It all started with this:
I hadn’t planned on going to BEA (Book Expo America), but Jeremy’s tweet got me thinking. So, I talked to my husband Jim about it. Without any hesitation, he said that of course I had to go. I contacted Nili, one of my many cousins who live in NYC, and asked if I could stay with her. That led to one simple thought: Wouldn’t it be awesome to have a party with YA authors and bloggers?
That thought led to action. I contacted Nili about renting a space in her apartment building, which turned out to be the glass enclosed rooftop solarium on the forty-second floor of her building. I had never seen the space, but I could imagine how spectacular the view would be – The Statue of Liberty, Manhattan, the Hudson River, Hoboken, NJ. Nili didn’t hesitate, and because of her, this party became reality. Thank you, thank you, thank you!! xo (See pictures here: http://www.whorublog.com/?page_id=1122 )
Almost immediately, I knew I’d need some help. The talented blogger/designer Jeremy West of Novel Thoughts http://www.novelthoughtsblog.com/ jumped on board to make the gorgeous evites, logo, etc, and then the fabulous Andye and Amy from Reading Teen http://www.readingteen.net/, whom I’ve admired and respected for years because of their thorough and fair book reviews, their sense of humor, their willingness to blog about their opinions on tough topics in YA novels.
The NYC YA Author/Blogger Rooftop Party was on its way.
At the very beginning, there were a few moments of doubt. Will people come? But I asked myself what the worst case scenario would be. The answer was simple – the money spent would be gone and no one would show up but us. (After all, BEA week is extremely busy and authors and bloggers have other parties to attend.) I decided I could live with these risks. Huge expenditure of time, energy, money. But in one conversation I had with Jeremy, I said, “I’d rather take the risk and fall flat on my face, than not try at all.” Generally speaking, that’s one of my philosophy’s toward life. It has served me well.
The experience was way more than we could ever imagined. Each of us brought our strengths to the table and shared ideas through email, Skype, Google Video Chat, texting, and HeyTell. Andye kept an online spreadsheet that included authors and their publishers, bloggers, RSVPs, author facts for our True and False icebreaker. It took tremendous organization and communication. I’ve planned parties in Milwaukee, but never one out of state. I never thought about how convenient it is to get in a car, drive to the grocery store, and get everything I need. In NYC, you have to think about what you can carry. Delivery service is the absolute norm. We had lists of items to bring from out-of-town-I checked two bags at the airport and Amy and Andye’s car was loaded with the centerpieces, books, etc. Jeremy took a bus with name tags, our True and False icebreaker activity, and a canvas he designed for all the authors to sign for one of the ten raffles we had.
These are the book covers of the authors who joined us!
The raffles included Amy’s magnificent book-themed centerpieces (to see her incredible work click here: http://www.readingteen.net/2012/06/my-bookish-crafty-project-for-rooftop.html, Starbucks gift certificates, books, and journals with a cover designed by my husband using all the authors’ covers and Jeremy’s logo. Party favors included blinking “lightbulb” pens, glow-in-the-dark items, Figment tot bags, which we filled with books from Candlewick, Sourcebooks, Harlequin, Flux, Little Brown, Simon & Schuster, Scholastic, Disney, Pendrell, Bloombury, Harper Collins, Random House, Macmillan, Hachette. Thank you to all these publishers for making the party extra special by donating YA novels for us to share. In addition, Simon and Schuster gave us suntan lotion in honor of Burn for Burn, Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian’s new YA novel.
Nili’s apartment was filled with boxes from publishers, party places, and on the day of, tons and tons of food and beverages.
Several additional people were integral to making this party a success. Jeremy West’s awesome brother Jeffrey of Novel Thoughts was our official photographer and also had been a part of some of the planning. So glad you could make it to NYC. Thanks so much. xo
From nearly the very beginning, Kelsey Dickson of Reading and Breathing gave us a hand. She put together the playlist for the evening, including songs she found on authors’ playlists of the music they listened to while writing their YA novels. She also brought disposable cameras and glow-in-the-dark necklaces and bracelets, which were a HUGE hit! She helped set up, too. Thanks Kels! xo
The YA from Reading Teen, Austin, Abigaile, and Kit, also were an integral part of the party. Their help was critical for putting our gift bags together, setting up, welcoming our guests, cleaning up. Y’all are awesome! Thank you so much. xo
And my cousin Aryeh, who stayed behind the scene and kept everyone in refreshments and made Amy laugh. Love you. xo
Mitali of Alley of Books and the Teen Author Carnival also came early to help set up. Thanks!
Throughout the planning, we prayed for good weather. (It did end up raining a little, but for the majority of the time, we could use not only the solarium, but the rooftop.) By eight o’clock, the guests arrived. Some of the authors made near Herculean efforts to get to us, including Adele Griffin who was in a taxi for an hour! Tweets were sent, some with the hashtag #RooftopParty. Many of the authors said it was the BEST party they had been to all week. Overall, the evening was a HUGE success. There was laughter, photos taken, budding friendships formed, breathtaking views.
To hear about the experience from Stacy and Shannon from Girls in the Stacks, listen to their comments about the Rooftop Party, which start at approximately 13:00 minutes. (I recommend the entire podcast – their comments about the BEA will make you smile and laugh.) http://girlsinthestacks.com/podcasts/ya-podcast/2012/06/bea-2012/
I have a few more highlights to share with you, but these come from the BEA and the Teen Author Carnival.
Lucas Klauss and Jennifer E. Smith
Jackson Pearce and Eliot Schrefer
Teen Author Carnival was held Tuesday night at Jefferson Market Library. The panel discussions were fantastic. I went to “You Don’t Know You’re Beautiful – Keeping it Realistic” and “What Doesn’t Kill You, Makes You Stronger (Kick Ass Characters)” with over twenty YA authors. http://teenauthorcarnival.tumblr.com/
I saw numerous twitter/blogger friends including Briana from The Book Pixie. Neither of us knew the other was attending, and we just happened to get into the same loooog book signing line right next to each other. I’ll cherish our hug and conversation for a long time. Seeing Stacy (and later Shannon) from Girls In The Stacks also made my day. I saw the AWESOME Lauren Oliver and had her sign her latest middle grade book.
Lauren Oliver and me
Patricia MacLachlan and me
On Wednesday, I arrived extra early for the Children’s Breakfast. To my utter amazement, I was standing next to the legendary Newbery Metal award winning author Patricia MacLachlan. Goose bumps bloomed all over my skin. Talking with her was a tremendous honor. She was so kind, even when I went completely fangirl and asked to have my photo taken with her.
Chris Colfer from “Glee” MC’d the breakfast. He was hysterical, joking with the crowd that he wrote the fan-fiction Fifty Shades of Green, in honor of John Green. You can listen to the clip here: http://lover4klaineandcrisscolfer.tumblr.com/post/24540342391/chris-colfer-confesses-to-writing-the-fifty-shades
Lois Lowry had people in tears. She spoke about her journey writing The Giver and the three novels that followed. She talked about how her son who was killed serving our country influenced her writing. It was his questions that led to writing The Giver. She said that every generation must have hope to vanquish evil.
I met some extraordinary people standing in line for author book signs. Those connections will stay with me for a long time, and I feel truly grateful and blessed to have made them.
TO SEE PHOTOS OF THE NYC YA AUTHOR/BLOGGER ROOFTOP PARTY GO HERE: http://www.whorublog.com/?page_id=1122
GIVEAWAY: In honor of the Rooftop Party and BEA, I’m offering several giveaways, including this prize package of Burn for Burn and a signed copy by Rebecca Serle of her newYA novel When You Were Mine, which has been optioned for a movie!
WINNERS CHOSEN – SEE SCOOT READ & UNABRIDGED SHELF, THANKS TO ALL FOR ENTERING
BURN FOR BURN, by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian, BURN FOR BURN Sunscreen, Figment Bag, and a signed copy of WHEN YOU WHERE MINE by Rebecca Serle
Entering the giveaway is easy – just leave a comment. Posting on Facebook or tweeting about it adds an extra entry, please let me know. AND, extra entry if you follow me on TWITTER: https://twitter.com/#!/LizaWiemer – Let me know if you’re a Twitter friend. 😀 Giveaway ends Tuesday, June 19, 2012 at 8 PM CST. (US and Canada only)
To enter additional giveaways from our Rooftop Party go here:
Reading Teen –
Novel Thoughts –