This is the blog of children's book author and elementary school teacher, Stacy Barnett Mozer. I blog about my own writing journey, the journey of other kidlit authors, my classroom, and talk about books. Thanks for stopping by. Your thoughts are always welcome (and encouraged).

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Why I Attend BEA

As a teacher, writer, blogger, and book lover, there are many reasons I attend Book Expo America. With only two days until I attend, I've decided to share my reasons for going with you.

As a teacher:
When I started teaching, reading was taught with class sets of books. A classroom library was nice to have, but not a necessity. I always had a nice classroom library, but it was mostly used for pleasure reading. In the past fifteen years, that has dramatically changed. If you come to my classroom now, you will see an extensive library that contains both fiction and nonfiction. At no point are more than five kids reading the same book, and that is only during book talk units. Most of the time each child is self-selecting just right novels from a leveled bin. A student may stay in the same level for three months or more, so each level has to have a wide variety. In order to confer with students successfully, I try to read the books, or at least a title in each series. 

Why do I go to BEA as a teacher? To find new books to add to my classroom library and to meet authors who will inspire them to read. I also go to find new authors and new classroom resources and materials. I also go to connect to teacher and librarian friends from around the country.

Events I hope to attend:

11:00 am - 11:30 am
Uptown Stage
11:00 am - 11:50 am
1:00 pm - 1:30 pm
Uptown Stage

As a writer:
Part of our education as writers is to understand the market. A great way to see that market is going to BEA. Publishers have booths where they show off their current and new reads. You'll also see writers, agents, and editors walking around the floor. As I mentioned in my previous post, this is not a time to pitch your book, but it is a good place to network and spend time with book people. I hope to see many friends.

Events I hope to attend:
12:00 pm - 12:30 pm
Uptown Stage

As a reader:
I will pick up middle grade reads as a teacher. I search out new YA as a reader. Many of my favorite series were first handed to me at BEA. I have a list of new and next books I hope to find. 

Events I hope to attend:
10:00 am - 10:30 am
Uptown Stage

As a book blogger:
Going as a book blogger is new for me. My new group blog, Sporty Girl Books, is launching on June 1st. As a book blogger I hope to make connections and to publicize the blog. In order to build readership, we are holding a giveaway during the month of June, ending on June 23, the anniversary of Title IX. I also hope to pick up swag that I can add to our giveaway.

Those are the reasons I go to BEA. Why will you be there? (Or why won't you?)

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Tips for BEA 2013

In one week teachers, librarians, writers, bloggers, and industry professionals will descend upon the Jacob Javits Center in NYC for Book Expo America. This will be my fourth time attending this event so here is my list of helpful hints.

1. Make a schedule
Book Expo provides two ways to take a look at the events, signings, and books, and create a schedule. From the website you can download the BEA app or you can sign in to My BEA Show Planner (in the box underneath the app). I've been trying out both, and I actually like My BEA Show Planner better. Not only can you create a schedule that you can print, you can also search attendees and make connections. You can also look at an interactive map that highlights all of the booths you have decided to visit. The one benefit to the app is that you can also map routes from booth to both and find your location in real time. But for those of us (which may only be me) who can only use the app in wifi, this may or may not be helpful the day of the show. In the past cell phone service was spotty, so make sure to print your schedule as well as have it on a device.

2. Wear comfy shoes
You don't have to go with sneakers (I usually pick a nice pair of sandals), but you don't want to pick a pair of shoes that you haven't already broken in. Keep in mind that you will be doing a lot of walking and standing around.

3. Dress professionally
Even though your shoes should be comfy, that doesn't mean come you should come in sweats. It is a trade show. You should also bring layers because the conference floor definitely fluctuates in temperature. 

4. Take advantage of public transportation
There are free shuttle buses running from hotels all over the city (take a look at the list), but if you, like me, are coming in from Grand Central, the best bus to take is M42. It picks up right in front of Grand Central Station on 42nd Street and drops off at 42nd and 11th Ave. The cost of the bus is $2.50.

5. Bring a rolling suitcase & a tote bag
Even if you don't go overboard, carrying all those books around on your shoulder is exhausting. It costs about $3 per day to check your rolling bag and you can keep going back to it to add new books from your tote. You will not be allowed to bring the rolling bag to the floor. 

6. Bring water and snacks
A friend of mine coming this year compared BEA to Disney World. It's a pretty accurate description. There are long lines, costumed characters, and the food is pricy (though tastier than Disney in my opinion). Having snacks and water with you helps a lot.

7. Have fun - don't pitch
Go to panels, meet authors, find out about new books, and meet other attendees who love books as much as you do. Take a look at lists and find out what is coming out on the market. You may even meet an editor or literary agent. Ask them about the books they are there to see and what's coming out. Don't make this conference about you and your writing. It's not a time to pitch, it's a time to explore.

8. Places to learn more:

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Books for Boston

If you haven't already heard of Books for Boston, and haven't donated, here is a great project being run by AC Gaughen. 

She is asking for authors and non authors to donate books for children. But before you send the book, write a message of hope, courage, or resilience. 

Here is a link to the blog post and information about how to donate: http://www.acgaughen.com/blog/2013/4/25/books-for-boston.html

I think this is a fantastic project and I found that in writing my own message of hope, I felt encouraged as well. Hope you will too!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Taking the Conference Home: A Post for NESCBWI13

It is always so exciting to attend a writer’s conference. To be surrounded by like minds and to rub elbows with published professionals, even well-known published professionals. I often hear people saw how much they want these feelings to continue even after they go home.

Well guess what? You can!

Join a critique group. Critique groups aren’t just for sharing work, they are for continuing that conference experience of being surrounded by people who share your need to write and talk about children’s books.

If you meet some great people (which I know you will) and they don't live near you, start an online group. 

If you want to meet people in your area, look for ways that the conference has provided for getting you together with them. At NESCBWI13 we start the conference with a Regional Meetup on Friday night. Open Group Leaders will be wearing stickers that say, "Ask me about my group." If there are no open groups in your area, take the time to find some people who want to start one. Don't worry if none of you have ever done it before. That's why you have a person like me (Regional Critique Group Coordinator) who can give you advice. I had never attended a group when I started my first group and now I coordinate the whole region. 

If you will not be at the Friday night meetup but will be at the conference, I will be holding office hours during Saturday and Sunday's conference registration. Please come by my table, introduce yourself, fill out a Looking for a Group slip, and check out our New England open group listings. You can also see these listings at http://nescbwicritiques.blogspot.com and looking at the list in the New England NEWS. 

And if you approached me at the conference to tell me that you want to join a group or even better, run one, don’t put it off. Do it. You’ll be glad you did. It really does make the conference last all year long.