My first signing at BookExpo America #BEA15

This isn't the cutest photo of me at BEA. But it is the most representative (smiling as wide as my mouth allows). My very first book signing was by far the coolest thing I've done with Food Whore (not that sitting in front of laptop for years of my life is much competition). Here's how it went down and some quick thoughts (still processing the coolness of it all). 

First, what is BEA? It's a trade show for industry professionals: booksellers, librarians, editors, agents, sales/marketing teams, reading app entrepreneurs, literary tote bag designers... you get it.

 

It's pretty amazing to be in the company of thousands of other book lovers. How often do you see billboards and giant banners for books?  

BEA interior

I got there an hour and a half before my 3pm signing so I could walk the floor, visit the booths, and -- let's get real -- cool off because I was sweating like crazy from the walk from Penn Station to Javits Center. I should have taken more photos, but I did catch this: tea settings at the Chinese booths. One can only do business over tea! 

 

 

 

 

I also scoped out my autographing area. Here's the sign that announced my session. The excitement builds...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And this is what the lines looked like one hour before my signing session. The photo on the left is of the low-numbered tables (1-5). And the photo on the right is of the high-number tables (10-15). I was Table 14. 

So, I was expecting...15 or so people over 30 minutes. And I was totally fine with that! I had a camera tripod so I could take photos with people, a mailing list sign-up sheet, and of course the tats. I was going to take my time. There were a lot of big-name authors signing the same time as me, so I was happy to just enjoy the experience and meet a handful of readers.

 Long lines for established authors.

Long lines for established authors.

 What I was expecting. (Not being pessimistic... just looking at the facts!) 

What I was expecting. (Not being pessimistic... just looking at the facts!) 

Fifteen minutes before showtime, my publicist and I went to the green room to relax. I wasn't nervous and I didn't really think through what I was going to say or write. I thought I'd just wing it the few times it happened. 

Then we went through the "backstage" area, where everyone's galleys had been organized. 

I thought I'd take a moment to get settled in ... get out my water bottle, my Sharpies. Fan out the tats. 

But instead, WHEN I OPENED THE CURTAIN, I saw this...

Photo May 27, 3 05 05 PM.jpg

HUMANS! WAITING! For ME! Seventy people, to be exact. More people than could fit in the allotted 30 minutes, so we ended up moving over a table and going 15 minutes overtime. Thanks to my agent, Stefanie, who took these photos of me smiling like an idiot.

 This woman researched my book and marked me in her day's schedule. 

This woman researched my book and marked me in her day's schedule. 

 That auburn-haired woman to my right? That's Carol Alt! 

That auburn-haired woman to my right? That's Carol Alt! 

I signed galleys for booksellers, bloggers, agents. I signed for a library benefit auction and a hospital library. I signed for a woman who said, "don't make it out to me because my husband is a foodie and he will get jealous." 

People were drawn by the title. I met a woman who said this was the first thing she was going to read on the drive home (as long as you're not driving, I said). Twitter pals who I had never met IRL came.

One woman said the tats reminded her of the time her parents paid to remove her tattoo -- 10x more than what the tattoo cost (I hope that isn't real, she said). Other people told me that I should definitely make the tat official.

@yolandashoshana said my book was her top book haul acquisition...

This signing exceeded my expectations by leaps and bounds and I'm SO grateful for all the people who stopped by. Can't wait to sign to do more events and maybe sign a book for you. ;) 

P.S. If you like, join my mailing list so you can get news about signings, appearances, etc.