A Tale of Two Conventions

/ posted in: ReadingWork

My coworkers are used to me going to conventions. They just aren’t used to me going to conventions that aren’t veterinary-related. They were very confused that I was going to a book convention. I don’t think that they believed that book conventions are a real thing and if they are real, why was I going to one. It was like my secret double life was being exposed.

Book Conventions vs Veterinary Conventions

Animals

Obviously there are way more animals at a veterinary convention.  Greyhounds lounge by adoption booths.  Golden Retrievers hang out in the exhibit halls to draw people into booths.  Rabbits have an area at one big convention.  Stuffed animals are out in droves too.  They model medical equipment mostly.

There were two dogs that I saw at BEA.  George the Newfoundland was there to promote his book and there was another dog at one point in a booth for reasons that were unclear.

Lectures

Veterinary conventions are all about the lectures.  At the big ones there are 10-15 lectures going on at all times.  I spend most of my time there and not in the exhibit halls.

I wanted to go to lectures at BEA.  There weren’t a lot of them.  I went to Blogger Con on Wednesday.  I think that is best for newer bloggers.  The content was good but wasn’t anything new to me.  I went to a lecture on Paderewski one day.  He was the famous Polish pianist who ended up living in California and starting a winery while agitating for an independent Polish state during World War I.

Size

The exhibit halls are about the same size at both types of conventions but there are way less people at BEA.  The big veterinary conventions have around 15,000 people.  It was much easier to get to a booth at BEA.  I was surprised by how few people were there.

Social

The one thing that I absolutely look forward to at veterinary conventions is a week of not talking to anyone except servers at restaurants.  I’m an introvert in a job where I talk to strangers all day.  A week of not talking is heaven!

At BEA I was social.  I went out of my way to talk to people.  Totally abnormal.

I met:

Stacey from Unruly Reader

Katie from Words for Worms

Julianne from Outlandish Lit

Sheila from Book Journey
Nicole from Feed Your Fiction Addiction

Janani from The Shrinkette

Florinda from The 3R’s Blog

Nori from Read Write Love

…and more

I just assume that no one knows who I am.  So I would see people I knew and introduce myself.  I’d start to explain in detail who I was and people would look at me like I was a crazy person and say, “I know who you are.”  Amazed me every time.  Of course a few times I would start to talk to someone I recognized and then I’d start wondering, “I follow them.  Do they follow me?  Better check.” and by the time I’d figure it out, they’d be gone.

Free Stuff

At veterinary conventions you might get some pens or some candy.  Big swag might be a small flashlight or a USB drive.  It isn’t like most places are giving out free samples of what they are selling, although a free xray machine would be nice.  BEA totally wins on this one.  They want to give you free books.  At times they can be scarily aggressive with giving you free books.  I swear the people at Hatchette were taken outside and beaten if anyone walked away from them without taking a book.  You did not walk away from them empty handed.  I had one person there actually beg me to “please, please, please take this book.”

I’ve also never been given champagne at a veterinary convention.  Note to self – Just because your hands are full and you need to run downstairs for a lecture, do not think “I’ll just drink this all now.”  Good for you for realizing halfway through the glass that this was a poor life choice.  Then I had to run downstairs carrying two bags and a half glass of champagne after chugging the rest.  Bad idea.

There’s a whole lot less extraneous stuff at BEA too.  At vet conventions there are clothing vendors and massage chairs and shoe insole sellers too.  BEA is all about the books.

World War II

World War II is never discussed at a vet convention.  BEA was all about WWII this year.  And twins.  And twins during World War II.

I’m a veterinarian

People are much less surprised by that at a vet convention.  I was at the Adult Author’s Breakfast with three librarians.  They asked me how bloggers make a living.  I said that we all have jobs.  They asked what my job was.  I said I was a veterinarian.  They look shocked and then said, “So, like real job jobs then.”  Yes, sometimes we crawl out of our mother’s basements into the sunshine so we don’t die of rickets and interact with the real world because we need money to eat.