The 2nd official day of BEA, Wednesday dawned bright… and a little cold. Katie and I were up with the crack of dawn (or so it seemed) to dress to head to the Javits. When we politely inquired as to whether Lindsey and Steph would be joining us, we were given an affirmative response (MM-HMM!) before their bedroom door was shut.
It’s true what they say about actions and words. ;)
So while our roommates got an hour or two more of precious shut-eye, Katie and I braved the subway to get tickets for John Green’s ticketed signing. We left so early that the shuttles weren’t even running yet. Much to our glee, we got our tickets AND excellent seats in the Children’s Breakfast for ourselves as well as Lindsey and Steph. The breakfast kicked off with some awards being given out before the emcee, Chris Colfer was introduced.
Chris Colfer is one of the stars of Glee, which is where I was familiar with him from before this. But after listening to him speak, I actually want to read his upcoming book, “The Land of Stories” as well. Colfer was hilarious as he talked about his passion for his book, showed us an illustration that he drew when he was ten (see below, right), read e-mails from himself to his illustrator (“Can the crown be more Camelot, less Viking?”), told us how his grandmother was his first editor, and talked about ridiculous questions he’d gotten about his books from the press. By the time he introduced John Green as the “Justin Bieber of the literary world,” he’d won me over entirely.
…And here’s where my fangirling kicks into high gear because watching John Green speak was amazing. He talked about Nerdfighters, how he believed he’d been chosen to speak that morning because he was “good at the internet,” but that the internet doesn’t offer the quiet contemplation that reading does. When he declared that “story trumps everything,” the crowd spontaneously burst into applause. He waited for it to die down and then joked that it was like being in a room full of elephants and getting applause for declaring that elephants were really great. Near the end, Green said that he’d searched Tumblr amongst his followers for Chris Colfer and found fanfiction of the two of them.When Colfer got up, he “admitted” to having written said fanfiction and titling it “Fifty Shades of Green.”
Then Lois Lowry was introduced, and opened with a humorous anecdote about how she no longer has to take her shoes off in airport security due to her age. She and the crowd quickly sobered as she went on, talking about her inspiration behind The Giver and its subsequent titles. Her son was in the military, she said, and he wrote her a letter, asking why people do such terrible things to each other. Lowry said that that made her think. That people are always saying to write what you know, but she disagrees. She thinks it’s important to write about the things that scare you, that keep you awake at night. That young people keep voraciously reading and writing because they still believe that things can get better, that they can change things. Lowry’s son’s question inspired her latest book, Son as well, though he was killed in action. The crowd was visibly moved to tears, myself included. Colfer very seriously said that he was glad Lowry didn’t have to take off her shoes. Because he didn’t think that anyone could possibly fill them.
After the breakfast, Katie and I got in line to have our books signed by John Green. When I babbled that I love his videos in addition to his books, he said “Oh, well then I’ll write DFTBA on here!” Above is photographic evidence that this actually happened and wasn’t a weird fangirl dream. I actually met John Green and we both laughed a little. IT REALLY HAPPENED.
With our roommates, we also got several highly-anticipated ARCs and met some other awesome authors like Maureen Johnson, Diana Peterfreund, and Libba Bray! In line for Libba Bray’s autographing session, we met Donna and Frankie from the First Novels Club.
Our last adventure for the day was Shake Shack, where we got our dinner and saw Jackson Pearce and Maggie Stiefvater walk by. It was rather like seeing a celebrity pass.
And then we were on to Thursday!
I woke up early because (much to my shock) I’d been invited to a small breakfast at Macmillan in the Flatiron building. Katie was sweet enough to ride the subway and drop me off outside the building, like a mom taking her child to school because I was nervous about navigating the city on my own.
The breakfast was SO nice. I got to meet Ksenia and a few other people from Macmillan. The president of Macmillan’s Children’s addressed us standing in the point of the Flatiron, which he said felt “very dramatic.” We all introduced ourselves, our blogs, said where we were from and what our closest bookstore or indie was. We gabbed about our favorite cover designs, favorite swag, upcoming titles we’re excited for and what publishers can do to improve working with us. Macmillan and Ksenia are excellent though and no one had too much to say on that front!
I got to meet Katie from Katie’s Book Blog and Stacey from Page Turners Blog, where I’m a Junior Reviewer. At the end of the breakfast, we were given these “MacGyver” (as the Mac Kid’s president referred to them) pens that doubled as a flash drive and I shared a cab to Javits with a few other bloggers. One of them was nice enough to pay for the rest of us, and I remember marveling at how nice she was!
I popped by the Disney Hyperion booth to get a couple of titles that I was pretty excited about and then joined the line to meet a writer who is one of my biggest writing inspirations, Kristin Cashore. While in the line, I saw Christa and we finally took our Sailor Moon pose photo!
When I got to the front of the line and met Kristin Cashore, I babbled about how much I love her books, and that I write high fantasy, or try to and that if it’s even half as good as hers I’ll be happy because she’s such a huge inspiration to me. It was a total of about 30 seconds, but it was so wonderful have the chance to tell her that! Then, in line for a signing for Meagan Spooner’s Skylark, we recognized some other debut authors, Sarah J. Maas and Kat Zhang and GUSHED to them about how excited we were for their books (Spoiler alert: I’m reading Throne of Glass now and it’s awesome).
Afterwards, we milled around a bit, going to different publishers and talking briefly with them so that we could give them our cards. Katie had to leave us, so we walked her to where she was meeting a bunch of other Canadian bloggers to ride to the airport together. Then, we went back to the apartment for a relaxing night of basking in our books.
And that concluded Book Expo America! I had the best time meeting fellow bookishly minded people and though I didn’t get a ton out of BEA Bloggers, the rest of my experience at Javits was awesome. I got to meet so many authors and publishers and bloggers that I wouldn’t ordinarily have had the chance to meet and I honestly feel that just being in that environment amongst like-minded people made me think more about my blog and come up with ideas for it. Plus there were the books… and… just…
…God, I had the best time. If you haven’t been before, I definitely recommend the experience. I’m already planning my trip next year.
If I forgot you in my recap, I’m so sorry! I was silly and shipped all the business cards I collected over the week with my books. Let me know and I’ll definitely add you to my post! And if you missed it, I talked about the first days at BEA here and I’ll have a post up later this week about my last two days in the city and an event that I attended at Books of Wonder called Lauren Oliver and Friends, so stay tuned (Edit: See my recap of that event here)!
See the books that made it from New York to Florida here!