A friend and I attended BookCon (held in New York in early June) for the first time this year, and we learned a lot. Going in, we had no idea what to expect, so I’ve created a list that may help other first timers. Hope these hints and tips help you plan for your next trip to BookCon:
Do: Ask politely. If you’re not sure where to go, what a line is for, or whether a booth is giving something away for free, just walk up to someone and ask. I was handed so many cool books, and met lots of nice people, just by asking what was going on.
Don’t: Be a jerk about it. There were some attendees who were so persistent that they ended up annoying the poor booth workers. If someone says no, whether because you’re too late for a giveaway, because something isn’t free, or because you need to go get in a line, politely take the no and walk away. Don’t make their lives hard.
Do: Leave room in your luggage. I literally couldn’t believe the amount of free stuff, including tons of book ARCs, that I took home.
Don’t: Get angry. So you weren’t fast enough to get in the line. Or the plinko game didn’t give you the book you wanted. Remember that, if that one book is important enough to you, you’re going to read it anyway, whether someone hands it to you for free, or you buy it, or you borrow it from the library. It’s just a book.
Do: Ask to trade. If you see someone with a book you wanted and a skeptical look on their face, offer to trade. You might not be the only one whose wheel spin didn’t give them the exact book they were wishing for.
Don’t: Decide you’re entitled. Everyone is there for the same reason. Pushing in line, cutting, trying to force a trade, or shoving someone else down to the floor (yes, we actually saw a girl with a huge gash across her leg because she had been pushed down) to get to the book you wanted is never okay. You know better than that.
Do: Make friends in line. Again, everyone is there for the same reason, and you might be surprised how much you have in common with the people in line near you!
Don’t: Miss out on the panels. We met some people who were so focused on the free books (which, let’s be honest, they’re probably not even going to read all of them) that they forget there’s more to BookCon. Namely, the amazing panels, almost all free to attend with your BookCon ticket. It was so exciting to hear some of my favorite authors talk about the interesting worlds they’d created with their stories, or about where they get ideas.
Do: Plan ahead. Someone I met in line told me about an amazing spreadsheet, created by @DailyJulianne and posted on Twitter, that gave me insight into everything happening at every hour of the day. Using her lovingly crafted spreadsheet (which she provides for free to the public) saved me SO MUCH time. If you check out her spreadsheet next May to plan for BookCon 2019, be sure to buy her a coffee through the link on her tweet. It’s so worth it.
Don’t: Forget to have fun. On the flip side of planning, be sure to give yourself the time and grace to just explore. If you’re so focused on which line to get to at which time, or busy comparing how much free stuff you got to how much someone else got, you may miss out on the experience.