Last week I was lucky enough to attend Book Expo America for the first time and it was a blast. From the BEA website:

BookExpo America (BEA) is the leading book and author event for the North American publishing industry. It’s the best place to discover new titles and authors, network, and learn the latest trends during the BEA Content & Digital Conference.

BEA offers three event-packed days, 600+ authors, hundreds of new titles, hundreds of exhibitors, four Author Stages, and access to the latest digital technologies at the Digital Discovery Zone (D2Z) brought to you by IDPF.

Since I’d never been before, I looked to the internet for advice, and Twitter was a WEALTH of information. It told me to wear comfortable shoes, to stuff my purse with protein bars, and to bring my suitcase to the Javits Center. A suitcase, really?


Yes, really! The Javits Center allows you to park a suitcase for a few bucks every day so that as you collect free galleys you can drop them off and run get more! I love book folks, don’t you?

In the days before, some people even shared schedules of all of their favorite galley drops so that we could join them in line. Authors of every type of fiction were there – picture book, middle grade, graphic novels, YA and NA and adult, etc.

My upcoming book was chosen at a Book Buzz pick, so I was able to participate in the BEA MG Book Buzz Panel on Friday.  I arrived to the conference excited and scared to death. Luckily, my awesome editor, Nancy Paulsen, was up first. She did a great job presenting my book, LAST IN A LONG LINE OF REBLS. I was so inspired when she finished, I wanted to read it again myself!

After a quick walk around the showroom floor, it was my turn. The other authors, Alex Gino, Ali Benjamin, Nicholas Gannon, and Adam Shaughnessy could not have been nicer. The panel was moderated by Shelf Awareness children’s editor Jennifer M. Brown and she quickly made us all comfortable.

How’d I do, Twitter?

Whew! Nancy Paulsen and my awesome agent, Susan Hawk were there for moral support and they swore that I didn’t blow it.


They’re nice like that.

Afterwards, things got even crazier:


Don’t let that heavily photoshopped picture fool you, that’s me! My first ever book signing was too much fun.


People actually came! I smiled so much I’m pretty sure I broke my face, but it was great. After BEA, I came back home and collapsed. I wonder if anyone else can relate. Oh yeah, TWITTER.

Yup. Book lovers are the best.

BEA was a wonderful experience and if you have the opportunity – go! Next year’s event will be held in Chicago. Sounds like the perfect venue for the entire Mafia Family!