Tuesday was the first day of BEA for me. My plan was to get there at 10am and hit up the author autograph signings, chat with the publishers and roam around the convention hall in the hopes I'd know someone. It sounds funny, but so many would zone it at your chest where your badge was to catch your name and affiliation. Lots of name tag chest oogling went on.
I bought 2 bags with me, one being this bright orange bag that I got at RomCon last year. If you happened to see a woman walking about BEA with this bright orange bag, that was me. It's because of this bag I had my first uncomfortable, and I guess some would say, bad experience with an agent.
As I was walking to the Javits center listening to the new NKOTBSB album I downloaded from ITunes that morning (I'm not ashamed to admit it) a woman came up to me and asked if I got my Harelquin bag at BEA. I told her that I got it elsewhere and asked if she was going to BEA. She said yes and I told her I was going to BEA because I was a book blogger and an author who writes romance. The woman had the audacity to roll her yes and said in great detail how I should stop writing romance. Apparantly she doesn't have a high opinion about the romance genre. I asked her if she was an author or worked for a publisher. She's an agent of literary fiction and university press books. I bit my tongue, wished her well and went on my merry way before I said something I might regret.
Even before I entered the convention hall, I had my first critic of romance. I just hoped that didn't set the mood for the rest of the day.
First banner sighted!
No words needed for this one
As soon as I picked up my badge, I scoped out the hall and headed toward the author autograph signings. But I didn't get far when I saw a familar face. I saw RT Web Editor, Morgan Doremus and more importantly Harlequin that had one of the biggest booths at BEA.
To the author signings!
The first author I met was the lovely Ilsa Bick, who was signing Ashes (Egmont, September). Ashes is a Dystopian YA about an electromagnetic pulse sweeps through the sky, destroying every electronic device and killing billions. Yes, that's Mho on my right. He was hanging out of my bag trying to escape.
Next was Alma Katsu, a debut author signing, The Taker (Simon and Schuster, September 6th). The Taker is about an immortal woman involved in a two-hundred-year love triangle with a Puritan settler and a Hungarian count. The blurb was the reason I went to meet Alma, who was incredbly sweet and excited to meet all those waiting in line for her book. I do hope The Taker takes the book world by storm.
The longest line I waited in was for Ally Carter and I was the last person to get a copy of Uncommon Criminals (Heist Society #2) (Hyperion, June 21st) one request for a friend who was dying to get this bok. Uncommon Criminals is a YA featuing Kat Bishop, a thief, whose asked to steal the infamous Cleopatra Emerald so it can be returned to its rightful owners. Ally has a contageous smile and was also very friendly.
Jennifer Harlow is a debut author with her book, Mind Over Monsters (A F.R.E.A.K.S. Squad Investigation #1) (Midnight Ink, October 8th. The cover and the blurb for Mind Over Monsters caught my attention and I just had to meet Jennifer. Mind Over Monsters is a YA about Beatrice who can move things with her mind and joins a top secret branch of the FBI to fight all those nasty things that go bump in the night.
Jennifer Lynn Barnes is a YA author of the popular Raised by Wolves series. She was signing the second book, Trial by Fire (Egmont, June 14th). Trial by Fire is about Bryn, the leader of the Cedar Ridge pack of werewolves and helping a battered teenager, Were, Conner while handling her Were partner, Chase. And Jennifer knew me by reputation because of my blog. That was a nice thing to hear.
At the Harlequin booth, Kathleen O'Reilly was signing Just Surrender... (Harlequn Blaze, May 1st). Just Surrender... is about a straightlaced surgeon and a punk, funky, fly-by-night cabbie who gives him a ride of his life while in NYC. Sounds very hot.
Gena Showater was signing Lord of the Vampires (Royal House of Shadows, Book 1) (August 3rd). Lord of the Vampires is about Nicolai the Vampire, renowned for his virility and wanton vampire summons Jane Parker. When it comes to a Gena S. romance, you can expect steam to rise up from the pages.
I really wanted to meet Tahereh Mafi, the author of Shatter Me, but HarperCollins was kind enough to put out copies of Shatter Me. I was able to grab two, one for me, one for a contest I'll have here. I do believe Shatter Me was one of the most hyped books at BEA (behind Leanna Renee Hieber's Darker Still from Sourcebooks). I read Shatter Me when I got home from BEA that night and fininshed it in under 3 hours. Shatter Me will astound the YA reading community when it's released in November. I want to have babies with Shatter Me.
I stopped by MLR Press's booth where the owner, Laura Baumbach was. We had a nice chat about the rise of MM fiction and how MLP Press is now accepting submissions for YA, both straight and GBLT.
The Romance Writers Association of America had a booth there. This is Dorien Kelly, the current president of RWA. They had many author signings there during the week that I went to.
Among my travels at BEA I met Marnie from Absorbed in a Book, Lillie from Read My Mind and Noa from Paperback Dolls all the way from Israel.
It seems BEA was very heavy promoting YA, specifically Dystopian YA. Romance had a big presences, mainly from Harlequin. Also, the big six publishers had massive booths with so many books to give out.
I had another uncomfortable interaction with a publisher. When I told them which publisher I write for, they proceeded to tell me that my publisher's quality of books aren't that good and they don't have a great reputation. I stood there stunned, because essentially by saying such a thing about my publisher to my face is insulting my reputation as well. I thought that was really uncalled for and walked away feeling out of sorts about it.
From the amount of books and people I met, it was a productive day with a few bumps along the way (The rude agent and feeling insulted as another publisher put down my publisher). The total price for the 14 books I got on Day 1 of BEA equals $220. Not bad for the day.
Next on Day 2 of BEA is more books, author meetings and another experience with an agent that left a bad taste in my mouth. I really think agents should also watch what they say because their behavior could hurt their clients. We hear about bad author behavior and the same rules should apply to their agents as well.
Stay tuned for more...