BEA. A convention for the strong-willed and daring type. Not for the faint of heart. There's a reason for the title of this post and if you've been to BEA in the past, you'll know exactly what I'm referring too.
Imagine going to a zoo and seeing a bunch of lions grazing through the exhibit looking a tad bit hungry. Now enters a single zookeeper with one steak in his hands. He gingerly sets it down then runs for dear life as the lions begin to run and pounce all over each other just to get to that steak and ease their overwhelming hunger. Not every lion will get a piece of the steak, some will continue to not eat. But in reality, a few of the lions were hurt in the chance to get some of it. But it probably wasn't worth it because now they are bleeding and still hungry.
Horribly long and terrible analogy, I know. But seriously. Tell a bunch of people "FREE BOOKS!!" and they come in hoards to pounce, jab, and dive for a book they have been dying for or even just to fill up their tote bag. It's a sad reality, but it happens every year. People are bitten, bruised, and stepped on all because of some book.
I ask of you, please don't be that person. I respect other bloggers and feel like I should do my best to keep in mind that I am representing my own blog as well as the YA community while at BEA and if I'm fighting with someone or diving into Scholastic's booth, I am a terrible representation. You may be thinking, what's the big deal with wanting a book? That's what it's there for. But you have to also know that other people (editors, authors, agents, publishers, etc.) see your actions even if you don't think they do and they will be quick to judge the blogging community as a bunch of kids doing whatever to get free books. This was the sad reality of last year's convention.
We must do better this year. Yeah, some people won't listen and will still do whatever they can to get a book, even if they won't even read it. (Hint: you have to pay to ship this stuff home. Think about that when you just grab stuff.) But in all honesty, you represent yourself, your blog, and your community when at an event like this so please be mindful of that. Talk to booth workers, befriend other bloggers, etc. This is a time to meet new people and make connections too, it's not just about getting books (which most people think it is).
Feel free to leave any questions you may have about it in the comments below and I'll make more posts up until BEA as long as there are questions to be answered.