the people.

      2) I’d probably have to get a hotel and I feel like I’ve had tons of trips and London hotel stays this year. So with this and #1 I guess I’m wondering if I want to spend the money.

      That hotel thing does sound like a very good part of RT! πŸ™‚

  18. I hope to be brave enough to go next year. Did I just see that BEA is in Chicago next year? That would make it so much easier for my anxious self, because then I wouldn’t have to fly alone to get there. I’ll need to investigate this further. πŸ˜‰

    Amelyn recently posted: Too Charming by Kathryn Freeman
      1. I found it by Googling and asked for more information. I live just a half mile from one of the major Chicago convention centers in the suburbs and my fingers are crossed that it will be held there. πŸ˜‰ Otherwise, I guess I don’t mind spending a few nights at a hotel if it’s elsewhere. Traffic gets so bad around here and I loathe rush hour. LOL!

        Amelyn recently posted: Against Reason by Scarlet Blackwell
    1. I think I still get a little bit of that nervous feeling on the first day every year. But by the second day it wears off and it’s just pure excitement! πŸ™‚

  19. I can’t believe I haven’t commented on this yet. Life fail. πŸ˜› But I’m glad you had a great time at BEA and am seriously impressed with how picky you were about the books you grabbed! I am sorry I didn’t get to meet you in person, though. (I’ll have to be more intentional about stalking bloggers I know if I go again.) I agree about the BloggerCon/exhibit floor overlap; that was less than ideal. I almost wish they had done shorter panels and gotten everything in before lunch.

    Kel @ Booked til Tuesday recently posted: Art It Up! - Ursula
    1. I would have loved to meet you! Will you be going next year?

      To be fair, I’m not sure shorter panels would have worked, just because it’s hard enough to fit a good amount of content in as it is. But Blogger Con definitely needs its own day!

      1. I’m unsure about next year at this point, but leaning toward probably no. πŸ™ I start law school in the fall, and between that and the fact BEA’s moving to Chicago, I don’t know that it’ll work financially or schedule-wise. But we’ll see.

        Kel @ Booked til Tuesday recently posted: Art It Up! - Ursula

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