Will you be attending BookCon this year? You know we are. Whether this is your first time or you’re a seasoned veteran, here are a few tips from the Bookish team to make the most of your time. At the end of the day, you want to enjoy the convention and have as much fun as possible. BookCon can be crowded and exhausting, but if you follow our suggestions, your experience will be fantastic.
At BookCon, there are always so many different events to choose from. To make things easier, Bookish put together a BookCon guide packed with all of the must-see panels, authors, and more! Take a look and start planning. We recommend keeping a spreadsheet of the times of panels and signings that you are excited about. You can even color code them based on priority. Keep in mind that there will be long lines and if you arrive too late, you may have to change your plans. Make sure to give yourself options!
Print your plans and bring a backup phone battery
You can use the BookCon app or a note on your phone to keep your plans organized. That said, it’s always safest to bring a hard copy of your schedule: The Javits isn’t known for great wifi or plentiful outlets. A backup phone battery can be a great insurance policy, but we still recommend keeping paper copies of any important convention information with you.
Set your expectations
If you’re going to BookCon to get lots of ARCs or meet your favorite author, know that you might be waiting in line for a while. However, there are tons of other events for you take advantage of, likes bookish games, panels, and photo booths. Focus on what you want to get out of your BookCon experience, and prioritize accordingly.
Day of BookCon
Wear a comfortable outfit
You’ll likely be standing in long lines for much of the day, so wear comfy shoes. Wear clothes that work for photo opportunities and for taking some time to chill–which might mean sitting on the floor. If you are planning to cosplay, consider how comfortable you’ll be in that costume all day long. You may want to bring a second outfit to change into after you’ve taken your cosplay photos for the day.
Pack water and snacks
Keeping yourself hydrated is important, so pack a water bottle. There are water fountains by most bathroom locations at the Javits where you can refill your bottle. If you’re not sure when or where you’re going to grab your next meal, make sure you have snacks you can eat while walking or standing (like a protein bar).
Eat a real lunch (Protein bars don’t count)
It sounds crazy, but you’re going to plan out your day with tons of signings, ARC drops, and fun events, and you’re going to forget to eat. You will have a much better experience if you take the time to rest and refuel. The Javits has a food court where you can enjoy meals like chicken tenders, burgers, and salads.
Wear a backpack and bring an extra tote bag
Wear a backpack to evenly distribute the weight of your books: Your shoulders will thank you. That said, it will be easier to throw books in a tote as you move from one booth to another. Don’t rely on receiving a free tote early on in the day. Bringing your own is the safest bet!
Let the day take you by surprise
Yes, planning is amazing and all of the spreadsheets you color-coded are beautiful, but sometimes the unexpected event that you stumble upon by chance can be the best part of your day.
Talk to people!
Do you see someone with a tote bag or book you want to grab? Ask them where they got it! You’re in a building full of people who love books just as much as you do. You can make some amazing friends just by talking while you wait in line.
Take a picture of your haul
Regardless of whether you plan to post all of your new goodies on social media, a photo is a great way to remember some of the treats you snagged and experiences you had during the day.
Share your favorite moments
Use BookCon’s hashtag, #BookCon19, when you share photos on social media. That way other attendees can find your photos and tweak their own BookCon plans accordingly.
Plan for next year
Did you spend all of BookCon on the show floor without attending a panel? Did you wait too long for one author and miss something else? Did you have more fun at photo ops than ARC drops? Consider what worked for you and what didn’t. If you feel like you missed out on something, there is always next year!