This week's Book Blogger Hop question, sponsored by Crazy for Books each Friday, is as simple as I've ever seen it and technically only involves a one-word answer: Are you going to Book Expo America (BEA) and/or the Book Blogger Convention (BBC) this year?
Yes. No. In that order.
Okay, so I can't leave it at that. I am a bookseller--an INDIE bookseller, actually, of which I am fiercely proud and I will be attending BEA this year because I am incredibly lucky. NYC is just a 3.5 hour train ride away from me, I have a friend and former coworker who is offering me her sofa in Brooklyn for as long as I want it, AND I get a free badge for the trade show floor. So it's affordable and close and there's no reason for me not to attend. I've got appointments to speak with somebody at most of the major publishers and some of the smaller ones, though I admit I've not yet scored any dinner invitations.
I work at a great bookstore with a wonderful regional reputation, but when it comes to BEA, we're small fish in a big sea, so I don't necessarily expect any invitations for myself. But I also have a generous boss who is happy to pass on to me any invitations she cannot take advantage of, so it's all good. And this year my long-suffering husband is attending BEA as an illustrator, so I'll be happy to spend time with him this year in New York AND shack up in his publisher-sponsored hotel room (thanks, Peachtree!).
If I could offer one piece of advice to those attending BEA for the first time this year, it would be this: Be Particular. I know it can be overwhelming with all of the FREE STUFF. EVERYWHERE. And I know you'll be tempted to take everything that you can. But really, be particular. The publishers will certainly thank you for not taking something that you have little intention of ever reading. But more importantly, your BACK will thank you. 'Cause the dirty little secret is that you have to carry everything around with you. And then cart it all back home with you. So just be particular. You'll still end up with more books than you'll ever have hope to read AND you won't be victim of late-onset scoliosis. Win-win, see?
Edited to add: Oh, yes. One of the comments below left the second piece of advice I would offer you: WEAR COMFORTABLE SHOES. Not the cute little peep-toes you just picked up. Not the adorable strappy summer sandal. We're talking Birkenstock/Keen/Naot/Dansko/Naot comfort here. Not just flipflops, either! The Javits Center is notoriously uncomfortable to walk around in all day, and if you're also shouldering the weight of several (dozen) books, then your feet are workin' overtime!