Monday, June 1, 2009

BEA 2009 Report

Okay, I've been putting this off because it seems so daunting to sum up such a flurry of events as I experienced over the last several days. But I want to and have to, so here we go.

First off, let me just say this: everything was awesome. Incredibly awesome. And to avoid using the word awesome forty million times, please just assume that everything I tell you about was indeed awesome. Are we good on that? Good. Let's go back to where I last left you, after my incredible visit to the Random House offices and dinner last Tuesday.

Deep breath. And... go.


Met my publicists Noreen and Emily at this cool dude named Mitchell's quaint house in the East Village to film video bits for online promotions with all the major retailers. Ya know, the whole mock interview thing. We also took a bunch of author photos. I'm almost certain I was an idiot and I can only hope Mitchell does some ingenious editing.

Emily then took me to brunch at this sweet place called Norma's. They had a menu item for $1,000 dollars that dared you to expense it. I thought that was quite hilarious. Had a great time getting to know Emily and asking her a gazillion questions. Good times and good food.

Spent the rest of the day relaxing, working, and gearing up for BEA.

In the evening, I met my friend Brandon Mull (FABLEHAVEN), his wife Mary, and Jennifer Schoebinger for dinner at a little jazz restaurant called The Garage. Good times and good food.


8:00 - BEA kicks off with the annual children's breakfast. Julie Andrews (yes, that Julie Andrews) hosted, Peter Yarrow (yes, that Peter from Peter Paul and Mary) sang a few songs, and a few authors spoke. Most memorable was Meg Cabot, who is freaking hilarious.

11:00 - My signing of THE MAZE RUNNER at the Random House booth, Noreen helping me. I have no idea how many books I signed, but we went steady and fast for the entire hour and had to do some on the side afterward.

Right after, I got to meet Libba Bray!!!!!

12:15 - Had lunch with my agent Michael, my editor Krista, and Lauren Abramo (foreign rights agent for Dystel & Goderich, my agency). Good times and crappy food (slim pickins at the Javits Center).

2:00 - BEA Young Adult Buzz Forum. Krista did an AMAZING job presenting her thoughts on MAZE to the audience. The room was large and packed, standing room only. Word on the street is that we had way more people show up than they did for the adult buzz forum. boo yah.

If you missed it in my last post, the best way to recap this event is for you to read the article in Publisher's Weekly: CLICK HERE.

3:30 - Meeting with RH folks and a representative from Levy's, the group that distributes books to places like grocery stores, Target, KMart, Walmart, etc. Her name was Laura, and she loves my book! What a great person to have on my side. She kept apologizing for gushing, and I kept asking her to please gush some more. Something was said about me signing 2,000 books for her company when I'm in Chicago this fall for the release tour. Yeah, that'd be pretty awesome.

5:00 - Noreen, Krista, Emily, and I head over to Brooklyn for the ABC (not quite a) Dinner and Silent Auction. That's not my description - that's what it was actually called. It consisted of a cocktail party, a program, then an auction of tons of original illustrations from children's books. Katherine Paterson (BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA) was one of the speakers.

My friend Shannon Hale hosted, and she was incredible. In fact, instead of rehashing everything, I'm going to link you over to her blog where she gave a great recap: CLICK HERE.

One really cool thing about this event: one of the three featured drinks at the bar was called "The Maze Runner." I really want to slap myself silly for not getting a picture of the sign for it!!! The other cool thing was that I totally got to hang with lots of RH people and other authors.

Afterward I went back to the hotel and went to bed, utterly drained and exhausted. And happy.

Lord have mercy this is a boring post. Too much info and too little time!


10:00 am - Signing of THE 13TH REALITY at the Shadow Mountain booth. We had 200 books, and signed all of them. Went really, really well.

11:30 - Lunch with Michael and my very good friend, Sara Zarr (SWEETHEARTS, STORY OF A GIRL, upcoming ONCE WAS LOST). Good times and not-so-crappy food.

2:00 - Author panel from the YA Buzz Forum. This is where the six authors from yesterday's forum got a chance to speak out. David hosted once again. It was short and sweet, with each of us reading the opening passage from the book then answering a few questions. Not sure where I rated on the idiot scale, but I think it went okay. I did try to make a couple of jokes, and I'm pretty sure no one laughed.

3:00 - Michael and I finally got to walk the showroom floor, visiting all the publisher booths. Way fun.

5:30 - The Simon & Schuster cocktail party for Simon Pulse and Aladdin authors. I was there for four hours and it was way awesome. (oopsie daisy, there I went and used that word again.) I had so much fun and felt so much love. Wonderful editors, marketers, publishers, and authors. Thanks for making me feel so welcome and part of the family! Good times and good food.

OK, this is where new people to The Dashner Dude might get confused. MAZE is being published by Random House under the Delacorte imprint. 13TH REALITY is published by Shadow Mountain in hardcover, S&S (Aladdin) in paperback (1st one coming this Christmas). So I'm currently working with three different publishers.

If I'm totally honest, this is proving to be hard for me. I have this neurotic worry that someone will think I'm cheating on them or don't love them as much as someone else. Or that someone will dump me because I won't commit my whole publishing life to them.

I've been assured by my agent and every other person involved that to worry about such a thing is complete nonsense. Do you think I'll stop? Of course not! Because I'm insane.

(I would be ungrateful, however, if I didn't pause here to say that at this point, Random House has made the largest financial and personnel and marketing and everything else commitment to me BY FAR, and for that I'm a very thankful and humbled dude. And I just think they deserve that little shout out. I hope no one else is offended.)

Whew. Luckily this post is like forty thousand words by now, so no one probably read this far anyway! See how smart and clever I am? Quite brilliant, really.

Okay, almost over. Didn't do much Sunday morning because my brain had imploded from glee. But the flight home was the fastest five hours of my life. Why? I sat between my very good friends Brandon Mull and Brandon Sanderson (after some very clever seat maneuvering), both of whom just signed seven figure deals, and we talked our biz the entire time. I loved every single minute of it.

WOW. BEA. What a thing it was.

But after all that, you know what I can honestly say was THE highlight? Getting to know Michael and Krista in person and hanging out with them. Seriously. To have such amazingly promising professional relationships, and yet feel like we've been friends for a thousand years?

THAT's what I call priceless.


Frank Cole said...

James, I'm totally jealous, but not to the point where I don't like you anymore. You're too nice of a guy for that. Now be honest, did you take a sip of the Maze Runner? You dog! You did, didn't you?!

Aprilynne said...

WHAT!! I don't even get a mention??? *inserts herself into the blog entry*

"On Friday after signing at the Shadow Mountain booth I got to spent five minutes in the illustrious company of my incredible friend, Aprilynne Pike, because that is literally about all the time I had to socialize. I did, however, convince her to let me borrow her copy if Catching Fire. Okay, fine, I used hypnotism."

Okay, NOW it is a complete report!

Seriously, it was lovely to see you, however briefly,:)


Kenny said...

Tsk, Aprilynne. James just got done discussing his neurotic worry that someone will think he doesn't love them as much as someone else, and here you go fanning the flames of his neurosis. As I recall, you Twittered about Holly Black, Neil Gaiman, Scott Westerfield, Melissa Marr, Claudia Gray, and Adrienne Kress... but not James Dashner! Pot, kettle, et cetera. d^_^b

Besides, he's hardly the first person to snub you inexplicably (or after you've done them a personal favor), and I doubt he'll be the last. And he was, after all, the toast of BEA; he's a superstar now. Pretty soon he'll trade in ALL his old friends for shiny new models.

Seriously, though, well done, Mr. Dashner. A drink! Named after your book! Next thing you'll be having virulent diseases and psychosocial experimentation facilities and global-scale extinction events labeled in your honor. I'm glad to hear you had such a great trip. You deserved every minute of it.

Magenta said...

Bross! Chanti! Rondie! Exaphyd! Ingsledn! Plepi! Cyterso! Coradul! Extretti! I'm so ringled for you! You obviously had a foreekin awesome time!

There. I used as many Dashnog words as I could to describe my shared excitement with you for how cool the BEA was! I so wish I was you. Meeting all those famous fellow authors and people, having such a blast...In fact, that's what my Dashnog word should mean. Pelere (pell-EAR): When you're so jealous of someone that you wish you could trade places with them. Usage: I pelere you, Dude. ^__^ But honestly, I'm so happy for you!

BTW, I read the whooooole post, and you didn't even get close to 40,000 words. To make sure, I ran it through the document word count. The post was only 1,312 words. Even if you included the words from Shannon Hale's post (which I read as well ^,~), it comes to 2,556. So a major exaggeration on your part.

Another Dashnog word. Patcroom(PAT-kroom): a large exaggeration. Usage: Dashner made such a patcroom. ^__^

L.T. Elliot said...

Libba Bray is pretty rockin' awesome.
I'm really happy you had such a good time. That's awesome about the drink being named after you.
Glad to have you back. What are your upcoming plans for writing & events?

Alysa Stewart said...

Super cool! Someday I'll be there... someday. Until then, thanks for the full report!

Luisa Perkins said...

Fabulous! I'm going to start calling you Cinderfella.

Anonymous said...

This post was anything but boring! Seriously. It sounds like you had a fabulous time. Can't wait to hear more.

Oh, by the way, I'm telling everyone I can about your book. You know how the whole word of mouth thing works with people who are from Utah, or who have lived in Utah or who know people who've lived in Utah... I think I've found some people who've heard of your family. They've lived here in Georgia all of their lives.

Unknown said...

That's a mind-blower. What a ride that whole trip had to be. You're a heavy-hitter now, James. You deserve it!

James Dashner said...

Ah how I love my faithful Duders. You guys are awesome and hilarious. And so nice to me!

LT, not a lot going on until this fall. Except for the big BYU writing conference next week where Krista will be one of the main guests.

Oh, Aprilynne, the shame. But now that I know about this twitter snub, I don't feel guilty. Kenny, you're too funny.

nkrell, there are a LOT of people in Georgia who should know me. I lived there until I was 18.

Frank, you're an idiot. A lovable idiot, but an idiot. I mean, a really cool idiot. But, yeah. You're an idiot.

Hoontah said...

James, That is so amazing. When you are enormously famous (which will be what in six months) I'm going to do a happy dance for you. You so deserve it. You're awesome. :) Congratulations.

Frank Cole said...

Loveable Idiot... Ah, not since the olden days with Mamaw Cole have I received a nicer sentiment. By the way, when do I get to take you to lunch for introducing me to Cedar Fort?

Anonymous said...

No way--this posting wasn't boring at all! Your recap read like a veritable "Who's Who" in YA literature! It was very fun and encouraging--thank you.

Natasha @ Maw Books said...

Fun to read about it all! I was able to snag an ARC from the Random House booth. Am excited to read it! I totally would have come to your panel on Saturday afternoon but it was the same time as MY panel (sorry, I had to slip that in there). Have you slept yet?

Melinda said...


That must have felt surreal. I really hope that someday I have a drink named after my book. Once I figure out a title for it, anyway.

You da man.

Heather Moore said...

I am SO going next year! Somehow . . . someway . . .

The Scarlet Tart said...

I can't believe I read that whole thing. The post AND the comments. My eyes might be burning.

The Scarlet Tart said...


James Dashner said...

Arlene, you're so strange.


Frank, anytime bro.

I really appreciate all the love in the comments. Thanks guys.

The Scarlet Tart said...

I think you mean, "I can feel the love from here."

The Scarlet Tart said...

That's what I get for not reading your comment all the way to the end.

My reply was based on your comment to me.

Unknown said...

I'm bouncing off the walls here! Had a lousy start to the day, but I got home and MAZE RUNNER was waiting for me in the mail!!!!

I'll read it this week. I'm way psyched!!!!

Unknown said...

Dashnog: foratent. The purpose behind one's shopping expedition to a camping and sporting goods store.

James Dashner said...

Graham, I'll be sweating bullets. Be honest.

Deb said...

James, glad to hear you survived the machinations of your wife. I can't believe you didn't mention Aprilynne. I try to mention her in every post I make whether I've seen her or not. Of course, I am obsessed with her...

Graham, can't wait to see you tomorrow!

Unknown said...

I'll e-mail you the verdict, James. One of the conditions of my obtaining the book was that I can't post a Chop until the release date. I skimmed through the first two chapters and've advanced a lot, even since 13th Reality. I like it.

Kimberly Vanderhorst said...

It just doesn't get much better than that, does it?

Sara Z. said...

Edit re: the "not so crappy" food lunch. You didn't taste my empanada.

Very proud of you for all your success and more to come.

The Scarlet Tart said...

James, come check out our newly created blog!

All of us Eagle Mountain crazies contribute. We just started it this last week.

James Dashner said...

Sara, I was offended that you didn't finish that. Couldn't have been THAT bad. :)

Nancy Campbell Allen said...

Ok, I'm so glad I didn't know all of these details when we talked at the Teen Writers Conference. I would have been too overwhelmed by your impressiveness to say a word, and I'm not being entirely sarcastic, either!

James, this is so, so cool. A million, gajillion congrats. What an awesome, (yes awesome!) thing!!