BookExpo America: The Good, Bad, and Ugly..



So this is my second year going to Book Expo America, and I was so happy to go.

Well, what I didn’t expect the level of disorganization.

About three days before the expo I made sure to send my doctors note for my lower
back problem. I am not to carry a backpack, so I sent it off to the
person in command at ReedExpo. I immediately got an email back stating
that the person was not present and to email another person. So I did
that and of course never got a response back.

Being positive, I said I’d bring the letter with me. I packed my bags and was ready to go!

When I first arrived at the Javits for BEA Bloggers. It was packed. I
quickly got in line with a friend and got our passes. We found where we
needed to go, talked to some other bloggers and had some fun listening
to the opening keynote. As the day went on, things started to go well, or
so I thought. When it came time for lunch, we were supposed to get a
voucher for lunch and a drink ticket. Well, as I found out, my friend and
I were not given this ticket. Along with many others, frustrated we
walked all the way back up to registration to be given tickets. Now on
to the horrendous lunch line, boy did I feel like I was in High school
again! The checkout lines were long, not enough food on time, and sub
par food. Half the stuff wasn’t even ready! Imagine waiting in line for a
lunch that’s over priced and then not having a drink. I had to settle
for something I had to fight a crowd to get through to get.

Did I let that get me? NO!

I continued to try to have a good time with a friend I had met last year. By the end of it I was so tired and had some great learning material with books that I went home.

Well, that’s when the misfortunes started…

The next day I went back to expo with a friend to check out the
exhibitions. I went around the registration desk to talk about my wheeled
backpack. I was then told to go through security. I got to security and of
course people are busy talking to each other. I wait on a minute or two and
spoke to the security person in responsible.  I told him about my situation and handed
over my letter. Apparently, after all that emailing I never made it to
the list. Thank goodness I had my letter, they gave me a band to wear
and then off I was to check out the exhibits.

My Friend and I had a great time walking around and talking to authors and
publishers alike. We met a lot of interesting people. My friend and I
then decided to check out the Editors Buzz on Middle-Grade editors. We
loved the talk and had some great books to take home. Now both starving,
we went over to the lunchroom again that was packed, but not as bad as
the first day. We sat and ate lunch after trying to find a spot to eat.
Deciding we were both tired, we headed home on separate trains back to
Connecticut. On the way back home, I was happy. I
was excited to come back for Upublish and Power Readers (something I
hadn’t done before).

Suddenly, while about thirty minutes away from home I
had this horrible pain at my side. I couldn’t figure out what it was. I
thought at first it was my back. I was in miserable pain and didn’t
know anyone on the train. I took deep breaths trying to hold it in and
was relieved when I got to my station. Calling earlier, my dad was waiting for me at the station. Unfortunately, the pain was so horrible that I ended up vomiting and going to
the hospital. Five hours and many tests later, I found out that I had
passed a kidney stone and gotten sick from the food I ate. At this point, I’m losing work time and now have to be in bed.
The next day I tried calling someone at BEA and at the Javits to let
them know I wasn’t able to attend. Well of course there is no one to
answer the phones. I even had my friend go up to the registration desk
and was told, ” We don’t make phone calls. ” (Lovely). I tweeted figuring
maybe someone would see it.  A day   later of course they do, only to
be emailed back saying, ” We received your inquiry regarding receiving a
refund or credit for you BEA passes. Unfortunately, there is a no refund
policy for the show. We apologize for any inconvenience and hope you
are feeling better. Regards, Client Services. ”

Now I totally understand there is no refund, now after all I went through,
a credit for next year would be nice. I’d use it. I work in customer service myself and wouldn’t want
someone feeling like I couldn’t help them. Many bloggers spend their hard earned money to go these events.

So those of you going to BEA for the first time: be aware and vigilant.

Make sure not to get sick otherwise you’re stuck losing your hard-earned money.   In
the end, my health is more important to me than some expo, but the
sheer lack of customer service. The website was
poorly run, It took me forever to get signed up. I also had to call in
for a ticket, which I now found out that anyone could have gotten into, really
made me angry. BEA was fun when I was there, but there are some things
that need to be worked on.

Below are some images of the fun I did have at Book Expo.



About the Author Denise

Denise Alicea is the owner of The Pen & Muse. A blog dedicated to promoting authors of all different genres and place to talk all things writing. She is also a writer, trainer, and volunteer who loves Apple products.

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Leave a Comment:

Miriam Newman says June 3, 2013

Having gone to a large convention with you, Denise, I know you’re not easily put off by things. I’m sorry your fun was so miserably interrupted and totally hope you’re over the misery of kidney stones by now!

    Denise says June 3, 2013

    Thanks Miriam. I’m working it out and will be seeing my doctor tomorrow to follow up. Still some small problems.

Cynthia Wetzler says June 3, 2013

So so sorry for the BEA organization run arounds. Very bad. But in spite of this I had super fun scouting around with you. You have so much talent in helping me to self-promote. Hope you are feeling a whole lot better. xxx

    Denise says June 3, 2013

    You’re welcome, Cynthia! I’m glad I was able to help you!

Jane Porter says June 3, 2013

Sorry about the horrible stuff. Yuck! I feel for you! 🙁

Curious, though, if there was something really interesting or useful you did get out of the time you spent there. Yours is is one of the first blogs I’ve seen about BEA and would love to get your take away from this year’s book expo.

Steven Rosato says June 5, 2013

Dear Denise – I am sorry you did not have a positive experience and I would like to see if I can help rectify at least some of it with a credit for BEA next year. Please contact me as I would like to go over changes BEA could make to improve the experience. I did hear about the snafu with the lunch tickets (Next year we will have dedicated carts in the Blogger Conference Area to make things easier and quicker) and thought we fixed it quickly, but it did not sound like we took care of everyone by your experience.

Steven Rosato – BEA Event Director, Office: 203.840.5463

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