Tomorrow I'll be on my way to New York City for Book Expo America (BEA). I've never been to this yearly event, but I understand that it's like being a kid in a candy store, except for bibliophiles. At BEA, the publishers reach out to booksellers, librarians, bloggers, and authors hoping to create buzz and collect purchase orders for their newest releases. They give away Advance Reader's Copies (ARC's) and posters and bookmarks in the hopes of launching the next Harry Potter series. Or in this economy, to make a decent profit.
Perhaps the best part of the whole convention is the author signings. Publishers bring in tons of authors to make appearances and sign books. There are thirty special signing tables set up where authors rotate through the schedule in one hour blocks, and there are also times when authors are signing at the publishers booths. The schedule is maddening. Will I be able to fit in both Scott Westerfeld and Katherine Paterson at 3:00 p.m. on Friday? Jon Scieszka at the Simon & Schuster booth and Rosemary Wells in the autograph area at 4:00? I'm already missing my favorite, Mo Willems, because I'll be on the bus ride up to the city. Ah, Mo. I shouldn't be greedy, having been to several of his signings and a few of his presentations, but a Mo opportunity shouldn't be missed if at all avoidable.
Adult books and their authors actually dominate BEA, but focusing on the children and teen books is one way for me to keep this event manageable. A few authors who are normally associated with adult books will be signing their children's titles, and I'm curious about the reception they will receive. For instance, James Patterson is signing at the Little, Brown booth, but for a new teen book Witch & Wizard. Meg Cabot is there, not for her adult books or the Princess Diaries series, but for her newer middle-grade series, Allie Finkle. Personally, I'd like to see both, but am less willing to wait in a long line than perhaps their other fans.
I have a list of authors and illustrators that I'm hoping to see including: Suzanne Collins, David Lubar, Amy Krouse Rosenthal, Peter McCarty, Sharon Draper, Linda Park, Maureen Johnson, Jon Agee, Peter Reynolds, Barry Lyga, Bruce Lansky, and Jerry Pinkney. I have many other favorites who are signing books when I am otherwise engaged. How about you? Which authors and illustrators you would want to meet?