Thursday, February 26, 2015

BEA (Part One): Pre-BEA Tips

This year Massachusetts received a lot of snow and I cannot wait for all of it to melt. It's crazy how there are still 8 feet walls surrounding many towns and cities. In 3 months, it will be May and you know what that means. Yes, BookExpo America (BEA) will take place Wednesday, May 27, 2015 to Friday, May 29, 2015. BEA is the leading book and author event for the North American publishing industry. This year BEA will be a separate event from BookCon. Based on last year's BookCon, I will not attend BookCon this year due to the disorganization of the event and the overselling of badges. I am so done with the pushing and crowding of a popular culture/comic con event.

Last year was my first time attending BEA. I ended up staying in New York City from Wednesday to Sunday for the Thursday to Saturday event. I learned a lot from my trip last year and decided to compile a list of things I learned.

Tip #1: Purchasing a Badge

Definitely purchase your badge before May 8th. You want to take advantage of the Early Bird Price. Check out to see what badge category you fall under. Bloggers are under Publishing Professionals for $184 but if you purchase a pass for the BEA Bloggers Conference, it also includes a BEA badge. You can attend two events for $152. I am attending BEA as an Educator so I will not be attending the Blogger's Conference. If you live near by the Javits Center and can't attend all three days of BEA, you can opt for a day pass for a reduced price. You can register here for BEA.

Tip #2: Author Breakfasts

Once you decide what category you fall under and purchase your pass, you might want to consider whether you want to attend any of the breakfasts. The Adult Books & Author Breakfast and the Children's Book & Author Breakfast guests are already up on the BEA website. There are three tiers for each breakfast depending on what types of seats you prefer. The breakfasts do sell out so consider purchasing a ticket sooner than later. The breakfasts do coincide with the opening of the floor so that might be something you want to think about before purchasing a ticket if you enjoy the opening madness of the floor.

Tip #3: Reader Passes

Another add on you might want to think about is a reader pass. There are two reader passes you can choose from. A Reader Pass allows you to skip to the front of an autographing line of your choice. However, if the author requires a ticket, you must have both the ticket and the skip the line pass. An Avid Reader Pass includes a skip the line pass and also 10 preselected autograph author tickets. Instead of waking up super early to line up to get tickets for ticketed authors, you will receive the tickets with your badge. Whether you purchase a Reader Pass or an Avid Reader Pass, you will receive your skip the line pass when you pick up your badge. The skip the line pass can only be used in the Autographing area. You cannot use these tickets for in booth autograph signings.

Tip #4: Travel and Transportation

So you're all set with registering for BEA online. Now you need to think about travel. I live about 4-5 hours away from New York City so I usually opt for the bus or the train. I know some people live further away and will fly into New York while others live fairly close to the Javits Center and will either drive or take the subway and then walk to the venue. Last year I took a Bolt Bus from South Station, Boston, MA. This year I may opt to take the Amtrak from South Station, Boston, MA. The ride is quicker on the train and definitely more comfortable. Although the bus is more affordable, I don't mind spending a little extra money for the train this year. If you are planning to book a flight, I would suggest price checking for flights to New York. If you have frequent flyer points, even better!

In terms of getting around the city, the subway is super efficient. One ride is $2.50. A 7 day unlimited pass is $30.00.  So if you plan to ride the subway at least 12 times, I would suggest purchasing a weekly pass.You can check out more about the MetroCard fares to see what works for you. In terms of traveling to the Javits Center, definitely check out this shuttle bus schedule. BEA provides complimentary shuttles that services Penn Station, Grand Central Station and a multitude of hotels.

Tip #5: Lodging

You made it to New York. Where will you stay? There are many options in New York City in terms of hotels. If you want to be close to the Javits and Manhattan, check out the BEA hotel list. They have some good deals on rooms and the BEA shuttle will have stops near most of the hotels listed. If you belong to certain hotel rewards programs, you might be able to get a discounted price for a hotel room or you might be able to get free rooms. Another option is to look for hotels outside of New York City Some attendees will stay in neighboring New Jersey or Connecticut. The only downside is getting up super early and finding away to get into the city whether it be by taxi or train. Definitely take advantage of the ferry if you decide to stay in New Jersey.

If you want to cut costs, definitely find roommates. Not only will you only have to pay a portion of the room costs, you will have a buddy or two to roam around the city with you and at BEA.

AirBnB might be something you might want to check out if you are looking for a place to sleep. People will rent out a room or an apartment for a low price per day. This is great if you plan to stay in New York City for the week. You can get a decent sized apartment for really cheap. It's very cost efficient especially when you have multiple people chipping in toward the apartment rental.

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