Friday, May 1, 2015

BookCon: What to Expect and Tips

So last year all of us here at Wonderland Novels went to BookCon for the first time. We didn't know what to expect since it was the first BookCon ever so we thought that it would be a good idea to share our experiences and some tips that we have!

BookCon is, as described by ReedPOP, "where storytelling and pop culture collide". Whereas Book Expo America is dedicated to those of the trade, BookCon is primarily for consumers.

What it was like:
  • - I got to the Harlequin Teen booth about 45 minutes early, and here I was thinking I would be one of the first few people on line. Wrong. The line had already officially closed by then since they only had a limited number of ARCs for authors to sign. However, me and several others waited anyway just in case. Julie Kagawa, one of my favorite authors, was signing so I wanted the opportunity to meet her! So basically we had to wait in a non-moving line since it hadn't even officially opened for 45 minutes, and then another 45 minutes to wait my turn. Now I know that these things tend to be crowded but that was the longest time I've waited in line for anything and I hope lines at BEA aren't that long! -Alice

  • I had a similar experience for the autograph sessions in the back. Tickets for the signings ran out super fast. (before we even got there the tickets were gone) When I walked past the autographing section I saw that there were still some lines still open, so I got on the line just in case. But an employee told us a couple minutes later that the line was too full so a bunch of us got kicked off the line. - Yiling
  • Panel with Cassandra Clare, Holly Black,
    and Maggie Steifvater.
  • With the panels, it differed. I went to one with Holly Black, Cassandra Clare, and Maggie Steifvater and the crowd outside was crazy. There were supposed to be "lines" but it was just a huge mess of people and I was unsure if me and Sarah were going to get places inside the panel room but once we got inside, there was plenty of space! Some people ended up standing in the back, but since some people left in middle of the panel, there ended up being a couple of seats open towards the end. -Yiling
  • So I didn't really have any particular authors to go to (I wanted to see Rick Riordan, but again, too crowded/too long lines), but I really wanted to meet David Karp, creator of Tumblr, and Brandon Stanton, founder of HONY. The panel was crowded, but not too bad. With getting their autographs, not as bad either in terms of waiting. Their whole interview was interesting as well! - Raisa 
  • Also, since I was wandering around, I did manage to get a good amount of free books and goodies, enter a couple of contests, all sorts of things. It does help to have the BookCon app on you, but sometimes it's just being in the right place at the right time, because these things do tend to go out pretty quickly. - Raisa 
(Since this was the first year of Bookcon, they were still working out kinks. From what I heard, the company will be trying to resolve these issues and they have expanded the space from last year!)

Tips for BookCon:
  1. Be comfortable: This is kind of a general rule for any con. You're going to be standing/ walking for a long time so definitely dress for comfort. (I would suggest that you wear sneakers.) Also bring at least one bottle of water to stay hydrated. 
  2. Storage: A great thing about BookCon is that there is a lot of free stuff being given out: books, posters, bookmarks, etc. so you're definitely going to want something to carry all the stuff around in. I would suggest bringing a small backpack/ bag so you can store everything you receive in it. There are a lot of tote bags being given out through the con, but I would still suggest having something to carry around all the stuff that you might get in the beginning before you get a bag. If you're anticipating getting a ton of books, BookCon has a coat check for you to store a suitcase for three dollars. Make sure you lock up your stuff if you do check in a bag, since I have heard of people stealing things from suitcases.
  3. Bring Rubber Bands: This might seem like an odd tip but a lot of booths give out posters. I had to fold most of my posters which left a huge (and uneven) crease in the middle and eventually landed at the bottom of my bag all crumpled up. If you bring rubber bands this crease nightmare will not be an issue!
  4. Make a Schedule: Plan out a schedule of authors and events that you want to see and make note of where and when they all take place. It doesn't matter if they overlap because chances are that you are not going to see all of them. Making a schedule is great way of staying on top of events so you if find that there is a period of time where you aren't doing anything, you can just look to your schedule! 
  5. Money?: A big question that I had before I went to BookCon was how much money I should bring and I think that this depends on the individual. There are booths that sell books so if you plan on buying books, bring money for them. It's often not necessary. Some authors do charge you for the book if you plan on getting them to sign it but most for signings/autographings the books are provided. But you should definitely bring money for lunch.
  6. Snacks: Going off of lunch money, you may not have a lot of time to eat and you're going to need a lot of energy, so bring some snacks with you. Granola bars work well. 
  7. Stay Connected: Download the BookCon app. There's a whole community all about BookCon and they'll let you know all about BookCon and what's going on. Last year, I remember constantly checking the app to know what signings were full, which authors were where, etc. Everybody is super helpful and kind and it's nice to stay updated! You can also use twitter for this, but it might be harder to find people who are specifically talking about BookCon. 
I hope that our tips and experiences helped you guys! If you have any questions or have experiences of your own to share, please let us know in the comments below!

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