By Melanie Mitzman
By now you have received an email from the Publishing Department inviting you to sign up for an attendance badge. As a current student, I can say I probably delete those emails as quickly as the next person.
But you shouldn’t do that.
The primary reason those emails go unread in my Inbox is that I already attend as an employee of Vanguard Press, an imprint of The Perseus Books Group. I am assigned to a booth in which I must stay for a majority of my time, occasionally excusing myself for a quick $20 sandwich in the Javits cafeteria. Because of this, I miss most of what goes on at BEA, which I know from word of mouth is extraordinary.
This is exactly why you shouldn’t miss it. Take advantage of the fact that you get to attend as a student who can experience the full extent of what BEA has to offer.
In addition to the beauty of being surrounded by people who work every day in publishing and thereby share your immense passion for books, you have an opportunity for an inside peek at some of your favorite companies and imprints, as well as some of which you’ve never heard. I would encourage you to spend some time in the booths that fall into both categories. You may discover that the employees at the imprint you love are putting off weird vibes or that you don’t much like their interactions, which is important to know before you start stalking their offices after graduation. Alternately, you may find that at the lesser-known imprints there are cool people or that you’ve actually read some of their books without realizing it.
There are also so many events going on that you could easily fill your schedule for a few weeks if BEA lasted that long. There are author signings, author breakfasts, author stages, as well as panels about industry topics, which are always important to stay up-to-date for interviews with potential employers. There is so much going on for those three days I can’t even list them here, but instead would encourage you to peruse the BEA website, which is constantly updated as new events are confirmed: http://bookexpoamerica.com/Home/.
The bottom line is that Pace is providing you with a unique opportunity that not everyone has. It may seem overwhelming at first to hike out to the Javits and be surrounded by thousands of people. But now is the time to experience it.
So if I couldn’t convince you with the aforementioned reasons, you should know that, at the very least, you’ll come away with a lot of free books, which is something no true book lover can turn down.
If you are a publishing student and interested in using one of the department-provided free BEA passes, please contact Hannah Bennett at firstname.lastname@example.org.