Technically when I arrived in Chicago it was day 2 of the actual BEA but whatever I am calling it day 1. My flight left from Dallas at 5 AM so I had to be there at least 2 hours earlier because of security and what not. The excitement was running through my veins double time because this was my first ever BEA, there wasn’t anything on my mind but getting to the McCormick Place and near all those books. I was so excited that I did not sleep at all like zero hours of sleep. I may have dozed on the plane for five minutes but I am not counting it.
Anyways I took the plane with my mom and sister so naturally they wanted to take pictures and snapchat everything in their view whereas I was cranky to get on the plane. Finally we made it to the gate we needed to arrive at with minutes to spare and I gave myself time to breathe and realize I was heading to Chicago. You see I have never been to Chicago. I rarely ever go to cities 30 miles past my own! Going to Chicago was a big deal, going for something that I knew was going to change my view on the bookish world and mean something big to me was an even bigger deal.
I don’t think I even took in the flight to Chicago. I was too busy thinking about the things I was going to do in the convention center, all the internet friends I would meet and well you know, the books I was going to take home. I came prepared for the books, making sure I checked in a much bigger suitcase at the airline. And boy did it come in handy. In Chicago we were going to be staying with my aunt and cousins so it was one of my cousins that picked me my mom and sister from the airport. We dropped them off at my aunt’s house and then I was on my way to BEA 2016.
The traffic in Chicago is just as bad as Dallas so I wasn’t too surprised when it took us about an hour just to get to downtown. When I got there I was dropped off at a curb and left to defend for myself. I was scared. I was excited. I was shaking with adrenaline. I crossed and street and entered a large glass building that I hoped was the McCormick Place convention center and headed towards a pair of escalators. I began to jump up and down when I spotted a sign that read, ‘BEA this way,’ and a large arrow pointing up and up I went. The booths and such were on the third floor as well as registration and that is where I was able to pick up my badge. I cannot tell you guys how happy I was to see my badge in person. My name was on that badge. My town was on that badge also indicating I was a blogger. My blog name was on the badge and I won’t lie when I say I had tears in my eyes staring down at my blog name like a proud mom.
The entrance was just to the left of registration and I was immediately turned in that direction and next thing I know I was directly across from the Disney booths and diagonal to Penguin. I could see Macmillan in the distance and the author autographing lines that looked too long. For about the first hour or so I just wandered. I roamed booth to booth, wondering how I was supposed to BEA. Is there a way to BEA? Was there something I was supposed to do to get books or tickets I needed to get? I didn’t know but after that hour I quickly found out what I needed to do.
I had to wait in so many lines. SO many.
That was the main trick to get books. Lines. And a lot of them. Some were long, depending if they had authors signing the books and some were pretty quick if they were just galley drops. I also found out what galley drops mean and it is basically giving out ARCs. You get in a certain galley drop line pretty early and just wait till the time comes to give them out and then the line moves. The publishing company has people at their booth and they just casually hand you the book and move on to the next person. I was shocked how easy it came to be. I thought there was a secret to getting the books but nope you just wait in lines.
That is pretty much how my BEA day 1 went and I had gotten about 16(ish) books that day, intending to get more the next. I also spotted all the Booktubers that day too. In line next to a few and wondering if I should ask for a picture. I didn’t until the third day but I’ll go over that later.
I hope you enjoyed my BEA day 1, I will have BEA day 2 up in a few days!
Over and out.