Ten Things I Won’t Miss at BEA

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Today on Armchair BEA, they created a great post entitled, “Ten Things You Won’t Miss at BEA” and so I thought I’d come up with my list of ten things I won’t miss by skipping the Book Expo.

10. The airport: By not going to BEA I won’t have to deal with the nightmare that air travel has become for me. No matter what I do, somehow the bag I choose does not meet those ever shrinking standards, the line I stand on is always the slowest, the flight I am on is delayed the longest, and the seat I get is always next to someone with really, really long legs, bad breath and/or body odor, and an insane need to chit-chat for the entire flight.

So, this I will not miss by skipping the Expo.

Oh, and next weekend is Memorial Day weekend. I will not be missing hitting the airports on a holiday weekend and being subjected to the extra delays, the cranky airport staff for having to work and the traffic heading out of the city to the airport.

9. Vacation Days: I will not be forced to take days off in order to attend the Expo. My limited number of vacation days will remain intact for those actual vacations I hope to take. And from what I understand, BEA is exhausting. I’ve been to the Javits Center and know how huge it is, so I can only imagine just how non-vacation-like it will be. I’d come back from New York begging for some down time. It’s never good when you need a vacation from your vacation.

So, this, too, I will not miss.

8. Work: Even though I live in California, my office is in New York City. If I went to the Expo, even taking my vacation days, I would still be required to go into the office. I would be missing those evening parties and instead clocking in some time on the job. It is only fair as they would be helping pay for my trip, but I just can’t imagine a full day at the Expo followed by a full night of work.

A twenty-four hour “work” day I will definitely not miss.

7. Family and non-bookish friends: I love my family and friends. I really do. But if I was going to the Expo that would be my focus for the trip. But I have a lot of friends and family living near (or in) New York City and I would have to try and squeeze some time in with each of them. And from what I understand, the schedule is insane and I could see getting those calls from family asking why I flew all the way across the country and didn’t make time for them. Not everyone is as passionate about books as I am.

So, I will not miss the guilt-trip.

6. Money: Of course there’s always a money issue. Contrary to popular belief, I do not grow money on my patio. I don’t have one of those presses that just cranks out freshly made bills. Even though I registered for BEA and the BBC I just don’t have that extra cash to afford a city like New York at the moment. And believe me, it is not cheap.

After an entire day of walking, the last thing you want to do is walk some more, and those taxi rides in the evening with their extra charges, can get really expensive. The Javits Center is not near anything. And walking those avenues can be a challenge, especially if you’re toting books.

The hotels are a fortune, and those aren’t even the nice ones. Add in a little entertainment and you’re out several hundred dollars each day. And it adds up. Your $1,500 trip which was budgeted can very easily double.

So, no, I will not miss having a huge credit card bill to deal with.

5. Getting Sick: For some reason, air travel or hotel stays, or just New York in general, always results in me catching a cold or worse. I have the worst luck when I travel to NYC. It could be the crowds, the lack of hygiene, or the recycled air on the planes, but I always end up taking a sick day or two after venturing into the Big Apple.

4. Public Transportation: I’m not sure how familiar you are with the NYC subway system. I am intimately familiar with it. And it is not my friend. The packed trains, the rude people, the filth, the lack of air conditioning, the inappropriate touching and oh gods the smells, all add up to one heck of a NYC experience. I always preferred the buses, but even those have their drawbacks. The quickest way to get around NYC is by train, but just try catching one during commuter times and you will see just what a madhouse it really is.

And even though they’re not technically part of the public transportation system, the NYC Yellow Cab has its own set of delightful pros and cons. Mostly cons. Although its been many years since I’ve taken a Yellow Cab, I can still recall the scent of a typical cab. It’s a cross between air freshener, burnt pretzels, body odor, stale sweat and incense. With just a hint of despair.

So, no. I will not miss the NYC subways or other modes of transport and their olfactory extravaganza. No way. No how.

3. The Meet and Greet: Okay, I love authors. I love books. I am a complete chicken when it comes to actually meeting them face-to-face. Authors are my rockstars and I turn into a bumbling idiot when I finally get a chance to meet them. I will not miss my red face, my sweaty palms and my absolutely moronic replies as I try in vain to make a good impression and introduce myself to these word gods.

I like to think of myself as a confident person. I have a career, I make important decisions, and I know what I like. But when it comes to authors (and publishers) I revert to a shy twelve-year-old girl. I lose all command of my brain and just start rambling. And this only happens with authors. I have never squealed when I’ve bumped into an actor or musician. I can give the cool nod and walk away as is so common in NYC. But if I saw one of my favorite authors walking down the block I think I’d faint. Dead away.

At least by armchairing it this year I have an entire year to prepare, to gear up and get the courage I’d need so I don’t look the complete fool. Especially if I was trying to appear the professional that strive to be.

2. Last Year’s Blogger Nightmare: After I purchased my registration to the BBC I started hearing about the bad rap that bloggers got at the event last year. There was pushing and shoving and rudeness all around. It made me hesitant about wanting to attend. Firstly, I did not want to be caught up in that drama. Secondly, I didn’t want to be lumped in with a bunch of bad apples. Thirdly, if there was going to be pushing, shoving and all sorts of mayhem, it didn’t sound like something that would be fun for me to attend.

Perhaps this year the event will have improved somewhat. That those bloggers who do attend will have learned from the mistakes made last year and will elevate their behavior and prove that Book Bloggers can be professionals and should be taken seriously. Now, I don’t think things will be perfect, even editorial media can be just as pushy and rude as someone from non-editorial media, but if the impression overall was that bloggers were at fault for the majority of the misbehavior then they’ve given our “industry” a bad name.

So, as this year’s signup didn’t have any restrictions about who is considered non-editorial media, it will be interesting to see if these behaviors are repeated. And if this does happen again, I will not be missing this part of BEA.

And if it does happen again and they institute some form of screening policy next year to hopefully reduce the likelihood of this kind of behavior, then I will be even more overjoyed that I chose to armchair it this year.

1. Bed bugs: Okay, every city has them. But New York, last year, had a huge epidemic. Springtime is the worst. I have such a phobia about these critters which have invaded even the most exclusive of hotels in the city, that I will not be missing this.

I would spend my days worrying that they would somehow sneak into my suitcase, burrow themselves into a side pocket and take the journey back to California with me and invade my home. Of course to avoid this, I could simply dispose of all my belongings for the return trip, but I just don’t have quite that kind of money to have a throwaway wardrobe. (See #6 above.)

And for an event such as BEA, which requires stamina and energy to just to make it through, to leave the best impression possible and to survive the full week, the last thing I’d want is to lose sleep every night worrying that these little demons were closing in.


So, that’s my top ten list of things that I won’t be missing this year by choosing to sit in my armchair, thousands of miles away. Enjoying the contests and giveaways and meeting new bloggers all from the comfort of my home, without the stress and strain and threat of infestation that attending that grand event in New York City has to offer.

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