Regrets, I Have a Few
A couple of weeks ago, I am so glad to say that I was able to go to the very first Book Riot Live (hereafter BRL) in NYC. It was my birthday present from my indulgent husband, who didn't totally understand when I told him in April that I already knew what I wanted for my November birthday and it was to go to New York for a book nerd con and and and. But he is also a book nerd, though not as geeky and fangirly as I, so he consented to come with me on a train trip to NYC to nerd out on bookish things for a few days.
And it was so, so good. We saw LOADS of authors, and I got ohsomany of them to sign my BRL tote bag. We did the Handmaid's Tale tattoo chain. We accidentally had lunch with Beverly Jenkins and I gave her half my sandwich. I bought presents for myself and also a Christmas gift for my niece. We got free books. We also had a great view from our hotel room, ate some pretty good meals out in the city, and saw a fun comedy show on Saturday night, unrelated to BRL. All in all it was just wonderful. BUT. I do have some regrets from the weekend.
1. I turned into a complete idiot around Margaret Atwood. I mean, I know that is probably normal. But she signed my tote and Jenn from BR took our photo and I just blurted out, almost crying, "AND THANK YOU FOR...JUST ALL OF YOUR BOOKS." And then I turned and ran away.
2. We didn't have the money to go to either of the Strand rare book room receptions. I would have liked to, but the cost of the trip to NYC from Virginia and the hotel and the food and the souvenirs and the BRL tickets...we just couldn't swing it. It looked super-fun, though; I wish we could have gone.
3. I didn't use the unisex bathrooms. Not because they were unisex but because I was SO TERRIBLE at drinking water that I never had to pee. But I wish I had gone in just to fix my hair or something!
4. I couldn't go to everything. I wanted to go to at least 2, if not 3, sessions in almost every time slot and I had a really, really hard time choosing what to go to. And I don't at all regret going to the things I attended, but I DO regret not getting the chance to see other panels and podcasts and games and things that were happening at the same time.
5. I didn't get to see Sarah MacLean! I chose other sessions than those she was in and I was never able to catch her at the signing table or just hanging out. I really wanted her to sign my tote, but it just didn't happen.
6. I didn't talk to enough vendors. I tend to be a more "look from a distance" person, distinctly uncomfortable with sales people. But I think I missed out on some cool giveaways and stuff (like the Call Me Ishmael blind date with a book thing).
7. I didn't realize that the Brooklyn Public Library staff wouldn't be there on Sunday, and I didn't go back Saturday afternoon to pick up my book recommendation from them! I asked for a recommendation but didn't get to see what they came up with for me.
8. I didn't really talk to many other attendees. I wasn't sure how to initiate conversations once I was face-to-face with people.
9. We didn't get our picture taken in the Swoon Reads photo booth! I wanted to, I had convinced my husband to do it (he hates having his picture taken usually), but he decided not to stick around on Sunday afternoon and headed back to the hotel, and we both totally forgot about it before he left. I didn't remember until he had already left the building, and I texted him, but he didn't see it until he was already back at the hotel. I thought about taking some all by myself, but my nerve failed me.
10. (And this is the biggest one.) I didn't talk to a single BR staff member or contributor. Not one. I saw them all weekend and knew who so many of them were on sight and never once worked up the nerve to walk up to someone and say, "Hi! I feel like I know you from Twitter and the site and I just think you're awesome!" This is partly because I'm incredibly socially awkward and have no idea how to talk to people when there is not a defined social structure/script for doing so. It's also partly because I am a conference planner by trade, and I know how completely exhausting running an event like this is, and I didn't want to add to their stress or exhaustion by forcing them to stop and talk to yet another stranger. It's also partly my own personal weird hang-up that I am afraid they all notice how often I like or reply to their tweets and they think I am a weirdo stalker person (and the flip side of that - that they have NOT A CLUE who I am though I've had Twitter conversations with most of them several times). And it was partly because they were all running around like chickens with their heads cut off, dashing from moderating one session to manning a signing line to passing microphones for audience questions to escorting authors around, and I just didn't feel like I could ask them to stop for a second - they had much more important things to do than talk to me! Anyway. This is all my issue, and I wish I knew how to make myself better at social interaction - I want to be social with people, but I don't know how when I don't have a sort of script to follow. I'm listening to all of the BR podcasts now that were recorded live at the event, and they're making me unexpectedly weepy because I really like these people and wish I'd been able to tell them that.
SIGH. It was such a fun time, regrets be damned. I hope I'm able to go again the next time they do something like this, but the cost of getting to and staying in NYC is probably going to deter me from going too often. But I do hope it was successful enough that they keep doing it - I had such a good time, and I'd like to go again in 3 or 5 years or whenever my finances recover from this time.