Everything I Wish I Knew Before My First BookCon

BookCon is quickly approaching and I’m so incredibly excited. This will be my third BookCon and I’m so ready to meet authors, get free books, and see all the panels. Although I feel confident about attending the con this year, my first year I didn’t really know what to expect. So if this is your first BookCon here’s some things I wish I’d known before my first BookCon.

1. Wear Comfortable Shoes

While I didn’t wear heels to BookCon, I also didn’t wear the most comfortable shoes and my feet hated me by the end of the day. My recommendation is to wearing running/athletic shoes. I’ll be wearing my Nikes.

2. Bring Snacks

Most likely you’ll be running from one panel to the next and stopping for food will seem like a detour you don’t have time for. Plus, the food at BookCon is typically expensive. So make sure to pack up snacks. I’m talking dry cereal, granola bars, a sandwich, and make sure you have a water bottle. You’ll want to stay hydrated.

3. You Don’t Have To Accept Everything

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One of the best things about BookCon is all the free things you get. People will be shoving swag and books into your face at all times. Last year, I somehow ended up with two copies of the same book. Thus, you will feel like you should take everything that’s being given to you. It’s free, right? Except then you’ll find your bag filled with things you’ll have to figure out how to get home and when you get home you’ll realize you don’t even want half that stuff. So don’t be afraid to say no or walk away from something. Just because it’s free doesn’t mean you have to take it.

4. Plan Out Your Schedule Ahead of Time

BookCon has an app that you absolutely should use. On the app you can go through the schedule for the entire weekend and add the panels and autographings you want to attend to your own personal schedule. It’s easy way to see what things you want to go to and make sure you don’t have anything overlapping. You should also get a good look at the map. If you have an autographing in the Autographing Area at 12 p.m. but you want to make a panel that’s happening on the lower level at 1 p.m. you should know that in advance (although I’ll tell you right now, you’re not going to make it).

It’s much easier to actually get to everything you want to go to if you already have a game plan in mind. Additionally, by planning out your schedule you’ll be able to prioritize what you really want to go to so if you do have to choose between two things, you’ll already know which one is most important.

5. Get Your Autographing Tickets Ahead of Time

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If an author is doing a signing “In Booth,” this means the publisher is hosting it at their booth and you don’t need an advance ticket for that. However, if the signing is happening in the Autographing Area you will need a ticket. Thankfully, the set up is much better than it was at my first BookCon and now you can get your tickets for the autographing ahead of time online.

The way it works is on Saturday, May 19 at 10 a.m. EDT you will be able to use your badge number or confirmation number to get tickets to two author signings per day. These tickets go extremely fast so this is another instance where it’s best to know ahead of time who you want to see and have your badge/confirmation number ready to just copy and paste into the site. Additionally, it’s also good to check and see if the author your going to see requires a book purchase for the signing. Though you’ll most likely be able to pay with credit card, it’s always good to have cash just in case.

6. Find a Line Buddy

The lines at BookCon are LONG! They just are. There’s really no good way to get around it, except to have a line buddy. I’ve found that standing in line goes way faster if you have someone to stand with you. Additionally, if you’ve got a panel that doesn’t end until 1 p.m. and the in booth signing that you want to go to begins at 1 p.m. that’s when a line buddy can be a life saver because they can save your spot in line while you run to meet them. The only possible problem with this is many lines will give out tickets in the line before the signing begins and if you’re not there to get the ticket it doesn’t matter when you join the line, you’re not going into the signing.

7. Bring a Phone Charger

If you stick around for BookCon all day your phone will probably die. Between texting your friends about your location and taking pics with your favorite authors, your phone battery will get a lot of good use. That’s why you need to have a phone charger, preferably a portable one so you’re not tied to a wall outlet wasting time charging instead of having fun around the Con. If you’re like me and are attached to your phone on a regular day, I’d even recommend bringing two chargers.

8. Use a Backpack

You’re not allowed to bring a bag with wheels to BookCon for security reasons but you can bring a backpack. And you should. Unless you actually turn down every single thing that’s offered to you, you will leave BookCon with a ton of stuff. You will get tote bags, posters, ARCs, bookmarks, pens, notebooks, pouches, and who knows what else. You won’t only want some place to put all this stuff, you’ll need it. Trust me, it’s way easier to carry stuff in a backpack then in a tote bag or your pockets. And I’m not talking about those cute little tiny backpacks you’d see at Coachella, I’m talking about a Jansport, like you’d use for school.

9. Don’t Forget to Have Fun

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Honestly, BookCon can be crazy and even a little stressful. You might miss out on getting that ARC you were dying for or find out your favorite author’s signing is already full and you just missed it. But don’t let something small ruin your whole BookCon. Yes, getting free stuff and meeting your fave author is amazing. But you know what’s also amazing? Spending a whole weekend with a bunch of people who love the same things you do. Make friends with the people you’re stuck on line with. Take a break from running from panel to panel and actually just walk around the showroom floor. BookCon only happens once a year and it’s supposed to be fun, so if it’s not feeling fun take a second and figure out what could make your day better. And enjoy it.

Got any questions about BookCon? Leave them in the comments below! Can’t wait to see you all there!

The Book Con

My Very First BookCon

The Book Con

I can’t believe BookCon was only four days ago. It feels so long ago. It feels like dream! A magical dream filled with books and authors and other book nerds that understand my obsession.

BookCon was everything I hoped for. I went to four different author signings with Alexandra Bracken (The Darkest Minds), Maggie Stiefvater (The Raven Cycle), Jenny Han (To All The Boys I Loved Before), and Natalie Richards (Six Months Later). I was hoping to go to Sarah J. Maas and Victoria Aveyard’s signings but they filled up before I could get wrist bands.

Maggie Stiefvater at Book Con Most of the signings occurred in the Autographing Area and in order to get into those signings you had to get a wristband. At 8 AM they opened up this room that were filled with Chutes and you waited in the Chute for whichever author you wanted to go to a signing for. Each Chute had multiple authors but you could only get one wristband at a time. For example, I waited in Chute 8 to get a wristband for Sarah J. Maas but it filled up before I got to the front but Chute 8 also had Maggie Stiefvater and Veronica Roth. I knew I couldn’t get both because I’d have to wait in line again and by then the author I didn’t choose would probably be full so I chose Maggie because I’m completely obsessed with The Raven Cycle.

Similarly, I was waiting in a chute for Victoria Aveyard and Marissa Meyer and both filled up before I got to the front so I ended up leaving that chute and going to another one where I got the last wristband for Jenny Han. Overall, the whole autographing process was crazy but I’m happy with the authors I got to meet and now I know for next year I have to get there earlier. I got there around 7:30 AM but someone else got there as early as 3:30 AM. I won’t be getting there that early next time but I’ll try for 6 AM.

Although I didn’t get to meet Maas and Aveyard I did get to hear them speak on the Book-Hooked panel with Laini Taylor and that was amazing. Sarah is hilarious and such a fan girl. She told us about how dorky she was in high school and her love for The Lord of the Rings, Sailor Moon, and Buffy. Victoria and Laini were also great and all three of them had great chemistry and you could tell they’re really friends and fans of each other.

Victoria Aveyard, Sarah J. Maas, and Laini Taylor at Book Con.

Book-Hooked was the only panel I made it to and I wish I went to more but I’m happy with the one I went to. It was really good and I got a sampler of Taylor’s new book, Strange the Dreamer. I haven’t read any of Taylor’s books before so I’m excited to read this and see if I like it.

Besides the panels and the autographing sessions, it was great to just walk around the different booths. I went to the OwlCrate booth and spun their wheel and won a reading journal. I already have one so I gave it to my friend but they also gave me a tote bag and there were free buttons so I took a couple. I also got four ARCs including Blood for Blood, the sequel to Wolf by Wolf, which I just requested from my library.

I also bought four books, three for signings and one that was on sale at the Penguin Random House booth. And then I also got four books for free from different publishers, including The Shack, which I’ve heard is really good. So in total I got 12 books, which is kind of crazy. I also got a couple of samplers of upcoming releases, which I’m super excited about.

Book Con Haul

All in all, it was a great day and I got so much stuff. I also met up with a fellow bookstagrammer who was super nice and was there with her husband and kids, which was super cute. It was amazing to be surrounded with other book people and I even saw a few people in cosplay, which was cool. This is the first con I’ve ever been to and now I can’t wait to do it all over again.

Thankfully, BookCon will be back in New York, which is super convenient for me. I already marked it on my calendar so I don’t plan a vacation the same weekend, which is what happened the last time BookCon was in New York. I can’t wait until it’s BookCon time again. I miss it already.