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BEAwesome

Posted on May 30th, 2009 by annakjarzab

Whoosh! BEA totally washed over me like a hurricane today. Up is down, left is right, there’s a blister on my pinky toe and I feel like I just ran a marathon, but I’m so grateful to have gotten the chance to go.

The day looked something like this:

8:50 AM: Got to the Javits center, after having taken a cab because I was too much of a lazy to get out of my apartment at a decent time. I wandered around like a little lost fawn, desperately seeking the place where I was supposed to pick up my badge. Eventually I just walked up to a counter and was like, “I’m 99.9% sure I’m in the wrong place, but where’s the Media Room?” Apparently, I meant the Press Office. I found it and got my badge (that hot little piece you see in the picture below*) and met up with my coworkers for the 9:30 panel called Driving Success with Teens & Tweens: Authors Share Online Success Stories. But not before spying a woman dressed in nothing but a turquoise bikini. Where was I, the Adult Video News Awards?

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9:30 AM: Panel: Driving Success with Teens & Tweens. The authors featured on the panel were Sarah Mlynowski, Jessica Burkhart, Robyn Schneider, Julia DeVillers, and a very valiant Maureen Johnson, who I gather from her Twitter is totes sick (as in ill). She really rallied. They chatted for a while about the importance of having a website (frequently updated), blog (actually written in, and not just about your books), and building a community with Facebook, Ning, Twitter, and Polyvore, which I’d never heard of before but Julia DeVillers talked about and made to sound really cool. This panel (like all the panels I attended at BEA) served to prove to me that I’m doing the right things, and that there are a lot of smart people in this business. That was nice to hear.

10:30 AM: Flounced around with my boss for a while, meeting people and searching for a specific person who was not to be found. Oh well!

11:00 AM: I was going to go to another panel, but instead I met up with the awesome Josh Berk, fellow Tenner and surely decent Pennsylvania librarian. We decided to visit the Egmont booth, which I erroneously thought was in the back left corner of the floor–WRONG! Turns out, it was literally right behind where we had been, at the Random House, erm, “booth.” I dragged Josh and his poor librarian friends all over God’s green goodness, and nobody was too pleased with me, but whatever, we found it eventually. At least I can admit when I’m wrong. On the way, though, we saw Dr. Ruth, and Josh and I had our picture taken with her (she is tiny, and we look like GIANTS next to her). Amusingly, she wasn’t fazed by the request, probably because it happens all the time, but she wasn’t at all interested in why we wanted our picture taken with her or who we were or what we were doing just randomly accosting her like that. The picture’s on Josh’s camera, but I’ll link you to it when it goes up–I’m sure I look hideous.

The Egmont people are so lovely. Josh and I introduced ourselves, and I passed out some bookmarks, and we talked to the Egmont staff about Alex and Kay and Lindsay‘s books. Everybody was so excited about them, and Elizabeth Law (Egmont President extraordinaire) is incredibly friendly, demanding of me, “Why aren’t we friends on Facebook?” Must get on that, I’ve been neglecting Facebook for a while, sorry FB. I grabbed an ARC of Food, Girls, and Other Things I Can’t Have by Allen Zadoff, which looks great. Then Berk and I took off for a Debs brunch that we’d decided to crash (okay, Berk was invited; I was not, except if you think an invite from Berk counts, which I can assure you it does not).

Except! First, as we were walking through the Harlequin booth on the way to the doors, we ran smack dab into a veritable nest of authors. Sarah CrossDeb, Team Castle alum, and author of the newly released and certainly awesome (though I have not read it, I plan to tout suite) Dull Boy–was kind enough to put up with Berk and I, even though we were being such fools. I giddily shook hands with Ally Carter, NYT bestselling author of If I Tell You I Love You I’d Have to Kill You, Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy, and the soon to be released Don’t Judge a Girl By Her Cover (almost snagged a finished copy of it at the Hyperion booth, but alas I did not–cool story, huh?)–books I ADORE–and another Team Castle alum. I told Ally I love her books, and she was like, “I love your dress!”, which was sweet of her to say (also, it is a cute dress). I foisted a bookmark on Ally, Sarah, and Jennifer Lynn Barnes, the adorable author of Golden, Tattoo, and Fate (which I have at work and am trying to find time to read–so many books, so little time), ALSO a Team Castle alum (everybody was at that castle, apparently). Everyone was very nice and friendly, and it was sort of hilarious that, having not sought them out at all, I ran into so many authors I follow and admire.

12:30 PM: Berk and I crashed the Deb bruncheon. Everybody was really welcoming to us. I got to see Megan Crewe (Give Up the Ghost) again–talked to her for a bit at the kid lit drinks thing at Houndstooth last night–and Aprilynne Pike, whose debut Wings is on the NYT list for, I think, the third week now, which is awesome for her. I also got to meet Jon Skovron (Struts and Frets), Jenny Moss (Winnie’s War), Pam Bachorz (Candor, which you couldn’t even get ARCs of at the Egmont table, they went so quickly), Neesha Meminger (Shine, Coconut Moon), Shani Petroff (Daddy’s Little Angel) and Michelle Zink (Prophecy of the Sisters). Michelle and I sat next to each other, and she was so nice to me! We talked about California, where we both used to live, and New York and how crazy Californians look at you cross-eyed when you say you’re moving away from California, like why would you ever leave? Trust me, there are reasons. Even though Berk and I were sure we’d get booted from the table any minute, it was a great time, and everyone was really lovely.

2:00 PM: Back to BEA for another panel, this time Book Bloggers–Today’s Buzz Builders. I work with book bloggers every day for my day job, and I love them. I love what they do for books, I love how sincere they are about their passion for the written word, I love how nice they are, I love hearing what they think about the books I send them…it’s a great community, and I’m glad to be a part of it, if only tagentially. I feel a lot of affection for book bloggers. The panel confirmed for me things I pretty much already knew about how bloggers liked to be pitched and how they think publicists (I guess I pretty much fall into that category) can improve, and we’re definitely taking their suggestions to heart, while also feeling a bit puffed up about how well I think we do what we do.

3:00 PM-ish: Back to the floor. I loved Egmont so much I went back with my coworkers and we chatted with Rob, from the sales/marketing side, and Nico, managing editor. Great guys! Really friendly and easy to talk to. I love the start-up nature of Egmont and their real investment in the books that they’re publishing. I think they’ve got a terrific launch list, and their next seasons are going to be just as impressive, if what I heard is any indication. Nico chased me down after we left with an ARC of Todd Strasser’s Wish You Were Dead, which he thought would interest me. Thanks, friend! I also stopped by the Sourcebooks booth for a while–wish my friend Paul was there, so I could see and talk to him, but he was back in Chicago. Boo.

4:00 PM: Yet another panel, Stupid Things Booksellers and Publishers Do. I didn’t really know what to expect of this panel, honestly. I didn’t know that it would focus so heavily on the symbiotic but highly contentious at times relationship between publishers and booksellers. I think that’s because instead of “Stupid Things Booksellers and Publishers Do,” I’d read “Stupid Things Publishers Do,” because, you know, that’s the side of the industry all my experience lies in. But the title clearly says “Booksellers and Publishers,” so who’s the stupid one? I liked the panel, and I thought the discussion was interesting, but it sort of devolved into a “you do this crappy,” “well you do that crappy” sort of argument, and we noticed that the consumer–the most important part of the publishing industry, THE READER!–wasn’t mentioned often, if at all. Carla Cohen, from Politics and Prose in D.C., was sitting right behind me, and she had a lot of biting, insightful things to say, most of which I agreed with. It was an experience, especially since I know next to nothing about bookselling.

And that’s it! Now I’m home, resting, reading Julie & Julia and chilling out after my rather exhausting day. Oh, here’s a piece of goodwill towards men that shouldn’t go unmentioned: I told Berk that my friend, Mary, a frequent commenter in these here parts, hadn’t been able to get her hands on Catching Fire and was DYING to read it. I couldn’t lend her the copy I read, because it doesn’t belong to me and got snatched out of my hands the second I was done, but Berk very kindly gave me one of the copies he ended up with. Now MD has it in hand, so I hope to receive many emails that just say “djkl;afdjksla;fdjksla;fdjkls;asdf! This book is so good!” tonight. I owe ya one, Josh. And Mary, you owe me one. Your soul will do. Note: I DO NOT want your first born.

*Why yes, that is a Catching Fire mockingjay pin you see attached to my lanyard. That other pin you see? Well, that’s one of the darling little matryoshka buttons I bought on Etsy** (the woman who made them was SO sweet, she did a custom order for me and even sent me a little something extra, which was lovely of her) to include with prize giveaways and the like. Because those are coming! Once I get my ARCs. Which, judging from the way ARCs are suddenly flooding the Tenners being published in the same season as me, could be any day now.

**I know the Etsy page says they’re magnets–I bought magnets, too, but I asked her to make the same things into buttons as well, so there are both! What people will get in giveaways is up to me, WAH WAH.

Edited to Add: I forgot to mention that I met Jen Hayley and Shana Silver at the Kid Lit event at Houndstooth on Friday night, too. They were wonderful and sweet, tolerating me graciously. I would talk everybody’s head off about books and YA and writing if I could, everybody’s so cool to indulge me. Although I suspect many must feel the exact same way. 🙂

9 Responses to “BEAwesome”

Jen on May 31st, 2009 at 11:20 am Said:

Awesome meeting you at the kidlit drink night! I’m looking forward to your reading your book next year. 🙂

Bree Despain on May 31st, 2009 at 3:26 pm Said:

I’m so jealous that you got to hang out with the Egmont crew. They are still just voices on the phone to me. Sounds like you had a great time. Love the magnets!

Denise Jaden on May 31st, 2009 at 5:22 pm Said:

Thanks for the recap! So thorough I almost felt like I was there…almost. I heard you met my critique partner Shana. I haven’t even met her yet!

annakjarzab on May 31st, 2009 at 5:38 pm Said:

Jen: It was great meeting you, too! Hope I didn’t creep you out so much by being all, “You’re Jen Hayley!” because I realize now that that’s sort of weird. Looking forward to good news about your book!

Bree: I didn’t realize you were Egmont, too! That was a total oversight of mine. I want to go back and be like, “And Bree’s book! How’s that going?” Your Fall 2009 now, right? The catalog is confusing…But yes, they’re SUPER nice.

Denise: Yes, I did meet Shana, she was so nice! I loved meeting her. Glad you enjoyed the recap. 🙂

Alex on May 31st, 2009 at 5:41 pm Said:

JEALLLOOOOOUUUSSS x infinity! I’m so glad you had fun and got to hang out with the Egmonters! Lawsy is so much fun on facebook, especially when American Idol season rolls around…

Mary on May 31st, 2009 at 6:19 pm Said:

It WAS amazing, just as I hoped/knew it would be. Now I will just wait in agony until book three is out, and hope that the whole thing actually stretches into seven books. The whole world that Suzanne Collins creates is so rich and deep I think the series could totally sustain more than one more book (work with me, Scholastic!).

Many many many thanks to Berk! Maybe you would like my firstborn, since Anna doesn’t want it? He/she will be ridiculously good looking and witty, so it’s a pretty good deal. Better than Anna’s getting from my soul, which is pretty ratty at this point. Let me know! Glad to hook you up.

Reverie Books Reviews on May 31st, 2009 at 6:29 pm Said:

WOW! that was one of the best BEA summaries I’ve seen! Michelle was updating me all weekend and so I am glad to put a face with the names now. Isn’t she a doll??

anywasy thanks for the update and glad to see the book bloggers mentioned at all and especially represented and brought out to the light so to say.

Shana Silver on May 31st, 2009 at 7:43 pm Said:

It was so nice meeting you too, Anna! Oh, and you definitely need to read Dull Boy. It’s awesome!

Heidi R. Kling on June 1st, 2009 at 12:37 pm Said:

What a great recap, Anna! I can’t wait to go next year. =)

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