Book Con 2017: My first, but not my last!

The Book Con 2017: Where storytelling and pop culture collide. No truer words have been used to describe this two-day event that I attended. I was extremely nervous about going to my first convention, and yes, it was overwhelming, but my heart (and suitcase) was also very full by the end of it. Read on for some tips and tricks that I learned, and a list of my book haul!

Saturday, June 3rd: Day One

I was lucky enough to be able to drag the boyfriend to Day One of Book Con. While you could totally go by yourself (I went by myself on Sunday), it's always nice to have a buddy to help divide and conquer. We arrived at the convention center around 9:45 AM on Saturday, June 3rd and were surprisingly at the front of the show floor line! They didn't start letting people in until around 10:15 because they were clearing the floor and panels. While we waited, we checked in a duffle bag with coat check. It costs $3 per item, but it's so worth it. If you goal is to collect as much swag as you can, please do your back a favor and bring a suitcase, or something with wheels. If your goal is just to meet authors, then you might be ok without a suitcase.

Once the line started moving, security will check your bags, but they were extremely speedy. Once we made it up the stairs and at the Book Con entrance, I was blown away by how long the lines already were. It was like being a kid in a candy store. I gravitated towards the Fierce Reads line for a sampler, and my boyfriend started to wait in the OwlCrate line for a chance to spin the wheel for a prize. We waited around for about ten minutes before deciding that we'd rather scope the show floor. The ten minutes that we spent waiting on lines near the entrance were definitely very important, since there are many giveaways early in the morning.

We didn't end up going to any panels on Saturday, because again, scoping the show floor for goodies was our priority. However, I heard that main stage panels were actually so empty that they began to allow anyone in, with or without a ticket.

We took a quick lunch around 11:30. There are plenty of food options set up around the convention center, including a Starbucks on each level. There is a fancier bar on the lower level that has paninis, salads, desserts, and also serves alcohol. On the show floor level, there's a hot bar/grill that serves burgers, pizzas, and a whole ton of other fast foods. Now, there are also food options on the show floor itself, including a hot dog cart, Pinkberry frozen yogurt, and a crepe stand. There was also plenty of seating, so you're sure to be able to rest your feet.

After lunch, we headed up to the Autographing Area. This year, you had to reserve tickets to get your books autographed. You could reserve two tickets per badge, but I heard that these sold out extremely quickly. Some of these authors were also doing in-booth autographings at other times on the show floor, which you don't need tickets for. I was lucky enough to snag some for my boyfriend and I! The Autograping Area is towards the very back of the show floor, and there are queues for each "table," located on your ticket. We split up to get books signed by Renee Ahdieh and Melissa de la Cruz. I stood in the Leigh Bardugo line right afterwards. This was definitely the turning point of the day. Each autograph line took me about an hour to get to the author, so remember to wear comfortable shoes! Renee Ahdieh and Leigh Bardugo both had goodies to give out at their tables as well, but were gone by the time I reached their table as well. Looks like the lesson of the day is, get to the autographings early so you can be done early as well!

One thing that I really wanted to do was get a Warcross ARC, by Marie Lu. But by the time I got to the booth, there was already an 800-person-long line for a 200-book giveaway. This was the moment I realized that Book Con is no joke! I made a detailed schedule of the day, with giveaways and in-booth signings that I wanted to go to, but that all went out the door because of how early you had to actually line up for these events. I resolved to be more strategic the next day, with my eye on the prize (of getting the ARC's I wanted)!

Here was my book haul for Day One of Book Con:

Books that I bought/brought (and got signed!)

  • Six of Crows, Leigh Bardugo
  • Crooked Kingdom, Leigh Bardugo
  • Flame in the Mist, Renee Ahdieh
  • Wrath and the Dawn, Renee Ahdieh
  • Wrath and the Dawn (paperback), Renee Ahdieh
  • Rose and the Dagger, Renee Ahdieh
  • The Hate U Give, Angie Thomas
  • The Dogist, Elias Weiss Friedman

 

Books that I got for free (some signed!)

  • Expelled, James Patterson
  • Select, Marit Weisenberg
  • Running Full Tilt, Michael Currinder
  • Love and Other Consolation Prizes, Jamie Ford
  • The Reluctant Queen, Sarah Beth Durst
  • Monstress vol 1, Marjorie Liu

Sunday, June 4th: Day Two

I went to Day Two by myself and it worked out fine! I arrived around 10:15, and while the line was incredibly long because they were doing bag checks outside this time, it also moved very quickly. This time, I learned my lesson, and I skipped the long lines and went straight to publisher booths. Booths like Penguin, Macmillan, Harper Collins, Hatchette, and Scholastic had several giveaways every few hours, so I hovered around here and it definitely paid off.

I grabbed lunch with the lovely Angelica over at Little Bookish Inkblot, and her husband, and they were the best! We waited in line for the Marie Lu autographing session, and she was the sweetest! So kind and cordial to everyone who lined up to see her. But the pinnacle of the day was waiting in line to see Leigh Bardugo and get our hands on a copy of Warbringer. 

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This was a crazy line, and I use the word "line" loosely, because it was actually a mob trying to get tickets. Penguin Random House had some of the most high profile authors throughout Book Con, including Chelsea Clinton, Marie Lu, and Krysten Ritter as well. Since they were also set in the middle of the show floor, it was difficult to form lines for these signings. They even brought in security to crowd control, and there were many people upset with the way these autographings were handled. Both Angelica and I got tickets for Leigh Bardugo and Warbringer, but I'm insanely grateful and feel very, very, lucky.

I spent the rest of the day walking the show floor and finding goodies where I could! It's strange to say, but I was extremely satisfied by my haul by the end of the day, even though my feet were so sore from six hours of standing around. But it wasn't only the material things that I got. I loved that when I was waiting on line, I could easily converse with the people around me. I felt like I belonged. Like I had so much in common with everyone there! Even on the train ride home, I had a few conversations with fellow Book Conners about the entire experience!

That feeling alone is so worth doing this all over again next year!

Books that I brought/bought (all signed):

  • Legend, Marie Lu
  • Prodigy, Marie Lu
  • Champion, Marie Lu

 

Books that I got for free (some signed):

  • Star Wars sampler from Del Rey publishing
  • Wonder Woman: Warbringer, Leigh Bardugo
  • Bonfire, Krysten Ritter
  • Wesley James Ruined my Life, Jennifer Honeybourn
  • Laugh out Loud, James Patterson
  • Zero Repeat Forever, Gabrielle Prendergast
  • Gunslinger Girl, Lyndsay Ely
  • Daddy 3.0, Rob Armstrong
  • The Golden Compass, Philip Pullman
  • The Life She was Given, Ellen Mariw Wiseman
  • Weed the People, Bruce Barcott
  • Sting-Ray Afternoons, Steve Rushin
  • Blood at the Root, Patrick Phillips
  • I'm Just No Good at Rhyming, Chris Harris, Lane Smith
  • Ballerina Body, Misty Copeland
  • American Gods Coloring Book

Tips & Tricks

  • Wear comfortable shoes! You'll more likely than not be spending a lot of time standing on lines and walking around.
  • There are plenty of food options and seating, so don't stress about it, unless you have specific dietary restrictions. As far Starbucks, the ones on the upper level seem to have shorter lines.
  • The Autographing Area lines moved quite slowly, so if you had something planned afterwards, get to your autographing session as early as possible. Plus, you get a better chance of getting swag or whatever else the author is handing out! Some autograph sessions require a purchase, and this is noted on the website.
  • You can plan as much as you want, but lines are sure to form at the booths you want to go to. So, get there early. Hover around at least 15 minutes before the event actually starts, and ask a staff member where the line will start. For high-profile giveaways, get there at least 30 minutes early.
  • Publishers and bookstores will be selling books at a discount throughout Book Con, but especially so on Sunday. Towards the end of the day, prices were slashed up to 50% off at some booths!
  • Definitely bring a suitcase or cart, or duffel with wheels. It costs $3 to check in each item, but it will be well worth it if you plan on having more than five books by the end of the day.
  • I didn't go to any panels this weekend, but I can't say that I regretted it. If you LOVE an author, and don't think you'll get a chance to see him/her on the show floor, at a booth, or... ever again, then I'd recommend going to a panel. If you are an aspiring writer, I hear that the panels are good for inspiration as well.

See you in 2018!

Read on,

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