Tuesday, January 18, 2011

To BEA or not to BEA?

For those of you who simply read my blog for book recommendations, this will be a slightly personal post.  So if you are uninterested, feel free to just skip it.  I will be back posting reviews and book info this afternoon.

So recently, there as been quite a bit of rumblings about the BEA.  It is a huge Book Expo event held in NYC in May.  I had almost decided to pass it up this year, until I started reading more about it (bad Hannah - never investigate more.  Ignorance is bliss.)  Kristi at The Story Siren has posted several information posts about the BEA which include links to other information.

Intro to BEA
BEA: Budget Tricks and Tips

Now you see why I'm struggling so much with this decision?  It looks incredible, no?   At first, I thought it would be so incredible to be able to go.  I am now more on top of my finances, so I could potentially save the money over the next couple of months in order to go.  But I guess the question that keeps lingering in my mind is whether or not I belong there?

I know this may sound a bit like whining, and I apologize greatly.  I guess I am simply asking for the advice of other bloggers/readers on the subject.  I am a relatively new blogger.  I started in July of 2010 and have only recently been blogging regularly.  I don't have a huge following (not that numbers are all that matters).  I don't review ARCs, mostly because of my shyness in contacting book publishers/authors/etc and because I still have so many books I missed out on in college.  I've never interviewed an author (though it is something I have been wanting to do in the next couple of months).  But I mostly started this blog as a way to get to know other readers and to learn how to form coherent thoughts and discussions on books.  I have made many friends over the last couple of months, close friends whose opinions I value more than many people I know in real life, especially when it comes to books.  I have learned to be myself and not apologize for who I am and the fact that I love to read and that I spend most of my time reading.

But I guess my thought process becomes who am I to consider myself "important" enough to go?  I don't mean that as derogatory as it sounds.  But the BEA is a trade convention.  I have heard several people comment on the professionalism of the book bloggers last year and their frustration at the number of people who did not seem to belong there.  I am not considering  going just because of the free books and awesome autographing experience.  In fact, I really thought you had to pay for all of those books until a couple of days ago  (and I'm still not completely sure how all of that works).  I would be ecstatic to get to meet some really cool authors, and I know that many of the bloggers I follow religiously are almost more important to me than some authors.  But who am I but a small-town blogger from Tennessee?  What questions would I ask to an author if I ever met one?  I can't think of anything original to say or some brilliant insight into their book that they've never heard of before.  Even now, I feel shy tagging people on Twitter (I wish I had an etiquette book when it comes to Twitter, because I constantly worry about offending people), especially authors - though I am wanting to promote them more than actually promoting me.  But who am I to write a review criticizing a book, especially now that I am aware that they might actually read it?  I mean, after all, I've never written a book before.  (Don't worry - I am continually fighting to make my reviews honest, even though I am incredibly shy about it.  I am simply trying to be professional and tactful with the idea that these are my opinions and feelings about a particular book.)

I guess what I am wondering (and it may have to be a personal decision) is where I am wanting all of this to go.  I started out with this as a hobby.  And it has kept me entertained and from being incredibly lonely in a new town with me not-so-great-at-making-new-friends.  But I read of others who are constantly pushed to read more/schedule their reading/trying to find time to read what they want to read, and I worry that my perfectionism and strive to please others will make me get in too deep.  I, above all, want this to be fun.  I am at that new relationship stage where everything is exciting, and I hope I always stay that way with books.  I get excited about new books to read, and I have seen some unique bloggers who are still very passionate about reading.  It seems that they are not struggling with the "work load," so I know it's possible.  But it's still hard for me to imagine myself having something to say that others want to read.  Perhaps it is time for me to get out of my shell even more by "networking" and being more open to being a book promoter and not simply a book reader. 

So ultimately, I am wondering your thoughts.  Is anyone going to the BEA and looking forward to the excitement?  Has anyone else struggled with the workload that could come with the introduction of ARCs and networking to your blog?  Or have you found that it opens up a whole new world of good friends that love books as much as you do?  Thoughts?  Comments?  Suggestions?  Tired of hearing me whine?  I'm finished now.  Thanks for listening.  :)

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