Sunday, June 2, 2013

Recap: What I did at BEA 2013

It is early Sunday morning and another Book Expo America has come and gone, so naturally I went back to my Top Ten Tuesday post to see if I had actually accomplished the goals I had set out for myself.

Wednesday: The BEA Bloggers Conference:
I did have fun at the Book Blogger Conference, but can't say I learned anything new, which is most likely due to my having gained trial and error experience over time more than anything else.

At the Young Adult Editor Insight panel, YA editors talked about what they look for in the books they edit, which was pretty much the same characteristics bloggers look for in the books they review.  Things like primary sources in nonfiction; in novels, characters who have flaws, but are aspirational despite the flaws; contradictory characters that can act a foils for each other; characters who act, who do something;  day to day life of characters in YA and, finally, diversity in YA.

At the YA Book Blogging Pros: Successes, Struggles and Insider Secrets, the panel talked about how they started and what constituted success in blogging.  Of course, they did all the things most bloggers do - participate in memes, and have different features on their blogs.  These are all old, very successful blogs and I think hearing from a a newer blogging still finding their way in today's blogging world would have been a nice informative addition - sort of like experience helping inexperience.

I also went to Blogging Platforms, but that was mostly pushing Wordpress or buying your own domain. Also to remember that success in blogging isn't to be found in statistics, pageviews or the now nearly dysfunctional Google Friends Connect but in whether you make a difference.  I didn't get much out of this one because according to my notes my Kiddo texted me that she was on her way to China, but former boyfriend, now fiancĂ© couldn't fly with her because his Chinese visa didn't include Canada and they had a layover.

Book Blogging and the "Big" Niches was the last panel I went to.  And basically their advice was to using your professional experience and always ask yourself the question Who is the book you are reviewing fit for?  And to make sure your blog has a unique perspective.

The absolute best thing about today was that I was given a ticket to the Children's Book and Author Breakfast - but not just any old ticket, but one the Reserved Premium Roundtable tickets. So Thank You so much, Lisa Tener, I loved sitting there.  And if anyone ever needs a Book Writing Coach, she is the lady to see.

The exhibit hall opened at 9:00, but somehow I managed to get there early enough to get tickets to two author signings - Walter Dean Myers signing Darius & Twig and Brandon Sanderson signing The Rithmatist.  I could have gotten more but I had other priorities.

I got to speak to lots of publishers who have books coming out that I was interested in and so have lots of promises of galleys in my future.  I was especially pleased to meet the representatives at Sleeping Bear Press, who are doing some wonder historical fiction for younger readers, for example Welcome to America, Champ! reviewed here.

I had to turn down an invitation from Scholastic which pained me no end to hear Suzanne Collins and Walter Dean Myers discuss Writing About War for Young People.  Back in 2011, Suzanne Collins wrote an interesting article in the New York Time Sunday Magazine about the same topic, an article which I cut out and saved.  But you can also read it HERE (if the link doesn't work the first time, try it again - it's a quirk with the NY Times)

Friday: a big day for me
Octavia Spencer, Mary Pope Osborne, Rick Riordan and Veronica Roth
The first big day event was The Children's Book and Author Breakfast.  It was great, except everyone thought they would be getting galleys of Allegiant by Veronica Roth and instead we were given copies of Divergent.  Apparently no one near me read her blog.  I gave my away to a girl later on since I already have a copy.  We also received a T-Shirt for Rick Riordan's new book The House of Hades (the cover of which was revealed during his talk), and a nice cup for the new 50th Magic Tree House book, Hurry Up Houdini by Mary Pope Osborne.  Our Master of Ceremonies was Octavia Spencer, the actress and now novelist, who did a great job.  We were give a copy of her book The Case of the Time -Capsule Bandit, which looks like a nice Middle Grade novel.

Elizabeth Wein (L)  and Amy Tan (R)
The next big day was meeting Elizabeth Wein and getting a signed copy of her new book Rose Under Fire.  What a nice lady!  Everyone on line was a Code Name Verity fan, so that even standing on line was fun.

Third big day event was sitting and listening to Amy Tan talk about her life and her writing for an hour. She is one of my favorite authors and I enjoyed listening to her so much.

Day 3 was an early day for me because I had things to take care of so I ended up leaving early, with a bag full of books to read and write about, including these:
Books about WWII (click to enlarge)
I can't believe this, but I decided to stay home.  There was nothing special I wanted to do and would have ended up with more books that I didn't have a real interest in, so I decided to sleep late and take it easy.  Besides, I pretty much did everything on my Top Ten list.

So here ends my BEA adventure for 2013.

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