BEA Diary: Day 1 – Bloggers Conference

May 30, 2013 Book Expo America 9

Well, this post almost should not have happened, because I committed an act of atrocious stupidity last night (even though it had a happy ending).  In an effort to save a few bucks on my flight, I booked a connecting flight from Charlotte to DC to LaGuardia.  We landed in DC on time, and when it 7 PM departure flight rolled around, the sky opened up.  We sat for about 30 minutes before the pilot told us all flights were grounded indefinitely due to the lightning.  More time passed, and he told us we could get off the plane, but stay close by in the terminal to hear the re-board announcement.  I had checked a mostly empty bag (for the purpose of bringing back books), and I had a carry-on containing everything from my laptop and Kindle to five days of clothes, make-up, toiletries, etc.  Can you guess where this is going?

Unlike this woman, I DID get my bags!

I got off the plane with only my handbag.  And yup, I missed the announcement, and when I got back to the gate, the door was closed, and the plane was still there.  I knew they wouldn’t let me on, but I BEGGED for someone to go on and retrieve my carry-on.  Nope.  Eventually, flights restarted, and they booked me on the next flight which took off about a half hour after my suitcases took off.  I was told that once everyone got off the plane, someone would eventually see my suitcase and send it to baggage claim.  An employee made it sound possible (even likely) that it would be stolen.  Folks, I cried the whole way to NYC.  I was so mad at myself for being stupid.  I kept calling my brother, and he offered to take a cab to La Guardia to try to retrieve my bag.  When I landed, I rushed to baggage claim, and an employee told me no one took my bag off, and the plane was headed back to DC.  It took about 30 minutes to realize she was wrong.  There was a bit more drama and confusion, but I promised you a happy ending.  Yup – I got both bags!  I’m not the most trusting person in the world, so I was so happy to be proven wrong.  

OK, you’ve listened to me to talk about my suitcases for long enough; let me tell you about BEA.  I attended the Bloggers Conference which kicked off with an opening address from Will Schwalbe, the author of The End of Your Life Book Club.  He praised bloggers and our ability to sell books, and he told a story about his mother who was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer.  As you may know, pancreatic cancer is particularly vicious.  (My grandfather died of the disease.)  WIll attended all of his mother’s chemotherapy treatments.  They spent much time discussing books.  He realized one day that regular meetings involving book talk can only mean one thing: BOOK CLUB!  When he pointed this out to his mother she denied they were in a book club, because….”There is no food.”  Fabulous, right?

Will Schwalbe

Will also talked about how publishers, authors, bloggers, and readers define success.  The common theme is that all of us want a book that makes a difference, either in ourselves or to someone else.  When he worked in publishing, he published a book called Dragon Hunt.  With 500 copies sold, it was an unmitigated disaster in the eyes of the publisher.  During a visit to a friend’s house, he inspected his friend’s bookshelf which contained all of fifteen books.  One of those books?  Yup.  Dragon Hunt.  His friend said that he takes that book with him every time he travels, and in Will’s eyes, this is indicative of a spectacular success.

Will mentioned a book signing he held that had one lone attendee.  He said the only thing worse than a signing with zero turnout is a signing with only one person.  He ended up having a lengthy chat with the woman, and while she was not a blogger, she heavily promoted his book on Twitter and Facebook.

He brought up every blogger’s favorite topic: negative reviews.  He said that while they help drive traffic, we should remember that there is a human being behind that book.  Will recounted one Nobel Prize winner who, when asked if he remembered his bad reviews replied, “Yes.  Their names are etched in acid on my heart.”

Folks, I’ll recap the rest of the bloggers conference with another post – hopefully tomorrow.  I did not realize how much I was going to type, and this was only the first speaker!  I promise the rest will not be so lengthy.  🙂  I’m going to get ready now for tomorrow.  I plan to get to BEA bright and early.  Early, as in 2 hours prior to the start, since that’s when all of the book nerds start lining up.  I’ll check back in tomorrow evening!


9 Responses to “BEA Diary: Day 1 – Bloggers Conference”

  1. Kristen Williams

    Thank you for the recap! I was really hoping to hear about the blogger stuff. I’m hoping it was all very informative and fun for you. Have fun tomorrow!

  2. Robyn Jones

    Goodness, flying is always so dramatic. I was reading that portion of the post like an intense scene in a book. I even growled at the flight attendant who suggested your bag would be stolen. Grrh. Still growling I guess. Great recap on the opening speaker. I tell you, I am so far from “successful” as an author at this early stage, but my mom’s coworker’s daughter was not a reader, then her mom bought her my book on her unused Kindle. She loved it so much she asked her mom for a gift card so she could read my next book. She blazed through them. I feel so proud about that. Can’t wait to read more BEA posts. Long or short, keep them coming!

    p.s. “Yes. Their names are etched in acid on my heart.” Ha! That’s great.

  3. CeCe

    Wow that bag situation sounds stressfull. I would have been crying too. Glad it all finally worked out : )

  4. Lisa Justus

    On the plus side, the fiasco with the baggage made for a very amusing story! Thanks for sharing. 🙂 As for negative book reviews, it sure would be nice if they were constructive in nature – I’ve seen some pretty nasty ones out there, yikes!

  5. Trish Hannon

    Stay lenghty, I love hearing all about it. The bag drama was a bad start so glad it got better :-). Love that quote about negative reviews, I can just imagine how true it is.

  6. Shelby Swing

    Great post! Loved hearing about the speaker. I agree that there is a human being behind every book, and I’ve recently really begun to understand that truth. I think being a writer helps me be a little less severe when I review a book negatively. Thanks for sharing- can’t wait to hear more, as I’m one of those lonely bloggers who had to stay behind this year. =(

  7. Kim (YA Asylum)

    I’m so sorry that bag drama happened! I would’ve been so upset as well. Thanks for the recap on your session with Will Schwalbe, it sounded really interesting.

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