This past week I attended Book Expo in New York City with my book bestie, Kelsea. We had previously attended Book Con 2016 in Chicago and 2018 in NYC. After dealing with the pure chaos of Book Con, we decided to try to get into Book Expo. We were incredibly lucky to both get approved and in! It is important to note that Con is a fan event open to everyone and Expo is an industry event for publishers, authors, booksellers, educators, librarians, book clubs, and bloggers. We qualified in the blogger category.
Book Expo was absolutely incredible and totally worth it! It was so much less chaotic and more enjoyable than Book Con was. While BEA still had a large crowd, it was much more manageable than Book Con. The show floor is bigger and more spread out than at Con. There were still lines and a couple of areas with large masses of people (looking at you A Heart So Fierce and Broken and anything to do with Penguin). Overall, the vibe was so much more enjoyable at Book Expo. While there are obviously outliers and a few exceptions to this, the majority of people were polite, friendly, and mature. I couldn’t be happier with my experience at Book Expo.
Like Book Con, if you are going for advanced reader copies and signings, you MUST PLAN ahead of time for Book Expo. I had a schedule for each day with the panels, signings, and ARC drops I wanted to attend. Publishers release their Expo schedules in the week leading up to the event.
And now to recap my incredible three days. . .
Day 1 at Book Expo was a shorter because the show floor was only open from 12:00-5:00. Despite the smaller time period, I still got so much in and done. Our first stop was to attempt to get tickets to Leigh Bardugo’s signing and Ninth House ARC drop. Going into this we knew that Leigh’s ticket was the hot item of the day. I knew that everyone would head to the ticket drop first and that it would go quickly. My philosophy was that I would try, but I was totally ok if I didn’t get it. And that’s exactly what happened. The line at Macmillan capped almost immediately after the show floor opened. I was a little disappointed that I didn’t get to meet Leigh, but I’m not devastated about missing out on Ninth House. I always remind myself that these books will be released within the next year.
Anyway, after our fail at Leigh’s signing we explored the show floor and did some shopping at the Unbound show floor. Throughout the day I was able to grab a ton of books and swag. I purchased a jumbo booksleeve from Book Beau, and a “Rattle the Stars” pin board, a Terrasen pin, and a Children of Blood & Bone pin from Wick and Fable.
I also attended the panel “Leigh Bardugo Discusses Ninth House.” It was a great panel and I am so pumped to read Ninth House. It was so cool to hear Leigh talk about her writing process. She is so fabulous!
- Here There Are Monsters
- Queen of the Conquered
- Beyond the Black Door
- Shatter City
- Tarnished are the Stars
- Queen of Ruin
- The Storm Crow
- Call Down the Hawk (Sampler)
Day 2 was the longest day at Book Expo. The show floor was open from 9:00-5:00. We started the day with a bunch of ARC drops courtesy of Source Books and Fierce Reads. Then, while walking the floor, we found free mimosas! So good!!
One of the hardest parts of Book Expo/Con is having to choose between two events. This was the case for me on Day 2 when I had to choose between going to a highly anticipated ARC drop (The Memory Thief by Lauren Mansy) or going to Jenny Slate’s signing. Although I was bummed about missing out on The Memory Thief, it was a no brainer for me to choose to meet Jenny Slate. I will be able to read The Memory Thief when it is released, but I probably wouldn’t ever have another chance to meet Jenny Slate. I am so happy with my decision because I still can’t believe I got to meet Jenny Slate!! She is one of my favorite actresses/comedians! Her new book, Little Weirds, looks hilarious and I can’t wait to read it. Unfortunately there were no pictures, so please enjoy my creeper picture of Jenny signing!
After the Jenny Slate signing, I headed over to one of the biggest ARC drops of the day . . . A Heart So Fierce and Broken, the follow up to Brigid Kemmerer’s A Curse So Dark and Lonely. This drop was one of the more dramatic drops, but it still went smoothly and I was able to snag a copy!! One of the best things happened later that afternoon . . . National Geographic brought puppies and kittens to their booth!!! We obviously went and met them all! I wanted to adopt a kitten so badly!
For the last part of the day I had a ticket for Marie Lu’s signing for a sampler of Rebel. I have seen Marie before and I wasn’t super excited about the signing so I gave my ticket away to a fellow book lover who was super pumped about meeting her. Instead of going to Marie’s signing I went to another panel. This time it was Laugh Out Loud with Jenny Slate, Pete Holmes, and John Hodgman. It was hilarious!!
While walking around on day 2 I bumped into someone. As I turned to apologize I realized that the person I bumped into was the one and only LEIGH BARDUGO! I literally froze and was so star struck!
- Wicked as You Wish
- A Heart so Fierce and Broken
- Little Weirds – Signed
- Last Bus to Everland
- Havenfall (Sampler)
- Eight Will Fall
Our final day at Book Expo was probably the most epic (and most crowded). The show floor was open from 9:00-3:00. Our first stop was to bolt over to the Macmillan booth to get tickets for their signings of the day. Macmillan is the only booth that required tickets for their in booth signings. We rushed over to the booth and I was able to grab the tickets I wanted . . . Katy Rose Pool and Cora Carmack!
After grabbing my tickets, I explored the floor for a while. This is one of the ways to get books and swag. I would just wander the booths and look for ARCs and swag. I stopped by the Penguin booth while wandering and was able to grab an ARC of Ruta Sepetys’s new book. This was super lucky because Penguin is the most frustrating booth. They don’t release any ARC drop schedules and are very sly about when anything will happen. The play dumb and then get mad when people crowd and loiter by their tables. I tried to get my hands on a copy of The Starless Sea all week, but I was never able to. I’m totally fine with not getting the book because it comes out in the fall, but Penguin made it super frustrating.
After this I headed off to my first signing of the day . . . There Will Come a Darkness by Katy Rose Pool. I actually got an early ARC of this book at Chicago Comic Con (C2E2) and brought it with me to get signed. I wasn’t sure if Katy would be able to sign the ARC and the one I brought (sometimes the publisher/agent is very specific about what can and can’t be signed) but she did! She was actually so excited that I had two editions of the book to be signed. After Katy, I darted over to Blackstone Publishing for a signing with Coco Ma and Jill Criswell. I am excited about both books, but Coco’s Shadow Frost is one of my most anticipated reads from Book Expo!
After Blackstone, I headed over to Renée Ahdieh’s signing for her new book The Beautiful. I knew this line would be super long so I saved my front of the line pass (which came with my purchased avid reader pass) to use. The front of the line pass was my savior for this line and was so useful! I was like the tenth person to meet Renée which was so cool! She was so nice and her makeup looked fierce as always!!
After Renée’s signing I met up with Kelsea and one of the coolest things happened. We were sitting on the floor reorganizing and posting to our instagram stories, when Kelsea spotted Brigid Kemmerer!!! We said hi and started up a conversation. She was so incredibly kind and welcoming. She actually sat down on the floor with us, signed our stuff, and even took pictures!
And then to make the moment even cooler . . . we said goodbye to Brigid and turned and saw V. E. SCHWAB! Kelsea called out her name and she turned and said “I am very attuned to my name.” She was also so kind and inviting, so we walked up to her and had a quick conversation. She gave us each a hug and then headed off to get her own ARCs.
Obviously, we were freaking out!!! I kept saying “what!?” and “what just happened!?” for the rest of the day. It was so cool to meet some of our favorite authors in such a natural way. This is a perfect example of how different Book Expo is compared to Con. If authors just walked around like that at Con they would be mobbed!! At Expo, the authors walked around and were approached by fans, but everyone was respectful and acted appropriately! It was such a cool experience!!!
Anyway, after all that excitement, we went to our last two events of the day. We went to Brigid Kemmerer’s official signing (yes even though we had just met her) and then to Cora Carmack’s signing. We thought our day was over, but we were wrong. Kelsea is a member of Cora Carmack’s street team. Cora sent out an invite to her street team (and friends) to meet up after Book Expo was over. In case you don’t know, Cora wrote Roar and its sequel Rage which will be coming out later this year. We decided to go and it was so much fun! Cora, Kelsea, myself, and three other women sat around and talked for almost 2 hours! It was so cool to sit in and have a real conversation with an author in such a natural environment. It was definitely one of the highlights of my week.
- A Heart So Fierce and Broken – signed
- The Fountains of Silence
- The Beautiful – signed
- Beasts of a Frozen Sun – signed
- Shadow Frost – signed
- Rage – signed
- Imaginary Friend
- There Will Come a Darkness – signed, Book Expo copy
- There Will Come a Darkness – signed, C2E2 copy