I’m not going to BEA this year. Like many others on the East Coast, the owners of our two sister stores (Brookline Booksmith and Wellesley Booksmith) decided that it was just too expensive to justify sending staff all the way to L.A. for the event. The reader in me is sorry to have to miss out on two plane flights, as I could use the uninterrupted reading time, but the rest of me is happy not to have to endure two lengthy days of travel and the aftermath of much trade show fatigue. May has been booked solid with trips and events, so I’m telling myself that it’ll be a relief to be able to spend at least ONE weekend at home this month.
But, oh, it is TORTURE to have to turn down all the invitations I’m getting!! To think that I’m missing a cocktail party with Sherman Alexie and Trenton Lee Stewart! And dinner with the lovely Laurie Keller! Lunch with Mem Fox! The biggest loss to me, though, is having to miss out on all the fantastic ABC programming, in particular the newly revamped ABC dinner (now being called a "not a dinner") and (mostly) silent auction — my favorite and best chance to see an incredible assortment of original works of art by all my favorite illustrators. Even Gareth will have a piece there this year, but (sigh…) neither of us will have the pleasure of seeing it on display.
I have to say, too, that I’m sorry to miss out on visiting with the wonderful in-house people I only ever get to see at this one time of year. I know publicists often get a bum rap in the book business, as their positions (in large houses at least) tend to be the low-totem, rotate-them-in-and-out types. But I have gotten to know a LOT of truly fantastic, intelligent, incredibly hard-working publicists, and I’m just as sorry not to be crossing paths with some of them this year as I am sad to be missing out on the authors and illustrators they’ll have with them. And, oh, the conversations I have with editors at BEA!! It’s the one occasion in which I get to pick their brains with my "How did you make this work?" and "What’s so-and-so like?" questions, and I’ll miss having those conversations this year.
It’s going to be odd, actually, to have a spring/summer season with out that energetic little shot in the arm that comes from comparing notes with my fellow comrades at arms.
Think of me, all of you, when you’re learning the secret little scoop on this book or that book and this author’s past or that illustrator’s propensities. I will certainly be thinking of you (and tuning in for the occasional podcast)! I look forward to hearing your takes on this year’s best totebag and the year’s worst costumed character. And let me know if you hear of anyone tying the knot on the trade show floor, as I jokingly blogged about last year. I’d be especially sad to miss THAT spectacle!