Michael's Musings

Excitement and Trepidation: A Meditation on BEA

In five-and-a-half days, I’ll be in New York City for an absolutely massive book conference — Book Expo America. I’ll be there, in part, to sign my latest, a little novel called Postcards from Pismo, which came out earlier this month. The signing, for those attending, is on Wednesday, 6/6 at 4pm, Table 22 of the Autographing Area. Click the cover image below if you want to add it to your itinerary!

I have a whole lot of feelings about BEA (as the cool kids call it). The biggest ones, though, are excitement and trepidation.

I’m excited because one year ago, I attended BEA 2011 as a spectator. It was my very first book-related trade show. It was too early to be doing anything for Latasha, my first book — my attendance was really just so I could meet folks and learn about the industry in which I would soon be immersed (or “submerged,” take your pick). And here I am, a year later, a bona fide author, about to sign my second novel at the biggest book event around.

Of course, that’s where the trepidation comes in. This is the biggest book event around; 26,000 attendees, the most important people in this industry, and while I believe I belong there, I am one of hundreds of authors who are signing books. The rolls? They include folks like Lois Lowry. Stephen Colbert. Tom Angleberger. Jon Scieszka (sounds like Fresca). Mo Willems (sounds nothing like Fresca). And those are just some awesome names I could rattle off without so much as a glance at the itinerary.

I’m just saying, if I took every name in the program and drew up a “fame food chain,” I’d be a guppy in this sea of the distinguished. I’d be plankton. Barely enough to stick in a teen blogger’s braces.

So, there we have it. Excitement vs. trepidation. I’m trying my best to let excitement win, even though my worries stand about 6’7 and can bench 385. I remind myself that while I might be “small potatoes” — a fingerling at best — I’ll be there, dammit. On the floor; in the program; on the BEA App (PRO-TIP: it’s super useful!) And I’ll have 180 copies of my book to sign and thrust into hands. I’m talking real copies of the book, not ARCs. And I’ve got even more custom-made bookmarks touting the signing. Check ’em out, I think they’re really cool:

I’m calling it here: I will do well. And if you’ll be there, I hope you’ll find me ambling the floor in my sport coat and comfy shoes, and that you’ll ask me for a bookmark. That, for me, would be most exciting.

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