30 May 2011

The BEA Experience – Part 2

If you haven't read part one of the BEA experience click here before you read this.
So yeah, where was I. Oh yes, in the ‘green room’.  This is the uber swish place that authors get to hang out before they’re escorted to their signing table.  We were entertained by Rick Astley getting his groove on while sipping pina coladas complete with umbrellas… I swear… honest *wink*.
My signing table
At my signing table I sat down and gazed out on the gathered masses.  Seriously, I did NOT expect that many people.  Apparently the queue had been forming for nearly an hour before my signing was due to begin.  I looked out on the sea of faces thinking to myself ‘who are you guys, and how on earth did you hear of me?’   As they opened the barrier and the crowd surged forward I started to recognize all the twitter and blogger faces. Aw man… you’ve got to love the bloggers and the devout.  You guys rock.
Anyway, after all the signing and exchanging of business cards, I headed off with my agent to find a cab back to my hotel.  Well, hobbled off to find a cab, but we walked for blocks before we could get one (nasty gits) and then when we did, he only took us half way as he was changing shifts. Grrrrr.
Jocelyn Davies (A Beautiful Dark)
Back at the hotel it was another wonder woman whirlwind change and an aggressive search for yet another cab to book it back across town for the HarperCollins CEO cocktail party. It was very swish, held at the The Park (of SATC fame).  Here I swilled wine and hobnobbed it with all the royalty of book world.  I get a chance to namedrop BIGTIME here, but I’ll resist and only drop a few.  There was CA Moulton (Angelfire) who helped me get my crab balls (thanks, Courtney), Anna Carey (Eve) who tried to drag me off to a party in Soho (I so regretted not going, but I was knackered), Jocelyn Davies (A Beautiful Dark) who hailed me a cab (with such ease… how did she do that?), Lauren Oliver (Delirium) who towered over everyone (who knew she was so tall?), and so so many more, including of course all the editors and agents that a few short months ago, I’d have lusted after for just a business card.  It was all frightfully civilized, relaxed and fun.
Amy Garvey (Cold Kiss)
After a blissful night’s sleep and a little breakie in the room, I headed off for day two at BEA.  It was a much more relaxed affair for me as I had no official 'engagements'.  So I browsed the stands, collected hoards of books, and got loads of autographs.  Of course I then had to lug all the swag with me, but it was worth the aching shoulders.
Then, back into another friggen cab (I’m definitely better and demanding their attention now) I get to Penn station to discover that due to some electrical lines down in DC all the trains are either delayed (severely) or canceled. Yay!
Maggie Stiefvater
I settled into a mammoth wait in the Acela lounge, resenting myself for not bringing my laptop with me and playing incessantly with my iPhone which refused to play ball with me.  When they finally called our train the skirmish was crazy, it was an every girl for herself moment.  Knock over that granny or you’re standing for the next three hours on an overcrowded hot and sweaty train. 
After a four hour train ride and another hours drive, I finally rolled up outside my house. I was wrecked, knackered, exhausted, and aching all over.  Would I do it again? Hell yeah.  It was amazing.  But as I said in The BEA Experience – Part 1, there are some lessons to be learned.
Lessons learned – Part 2

1. Bring a spare pair of high heels with you, so when your agent drags you halfway across town to hail a cab, you can give her them to wear, so she can feel your pain.
2. Always travel the night before the main event.  Then when cool people want to drag you off to awesome parties you will be able to say… ‘Hell yeah, where does the conga line start?’.
3. When drinking wine, aim it at your mouth and not your nose, it is for drinking not for snorting, especially in front of well-known editors (long story… actually, it’s not really, it’s just embarrassing).
4. When you smell a funky smell that is sort of reminiscent of gone off cat food, don’t say it while standing beside the buffet of crab balls surrounded by hungry authors.
5. If you get cornered by an over enthusiastic party goer, be sure to have an escape excuse, like ‘oh, you’re like really weird and have the strangest eyes, I don’t want to talk to you anymore.’ Or at the very least have an amazing agent who will whisk you around the room making sure everyone gets piece of you.

So that’s it from me and BEA.  I’ve posted a little video that HarperCollins put together, it kind of covers the highlights.  Enjoy.