I was lucky enough to be able to attend Bookcon 2019 and to be sure I get the full experience I was fast enough to grab a VIP pass back when they first went up for sale. This was my first time attending Bookcon and I must say I wasn’t sure what to expect.
My expectations were let’s say mixed. I’ve been in Facebook YA groups for awhile now and I’ve seen so many people share their hauls from Bookcon, mostly consisting of arcs. It always got me excited and thinking, I want to be where the people are (of course I’m quoting the Little Mermaid here because Disney!), so my thoughts were people were throwing books at you basically aka I was expecting that arcs were fairly accessible. After joining a Bookcon Facebook group and talking to people that actually went, I started to get nervous a little. I was afraid of always being stuck in a line for signatures, arcs, etc, so I decided that I would wing it. Oh boy, it was not my brightest idea LOL Well, if your point is going is just enjoying the con and going to panels and walking the floor, then yes winging it works I suppose. However, if you want to grab the hottest arc (or really any arc for that matter), or get an impromptu signature from a certain author, then no don’t follow in my footsteps.
Here is what I have learned after my experience at Bookcon:
- You need tickets for autograph time slots with authors and you get two tickets per day, so about a month or so before the event the autograph tickets will be available at a certain time. They are free but if you want a very popular author you need to be quick and online when they drop. I had a VIP ticket which meant I had access a day before the general tickets and I wasn’t able to grab my two top authors because the quota for them was reached. I didn’t try to book more than two per day so I’m not sure how that works but I have seen on sites that they had a board with who still had space available. The autograph ticket is for a certain time so you need to be in that line during that time slot.
- Most authors autograph session will require that you buy a book there. Some will sign extra books that you brought from home, some won’t. You basically have to check the official spreadsheet on the Bookcon site to sort all that out. You don’t have to go around the con looking for the book though – they sell them at the signature table.
- I’ve heard and seen people get to Bookcon early and when I say early I mean early. The floor opens at 10am but people were lining up as early as 6:30am to make sure they were the first to be let in. Thankfully I had the VIP pass, so I didn’t need to do that and I could sleep in later. I got there around 8:30am and honestly I could’ve gotten there a bit later and I would have been able to get in very easily (with the VIP pass).
- Ok let’s talk arcs – yes publishers will drop arcs but the quantities are limited. Most publishers will post schedule for when the arcs drop. Check their websites, twitter, and Facebook page. If you are on the Bookcon Facebook group that is a really good ressource. If you want a chance at getting arcs it’s a really good idea to make a schedule and be aware of what is happening and when. Also, yes people will be running around for them, so be prepared for that as well.
- Most people will line up early for an arc drop. I’ve seen some publishers that had only 100 arcs to give out, if you want one of those you need to be there way ahead. I’ve had lines cut right in front of me or get to the booth and the last arc was given to the person in front of me.
- There are in-booth author signings so if you weren’t able to grab an autograph ticket for your favourite author, check the publishers schedule to see if they are hosting a signing. Again remember they might cut this at a certain amount of people, so get there early.
- Books are heavy LOL If you are going to be grabbing arcs or buying books all day, it’s a good idea to drop some from time to time at the check bag (it’s not free though). You can’t log around your roller suitcase but you can check it and go drop some books off. It seems this year you had to pay every time you went to drop books. With the VIP ticket you didn’t have to pay and could go anytime you wanted.
I did get a couple arcs though, some out of sheer luck but others because I had a VIP ticket I got a bag with 3 arcs in it as part of the package. There are also private signings for VIP’s which are done in the VIP lounge. This year there were 4 authors invited: Alyssa Sheinmel & Jen Calonita on Saturday and Sarah MacLean & Meg Cabot on Sunday. The books were free to grab.
I did go to one panel while I was there and it was amazing. I got to see Rainbow Rowell, one of my faves and hear her talk about everything Simon Snow. It was so short, just an hour. I could’ve listened to her all day lol. Also a panel is a good way to recharge your batteries, you get to sit for awhile and relax before going back to the craziness of the con floor.
There was a smallish artist alley, well they called it the Unbound Market I guess, there were a couple shops there but I don’t know, I would’ve liked a little more handmade bookish stuff maybe. There was some great shops like BookBeau or Faecrate but I was maybe expecting a little more from it.
In conclusion did I have fun? Yes but was it what I expected to be? Not at all. Would I attend again? Maybe, I’m not sure yet but if I do I will plan better for sure. Though I was pretty glad to have my VIP ticket so I didn’t have to line up at 6:30 in the morning.
Did you attend Bookcon this year? What are your thoughts on it? Leave me a comment!