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BEA 2014 Recap: BEA Bloggers & The Expo

I’m back and recovering from BEA 2014. It’s basically a three-day test of endurance and the ability to hide how hard you’re fangirling. (I’m pretty sure I failed at both. Oh well, there’s always next year.)

BEA 2014 Recap: BEA Bloggers & The Expo

I attended the BEA Bloggers Conference and a day and a half of actual BookExpo America conference. I also had the opportunity to attend a new publishing/blogger events.

Next year, I will only attend the expo…

Quick BEA Bloggers Conference Recap

My first BEA Bloggers conference was in 2011, and I remember thinking that the sessions offered some great insight and info for me at the time. I had only been blogging a little over a year at that point.

Now, two years later, I don’t think the conference is applicable to where I’m at with Read.Breathe.Relax. anymore.

The conference offered 101 and 201 sessions, which were targeted at both new and more experienced bloggers, but I still didn’t think that the “advanced” sessions were all that helpful.

This could be for a few reasons:

  • I’m already using WordPress (and have been from the beginning)
  • I understand how ad networks operate and have already considered this opportunity
  • The was a disconnect between the session descriptions and what actually took place

On that last point, I wanted to specifically talk about “The Publishing Process: How Bloggers Have Changed the Game.” I’m not sure what got lost in communication, but a session about “a successful book blogger will share their experiences working with authors, agents, editors, and marketing professionals from the publishing industry” was not what took place.

What took place was a vlogger (NOT blogger) speaking about her specific experience working with the Disney team about The Darkest Minds book.

I’ll spare you the drama, but what made this situation more confusing was the fact that there had already been a full session dedicated to vlogging and BookTubers previously. With the same exact vlogger on both panels.

Beyond this one incident, I would say overall at the BEA Bloggers conference – with the exception of the Best Blogging Tools panel – lacked practical tips and how-to’s.

I was left with big concepts and theories about blogging and publishing, instead of helpful tips on how to improve my blog, my community and my communications with publishers.

Honestly, I was really disappointed. The HUGE arc haul at the end (see below), the keynote speech by Maureen Johnson, and meeting new blogging friends in real life were the only highlights of the conference.

bea book haul 1 bea bloggers bea14

For those of you who attended BEA 2014 for the first time, what was your experience?

BEA14 Highlights

BEA is not only a test in endurance and fangirling, it’s also a test of willpower.

Again, I failed….

bea14 book haul 2 bea bloggers

My $32 worth of shipping costs should tell you a lot. Although I love getting so many ARCs, I think the real magic of BEA is the people.

Even though I can get shy when I have to talk to complete strangers, I’m so thankful I had a few great opportunities to meet other bloggers in real life, like Emily and Kylie from Emily’s Reading Room!

The EpicReads photo booth was a highlight of the party:

bea 14 bloggers epicreads party

I was fortunate to attend a press lunch with Macmillan, where I was seated next to Josephine Angelini the entire meal. I tried not to gush too much over Trial by Fire (review to come!), but I’m not sure how well I did. All I know is Josie is a great conversationalist, absolutely gorgeous and has the absolute best laugh EVER.

And, I also got to meet Brandon Stanton, the creator of Humans of New York.

brandon stanton humans of new york

He’s coming out with a kids book called Little Humans. He’s so humble, and the HONY Facebook page is something I check religiously. It was so great to chat with him about his work and the mega viral nature of his photographs.

And, the book I most coveted, I did in fact receive – Heir of Fire!!

heir of fire bea 2014 sarah j maas

I stood in line for about 2 hours to snag this beauty. And, it’s even signed. That’s just icing on the cake.

What I loved most about the expo was having my partner in crime with me, Jen from Young At Heart. We were paired as pen pals 2 years ago (via Forever Young Adult), and we’ve stayed great friends both in letters and in person. She’s seriously the BEST. Thanks, Jen, for encouraging me to talk down those girls who kept making us “save their spot” for an hour and a half (ridiculous) and for squeeing with me about seeing Sarah J. Maas in person! (Another insanely beautiful author, btw).

What is your BEA 2014 highlight? What will you do differently next year? And for those of you who aren’t bloggers, what books do you most want me to give away? 😀

About Lisa Parkin

I'm a hardcore lover of young adult fiction and have been reviewing books since 2011. Other interests include Downton Abbey, heat lightning storms, Harry Potter land and (begrudingly) one orange tabby.
  • Sam

    Excited for you to read through them and share your favorites so I can add to my TBR list!

  • Jen

    I had such a great time at BEA with you! I’m so glad we got to spend time together, even waiting two hours in line for Heir of Fire (totally worth it!!). Hopefully we can do it again next year 🙂

  • Pingback: Conversation and Controversy: Recapping BEA Bloggers | Read-at-Home Mama()

  • Sheila DeChantal

    Looks like you had a great time at BEA! Love your book haul and you got ROOMS! (I missed that one) 🙂

  • Anna

    Hi, Lisa! It was great to meet you at the Bloggers Conference. 🙂 Yeah, that second half was…something. He he.
    Glad you had a great time during the rest of the week.