Bookcon for Beginners!!

As many of you readers know, the greatest event of the year is coming up: Bookcon!!!!! The event is filled with ARCs, signings, panels, and much more. It is basically a reader’s paradise!

However, despite all the amazing qualities of the event, The event is still a bit tricky to figure out. If you walk into the event without any tips, you may walk out unsatisfied. This event is only three years old. Bookcon is still trying to improve as a convention. There are some faults with the convention. It is a little disorganized, the crowds can get huge, the autograph lines can fill up hours in advance, and it seems like all the volunteers have a different understanding of what’s happening at the event. Overall, it can be very frustrating. However, if you follow these tips, you will be able to have an enjoyable convention.


If there is anything that you get out of this post, bring a rolling bag. Yes, you are not allowed to bring the rolling bag onto the show floor, but that’s what coat check is for! Once you get a few books, you can always go and place them in your bag.


Within the first ten minutes of waiting in line before the convention even started.

You may feel that you will be fine without a rolling bag (I was like that last year), I promise you that you’ll regret it. In the first ten minutes of Bookcon, mostly because I was a VIP, I received two tote bags and six ARCs. I was so excited that I was unaware of the pain that would lie ahead. Because I stayed near the booths, my mom and I ended up carrying FIFTY book in tote bags and it was only the first day. I had bruises all down my arm because of the pain of carrying those heavy books for the whole day. Not to mention, I had to walk back to the hotel while holding the bags. IT WAS PAINFUL!!!!

Do not over plan!!

I did this, too. I thought that I could be at five places at one time. Unfortunately, I was completely wrong. I am going to state the sad truth, you will not make it to half of your events if you over plan. For autographing area signings, you have to be in line AT LEAST an hour before it starts. It does not matter whether you but a book or not. Despite Bookcon stating that you need a book purchase, a purchased book does not mean that you will be able to get it signed. So, if you are planning on buying a book and showing up ten minutes before the signing, you have a slim chance of that happening.

Also, unless you are a VIP, you need to be super early for popular panels in order to get good seats. Panels are first come first serve! VIPs, you get first to pick for seats as long as you stand in line twenty minutes prior.

To be honest, I ditched my schedule and spent most of my Bookcon at the booths. You receive way more free stuff at booths and you can still go to signings that you don’t have to wait in line for hours. Spend a lot of time at booths!

Arrive at Bookcon really early!!

If a person really wants to attend a signing, regular ticket holders should arrive a few hours in advance. Why? You get wristbands at the beginning of the day for autograph area signings. Also, you may get some cool stuff while waiting. VIPs should arrive an hour early. The closer you are to the front of the line, the faster you get into the show floor.


If there is one thing that I despise, it is line cutters. And if you happen to have a habit of cutting lines, you better not do it around me. I will call you out in front of the whole convention center. And since Bookcon has a strict rule against cutting lines, you will be asked to leave. I do not care to hear your reasoning for cutting lines. If I see you cut, I will not hesitate to call you out.

Stay at the Show Floor

So, you can either spend your whole day waiting in line for signings at the autographing area, or you can spend you day receiving many books and having to only waste thirty minutes in line at booth signings. The show area is incredible. Last year, I spent the whole day there and received over 100 books!

Socialize While Waiting

In all honesty, you will spend half of your day in lines. It could go both ways: it could either be terrible or you could make the most of it and talk to fellow bookworms. You are going to be surrounded by bookworms, make friends!!

Wear Comfy Clothes

You will be walking……A LOT! You want to wear shows and clothes that won’t make you in pain.

Do Not Bring Every Book From Every Author You Want To Meet!

You will regret it. You will have to carry those books with you for the whole day. Bring only the ones that you desperately want to get signed.

Bookcon Checklist

  1. Book money!!!! Books are sold at Barnes and Noble price. If you want five hard cover novels, then bring around $110. A lot of booths give out free books so you really don’t need to buy many books.
  2. Lunch money. Lunch is pretty pricey at convention centers.
  3. Your ticket!!!!! It is the only way you will be allowed inside.
  4. A lanyard for your ticket!! You should wear your badge at ALL TIMES!
  5. One tote bag. You will get more but you want to bring one to hold your books until you find more totes.
  6. Rolling bag!!
  7. Snacks!
  8. Some books that you want to get signed.
  9. A list or schedule of who you want to meet.
  10. Business cards if you are a blogger, booktuber, author, publiser, etc.


Bookcon FAQs

  • Will they post a map of the show floor? Yes, but the maps aren’t that great.
  • How early should I arrive at the convention center? Two hours before or earlier. The earlier you arrive, the better chance you have at getting wristbands for everything you want to see.
  • How early should I arrive for panels and signings? In booth signings: a half and hour. Autographing area and panels: an hour and a half or earlier.
  • Will there be food to buy there? Yes, but it will be pretty pricey.
  • Will it be okay to bring a backpack with me? Yes, But I recommend bringing a rolling bag and putting it in coat check.
  • Do you need to buy books for signings at Bookcon? Only if it says that you do on the details of the signing.

15 thoughts on “Bookcon for Beginners!!

  1. Jorelene @ Page Chronicles says:

    This is fantastic advice!! I’m unfortunately unable to attend BookCon this year since that happens to be the weekend I’m graduating college, but I’m definitely going to attend next year! I’m incredibly envious of everyone who’s able to go this year – I’m really looking forward to seeing everyone’s book hauls and posts about their experiences. Great post! 😀


    • Marissa Nicole says:

      Aww, I wish you were going so I could get to meet you. However, have an amazing graduation!! I’ll see you next year at Bookcon. I’ll definitely post a Bookcon haul and Bookcon experience post. Let me know if there’s any arcs that you want and I’ll see if I can pick you up a copy!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jorelene @ Page Chronicles says:

        Thank you so much!! It’s super bittersweet graduating college – I’m mostly excited though! I’m really looking forward to going to BookCon next year and meeting you too. Also, thank you so much for your offer to pick up ARCs! That’s super sweet of you. I don’t think there are any ARCs that I’m dying for now, but I really appreciate your offer! 🙂 ❤

        I'm looking forward to your BookCon haul and experience post!


  2. uptilmidnight says:

    These are good tips! I went to BookCon in last year and the year before that. I learned the hard way that you need a game plan. We planned somewhat, but I missed most of the signings. Every time I go to BookCon, I miss the signings.


    • Marissa Nicole says:

      I went last year, too. I missed a lot of the autograph area signings. The lines were too long and you needed to be there hours in advance for some popular authors. I decided to stay near the booths and ended up going to signings there. The waits were shorter and most of the signings gave you the book. Plus, the booths were giving so much amazing stuff away!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Wendy A says:

    I am thrilled to have found this and your advice is sound. I wonder, does the venue allow you to go outside and come back in? We were thinking of taking the books to the car when they got heavy.


    • Marissa Nicole says:

      Thank you!! You can leave the venue as long as you have your badge with you. That was the rule last year. It may have changed considering the change in conference centers. I recommend that you call Bookcon and ask them just to make sure.


  4. Tiffany says:

    Thank you so much. I have gotten VIP tickets for my daughter and her best friend this year. They are 13 and crazy book tubers. I am passing this on to a few other friends that will be attending for the first time. Also any advice for getting the most out of your VIP pass? She has been looking forward to this for a year and just want to make the most of it.


    • Marissa Nicole says:

      You are welcome! Thank you so much!!! My advice is to arrive really early to the event. Despite getting a guaranteed seat at panels, getting wristbands is first come, first serve. If your daughter does not want to go to any of the autographing area signings, you can arrive after 8 and still be fine. Your daughter will get first access to the show floor no matter what time she gets to the convention center (as long as it is before 10am). Make sure your daughter and her friends go to the VIP line when waiting before Bookcon starts. The volunteers have no idea what they are doing when it comes to the line formation so make sure your daughter looks at the other people in line’s badges to ensure it is for VIP. Since she is a VIP, she will be given a tote bag filled with ARCs. In order to get the tote, she will have to go to the ticket booth/will call, and show them her VIP ticket. Also, a lot of booths will give out free books for bloggers and booktubers. Most will give them out if you write the link to your account. However, some require you to give them a business card. There a quite a few booktube meet-ups at the event. The meet-ups will let your daughter meet other booktubers who like the same books that she does.

      Anyway, I hope you daughter and her friends have a great time! Let me know what you daughter’s booktube is so that I can check it out!


  5. Maddy says:

    This is going to be my first year at BookCon with my parents tagging along. Thank you so much for the tips and such! As a novice BookTuber it’s going to be really fun hopefully meeting some of my favorite BookTubers and authors!


  6. Allie @ A Literary Wanderer says:

    Thank you SO much for posting this. I’m kinda stalking the whole interwebs for BookCon tips since I’ll be attending my first next year! I’ve already gotten [VIP] tickets and everything. 🙂 I’ve gotten a lot of heads up that it might be chaotic and since it’s back in NY it might get really crazy!

    This really helped! Saving this post for later. ♥


  7. Kristin says:

    Thanks for this advice. I’m going to BookCon for the first time and so far their website has been pretty horrible and difficult to navigate. This was much more clear and I’m finding myself vastly lowering my expectations. 🙂 I’m an event planner and there is nothing worse for an event planner than attending a poorly planned event, but I’ve been dying to check BookCon out and I’m excited to finally have some info and a good game plan


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