It’s that time of year again! For the people who are unaware of what “that time” is, it is when BookCon is close and many newcomers are prepping for their first time. BookCon can be best described as a beautiful chaos. The event is incredible and allows you to create many amazing memories, however, if you are ill prepared, you will not enjoy the event. Conventions, like BookCon, are not something that you can simply arrive at and hope for the best. The events require some knowledge and planning. Luckily, this being my third time attending, I am here to help you!
If you are familiar with my blog, you may have noticed that I had a similar post last year. Also, I had weekly posts leading up to the event to help you fully prepare. Because those posts were so popular and helpful, I decided to recreate them this year and include some new tips. Because BookCon is a primarily new convention, they are continuing to improve so my posts will be different from the originals. If you all enjoy this post, let me know and feel free to contact me with any questions that you may have about BookCon!
Though a rolling bad is not necessarily needed, it could be a massive help!
At BookCon, you will get plenty of books. As you all know, books are heavy. Carrying many books with only a few tote bags is complete hell. If you want to save your back and arms, put a rolling bag in coat check. NO ROLLING BAGS CAN BE ON THE SHOW FLOOR, YOU HAVE TO CHECK IT INTO COAT CHECK!!
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 (especially if they require a wristband). For autographing area signings, you have to be in line AT LEAST an hour before it starts. It does not matter whether you buy 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!!
I do not know if BookCon is still having wristband events because they haven’t announced the autographing schedule yet. However, the wristband signings were significantly better than the sessions the prior year where it was based off who arrived at the autograph line early. The prior years, people would buy the book but not be able to get it signed. However, the wristbands were given out before BookCon even started and GUARANTEED you an autograph. Only problem, the people in the front of the line to get into the convention get first choice of wristbands. If you are at the end of the line, you WILL NOT receive a wristband. It’s annoying but it is, in a way, fair because if you show us at the convention at 4am you do deserve the wristbands you want. I arrived at 4:30 AM last year and I was one of the first thirty people in line. Because of that, I got all of the wristbands that I wanted. (In the picture above, that was all of my friends and me waiting in line at 4:30. It’s tiring but it’s so exciting that you do not care!)
DO NOT CUT LINES!!!!!!
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 many amazing books! However, DO NOT (UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE) TAKE MULTIPLE COPIES OF ARCS!! You are the biggest asshole if you take three ARCs when there are other people who paid to go to BookCon who would love to have one of those ARCs. You only need one ARC and if your friend wants one, share the ARC. Don’t be annoying. You will be the reason publishers refuse to bring ARCs and we will all hate you. Also, SELLING ARCS IS ILLEGAL AND A SERIOUS MATTER. There was a lot of controversy over these two topics after BookCon last year, If you do these things, you lose respect in the book industry and will probably never receive ARCs again. ARCS ARE A PRIVILEGE, NOT A RIGHT!!
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. Keep in mind, the floors are concrete and only some exhibitors have carpet floors. Concretes is hard on your feet if you walk on it all day. Also, flip flops, although they are comfy, aren’t desired shoes.
Get the App!
The BookCon app is truly a blessing. Not only is it informational, the people you meet on the app are so amazing. I still am great friends with many of them. On the app, there are planners that you can use to organize your schedule for BookCon. Also, it allows you to see whats going on during the event. Another fun thing is every year, I make a group chat with newbies and experienced BookCon attendees where we plan meets ups and talk about books. Usually, we will all go out to dinner one night during BookCon. If you are interested in joining it, contact me!
There are events around BookCon, too!
The fun of BookCon will be available at other places around the city! Because, so many authors will be staying in New York, book stores will typically host events with them after BookCon. If you look at the event tabs on bookstore websites, they will list when they are hosting events around the time of BookCon. Many Attendees will be at the other events as well.
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. Also, some authors may only sign one book so it would be a waste. Bring only the ones that you desperately want to get signed.
My friend and I forgot to bring snacks because we were planning on buying lunch instead. However, me and my friend were too bus looking for books that we wanted so we never bought lunch. Starving, my friend and I ate left over food from Penguin that had been out all day. I would strongly advise you to being snacks so you don’t have to eat stale food and have people look disgusted at you.
Follow and turn on post notifications for publishers and other people at the event.
Many publishers and authors will tweet about give aways at the event. When I was there last year, all the books that I wanted had received because of these giveaways. Once you see a notification, you have to sprint to those booths because their items will be gone in seconds. Last year, there was one final copy of Futhermore by Tahereh Mafi (she is my favorite author ever) and I waited by that booth until they finally tweeted it. I ended up getting that book sixteen seconds after they tweeted it.
- 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.
- Lunch money. Lunch is pretty pricey at convention centers. Snacks are a far better option since lunch is expensive and takes up too much time.
- Your ticket!!!!! It is the only way you will be allowed inside.
- A lanyard for your ticket!! You should wear your badge at ALL TIMES!
- One tote bag. You will get more but you want to bring one to hold your books until you find more totes.
- Rolling bag!!
- Some books that you want to get signed.
- A list or schedule of who you want to meet.
- Business cards if you are a blogger, booktuber, author, publisher, etc.
- 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.