(Meredith's and my Swag at 9:30 am on Wednesday, after the Swag Sweep)
And this is that moment where I've gotta fess up: I am apparently my father's daughter. And my Swagging skills were definitely inherited from him. Though you wouldn't find him running the halls at BEA and picking up books, his itinerized trips to Disney World when I was a kid, definitely inspired me last year when I was figuring out how to walk away with the best swag at BEA last year.
We were that family that planned everything we wanted to do at each park the night before and my dad wrote it down and allotted the correct amount of time for each ride, each show, each parade, or whatever.
We were that family that arrived at the gates at 7 am, lined up so we would be right up from when the gates to the park opened at 9 (oh yes, we waited in line for two hours). Then I ran to That-Year's-Big-Ride to get fast pass tickets, while the rest of the family ran That-Year's-Second-Biggest-Ride to get in line. After collecting fast passes, I ran to meet up with them, which often times included fighting to cut people in line. (This was the curse of being the oldest child in my family, er, well one of them. Having to help put up the Christmas tree was another).
We were that family that ran from one ride to the next, that spent 14 hours in each park, and that stopped to eat if and only if we had time in our schedule. Vacations in my family were more exhausting than the rest of the year.
So you see, I'm highly qualified to direct people on how to Swag at BEA, because I've done all of Disney World in a couple of days, survived to tell the tale - and go back and do it again several more times. And of course, there's the hard evidence. Last year I scored $1100 worth of books. This year I got more.
How to Swag
1. Be prepared. This includes being comfortable. Those 3 inch heels and business clothing - leave that in the office. Sneakers, jeans, layers (the temperature in the Javitz seems to fluctuate...or maybe it was all that running around). But it also includes planning ahead. Meredith, Juju, and I sat around the round table in the office before BEA opened on Wednesday and looked through the booklet, picking out every signing we wanted to see. After circling them, we made our own linear chart in Mer's handy notebook so we knew exactly what we needed to accomplish each hour - and where. And most importantly, bring a rolling suitcase and check it for $3 downstairs (more on this later). Then when those six tote bags are threatening to tear your arms off your shoulders, you can unload your books into your suitcase and head back out onto the Floor for more Swag.
2. Be early. The later you arrive, the harder you'll work and the less you'll get. On Wednesday morning Meredith and I got our tickets to the ticketed signings at 6:30. And we weren't the only ones. We ran into a pair of fabulous Tor editors - one of whom Swagged with me last year. (And last year, by the way, I got to Javitz at 7:15 and the woman in front of me got the last Suzanne Collins ticket for Catching Fire). Both days, I was lined up outside the Exhibit Floor at 8 am, waiting to get inside (us non-exhibitors are allowed in at 9 am) and since BEA isn't Disney World, when other members of my Swag Team showed up later, no one behind me complained about being cut in line.
3. Know the layout of the Floor. Both days, we chose the left entrance where the sign "Independent Publishers" hung in the entry way. (The right entrance was right in front of Harper Collins, but it had more crowds). Both days, we went through the entry way and immediately cut to the right. Then we swept up the Harper/Hyperion aisle, turned the corner, swept down the Macmillan aisle, turned the corner, swept up the Hachette aisle, etc.
4. Be assertive. People shove. It happens. (These are free books!) While I don't advocate shoving back, you can't just let someone roll their illegal rolling suitcase over your feet either. You also can't be tentative. On Thursday, I joked with Kody and SKendall and told them: "If you fall behind, we'll leave you behind." This was a joke, and I didn't leave them behind, but well, there's a little bit of truth in every just kidding. (Meredith and I did leave Juju behind on Wednesday, though we did pick up Swag for her - #sorryjuju!).
5. Swag with People who are Like-Minded. It's quite possible the paranormal trend in fiction rubbed off on Meredith and I on Wednesday. We had a sort of eerie telepathic communication going on when we swept through the aisles of the major publishing houses. I went left, she went right, we each grabbed ARCs and tote bags for each other when opportunity arose. The two of us (minus Juju, since we left her behind) swept the entire Exhibit Floor on Wednesday in 30 minutes. The Janet Reid on the other hand did not Swag with us, and while I love her am afraid of her, this was a good decision, she would not have wanted to run the aisle with me (she prefers to make me do the running and just bring her the Swag).
6. Have good Swag Karma. Those rolling suitcase. They're not allowed on the Floor. The signs are everywhere. Obviously anyone pushing and shoving for ARCs can read. (And yes, possibly one of the best moments of Thursday's Swag Sweep was the fabulous and fierce Diana Fox telling a woman who was racing us to the Swag that rolling suitcases were not in fact supposed to be on the Floor). But also there's the multiple copies of books faux pas. Don't pick up copies of books you won't read - or won't send to someone else for their reading pleasure. And don't pick up six copies of each book. The $1100 of Swag I got last year, yes I read them, yes if they were good, I promoted and talked about them. And I plan to do the same with the Swag I got this year.
(The Swag from Wednesday)
Some of the Best Swag I got my hands on:
Copies of all the Buzz books (except Plain Kate and Bad Science)
The Passage by Justin Cronin
Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney
For the Win by Cory Doctrow
Nightshade by Andrea Cremer
Oogy by Larry Levin
Delirium by Lauren Oliver
Ascendant by Diane Peterfreund
Virals by Kathy Reichs
Numb by Sean Ferrell
I am Number Four by Pittacus Lore.