28 May 2011

The BEA Experience - Part 1

The chipping of my French polished nails and the lifting of my heinous overtiredness signals that it is time to do the long awaited BEA post. There is so much to tell that I’m going to do it in two posts.
Firstly, BEA was AWESOME.  Awesome is a word that is thrown around quite liberally when the letters B, E, & A are mentioned, but it truly is worthy of the title.  My two days at BEA were crazy.  Day one started at 5am, and an hours drive.  When I got to train station and the doors had already closed on the Acela Express.  I begged the guards’ men to open the doors for me.  After much eyelash fluttering and mini pouts, they re-opened the doors and I jumped on.  Three hours of being wedged against a window by a large man with protruding elbows and listening to a woman scream corporate espionage into her cell, I arrived in New York.  I managed to flag a cab with ease (nice surprise) and got to my hotel for a change of clothes and makeup application that would even challenge wonder woman (wish I looked that good hot pants).
I ran from hotel room to get a cab to the Javits Centre (this is where I lose all my love of anything yellow).  No cab would take me! I was just beginning to think I smelled or something, when I realized I was doing it all wrong.  You don’t tell these horrible gits where you’re going until you get in and firmly close the door behind you.  Then they have to take you.  You see, they find it hard to get a cab fare back from Javits, so they’d rather give you the finger (or grunt in their case) rather than pick you up.  So because I walked half way across town before I figured this out, my feet were killing me before I even got to BEA.
I got in, and went to the HarperCollins booth where I met with some amazing Harper Authors and of course all the lovely editors, publicists, and assistants who showed me the ropes.  I set off to discover all the delights of BEA while trying desperately hard not to keel over from agonizing pain in the foot department and the sheer exhaustion of my day so far.  I snagged some select books and some signatures, then went to the YA Buzz panel where The Carrier of the Mark was being ‘buzzed’.
I’d arrived on time, but this was not early enough.  It appeared that people had been queuing half the day to get a place inside the very much anticipated Buzz Panel.  I took one look at the huge line and promptly walked pass it up to the door, to furious waving and calls from the lined up masses informing me that there was a queue.  The door was closed and they were not admitting anyone else.  I explained to the door man that I was one of the authors and he let me in, much to the disgust and astonishment of the massive line of people I’d just passed (sorry ladies).
Inside, I had to stand as there were no seats available, which suited me fine.  I kicked off the heals that were drawing tears, leaned against the wall for support, and enjoyed all the excitement and pride of the Buzz.  All the books looked and sounded great, it was a very exciting and special moment for me.  Afterwards, I finally found my agent and editor.  We had a great auld chin wag, did some interview stuff, grabbed ourselves a coffee from Starbucks (we had to queue for 30 mins), and made our way to the greenroom.  The Green room is where all the authors hang out and do ‘authorly things’ before their signings.
I’m going to stop here as this post is getting long.  But what I’ll do at this stage is tell you a few crucial things I’ve learned in part one of my BEA experience.
Lessons learned.
1. Wear LOTS of mascara.  Fluttering eyelashes and coy smiles still work on male rail employees *lavish wink*
2. Be obnoxious to taxi drivers.  Winks do not work with them. Always slam the door hard once you’re seated in your cab, then and only then, grunt your desired location.
3. Wear sneakers.  Seriously, all those people telling you to wear comfortable shoes were not lying.  BEA is all about long walks and queuing.  Remember, trying to smile and be nice to everyone is pretty difficult when your feet feel like they’ve been soaked in a vat of battery acid.
4. Bring your laptop (not to BEA, but to your hotel).  Javits has no free Wi-Fi, and the networks are hopelessly over capacity.  Iphones are useless when nothing works. You will need to do all your updates and admin when you get back to the hotel.
5. Make your appointments BEFORE you arrive at BEA.  I had all intentions of catching up with my author friends and bloggers. Do lunch with them, or perhaps go for a coffee.  Forget it.  You will NOT find them. They will NOT hear their phone.  You will NOT hear your phone. They will NOT get emails, tweets, or texts, and neither will you.
6. If you do end up alone for lunch, get out of Javits.  The food is awful, horribly overpriced, and you will eat it with someone standing over your shoulder breathing on the disgusting sandwich you are trying to eat, while sending you telepathic messages to get up get up leave leave leave! Yes, seating is at a premium and hungry, tried people are intimidating.
I’ll have loads more ‘lessons learned’ in part two, so be sure to check back.

Later my lovelies.