Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Melissa A does BEA

By Melissa Amster

I went to Book Expo America (BEA) for the first time, and what an experience it was! Due to my crazy schedule, I was only there for a day, but I made the most of it. I didn’t go to any seminars, but I was plenty busy! The day started out with an autographing session from Neil Patrick Harris. He has an autobiography coming out and signed a small excerpt booklet. I got in line and figured I’d try my luck. As luck would have it, I was one of the last through before they cut off the line entirely. And Neil even let me do a selfie with him! Legen…wait for it…dary! Of course, I was all star-struck and giggly and couldn’t keep my eyes off his nail polish, which was dark blue and glittery.

After that, I went on my search for Liz and Lisa (who are featured at CLC today). On the way there, I saw the Little, Brown booth and stopped by to meet Michelle, who is not only a great publishing contact, but also graduated high school with me 20 years ago. (Sorry to age us, but 20 is a pretty big reunion year…not that I’m even going to mine.) It was great to see her again and she is as nice as I remember her from high school.

Mini reunion!

I finally found Liz and Lisa after exchanging texts with them and hung out while they were waiting in line to meet one of their author crushes. We got some photos together and then walked over to the Macmillan booth, where Rainbow Rowell was signing copies of her upcoming novel, Landline. At first, we weren’t going to be able to get her autograph without a ticket, but Liz and Lisa got on the “gatekeeper’s” good side and he let us in. It was great to meet Rainbow, as I love the two books of hers that I have read so far and am excited to check out her other two soon.  Then we stopped by Penguin and got a bunch of galleys.

I may have eluded to this in this morning’s post, but Liz and Lisa are so wonderful in person. They’re a lot of fun and you can just tell that they’re best friends by the way they interact with each other. They remind me of the connection I have with my BFF. (Just like them, we’re separated by a bunch of states but talk all the time.) I love listening to them talk. They have great speaking voices that resonate with their chick lit loving nature. (I can’t really explain any further than this, but if you’ve heard them talk, you know what I mean.) They even have some books from BEA to give away at their blog!

With Liza
A little while later, Liz and Lisa left for lunch and I took a short break before walking around and checking out all the booths. I met up with another blogger friend, Liza from WhoRuBlog, for a few minutes. She is just as friendly as she is online and I wish we had more time to hang out and talk. I’m glad I got to see her in person though! While walking around, I managed to get pictures of Anjelica Huston, Billy Idol, and Jane Lynch. I didn’t feel like waiting for their autographs, as the lines were pretty long. Instead, I got in line to meet Stephanie Evanovich, author of Big Girl Panties and The Sweet Spot. She is so outgoing and enthusiastic. I can totally see how her personality plays into her writing. The moment she saw me, she knew who I was. Her publisher was there too and I recognized her name from multiple e-mail exchanges, so it was nice to make that connection too.

With Stephanie Evanovich

Cuter in person!
Since I was one of the first in line to meet Stephanie, I managed to get a spot in line to meet B.J. Novak (from The Office) while he was signing his children’s book at the Penguin booth. Again, I was totally star-struck and couldn’t think of anything witty to say. He’s even cuter in person. While waiting to meet him, I found out that Liane Moriarty was across the way signing her latest novel, Big Little Lies. I didn’t even know she was going to be there, so that was a huge surprise. I got to meet her and she also knew who I was. She was so sweet and I wish we could have chatted longer, as well. Her publisher was there and I also got to make the name to face connection.

The final author I waited in line to meet that day was R.J. Palacio, author of Wonder. It’s a book for kids (probably starting at fourth grade), but adults have been reading it too. My son and I both read it, so I had her sign a bag for him. Afterward, I went around the area one more time to make sure I didn’t miss out on any galleys and then headed back to the hotel to get ready for the evening excitement.

While I was at the hotel, I got to meet my roommate, Julie Valerie. She’s also a blogger and is working on her own novel. Jen Tucker had suggested that we be roommates and she knows me well enough to know that I’d love Julie. She was definitely right! We had a fun time chatting while I was getting ready to meet my friend for dinner before BookBuzz and then got to hang out more at the event. We were joking about how we met in a hotel.
With Julie Valerie
BookBuzz was a wonderful event. It reminded me of the first time I felt accepted by a group of people, which was at Rocky Horror in 1994. Everyone was just so nice and it was like having a reunion with people, even though I’ve only met them online prior to this event. I got to meet Lydia Laceby, Samantha Stroh Bailey, Meredith Schorr, Samantha March, Brenda Janowitz, Sheryn MacMunn, Francine LaSala, Lynn Marie Hulsman, Cat Lavoie, Glynis Astie, Ariella Papa, Lynn Messina, Holly Peterson, Heather Wardell…..and my blog sister, Marlene Engel from BookMama! The drink of the night was a “Pink Stiletto,” which as really good! (It’s basically pink lemonade and vodka.) I had such a nice time chatting with everyone. My friend from dinner was also there for the event and she had a great time too and made some connections. The time went by so fast and we stayed there well past the ending of the event. I was hoping we would be able to go somewhere quieter to hang out and chat more, but we just ended up staying at the bar the entire time. It was so hard to part ways when the clock struck midnight and we were all about to turn into very sleepy pumpkins! (Samantha Stroh Bailey and I compared it to that let down feeling after your Bat Mitzvah party has ended.) Anyway, it was amazing to meet all these fabulous women and chat with them in a group or one-on-one. 

With Julie, Francine, Marlene, Samantha March,
Lynn Marie Hulsman, Lydia Laceby, Heather Wardell,
and K.C. Wilder
Overall, BEA and BookBuzz made last Thursday very memorable for me. I'm still on a high from it! I wish Amy could have been there, as she lives nearby but wasn't available that day. I hope we'll get to meet the next time I'm in town. I highly suggest that you check out BEA and BookBuzz next year! I hope I'll be able to do this again. It's like going to Disney World (well, BEA is a bit more complex in terms of strategizing your day), as in you just want to go back immediately after you've left.

Here are some more pics from BookBuzz 2014:

With Brenda Janowitz

With my friend Linda, showing off our Pink Stilettos!

With Lydia Laceby

With Marlene Engel

With Sam Bailey and Marlene

Selfie with Meredith Schorr

Selfie with Sam


Angleterre71 said...

Thank you for these photos! Looks like you had an amazing time! I'm living vicariously through this post and one day hope to meet so many of the wonderful authors you met. (And blue glitter nail polish, Neil? Oh my!) :)

Book Mama said...

Great post, Melissa! BEA and BookBuzz certainly were amazing. I will be posting my "commentary" soon too, so be on the look out for that. xoxo

Colleen Turner said...

Wow, it looks like so much fun! I hope to get to go to BEA one day!

Samantha Stroh Bailey said...

I want to both hug you and cry! What a fantastic post. It was incredible to meet you, and I didn't even know how much you did before I saw you! I think my favorite pic (besides ours) is you and NPH! I miss you.

Unknown said...

Ahhhh, so envious of you!!! Especially that you met RJ Palacio! We read/listened to Wonder this year in 4th grade and now that we're at the end of the year and doing our end of the year activities and listing our favorite things learned, and so many have mentioned Wonder. It's such a good feeling that they "got it!"

Did you know there is a chapter just released from Julian's point of view?! I am hoping to read it to the kids before they leave for the summer tomorrow! :)

Meredith said...

LOVED this post. You certainly made the most of your one day in NYC and I'm so glad that attending BookBuzz and meeting me was part of it. Although I "knew" you before meeting face-to-face, now I REALLY know you. XOXO.

Unknown said...

Great post, Melissa! Looks like BEA was a fabulous ecperience! It was wonderful to meet you at BookBuzz. :) I only wish that we had more time to talk! I hope to see you again before BookBuzz 2015.

Janine said...

It sounds like a wonderful day. I enjoyed reading of your adventures and all the people you met. I loved seeing the pictures too. I am so happy you got to go (even if it were just for a day).

Connie said...

I'm so happy you got to attend BEA! What a great thing to meet lovely authors and network with other bloggers. Congratulations on getting to have so much fun!

AiringMyLaundry said...

Ooo I would LOVE to go there!!

Cat Lavoie said...

Great post!! :) What a wonderful bookish day you had! I'm totally jealous of that selfie with NPH! :) It was so nice to meet you at BookBuzz!I :)

Christina & Melissa @ Allodoxophobia said...

So glad you had a good time!! I'm just sorry we didn't realize we were both there :( here's my recap post: http://allodoxophobia.wordpress.com/2014/06/04/bea-2014-recap/

Karen E. Martin said...

Really wish I could have been there. Maybe next year!

Unknown said...

Looks like you had a ton of fun! I've never been, but it's on my list for someday. Thanks for sharing your experience!