Friday, April 11, 2014

BEA Tips & Tricks - Part Three: Special Events, Ticketed Authors, Signings

Updated for 2014!
Book Expo America is right around the corner! In an effort to get our team prepared for BEA (now that we have finally recovered from last year), I thought Michelle and I could share a few lessons learned as well as some tips for beginners to the event. Since the topic involves signings and Neal was the master of the book signing area last year, we have asked him to weigh in with his tips for surviving the Blue Zone!
We will be posting in several parts in an effort to break down the mountains of information about the massive expo. Please feel free to hit us up in the comment section and we will be happy to answer your questions! Here we go...
Part Three: Special Events, Ticketed Authors and Signings
Alright, Steph's Stackers, this what you have been waiting for, the good stuff, the heart of the matter: books and authors! One of the more confusing topics during our research and prep last year was ticketed authors, in booth signings, breakfasts and galley drops. So many things...all of the things are confusing...
So, in an effort to help you avoid the insanity, we are going to break it down for you right now!
Harlequin usually has great multi-author book signings every year. Get in line early though and be prepared to wait!

1. Well Aren't You Special?
BEA features a few special events that allow you access to authors (well, you get to hear them speak, from afar) and their ARC's - for a price. So, BEA offers three options: Author Breakfasts, Author Tea and Ticketed Signings (we will get into Ticketed Signings VS In Booth Signings in a sec...hang tight.)

Chelsea Handler at an Author Breakfast at BEA 2013
Author Breakfasts come in two varieties:
The Author Breakfasts (of which there are two) and the Children's Author Breakfast. Each will have a MC (who is also promoting a book) and three authors. The session runs from 8:00 to 9:30 AM. Prices start at $110 for front row Joe seating, breakfast and priority entry to the venue. The next option would include breakfast and roundtable seating for $50. And finally, we have no breakfast and theater seating for $30. Breakfast last year included juice, coffee, tea, toast, bagels and muffins and was a nice way to start the day.
The line up for this year's breakfasts are as follows:
May 29th - MC: Neal Patrick Harris, Authors: Anjelica Huston, Tavis Smiley and Lisa Scottoline
May 30th - MC: Jason Segel, Authors: Carl Hiaasen, Mem Fox  and Jeff Kinney
May 31st - MC: Alan Cumming, Authors: Martin Short, Lena Dunham and Colm Tóibín

Veronica Roth at BEA Author Breakfast 2013
The Author Tea is similar to the Author Breakfasts, but much smaller in scale (or was last year). Tea and snacks are provided and seating is general. The Tea is hosted by the Audio Publishers Association, so if you are into audio books, then this is the event for you. The MC is usually an audio actor and the authors will regale you with tales from the audio perspective. ARC's of audio CD's are usually available. The price to attend is $35.
The line up for this year's tea is:
May 30th - MC: Pat O’Brien , Authors: Dick Cavett, Ruth Reichl and Jodi Picoult
2. Signed, Sealed, Delivered:
Ticketed Authors VS In Booth Signings. For some reason, this was very confusing to us as we tried to use our BEA Show Planner to create our daily schedules. I think it might have been because so many authors that I was sure would require tickets, didn't, and it just blew my mind, completely.

So, BEA will start announcing Ticketed Authors soon and here's the scoop. You have to get can wait in line each morning or you can pay for an Avid Reader Pass ($100 - covers donation - 8 pre-selected tickets - one cut the line pass) or a Reader Pass ($50 - covers donation - one cut the line pass).
No worries, Steph's Stacker, if you didn't get passes, (we didn't last yearor the year before...or this year), this just means you will have to stand in line. This line:

Which rapidly turns into this line:
And ultimately turns into this line and much, much worse:

So, check out the Ticketed Author list. Pick your faves, then get to the Javits early-squirrelly to score your tickets. We can't recall how many authors you can pick (3-5)... I think. Then, you just need to show up in the autographing area at the specified time with your ticket in hand.

Where it gets confusing is that you will see authors' signings listed in the autograph area (or listed with single to double digit booth/table numbers), but not requiring tickets. This is not a mistake. Some of your absolute faves will not be ticketed and not every author signing at the end of these little blue rows are ticketed. In fact the majority of them are not.

Last year while Michelle and I were running around and standing in line at In Booth signings, Neal spent quite a bit of time hanging out in the autograph area. Here are some tips straight from the man himself:
Tips for minimizing the wait on line at the autograph line. Get in the morning ticket line and pick the authors that require tickets. Then, go to the signing lanes when your author starts. Don't enter the line immediately, the author may be late. And he/she will be there until the line is finished (the times they are signing are set - one hour/30 min - and they will be there the entire time even if no one is in their line). So, getting the first autograph is no better than getting the last. In fact, you will likely be rushed to move when you are first.

Instead, troll the other lanes that have lines. These are autographs from great authors, that are more open for being available to talk to you and appreciate your interest. Once, you've hit the other active lines, return to the one you have a ticket for and get the signature with a minimum wait!

The risk is that they gave out too many tickets, which will not happen unless there was a mistake at the morning line (they, usually, are very careful about only letting people with tickets in and don't give out more tickets than books available. So, odds are, you don't have to be front of the line to get that signed book!).  .
No smooching in line, you two!

Happy BEAing!

Okay, so that's that for signings in the autograph area. If you have any questions at all, feel free to hit us up in the comments below!

Debbie Macomber :)

In Booth signing is much more straight forward. The booth/table numbers will all be triple to quadruple digits and (if you look at the map) correspond with some of your favorite publishers. In our opinion, getting to the In Booth signings crazy early is a must for your must-have reads or must-meet authors. There is no ticketing or cutting the line option and it is definitely a first come - first serve basis. You will see lines wrapped around the hall floor and it is not unusual to stand in line for over an hour before meeting your favorite author.

Pierce Brown can't believe he got to meet the Avalon of Steph's Stacks fame!
(In-Booth Signing)
The publishers are typically very organized about line management. Look for someone holding a sign to indicate the beginning of the line (it will be hard to tell because so many lines are going on and they stretch far away from the destined booth).

Be sure to look out for In-Booth signing schedules at the publisher's booths for the most up to date information.
Don't be shy, ask people who they are waiting in line for (people will constantly ask) you might be surprised. The coordinators/publishers usually will hand out post-its or some trinket to indicate how many books they have available for the signing. If you have a trinket/paper from them, then you are in, just sit back and wait. The awesome thing about this system is you won't have to wait in line for an hour just to end up with nothing. Love it! If you miss the cut off, just dust yourself off, peek at your scheduled alternates and head on to the next thing!!

Micki and Jim Carrey. Alrighty-then!
Next issue, we will talk about scheduling and even if you are not an OCD type (like Steph) it will behoove you to have some sort of plan so you don't miss out on your faves. On that same note, BEA has to be a go-with-the-flow situation for sure. Plans will fall apart. But if you never had a plan to start with,  you may not know what you are missing.
3. Drop it Like It's Hot:
The last way publishers promote books (and get them into our hot little hands) is through Galley Drops. Basically, what you may know of as an ARC (or Advanced Review Copy) can also be called a Galley and at certain times throughout the day, publishers drop them. Sometimes literally, they put them on the floor of the booth. Sometimes figuratively, they simply hand them out when the time comes.

Books, books, books!
How will I know about this Galley Drop shenanigans? Well, check out publishers' booths for Drop Schedules, check out your Publisher's Weekly daily sheet (these get handed out daily at the entrances and are invaluable), make sure your phone is charged and your social media is ready to go (people will tweet and FB about drops) and, finally, keep your eyes open as you walk around (many of the coolest books we found last year were fortunate accidents!)

Actually, that is pretty good advice for BEA in general, take your nose out of your schedule every once in a while (we actually schedule - not even ironically - free time, just to float around and find hidden treasures!)
Hope this helps you get started with your BEA adventure! Here are a few helpful links for you:

BEA Social Media: Twitter - Facebook - Pinterest

Goodreads Book Expo America Group - You have to ask request membership, but this is a great source of hot-off-the-presses BEA scoop and tips!

Future BEA Tips and Tricks Installments:

Part Four - Plotting and Planning - Scheduling and Scoop Sources
Part Five- I'm Here, Now What?
Part Six- What to Do With All of These Books?
Part Seven - Staying Organized After BEA

Don't forget to check out Steph's Stacks BEA 2014 page for the latest news and tips! Hope to see you there! If you want to meet up, feel free to let us know in the comments!



  1. Love this post, guys! I'm glad you mentioned something about the tickets and how to get them - people ask me, but I never got any so I can only give a vague idea. I'll point them in this direction now.

    Also, Neal is right - Keep your eyes peeled in the autograph area. A lot of people rush the lines and people see that and leave, but an author can knock out a line in 45 min and then just have scragglers coming up with virtually no wait the last 15 min. I snagged a lot of books this way. I would be waiting in line for a signing and have a friend hold my spot while I ran to a line that was only 5 people deep (like Amy Garvey, Jocelyn Davies...).

    Absolutely plan for you plan to fail. And change. And evolve. And I didn't utilize the PW papers that came out daily and I missed a few galley drops. This year I will NOT miss one I really want.

  2. I'm with Hannah I snagged quite a few books I wouldn't have otherwise because people were like 'SO MANY PEOPLE' and I was off to the side trying to hold myself back from pointing out that it would go really quick. They don't give you a second's breath to squee unless you're fortunate enough to be some of the last few and the time hadn't gone over.

    Great post guys!! SO COMPREHENSIVE!!!

  3. this is awesome, I used Lexie's plan last year to get around BEA, and we found out about the John Green galley drop via twitter, so yeah being on point with it si so essential. that first day we were like "oh we aren't getting to many books" Four bags each later we were crying heading home, Like no really this is totally not what I planned. McGraw hill's bags totally made the day cause they carried a whole lot of weight.

  4. More awesome advice! Thanks so much for putting these posts together. For a newbie like me, these are a lifesaver!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

  5. Thank you so much for these great informative posts. You've organized it well within separate posts.

  6. great and helpful post!

    Guys! where specifically is the morning ticket line? thanks!

    1. Hi Jenny!

      The ticket line for the past two years has been on the second floor on the left hand side as you are facing the building. (Might have been first floor left last year now that I think of it.) Left hand side for sure! Ha ha. You will see little booths set up and signs saying what authors are available for that day.

      Thanks for stopping by! See you there!

  7. It really is truly complicated to see out this type of fantastic articles with a few useful data and facts

  8. You should be generous and grateful for those included. Your remarks must be ardent, and you should be available - truly there at the time - partaking in the celebratory sentiments of the occasion. Michael Thurston



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