If you’ve never been to BEA (Book Expo America) you should go if you get the chance.  Here’s the picture I took:

Some might say it doesn’t do BEA justice.  Personally, I think my photography skills are right up there with my fashion sense – one could call this art.  (One could also call it something else, but I’m sticking with art.)

Seriously, though, no picture could really do BEA justice.  It is 5 city blocks long!!!  Full of publishing houses and books of every kind.  It takes your breath away.  The sheer magnitude is overwhelming.

There are authors signing, and ARCs being given away by publishers, and agents and editors wandering the busy aisles alongside teachers and librarians and independent booksellers.

It is like book heaven.

One minute inside BEA would convince you (if you were wondering) that the publishing industry can’t be in that much trouble  if this many houses and this many books exist!  It is at once inspiring and intimidating to see how much is out there.

I had the privilege of giving away signed copies of Not Yet, Rose yesterday.  I sat at a table at the Mom’s Choice Award booth and people were literally LINED UP waiting for signed copies.  It was such an ego boost (even though I realize it was because they were free it was still fun!  Nobody ever lined up for one of my books before – at least, not a line of more than 2 people :))

Afterwards, I wandered the aisles and said hi to a couple of my editors who were there, and read lots of kids’ books (I lost count, but a bunch of them will get added to my 100 Book Challenge list.)  It was totally fun.

Have any of you ever been to the big conferences?  ALA?  SCBWI New York or LA?  IRA?  What did you think?  Do you recommend going?