BEA in LA is almost as grueling as when it's in New York, because the convention center is so big and I have so many clients in the city. That means I walk miles up and down the trade show aisles during the day, and run around for breakfast lunch, dinner and drinks with clients in between. I am so wiped out by 7:00, that I never have energy to attend all the parties, which as a veteran agent I am finally invited to (when I was young and had the energy, they didn't know who I was).
A lot of people who have never been to this trade show think I sell books while there. That's the last thing agents do. We go to check on our big books and how they are being presented to the book selling industry (who the convention is aimed at), to see an overview of the industry in a snapshot, and to get inspired. We also get free books and goodies (although I have learned to only take what I can comfortably carry, because I can always ask an editor to send something to me).
My meetings are never with editors I can see in New York. They're with non-New York book editors, my foreign agents who come in for the show, and film contacts.
I also got to show my two agents-in-training the business ropes. It's really exciting to see the book world from fresh eyes, even in a recession.
Since BEA was in LA, I stayed over my brother's house, but since I worked all day, I hardly saw the family. So I finished business Saturday and we planned to go to Universal with the kids, but it caught fire and we went to Knotts Berry Farm instead. Monday I hit the beach and Tuesday I went to Hollywood, which I remembered as reminding me of New York. However, New York (or 42nd Street) has been cleaned up and Disney-ized, and Hollywood still reminds me of the 42nd Street of the 70's. which I am glad to be rid of. We also drove around Laurel Canyon, gawking at the beautiful homes of the rich and famous (too many of which were for sale).
We drove to San Francisco the next day in our rented white Mustang convertible with a black top. It's a great drive of beaches and small California towns, and roadside farmland of everything we love to eat - avocados, artichokes, lettuce, cherries, strawberries and garlic. Passed through Steinbeck country.
In Northern California, we visited Napa, SF itself and did the 17 Mile drive. Also caught a dual concert with Chicago and Doobie Brothers, which was wonderful. We ate like royalty and slept well, and hung out with friends. It was delightful, and made me realise that I am always working.
I got back midnight on Monday and have been working double time since I got in. I am convinced that when I leave home for long periods of time, my cats have frat cat parties and shed every hair they have ever grown. There's so much cleaning and shopping and sorting to do when I get back.
But it was worth it.