I've gone to BookExpo America before - this is my third year - fourth year? Some number of years going, and there are plenty of other posts summarizing what everything is about and what to do and all that fun stuff. But I figured I'd reiterate the tips I find most helpful.
01. This is a professional conference. Be professional.
You don't have to be perfect, but try not to look like a hobo, and in the name of cupcakes, please - please - please behave professionally. Be polite. Don't shove. Don't do stupid things. Bloggers have gotten bad names because of this in the past. (My post on professional BEA behavior.)
02. Sneakers are your friend.
Unless you have another pair of more comfortable shoes, just wear sneakers on the floor. Between walking the conference floor and walking around NYC, your feet will be exhausted - and if you wear sneakers, it'll at least be a little better later.
03. Pack snacks and water bottles.
Are you a millionaire? If the answer is no, you really don't want to be buying food at the center, and it's really inconvenient to have to leave the building during the day for food to come back later. I'm a big fan of the granola bars and water bottle strategy -- it always lasts me until dinner, and I'm so busy that I don't have time to do anything otherwise.
04. You don't need every book. Don't pick up every book.
Unless you want to exhaust yourself carrying things, don't pick up every book. It's also just rude to take things you don't need. And taking two copies of a popular book? Just... don't do it. Again, be professional; this is a conference, not a free-for-all giveaway. My rule is if you wouldn't buy it or check it out of the library, don't pick it up off the BEA floor.
Okay, this seems obvious, but a lot of bloggers are afraid of networking and actually talking to the people around them. Shake it off! Relax! Go talk to your favorite author or that publicist you always work with or that blogger you always admired. They're gonna want to talk to you as well, and that experience is always nicer then book you got quietly.
I'll be floating around at some of the events and around the floor for most of the days. If you'll be there and want to chat in person, just shoot me a Tweet and we'll arrange something!
Who's going? What are you excited for?