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Sunday, June 10, 2012

BEA Week Day 5: That's a Wrap Folks!


And so ends another year at Book Expo America.  Being my fifth trip I more or less knew what to expect, though I'm fairly certain of three things:
  • If I ever have to justify myself and why I blog to another person again, I will Hulk Out and Smash Them.
  • Rachel Ray should have had her own designated signing AREA, not table at a booth. Seriously that was frakking ridiculous people.
  • The show's organizers or Reed Pop or whoever the hell thought it would be a good idea to share the Javits space, needs to be hung by their toes until they repent

Autographing Line Musing

I wonder if its because there was a bigger crowd of bloggers (ie: impassioned readers with a majority of whom care about the books/authors) or if there really was less space for the autographing area, but it felt like it crowded a lot quicker then normal.

I was talking with a few of the volunteers and a couple of the security guards.  The security guards from the firm Citadel?  Had no idea what the hell was going on or what to expect.  The one guy said they were told to 'keep the peace' and 'help manage the lines', but weren't told about the limited space, lack of the show runner's involvement or cohesive plan.

Several times the volunteers would get into verbal disagreements with either each other (very common) or with the security guys about how to best keep the lines from tangling up (especially as a lot of us lined up early for certain authors).  It sounded like there was no larger procedure beyond 'keep the peace'.

Several volunteers were working hard to keep things organized--constantly checking long lines to make sure everyone was where they wanted to be, keeping track as the lines grew disorganized and finding ways to shuffle them back organization.  By in large it seemed as if they discouraged sitting outside of the bracketed areas for the signings since 9 times out of 10 folks would trip over each other.

I can't help but think that it would be a better idea if they designated an area separate from the booths area for the Autographing Area.  Its hard to maintain order when every ten feet or so there's a trio of columns blocking at least one line's formation, or a Board of Information or trash cans.  The lines naturally grew around those obstacles.

However the lines that COULD go further got stymied by the Children's Area booths, many of whom's publishers were getting pissed off and snappy about the lines blocking the ability for others to get to their booths.  But there wasn't much we could do as a lot, I'd say the vast majority of the YA authors found themselves bombarded far more than they expected.

On Power Readers aka 'Consumer's Day'

Thursday was Power Readers day.  Okay.  Initially and all reports I saw otherwise reported this as 'a chance for the public to join in the fun' (that's the gist of it).  Okay.  Talking to the Power Readers, as well as other attendees, spoke a different story.  Some seemed to have been invited by School to attend (NYU being pretty predominant), others by Gotham Writers and others because they attended other ReedPop expos in the past (NYCC it seems was the winner).

I don't think I ran into anyone who was there because they found out about it through their library, bookstore or otherwise.

I also heard, though this could be a misunderstanding, that if you weren't invited you couldn't attend?  So if I had wanted to sign up my father for the day, and paid of course, he couldn't?  Anyone know for sure?

By in large I found the Power Readers to be friendly, if confused and lost.  Many of them didn't know a thing about what to expect or how they could do things.  I think a lot of the complaints I've seen from publishers and others stemmed from the fact none of these people were given adequate instruction.

For instance a couple of girls from NYU said they were told that publishers would have free books laying out for them to take, but weren't told that not ALL books out were for the taking.  When they picked up a display copy and began walking away they were tersely told it give it back.

Some seemed lost as to what to do exactly.  These aren't, for the most part, folks who want to make contacts with a publicist or editor for their blog.  They didn't know what to say to the booth folks and many of their attempts were rebuffed.  On the publishing side their mileage seemed to vary depending on the publisher.

So we go back to Communications being the failing point here.

Starting to see this trend guys?

On the Rachel Ray Line of Doom

Seriously.  I'm not sure WHERE the signing was exactly (in terms of the booth), just that it was somewhere in that middle area (3650-3950) where a lot of the 'bigger' publishers were and the signing line wrapped down to the 4200's, all the way up to the 3200's on both sides of the middle aisle.  And people kept joining.  I don't know if or when they ran out of books, I'm pretty sure she ran over time by a lot, but that line made my Wednesday afternoon hellacious.

But this seemed to happen to a lot of the in-booth signings for the 'big names'.  Rachel Ray, Chris Colfer, James Patterson, Melissa Marr--these guys were all anticipated to be BIG names for the signings and yet there was not adequate provisions made for their signings.

Even the 'smaller' signings, like the Susan Elia MacNeal signing I went to Thursday morning got out of hand and spanned several aisles worth of lineage.  Publishers got disgruntled because the mass of humanity blocking their booths or the aisles to their booths.

On More Random Moments

I always consider it a win when I stop by the Orbit/Yen Press booth and the two fellows there groan in horror.  I've been a stalker in their side since 2010 and I love stopping by their booth just to stare at the pretty pretty covers of books I soon want to have.

Thinking about this year vs the last two years this one was definitely more chillax for me in terms of time management.  I was able to get into the front of a lot of lines, so that left me more time to mingle and look at the smaller booths and talk with them.  The lady at the Amazon Children's Publishing booth was SO friendly.  I stopped by her booth to pick up the ARC for Maureen McGowan's new title Deviants, but she knew her stuff and sold me on two others (and my friend on three books).

I was a little put off by the folks for the Eventide booth signing.  The booth lady told me I could get two books earlier in the day--my friend was leaving for class and we both wanted copies so we could read together.  When I returned for the signing she was like 'No. It won't happen.' No apologies. No reason.

I hopped by the Korean Booth and had to freeze 'cause I saw the cover of one of their magazines featured a korean pop group I like (FT Island).  I think the guy behind the counter, on his smart phone, was surprised when I (very worshipful) said their names and remarked how much I enjoyed their newest mini album.

l-r: Tegan, Tasch, Bri, James Patterson, Joan, Sandy

I felt kind of bad for James Patterson.  He was passing by and Jen (who's not pictured) called out and like a weird horror movie our group of 8 people all turned to say hello.  He didn't know what to do with a group of young girls and women demanding a picture I don't think.

Random Pictures:
Tegan, Briana B and Briana M 1st Day
Some of the Carnival of Souls folks
Jen (from Crazy about Books) and Nicole with...I don't think I got her name:(
Tegs being Tegs, her boss Joan and her coworker Jenn
at some point Tasch thought my legs were a napping station
Back l-r: Me, Tasch, Bri M // Front l-r Jess, Tegs, Jenn
As Jenn put it "Mama Aley and Mama Joan"