Let’s Talk About: BookCon 2019!

In case you missed all of my yelling (and my giveaway post from a couple days ago), I went to BookCon! You might remember from the giveaway post that I attended with Daniel from Page to Page. We somehow ended up with VIP passes and, overall, at least, I had a much better time than last year!


Day One

Look at me all awake and alive and excited! I did not look like this by the end of day two, that’s for sure. Even though I went to BookCon last year, I didn’t really know what to expect this year with the VIP badge and attending on both days.

The number one priority for day one was meeting Rainbow Rowell. I’ve read everything she’s written and she’s one of my favorite authors. Once those doors opened, we hurried to the Macmillan booth for tickets to her signing party and luckily, we made it in time and got our tickets!

Another thing we wanted to make sure to do was attend Rainbow Rowell’s panel about Wayward Son. I loved Carry On and was so excited to hear Rainbow talk about the sequel.

In general, Saturday was a lot busier than Sunday with a lot less going on. Only seven of the nineteen books I got for free came from Saturday’s events, and five of them were just because of my VIP badge. One of the others, Permanent Record, wasn’t even one I got for myself. I had been talking about how much I love Mary H.K. Choi while I waited in line for a chance to win a Simon & Schuster ARC, and although I didn’t win anything, someone who had been in line with me won that ARC and wasn’t really excited about it, so she just gave it to me! (If you’re reading this, thank you so much! You made my day!)

Saturday was also the day that I met Sarah Dessen! I’ve loved her books since I was in middle school and took my copy of Someone Like You to be signed. I was too nervous to really talk to her, but she commented on how cute that edition of her book is and how YA covers don’t look like that anymore.

We had tickets for Leigh Bardugo’s signing but ended up giving them away because the line was crazy and we didn’t want to miss the Rainbow Rowell party. Hopefully our tickets made someone else’s day since her signing had been sold out.


Day Two

Here I am, nearing the end of day two, absolutely exhausted and waiting in line to meet Marissa Meyer. (And still very excited.)

Sunday was definitely a lot calmer than Saturday, and it seemed that there were a lot more opportunities to get ARCs and do fun events.

When the doors opened, everyone rushed to the Macmillan booth for tickets for that day’s signings and to the Hachette booth for The Bone Houses, while I went to the Lion Forge booth so I could get tickets for the Mooncakes and No Ivy League signings later that morning. Everyone was still waiting in the Macmillan line when I got those tickets, so I just wandered around for a little bit to see what was going on. I found out that Scholastic was giving away piles of ARCs of Technically, You Started It and Tarnished Are the Stars, so I was able to get those really easily.

After that, we did a trivia game with Epic Reads, where we had a ton of fun coming up with huge lists of books (one of my favorite things, honestly) and answering multiple choice and fill-in-the-blank questions. Our team won and we each ended up getting an ARC of Serpent & Dove, a yoga mat, and some fun swag.

Sunday’s VIP signings were Meg Cabot and Sarah MacLean. I was definitely excited about Meg Cabot since The Princess Diaries was one of my favorite series when I was younger! I think I have a conversation about the spelling of my name with every Sara(h) I meet, so that’s what I talked to Sarah MacLean about.

That afternoon, we had signings for Marissa Meyer and V.E. Schwab, so a lot of our time was spent waiting in lines. By the time Schwab was done, BookCon was pretty much over, but a lot of publishers had swag sitting out on tables or were offering huge discounts. We had won tickets to Romance Candy Crush but had to miss it because we were in the Schwab signing line, but luckily, we ran into the people hosting that event as they were leaving and they gave us the books anyway!


The Haul

FREE

  • The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez (ARC)
  • No Judgments by Meg Cabot (ARC, signed & personalized)
  • Technically, You Started It by Lana Wood Johnson (ARC)
  • Tarnished Are the Stars by Rosiee Thor (ARC)
  • Full Disclosure by Camryn Garrett (ARC)
  • Permanent Record by Mary H.K. Choi (ARC)
  • Mooncakes by Suzanne Walker & Wendy Xu (ARC, signed & personalized)
  • No Ivy League by Hazel Newlevant (ARC, signed & personalized)
  • A Danger to Herself and Others by Alyssa Sheinmel (signed)
  • Misfits by Jen Calonita (signed)
  • Brazen and the Beast by Sarah MacLean (signed & personalized)
  • Project Duchess by Sabrina Jeffries (signed)
  • As Good as the First Time by K.M. Jackson (signed)
  • The Fresh New Face of Griselda by Jennifer Torres (ARC)
  • I Love You So Mochi by Sarah Kuhn (ARC)
  • Hired by Zoey Castile (signed)
  • Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin (ARC)
  • Queen of the Conquered by Kheryn Callender (ARC)
  • Swipe Right for Murder by Derek Milman (ARC)

PURCHASED

  • Crazy Cat Lady by Agnes Loonstra & Ester Scholten (so that I could get a cute tote bag)
  • Wires and Nerve by Marissa Meyer (at her signing)
  • The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen (at her signing)
  • I also preordered both Pumpkinheads and Wayward Son at Rainbow Rowell’s signing

Signings!

I am not very good at talking to people that I admire, so I mostly just mumbled a lot and smiled. But that’s still more than I did last year! Here are some pictures of me with Rainbow Rowell, Sarah Dessen (my childhood hero), V.E. Schwab, and Marissa Meyer!


Tips, Tricks, and Plans for Next Year

  • Bring your lunch! We packed food, water, and snacks and it was so much less stressful than wasting time and money for food that’s not even good.
  • If you can only make to BookCon on one day, go on Sunday. I was honestly a little bit disappointed with Saturday, but Sunday more than made up for it.
  • Do your research! There were so many events that weren’t announced anywhere other than Twitter, and we missed a few authors that we would have liked to meet. I ended up turning on post notifications on Twitter so that we’d be more likely to know what was going on, but even then, you have to be in the right place at the right time.
  • I think VIP was worth the extra money, but I’m not sure that I really need to experience it again. Next year, I think we’ll try to go to BookExpo and maybe just attend one day of BookCon.

Did you go to BookCon this year? Do you plan to go in the future? Do you have any additional tips or tricks? Let’s talk in the comments!

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Let’s Talk About: BookCon!

So, it’s official! I made it to (and survived) my first BookCon! It was an experience, to say the least, but I had a really great time. I nearly fell over in the street when I ran into Brendan Kiely, I had minor fangirl palpitations when I realized that Victoria Schwab was mere feet away, and I had a really nice conversation with Julian Winters!

I’d been wanting to go to BookCon for a couple years, but something always came up and I wasn’t able to attend. This year my boyfriend got me tickets for my birthday so there was no getting around it! We got up early on Sunday and headed to the train station. It was actually the best train ride I’ve had in the six years I’ve been living in New Jersey since there were no weird incidents (somebody is always screaming on the train, why???) and I just listened to an audiobook (Astrophysics for People in a Hurry) the whole time.

(Yep, that’s my face.)

Getting there.

We ended up getting to Penn Station around 9:30, which worked out really well since the doors to BookCon opened at 10:00 and it was only a six block (or so) walk. I got checked in, got my badge, and got in line. I honestly don’t think where you are in line matters that much since it’s pretty much a free-for-all sprint when they start allowing people in. (I personally did not sprint but nearly everyone around me did.)

My plan for the day.

I didn’t really know what to expect, so I didn’t have too much of a plan for the day! This was definitely something I could’ve been better about and it’s something that I’ll work on for next year. Going in, all that I really knew I wanted to do was the Riveted carnival, the Swoon Reads ARC giveaway, and the What If It’s Us ARC drop.

Let me tell you a thing — just because the daily schedule says something happens at 12:00 or 3:00 doesn’t mean it actually does! Lines for the Riveted carnival and the Swoon Reads ARC giveaway only started about fifteen minutes ahead of time, but the What If It’s Us ARC drop was ticketed and those tickets were gone by like 11:05. (They also kept saying there was no line for tickets, but there was totally a line.)

So, I did end up doing the Riveted carnival (pictures exist of me in that money blowing machine but they are forever under lock and key, also I won Strange Fire by Tommy Wallach) and the Swoon Reads ARC giveaway (I got To Be Honest by Maggie Ann Martin and I am so excited), but I decided that all of the stress probably wasn’t worth it because I’m already planning on preordering What If It’s Us.

Book haul.

What We Find by Robin Carr | free at the Harlequin booth!
Running With Lions by Julian Winters | signed & personalized by the author!
A Study in Honor by Claire O’Dell | free at the HarperCollins booth!
History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera | only $5 from Soho Teen!
To Be Honest by Maggie Ann Martin | free at the Swoon Reads ARC giveaway!
How to Breathe Underwater by Vicky Skinner | free at the Swoon Reads ARC giveaway!
Strange Fire by Tommy Wallach | free from the Riveted carnival!
Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore | on sale & signed!
November Road by Lou Berney | free at the HarperCollins booth!
Lone Wolf Lawman by Delores Fossen (not pictured) | free at the Harlequin booth!
Grumpy Pants by Claire Messer (not pictured) | for my nephew!

 

A lot of books were free at BookCon, a lot of books were discounted, and a lot of books were full price. It all depended on the publisher. HarperCollins was giving away books like crazy at the beginning and Soho Teen had $5 paperbacks. Harlequin was also giving away a lot of books all day.

Book swag.

If there’s one thing I learned, it’s to plan for a lot of swag. I had literally no idea what I was doing and I ended up with eight different tote bags, at least ten pins, a million bookmarks, some stickers, some magnets, pens, a Magnus Bane doll, and even some tea??? Imagine if I’d known what I was doing? I might not have fit on the train back home!

Side note: I’m not a Mortal Instruments person and Magnus Bane keeps staring at me from across the room and it’s freaking me out. (Click here to see what I’m talking about.) I might do a giveaway at some point because he’s got to go and surely someone out there will appreciate him more than I do.

(A sampling of my book swag.)

Plans for next year.

I definitely want to go to BookCon (and possibly also BEA) next year, and hopefully I can go with someone who loves books as much as I do! My boyfriend was a really good sport throughout the whole day, but let’s be honest, science his is his thing and books are mine.

For next year, I have a better idea of what I should do to make the most of my trip:

  • Check the app! I hate downloading pointless apps, but I finally downloaded it while I was eating lunch and yeah, it was helpful. It sends you notifications of panels, signings, and other big events, which was a big help.
  • Speaking of lunch, I’m doing that differently next year. We stopped at a Korean buffet in the Javits Center for lunch and it was fine but it was fast food Korean and all it did was make me want to go to a real Korean restaurant. (The gochujang was super sweet and cinnamony, it was weird.) The food was also pretty expensive (as expected) and I could’ve spent that money on more books. So, next year, I might pack a lunch or I might venture outside of the building.
  • Keep a list of ARCs I want! So, obviously, I know what I want to read. If I see a sign for What If It’s Us, I know it’s at the very top of my TBR. But ask me to rattle off a list of ARCs I want? You’re probably not going to get more than a few and I’m definitely not going to know the publisher offhand for most of them. I do, however, use Edelweiss to keep track of my most anticipated releases and I probably should’ve saved a list to my phone. Not that I’d expect to get any of them from BookCon, but it definitely would help when it comes to prioritizing publishers.
  • Keep a list of published books I want! A lot of publishers were doing pretty significant sales — 50% off list price, flat $5 for all paperbacks, etc. — and I wish I would’ve had a list of already published titles that I wanted to read. Again, it’s not like my mind blanks on what I want to read, but it’s easy to be swayed by pretty covers and having an actual list of things I want to read (and sticking to it!) would definitely help.
  • Keep circling back through the big publishers! HarperCollins especially was great! In the morning, they were giving out stacks and stacks of ARCs. I didn’t realize until later in the day that the book kept changing, so next time, I definitely want to make a few passes!
  • Look more carefully at the list of exhibitors. I wouldn’t have thought I’d really care about OwlCrate, for example, but they were doing a spin-the-wheel game for really great prizes! I went late in the day and ended up with tea (which is fine) but I heard from some other people that the wheel had really fun prizes earlier in the day.
  • Go to some panels. Honestly, I was so disorganized that I missed most of the panels. I did catch part of the Booktube panel, but that was it. This is another thing the app is great for (it sends you notifications when a panel is about to start) and something I definitely want to do next year.

All in all, I had a really great experience at my first BookCon! I’m already excited for next year!


Did you go to BookCon this year? Were we standing next to each other in line without even realizing it? Do you have plans to go to BookCon in the future? What’s your best advice? Let me know in the comments!