So it’s finally the best weekend of the year… BookCon!! I’m guessing you want to spend your time meeting authors, seeing panels, and getting your hands on all the ARCs… not having to wait in long lines for overpriced food, or be so tired from lugging around all of your books that you couldn’t possibly walk another step!
This year will be my second time attending BookCon (the first was two years ago). It will be June 3-4 at the Javits Center in NYC. I remember being very overwhelmed and generally all over the place – BookCon can get pretty hectic with all the excited fangirls running to get free books.
But fear not: here are some of my tips to help both BookCon newbies and veterans!
#1. Buy your tickets in advance.
The mailing deadline has already passed but I still recommend buying your tickets online! The adult tickets are $10 less than the onsite price. An advantage to buying your tickets early is that you can use your confirmation code or badge number to register for autographings (more info below). You can also enter to win things such as a ticket to the Fierce Reads Author Breakfast, where you get to eat breakfast with authors such as Marissa Meyer, Kami Garcia, and more – or watch a special screening of Wonder Woman™ with bestselling author Leigh Bardugo. How cool!
Monday, May 22 at 12pm EST is the BookCon Hunger Games! (I’m kidding. Kind of.) But that is when anyone who has bought their tickets is eligible to reserve up to two autographings per day and they’re first-come, first-serve… so may the odds be ever in your favor. You can find more info about the new autographing ticketing process here, and check out who’s coming here.
#2. Check out the schedule online and plan your day in advance.
Take advantage of the BookCon app and the My Show feature to help plan your day. Add panels, autographings, and other events you may be interested in to your agenda.
If you’re planning on attending a Main Stage Panel, know that the Queue Hall (where you will be lining up in order to get your badge scanned for reserving spots for the Main Stage Panels) opens at 8am, even though BookCon itself doesn’t start until 10am. So the earlier you’re there, the more likely you are to see the panel you want.
Have your events prioritized and have backups planned, just in case things don’t turn out as expected.
#3. Come prepared.
You’re going to be doing a lot of walking, so comfortable shoes/clothes and water are essential!! It’s also a good idea to keep some snacks with you to munch on while you’re waiting in line to see a panel or get a book signed (because there’s no avoiding lines, sadly). Things like granola bars or trail mix will keep you going. Last time, I packed a bagel to eat for my lunch because convention food is seriously overpriced, and who wants to wait in line for food when they could be getting free books? There’s also the option of leaving the convention center for lunch, because you can leave and come back in whenever you want. But this is NYC, so you’re probably not going to find something super cheap.
Bring some type of bag with you such as a backpack, purse, or tote bag. If you plan to get a lot of books, bringing a rolling suitcase might be a good idea – they aren’t allowed on the floor, but you can keep them in coat check and come back throughout the day to drop off your goodies. You will get some free tote bags anyway, so keep that in mind. Last time, I brought a small backpack but I’m not sure if I would do it again, since I had to keep stopping and taking it off in order to put things in – and on the show floor, there’s not a lot of space with all the people walking around. Of course, it’s totally up to you, but keep in mind that you will be getting a lot of free things from the booths, so you’ll need a way to carry them around comfortably.
Here are some small things I suggest keeping in your bag:
- Water/snacks (as mentioned above)
- Money: if possible, bring both cash and card because some vendors only take cash. You don’t want to waste your time at the ATM.
- Hand sanitizer: it’s a convention center. Enough said.
- Moisturizer and/or chapstick: it can get dry inside the center.
- Band-aids: if you’re accident prone like me, this is a must.
- Rubber bands: you get a lot of posters and they will probably get crinkled, ripped, and folded if you just keep them in your bag as is. Also good for tying your hair up if needed 🙂
- Sharpie/pen/highlighter: when you’re waiting to get inside, you get a little booklet/program sort of thing that tells you what’s happening throughout the day, including giveaways that booths have. You can mark/highlight those pages so you remember to get your hands on that coveted ARC!!
- Portable charger: you don’t want your phone to die just before meeting your favorite author… the horror!!
- If you’re going in a group, it’s a good idea to arrange a meeting spot in case someone gets lost and their phone is out of battery.
- YOUR BADGE (and a lanyard)!! This might seem like common sense, but in the excitement of packing for BookCon, it might be easy to forget the most essential thing of all.
Some other things could be a camera, if you’re willing to carry it around all day; a deck of cards to play while waiting in line; a light jacket or cardigan; Advil or some other sort of painkiller; and a small letter or gift (in clear wrapping) for your favorite authors.
Taking in mind all of this, remember: pack light. You want to save your strength and bag space for carrying around books, not little odds and ends from home.
#4. Go in with a positive attitude and enjoy your day!!
You probably won’t be able to see every single author or attend every panel that you would like, but don’t let that ruin your mood – take that time and go to the show floor, you never know what you can find there!
On the day of, it is a good idea to follow publishers on social media (and turn on their notifications) to know about giveaways they will be having throughout the day – also check the BookCon app to see what’s happening.
You’re going to see a lot of free things that you’ll be very tempted to take… but those little pens and bookmarks and odds and ends really add up! So take a moment to think before taking something – this also goes for books. Yes, free books are exciting, but if it’s something you might not be interested in, why not save it for someone else?
Remember that everyone is there for the same reason you are – they love books! So while waiting in line, don’t be afraid to talk to other BookCon attendees (but please be respectful of the bookworms who are a bit more shy). There are even going to be fan meetups this year, such as ones for first timers, bookstagrammers, and Harry Potter fans!
To sum up: Buy your tickets. Plan ahead, but keep an open mind. Only pack the essentials. Be early to everything. Have fun!
I hope these tips helped you out. 17 days until my favorite weekend of the year!! Hope to see you there, I’m so excited! 😀
P.S. Be on the lookout for my BookCon 2017 Experience + Haul after the convention!
Today’s quote: “Great books help you understand, and they help you feel understood.” -John Green