Today, I was lucky enough to get to volunteer at Book Expo America (BEA).
And after nearly 10 hours of work, I can report the following:
- My feet hurt. A lot.
- I saw Helen Fielding (the author of Bridget Jones) and Brandon Sanderson (the author of several of the Wheel of Time books). They signed stuff!
- I’m the proud owner of 38 new books – all for free.
- Yes, I managed to get them all home. Yes, I looked ridiculous. No, I didn’t care one bit.
- The line to meet Grumpy Cat was longer than the line to meet Jim Carey.
Despite struggling with public transportation for a while, we arrived at the Javits Center this morning with a good 20 minutes to spare. I got my t-shirt (which is neon green and says KEEP CALM AND READ ON), and was assigned to the conferences. These happened downstairs and were a little ways away from the main activity, namely the autographing and the publishers’ booths. Nonetheless, though, it was all really enjoyable. Tasks that might have been mundane were really fun, because they involved books, and the day flew by! (And we did manage to sneak upstairs during the breaks to collect free books and swag.)
My favorite part of the day was the set up for the Children’s Book Buzz: librarians, publishers, and other industry professionals got to sit in on a talk about some great new children’s books, while we prepared stacks of them on a table out in the hall. We had to arrange hundreds of books, while simultaneously fending off overeager book-collectors, who ditched the end of the session early to ensure that they were at the beginning of the book line. All the while, we were entertained with horror stories about the crowds at BEA.
The weirdest? Last year, someone was reaching for the final copy of a book and got bitten on the arm.
Looking forward to tomorrow: Neil Gaiman and Sarah Dessen are coming! (And there will be more free books!)