BEA, ALA. Have you ever been before? If you’ve been before, share your experiences; both pro & con. If you haven’t gone before, do you participate in online events like Armchair BEA? Do you hope to go one day? Do you feel too intimidated to go? Are you jealous of the big book hauls and tweets during the events?
I’ve never been to BEA or ALA. I think of them as being for industry professionals (some say that as a blogger I’m included in that, but I just can’t) as opposed to something like Comic Con which is clearly for the fans. There’s no readers’ equivalent to that, is there? I guess there probably are for genres like science fiction and fantasy, the ones that seem to have the most enthusiastic fans. Not that I don’t read those books on occasion, but they’re not where my passion lies.
To be honest, the event that really piques my interest is ThrillerFest. Unfortunately (for me), it seems to be geared much more toward writers — or at least, anyone involved with the creation side of the books — than readers. BEA and ALA, even if they aren’t for fans, per se, are for booksellers, librarians… professionals on the reader side.
The first two days of ThrillerFest are events known as CraftFest and AgentFest; the first is a writing workshop, and the second is like speed dating for writers and agents. The final two days are filled with panels and interviews of varying levels of interest, but the whole thing still seems very writer-focused. Of course, there are also cocktail parties, an awards banquet, author signings, and this year they’re adding a new special event, FanFest (which sounds like basically another cocktail party). I’m not saying it wouldn’t be fun to go. But on the whole, ThrillerFest is more about the writers than the readers.
So, would it be worth going to an event focused on my genre of choice, but not my role in it? Honestly, I think I’d feel out of place, moreso than I would at BEA or ALA.
Despite possibly feeling like I don’t belong, and my typical reaction to crowds of people (which is pretty much stay as far away as possible), I do think it would be fun to go to something like this at least once. Maybe when BEA comes to Chicago in a few years (2016? was that the number I heard floating around?) I can get a day pass or something, just to experience it.
Would you ever go to an event like this?