The timing couldn’t have been better…or worse. I left Phoenix, Arizona and headed to New York on May 22nd. My debut teen book, OyMG, officially released May 10th, just two weeks earlier. Life was insane. My book hadn’t been out long enough to have a readership, and although my trip coincided with BEA week, my publisher, Walker Books, wouldn’t be featuring OyMG because they generally use BEA to promote fall releases. But I had one thing going for me.
Our group of debut authors had put together a full week of events and signings. Out of our group of 17, 12 authors would be attending for at least part of the trip. How could I pass up the opportunity? And it’s a good thing I didn’t.
A word here for authors thinking about a signing trip. It’s possible that your publisher is organizing and footing the bill. If so, Go–enjoy–be fruitful–sell books. If you’re planning this all on your own–and your own dime–it’s a bit different. The best advice I can give you? Share. Share the madness and the exhaustion and the joy and the expense and the cab rides and the laughter and the fattening food and the wine product. (Maybe scratch that last one. If you’ve never had wine product, think bad Manischewitz. If you’ve never had Manischewitz, just consider yourself fortunate.)
Bottom line, it was a joy to share the trip with others and a joy to share it all now with you. (FYI–I plan to also post again with tips and lessons learned for other authors who might wonder about a trip like this.) S0 with no further ado, here’s a revisit of the week.
SUNDAY: Huntington Library event
Fellow debut, Gae Polisner, lives in this community and organized a wonderful event including cupcakes and a henna artist. (And yes, those things are draws!) I got two cupcakes and one henna. A personal yes to cupcakes. No to hennas. We read excerpts, Gae asked us pithy questions, and we schmoozed with the packed room audience. Among them, a couple I’d met on a cruise over New Years — how cool was that? So great to see them again, as well as make new friends including Emily –a blogger who had given OyMG a great review–without renumeration, I might add!
Meeting my editor would have made the trip worthwhile no matter what else I did. I toured the offices, met my publicist, Kate, as well as the other editors. Then Stacy and I had a wonderful lunch (calimari in a sauce that still makes me drool!) and a chance to talk books. She’s working with me now to edit my second book, Audition and Subtraction, which will be out next fall. She’s as nice in person as she is over email — and that’s saying something.
I wasn’t sure what to expect but WOW! Such an amazing turn out of book lovers and authors. Mitali and Devyn did a wonderful job organizing panels and I was lucky to share the stage with other debut authors. It got heated –no, there wasn’t a knock-down-drag-out-author-brawl–it literally was hot enough to lose 10 pounds in water weight…which I consider an added bonus.
TUESDAY: The TODAY Show
The Class of 2k11 headed down to the mall wearing matching T shirts and carrying books. How could Matt Lauer resist? Well, apparently, he could. But the cameraman couldn’t and we had our moment of fame, waving hello and smiling to the world as the camera panned over our group. Did you see us?
BEA – After The Today Show, we headed to the Javits Center.
I met Caryn Wiseman, my agent, and then spent the day wandering and standing in lines to pick up ARCS. One of the experienced bloggers had told me to bring a suitcase and what good advice that turned out to be! I wandered with Bettina Restrepo and passed out bookmarks to librarians and booksellers. I saw tons of familiar faces from TAC the night before and met other bloggers like Kristi, The Story Siren, Sniffly Kitty, Alex Bennett and Midnyte Reader. I also got my hands on fellow 2k11 ARCs of Kiki Hamilton, Trinity Faegen, and a book from Christina Mandelski. Even though I wasn’t signing, I felt like BEA was a great experience and so worth attending for the day.
WEDNESDAY: Seward Park Library.
The Class of 2K11 gathered to give short readings and answer questions for an adorable and way-too-smart class of sixth graders. (“What’s the philosophy behind my book?”) Holy smokes — what good schools you have in NYC! After lunch, we headed for the Grand Central branch of the NYPL. The librarians there were amazing and we all chatted booksbooksbooks. My first best friend, Julie Hecht, from my early days living on Long Island came and brought her daughter, Alex. Why didn’t I get a picture? For me, that made the event super special.
But even after two events, we weren’t done…
WEDNESDAY NIGHT: Books of Wonder, NYC
What a cool bookstore–I’ve heard about it so it felt a little surreal to be speaking and signing. The store had our books on display and had to bring out more chairs for the amazing turnout. I’ve got pics but WordPress is saying they’re too big to upload. So envision a long table of weary but thrilled authors with big goofy smiles. Afterwards, I met friends for dinner and got a ride through Times Square in the back of a convertible. Now that was something.
THURSDAY: Le Poisson Rouge
Think dark, underground nighclub and you’ve got an idea of Le Poisson Rouge. Sam Osterhout and Robin Reed of Radio Happy Hour entertained us with dramatic readings from our books, while we sat around tables chatting with librarians (Hey Tiff and Sarah!) and eating, among other things…tater tots.
Who says no to a tater tot? Who says no to a tater tot after nearly a week of nonstop racing around? Not I. It’s possible that I downed an entire tray on my own but that’s the great thing about comfort food. It’s so comforting.
From there, a few of us hoofed it to Ground Zero. Wow. The new building has sprung up much higher than I imagined. Though we were exhausted by that point, I’m so glad we went to see it.
From there, we hopped a train to Larchmont and a final event.
THURSDAY NIGHT: The Voracious Reader
Thanks to Francine for welcoming us to her store and feeding us pizza and soda. We had an excited teen reader, Ciara, who got to choose what page we read from — spontaneous and scary as heck, but a great way to hear new parts of everyone’s books. I got to admit, I was sold! I bought the 2k11 books I didn’t already own and am looking forward to ALL of them!
Another wonderful surprise was a visit from my friends who drove in for the event –and bought a book.
FRIDAY – FAREWELL
By Friday, I was moving at half speed and struggling to remember my name. Fortunately, I had a FABULOUS roomie who I would never have survived without. Thanks Kiki — luv ya!
And that’s my week of BEA. I’m tired just thinking about it, but I’d do it all over again. Just give me a few days to recover first. And coming soon…some lessons learned and tips for others who might plan a similar trip.