bookcon 2016 is one of the BEST days i've ever had in my life.
i got to meet so many incredible people and authors and grab some amazing books! i woke up at 4:00 AM, and right when i got there, (5:45 AM) there were about 200 people already in line. at 8:00, they opened the chutes to get wristbands and i thought i was a part of the next hunger games. IT WAS CHAOS. there were about 8 authors per chute, but you were only allowed to get one author per chute. this is how they were grouped this year and what time they signed:
(PS- i just realized i only got a pic of half the chutes, but here they are anyway)
so my friend and i, since there were only two of us, chose to get wristbands for sarah j maas and leigh bardugo (it was super hard to choose for chute 5 though!) and the wristbands guaranteed that we would get to meet the author and get our books signed. it also gave you the location and time of the signing.
once we got the wristbands, we hurried to get in line to get on the show floor, which opened at 10:00. if you had a VIP pass, you got it at 9:45. we were in line for one and a half hours, then it was a madhouse when they let everyone in. my friend and i hurried to get in line for the first in line event, which is an event where they allow the first 300 in to meet certain authors and get arcs + other books signed. it went on from 10:30-11:00, and we got there around 10:05. we got in around 10:30 isn (what time you got in depended on how far back you were in line). i got gemina (signed), the sun is also a star (signed), and i darken, and girl in pieces arcs and got to meet amie, jay, and nicola. they were all super nice and i was so excited to meet them and grab their upcoming books!
after this event was over, we got in line for sarah j maas' signing (11:00-12:00) and a woman was coming around giving us post-its with our names on them so that when the author signed the book, it would be faster. we also figured out that we could only get one book signed due to time. i was upset about this since i had brought two to get signed, but ended up getting queen of shadows signed. i asked sarah how she came up with her character names, and she said "if i hear it, i'll write it down, and sometimes i use baby names.com," which i found interesting and funny at the same time.
after sarah's signing, we had a bit of free time, because our next signing was at 3:15 for leigh bardugo. we walked around to different publishing booths, and when we got to penguin teen's booth, we saw a sign for their upcoming signings and giveaways. my friend, while reading the sign, goes, "omg. THEY'RE DOING A GIVEAWAY FOR A SHADOW BRIGHT AND BURNING AT 1:00!" so we asked the staff how many they were giving away, and they said 200. WHAT?! so we were guaranteed to get one. we stood in line and managed to be within the first 15 to get one, and we were super excited because we hadn't expected to get ASBAB at bookcon! we also got some cool posters and swag, which is pictured below!
we ate lunch around 2:00, and we saw laini taylor there! sadly, my friend and i were too shy to go say hi to her and didn't want to interrupt her lunch. but it was SO COOL! her pink hair and gold leggings were awesome! oh, and here is a funny but tragic story about something that happened before lunch: i saw amie and jay TWO FREAKING FEET AWAY FROM ME talking to someone. jay was holding a box, and my first thought was NEVERNIGHT. i didn't say anything (again, too shy) and then later i saw someone post a picture with nevernight and I AM STILL KICKING MYSELF FOR NOT SAYING ANYTHING! i knew i had to say "never forget" but i didn't wanna go up to them and be like NEVER FORGET NEVER FORGET NEVER FORGET and then jay would say umm i don't have any because then i really would've looked like an idiot.
soon after, we walked around some more to pub booths and managed to snag an arc of the reader by traci chee! i hadn't read much about this one but had heard great things so i was pretty stoked to have gotten it!
at 3:00, we lined up for leigh bardugo. this signing required the purchase of one of her books, so i bought a paperback of ruin and rising to complete my paperback collection. leigh didn't have a limit to how many books we could get signed, so i got my siege and storm signed and six of crows signed. meeting leigh was the highlight of my day! she was super nice and really cool, and i loved her silver hair! we got a picture with her and she gave us some crooked kingdom tattoos! i really hope i get the chance to meet her again in the future!
after leigh's signing, we didn't have anything else planned so we walked around some more. i grabbed a copy of holding up the universe at the penguin booth, since they had a bunch out on a table and it looked pretty interesting! oh wait i have another story and this one is even more tragic! so penguin was tweeting all day so i had my notifications on, and i saw a tweet saying they were giving away an arc of a torch against the night, so i speed walked/ran there and i was about 5 seconds too late. I WITNESSED THEM GIVE IT TO THE WINNER. so i hovered around penguins booth awhile longer just incase, but eventually went back to the main area. then, 30 minutes later, they tweeted out "i swear we weren't hiding this from you, but we have one last arc of torch!" i was 10 feet away but didn't check my phone in time. so, i had an opportunity for torch TWICE and missed both. gah.
overall, i had the best day ever at bookcon. i thought the event was very well organized and could not have asked for a better experience! every single person in the book community is extremely nice and i'm so thankful to be a part of the community! i talked to lots of booklovers and authors and it was fabulous! now, keep scrolling to see some tips/question answers i have for you if you're planning on attending your very first bookcon in 2017!
what's the difference between BEA and bookcon?
BEA is Book Expo America, a three-day weekday event where booksellers, publishers, librarians, bloggers, and other professional book people go and receive lots of ARCs to read and review, and sometimes meet some amazing authors! this event is not open to just anyone, only the pros. however, bookcon is a two-day weekend event (for some reason this year it was only one day though) where any type of booklover can go and meet a couple of their favorite authors and get books signed! this is the one i went to, and i had an amazing time. i got to meet sarah j maas, leigh bardugo, amie kaufman, jay kristoff, and nicola yoon!
how did you plan your day?
i started planning about two weeks prior to bookcon. i checked their site millions of times to figure out which authors i wanted to see the most. the biggest piece of advice i have is to PRIORITIZE. you won't get to do/see everything you want, so you have to decide what you want to do the most. for me, i chose sjmaas and leigh because i have read and loved their books, and they just seemed like such amazing people and authors! (which they were!) i was sad i had to miss out on marissa meyer, though. once you figure out which authors you want to meet/what panels you want to go to, you want to use the app to figure out where the signings will be taking place and at what time. use the map to figure out location, and get in line for autographing 10-15 minutes early!
what time should i arrive at bookcon?
i got there around 5:45 AM, but the chutes didn't open until 8 AM. when i got there, there were already about 200 people there. if you had arrived any time after 6:15-6:30, the line was already out the door and starting to go around the building. GET THERE AS EARLY AS YOU CAN.
should i bring books to get signed?
YES. but do not overpack! i brought lots of books because i thought i was going to get to meet lots of authors but only ended up meeting 4. take books from an author you know you'll definitely get to meet! also, the bookcon app is very helpful when it comes time for the event. it will tell you if you can bring books from home or if a purchase is required for the signing! (ex. sarah allowed you to bring your own books but would only sign 1, leigh required a purchase but would sign 3-4)
are the blogger breakfasts worth the money?
i didn't go to a blogger breakfast so i can't really answer this, but they definitely sound like a lot of fun!
what do i do once i'm there?
wait in line and meet some new people! i talked to a couple people and we discussed what books we were getting signed and what authors we wanted to meet, and it was really cool! also, make sure you eat breakfast or take food with you so that you don't starve in line!
how do i know which authors will be in which chute?
they will have a whiteboard that looks like the one pictured below that tells you the chutes, authors that will be in the chutes, and what time they are signing.
how many authors can i get wristbands for?
try to only get the ones you REALLY want to see, otherwise you won't have time to do much else. prioritize! choose your top 2-4 authors and try to get wristbands for them. BUT, you can only get one wristband per chute, so choose your authors wisely! and make sure they're not signing at the same time!
if you get a wristband for one person in a chute can you only go to that person? can you go to all of the authors in that chute or do you have to choose? for example if two of your favorite authors are signing at the same time?
for us, they only allowed you to get one wristband per chute, which called for some tough decisions. leigh bardugo, marissa meyer, and victoria aveyard were all in the same chute and signing at the same time. my friend and i chose leigh bardugo because she was the one we wanted to meet most. we got wristbands for her, which guaranteed that we would get to go to her signing. no wristband, no signing. like i said earlier, you have to prioritize. decide which author you want to meet more. i know, its really hard, but i guess you gotta do what you gotta do ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
should i bring friends or family?
YES! they can get each get a couple wristbands and get your books signed for you while you're off meeting other authors. i saw a family of 4 get 2 wristbands each, and they all got a couple books signed for their two daughters. i thought this was a smart plan, because my friend and i got 2 wristbands each and they were for the same authors.
what do i do after i get my wristbands?
stand in line to get onto the show floor (where the publishing booths, autographing lines, and panels will be) so that you can get to where you need to be! the show floor opens about 2 hours after the wristband lines open. WARNING: once the show floor opens, be ready to participate in the hunger games. it it CHAOS at first but eventually dies down.
once the show floor opens, where do i go?
if you have a signing right away, head there! if not, walk around and check the place out. my friend and i hurried to the first in line event, where we met amie, jay, and nicola and snagged ARCs of their new books being released this fall! they only let in the first 300 people, so either buy a VIP pass (which lets you in 15 minutes earlier than anyone else) or speed walk to the booth like i did!
what is the first in line event?
pretty much summed it up in the last answer, but it is an event for the first 300 people in line where you can meet the authors of three amazing books (which are usually arcs) and get them signed! they also had three other arcs laying out, but the authors were not there at the time. here's what they had:
authors: amie & jay, nicola yoon, jennifer niven
books: gemina, the sun is also a star, holding up the universe, and i darken, girl in pieces, beware the girl
how many books can i take from the booths/tables?
try not to take very many, only grab the ones you really want. they had us take 2 from the authors' piles and 2 from the other piles (i chose gemina and tsiaas from the author pile, and aid and gip from the other piles) you must remember that there are other people waiting to get their hands on those books as well, so don't take lots of ARCs! *side note: and ESPECIALLY do NOT grab extras to sell! there are people who couldn't get this book because you took and extra and illegally SOLD IT.*
how do i know when they do giveaways or random arc drops?
usually the publishing booth will have a sign that tells you the time and what book is being given away. this is how i managed to get a shadow bright and burning!
what do i do if i've gone to all the signings and still have time to kill?
walk around and see what all bookcon has to offer! grab some bookish swag from pub booths, (such as totes, posters, buttons, samplers) and definitely stay tuned for giveaways! also, stay updated with publisher's twitter accounts! they'll often tweet "come to our booth and say ____ and you could win this book!"
those are some simple Q&As for your first time at bookcon! and last but not least, a couple tips:
-get there early
-take lots of photos!
-bring money for food, drinks, and books
-only grab books you really want
-get lots of bookish swag from pub booths
-make new friends!
i hope this helps! are you planning on attending bookcon next year? who are some authors you'd like to meet? what books are you looking forward to?