By David Hahn, Managing Director of MEDIA CONNECT
I started attending the annual book industry conference in 1986. Back then it was simply known as the ABA, the first one I went to held in New Orleans. Talk about a great city to experience a convention. Seeing world famous authors was just the icing on the cake when you got to enjoy the food, music and ambiance of New Orleans in the meantime! Here’s a link to the New York Times coverage of that convention to take you old timers down memory lane: http://www.nytimes.com/1986/05/26/books/book-convention-accentuates-positive.html
But the best part of that convention – as it would be for the next thirty years – was traveling with my buddies from Planned TV Arts, a book publicity agency known simply in the industry as PTA. Jumping on planes together, running into friends on the floor, sighting celebrities, going out for drinks, attending author dinners and then always finding the best parties (or at least trying to) was the best bonding experience colleagues could have. Plus we never had booth duty so we perhaps enjoyed it a bit more than our in house PR friends!
And now that BEA is on the move again and is being held in Chicago this year, I look forward to more tourist time with my co-workers, especially in such a great city! Chicago is the only place ever where I’ve ever overheard poetry being discussed by people in a locker room. If that leaves you wondering, it was the locker room at the pool at the Intercontinental Hotel, an attraction in and of itself! And of course who can forget some of the great Chicago conventions where we got to experience that town going crazy after the Bulls won yet another national championship. I’ve had some scary taxi rides in my life, especially overseas, but some of those rides during those late night celebrations rated in the top ten. Was that an alleyway or an actual road we just drove down!
Chicago blues, great restaurants, the Navy Pier, the Art Institute, and the skyline vistas all make for a terrific town to visit. Hopefully, the convention itself is as fun, inspiring and rewarding as always. The New York conventions are convenient but have lacked some of the excitement that comes from an out of town convention. Forgive my New York “centricity!” But one thing I know I can count on is welcome bonding time with my colleagues at MEDIA CONNECT, the new PTA. The industry acronyms and names may change but the experiences and friendships that truly shape our careers thankfully do not!