“Wear comfortable shoes”
It seems like some sort of mantra – the first statement out of anybody’s mouth the moment you ask them for information about BEA is “Wear comfortable shoes”. If that isn’t scary I don’t know what is.
I’ve been planning this trip to NYC and Book Expo America since I found out I wouldn’t be able to travel to Dragon Con last September. I was heartbroken. First of all, I wouldn’t be meeting Doll Day and other book loving friends and I wouldn’t get to experience that extra wonder of the world – the Con. So, by hook or by crook I decided – BEA here I come! And after many hiccups along the way, I really am going.
So where do you start? I decided to ask some BEA veterans if they had any advice for a newbie like me and that’s when the shoe mantra started… Every single person put that as their top tip. Yes, there were those that said bring business cards, there were those that said bring your own food, some said plan, other said do it by ear. Yet each and every one of the people I contacted thought bringing comfortable shoes was the most important thing they could tell me about BEA. After trying to put together a schedule I started to understand why….
A quick peek at the BEA schedule made me understand that:
1. I need Hermione’s time travel thingy
2. My shoes need to have wings
3. There will be tears
In fact, me looking at the BEA schedule went something like this:
Gah! How could they do this to me?? Put two of my favorite authors at two different ends of the convention center signing books at the exact same time?? Gah! They did it again! X 10
I started making lists (I love lists) then I moved on to color coded charts (yay! colors!) then coordinated the lists with the color coded charts based on day, time and genre…Then the people in the white coats came for me, which in my opinion is a shame because I was one variable away from solving the mystery of life, meanwhile the BEA schedule was still a complete mess.
Thanks to many cups of coffee, comforting emails and deep breaths taken while eating Tim Tams (only for experts) I finally realized that the reason everyone tells you to wear comfortable shoes is because it really is the best bit of advice they can offer – no one can tell you how to be at two places at once, or how to take part in each and every event you were hoping to participate in. No one can tell you how to make lines disappear and tickets to ticketed events appear.
The thing is, BEA isn’t about getting it all done, it’s about meeting new people and getting to enjoy that entrancing world of books we all love so much.
And really, that’s the secret to BEA – because if you meet up with those friends they might keep your place in the line while you go to the other side of the convention center, they might take notes at an event you missed, they might even save you a seat.
Bags all packed, plans and lists at the ready, I’m heading to BEA for the very first time. Now where did I leave my shoes…