Bookcon 2019 Wrap-Up

Third time’s the charm!

Honestly, it feels like it’s been forever since I’ve started going to Bookcon, but come to think of it, it’s really only been the three years so far! This time around, though, instead of just going the one day on Saturday, my friend Meg and I booked tickets for both days. Naturally, this led to a lot of planning on our end, because of course we wanted at least two author autographs per day, and goodness, even after our numerous amount of author meet-ups, we’re still pretty star-struck about things.

Needless to say, come author signing registration, we hurried to sign up for those Saturday and Sunday tickets, knowing that some of our authors would be booked within minutes (and boy, did they ever).

We got lucky and got all of ours.

Now, this isn’t a guide to surviving BookCon. Goodness knows there have been plenty dished out by fellow bloggers. This isn’t even a tips to get ARCs and free swag post; there’ve been far luckier folks who’ve got luggages full of swag and then-some. So if you’re looking for things like that to get you ready for next year’s BookCon event (May 30 and May 31), you might be looking for a post like Vicky Who Reads or suggestions from Epic Reads. My particular post is mostly a reflection of what I learned going into this year’s BookCon. And frankly, even after two years behind my belt, there’s always something new to learn.

I learned…

That bowing out seemed the better option to queuing up. No joke. Lines for popular releases are ridiculous. If you’re not a big fan of large crowds as is (definitely me) or get into bouts of social anxiety, this becomes a problem. It was barely a few minutes into Saturday morning when Rainbow Rowell and V.E. Schwab signing tickets began to disappear. It wasn’t even an hour before a super-congested, “unofficial” line began forming in Penguin for Katharine McGee’s American Royals ARC on Sunday afternoon. We’d planned on grabbing the books from these three events, but at the end of the day, we took our bows and moved on. This was a good thing, because we managed to snag several ARCs elsewhere.

That planning can only go so far before you just throw your entire schedule out the window. As mentioned above, we came into Saturday morning with a 10 am plan. By the end of Saturday, while we were sufficiently pleased with the swag we got (including a photo op with the beautiful Renee Ahdieh), the signings we attended (Leigh Bardugo and Eoin Colfer for me), and the purchases we made, we were nearly not as successful as we’d been last year. When we came in on Sunday morning, our plans were very minimal. Honestly, I had two things I was guaranteed a place: a signing for Marie Lu and the Candy Crushes Romance sweepstakes. McGee was a priority, but other than that, I didn’t have much to do but wander around.

That a friend is definitely worth having around when it comes to con-conquering. Especially when she is the more prolific Tweeter. Honestly, half the things I did was to hover around areas that looked like they were about to drop an ARC. Occasionally, Meg ended up texting me with key words and giveaway locations. While she lined up for Ashley Poston, I scoured the area for a Schwab-sighting (to no avail, gawd, and normally we always end up spotting her!). While I lined up for Leigh Bardugo, she checked out the Quirk Books and Hachette schedules. We got a lot done by the end of it, thank goodness for that.

That signing up for random Bookcon-related sweepstakes pays off. Or maybe I’m just a little lucky. I don’t know how I managed to pull it off, but I’m grateful nonetheless. I managed to get a photo op with Renee Ahdieh–who was decked out in full royal The Beautiful-esque regalia (a book I actually cannot wait to read). I amusingly got a ticket for the Candy Crushes Romance Party taking place on Sunday afternoon, which, to be honest, I’d signed up for on a whim. Then by the time I got to the area, I realized I was going home with a tote bag full of candy, swag, and eight books from different romance authors–one of which was Meg Frigging Cabot (who hadn’t been listed in the sweepstakes at all…so SURPRISE!). Super-grateful for that particular opportunity, especially since I got myself a tiara and managed to have a conversation with Meg Cabot about her unicorn story, “Princess Prettypants.”

That I should probably follow more publishers on Twitter or Instagram. Or, you know, get people to spill the code words for galleys. I mean, honestly, how else would you deal with the Scythes walking around with black envelopes? Mostly, that was a stroke of luck that I even managed to grab a Shusterman ARC. That takeaway was everything, though.

That smaller booths have better payoffs in the end. I mean, I love my big authors, and if I can get an opportunity, I’d jump at having a chance to see Bardugo or Lu or Maas or Rowell or Schwab. That being said, sometimes even the lesser known publishing booths had authors I was a fan of. One of my bigger purchases wound up being at Quirk Books. I also realized Sourcebooks had copies of reads I’d enjoyed. I was a little bummed that Image Comics wasn’t there, because I would have loved to have been able to browse through their wares.

That book-swag booths are the bane of my budget’s existence. Because of all the discounts, I ended up spending a shitton of my budget on candles and shirts and other random book swag. I almost even bought myself a messenger bag from ChickLit designs, but eventually stopped myself because get yourself together, Mari, you’d already bought a phone case from them.

And this swag doesn’t even include the candles.

That the bigger the publisher, the more chaotic the lines. Again, going back to bowing out versus staying in, yeah, definitely bouncing out of that long-ass line. Unless, of course, you’re on a David Yoon line and not that far off to getting a free t-shirt and a guaranteed galley the next day.

That I’d do this all over again, because in the end, the whole experience was a blast. Despite the lines. Despite the waiting. Despite the missed ARCs and signings. In the end, we got a lot of things done, I met people who were just as gung-ho about certain authors as I was, and I spoke with authors I didn’t think I’d ever meet in my lifetime. Also, seriously, Eoin frigging Colfer commenting on my shirt and then addressing one of the books to both me and my sister? Priceless.

I had to clean out an entire second shelf just to fit my new stuff. Thankfully, some of these are just temporary on my shelf. A few are going to my classroom library!

The haul includes:

(Purchases, Giveaways, and ARCs indicated)

  1. King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo (signed)
  2. Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh
  3. Dark Matter by Blake Crouch (signed)
  4. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas (signed)
  5. Cocaine Blues by Kerry Greenwood
  6. Champion by Marie Lu (signed)
  7. Prodigy by Marie Lu (signed)
  8. Iron Man: The Gauntlet by Eoin Colfer (signed)
  9. Inventions, Researches and Writings of Nikola Tesla by Nikola Tesla
  10. Aesop’s Fables by Aesop
  11. Much Ado About Mean Girls by Ian Doescher (signed)
  12. Max Einstein: The Genius Experiment by James Patterson
  13. A Notorious Vow by Joanna Shupe (signed)
  14. Wild Wicket Scot by Julia London (signed)
  15. The Last Wolf by Maria Vale (signed)
  16. Crazy Cupid Love by Amanda Heger (signed)
  17. The Bittersweet Bride by Vanessa Riley (signed)
  18. The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory (signed)
  19. The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez (signed)
  20. Monster, She Wrote by Lisa Kroger (ARC)
  21. The Toll by Neal Shusterman (ARC)
  22. Frankly in Love by David Yoon (ARC)
  23. Girls of Storm and Shadow by Natasha Ngan (ARC)
  24. For Your Consideration: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson by Tres Dean (ARC)
  25. When We Were Lost by Kevin Wignall (ARC)
  26. Kid Activists: True Tales of Childhood from Champions of Change by Robin Stevenson (ARC)
  27. Justified by Jay Crownover (ARC)
  28. No Judgments by Meg Cabot (signed ARC)
  29. The Beautiful by Renee Ahdieh (sampler)
  30. Rebel by Marie Lu (signed sampler)
  31. Havenfall by Sara Holland (sampler)
  32. Call Down the Hawk by Maggie Stiefvater (sampler)

But yes. Fun days. Now back to the grind. And I should really read a number of these before next year comes around again…

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