Thursday, June 2, 2011

Book Expo America - Recap

First off all I want to apologize for neglecting my blog the past month, but I got completely overwhelmed when I visited Book Expo America, and I have spent some time letting everything I experienced sink in. Aside from that, a lot of other unexpected things happened the past month. One of the best was that my boyfriend proposed. He had been planning the whole thing whilst I was in New York. I said yes, off course. So now we are planning a wedding next year.

But back to Book Expo America. It was an adventure and a great experience, and in this post I will try to recap some of it all.

Book Expo America was my very first vist to the United States, and I had butterflies in my stomach throughout the week before I was going to leave. It was actually a relief finally getting on the plane. From Norway you can take a directflight, that lasts for about 8 hours. During the flight there is movies, games and free magazines you can read. I brought my laptop and watched DVDs with tvseries episodes, I also did some reading in Die for me by Amy Plum (look out for a review of that one soon).

When I landed on Newark, I spent a lot of time standing in lines before I could relax in the yellow cab. I was a bit surprised that the airport was so small, I had imagined it as much bigger. New York on the other hand, was a big city. I have read that New York is the city that never sleeps. My first impression was that New York is the city that always smells. There were smells everywhere, different smells mixed together to something very distinct. I got used to it after a while.

And the sounds, the sounds were everywhere. People talking, sirens, cabdrivers honking their horns, music, laughter... I live in a rural area and is not used to that kind of noise, and I had a hard time sleeping during my stay. I had to turn the aircondition in my hotellroom on to get some kind of sleep. I lived on Times Square, so the sounds were all around me at all times. But I do not complain. I started to smile once I left the airplane, and I continued to smile the whole week. To me, USA have been a country in the movies and on TV, a kind of fairytale country, and it felt so surreal finally to be there.

I spent the first days sightseeing, and visited Barnes & Nobles on 5th Avenue. Here I bought some new books, among them Wither by Lauen Destefano and The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting. On Saturday I picked up my badge for BEA, and visited the Strand. What a great bookstore, if you haven't been there, be sure you visit the shop when you are in New York.

On Monday I attended the Teen Author Carnival, that consisted of four panels:
* Kick ass females in YA: And why it's a big deal to have them.
* Teenage angst: Getting it right - The emotions, the voice, the drama
* Otherwordly adventures: With a bit of the real world thrown in
* Debut author showcase: The journey to publication

I sat in on the panel with the debut authors and the one with otherwordly adventures. Very interesting both of them, and for me a big thing just to get to listen to the authors. Publishing in the United States is completely different from publishing in Norway. In my country you do not need an agent, everyone can submit a manuscript to a publisher and keep their fingers crossed and hope for the best. I specifically remember Scott Tracey's story about his road to publication, and that made me all the more interested in his book.

Author Carrie Jones captured the audience when she talked, she could have been an actress. Bettina Restrepo had a very emotional reading of her book Illegal, I almost started to cry myself, and Michelle Modkin told us that her book is a kind of Romeo & Juliet meets Hitchcock story - she totally sold me on that pitch. I was also so lucky that I won a totebag full of ARCs at the event, I am dying to read all of them.

Books I bought at the carnival:

On Tuesday I got up early and headed to Javits and the Children's Author's Breakfast. Once there I realized that everything people have been saying about friendly bloggers were totally true. I met Lenore from Presenting Lenore in the line, and got to share a table with her and some other bloggers, among them The Girl from the Ghetto. Julianne Moore was lead speaker at the breakfast, and it was a big thing for me seeing her in real life.

I left the breakfast a bit early, because I was going to meet up with another Norwegian blogger. I also got to see the madness once they opened the doors to the exibition floor. I was totally taken aback by the behaviour of some of the attendees. I mean, people were literally running to get inside. I thought for a moment that I was watching a class of young students, not adults. This took me completely by surprise.

I was also shocked by how some people act around free books. People were literally grabbing everything they could get their hands on, not bothering reading on the back of the book. I got pushed by a woman and a man in their fourties and fifties, who had desperation glowing from their eyes while they tried to grab as many copies of Eve by Anna Carey as possible. I got a bit stressed out by this.

I was also overwhelmed. People had told me that there would be a lot of free books, but I had no idea just exactly what that meant. So everytime I visited a booth, I kept asking the publishers - Is this for free? Really? In Norway the publishers never distribute free books like this, so to me this was something completely new and, as I said, overwhelming.

BEA is also all about lines, and I stood in a lot of them. I found out pretty early that it was a good thing showing up an hour or so before the signings, that way I got all the signatures I wanted. On Richelle Mead's signing, I showed up over two hours earlier, and got to be first in line once she got there. That was a big experience.

I was told beforehand that you needed to donate 1 dollar to the publishing industry in the autugraph area, but I never saw anybody doing that. When I did it, people looked strangely at me. I thought that was something everybody should do. Standing in lines to me was one of the best parts about BEA. It was mostly during the lines that I met a lot of fab bloggers, and got to talk to other readers. Thank you to everybody who took their time talking to me, making me feel welcome and giving me a lot of inspiration to blog and read. I found some new blogs that I will be following.

Here are some of the authors that I meet during BEA. :

Ally Condie:

Brunonina Barry:

Maureen Johnson:

Lauren Kate:
Kady Cross:
Julia Kagawa:
Gena Showalter:
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