When it was announced BookCon was returning to NYC this year, I knew, without a doubt, I was going. Last year was my first time attending the event and I absolutely loved it so I knew I had to return. This year was a bit more stressful but I left knowing I’d be back next year.
One of the best things about BookCon this year was that it was two days, not just one. Naturally, I had to attend both days. The first day was difficult because I truly was not prepared for just how crazy it would be. The show floor opened at 10 a.m. and I think my friend and I arrived around 9:45 a.m. and, of course, there was a line just to get to the show floor.
There was an ARC signing that I wanted to go to at 10:30 a.m. and by the time I made it to the show floor the line was already capped. That was pretty much the mood for the whole day. The majority of the signings and ARC giveaways I wanted to get into the lines would cap before I even had a chance.
Still, day one was a blast. I attended Rainbow Rowell’s panel, which was hilarious, and then I went to her signing and actually met her, which was great. The line for Rowell’s signing was incredibly long and my feet were killing me, but again totally worth it. Also, what was great about this year was you signed up for signings beforehand online so even though the lines were long you knew, without a doubt, you were getting in because you already had a ticket. However, this was only the case for signings in the autographing area, not in booth signings.
Anyway, after waiting so long for Rowell’s signing I’d learned my lesson and just waited around the autographing area for Victoria Aveyard’s signing and was in the front of the line so it was a much shorter wait and my feet thanked me.
This was actually the second time I’ve met Aveyard and she was just as awesome as I remember. She looked through my tabs in King’s Cage and approved of where I had them placed. Overall, I’d say the signings were my favorite part of the whole day.
I also randomly met Jenny Han and Morgan Matson during the day. I’d met them both before (Han at BookCon last year; Matson at a signing in NYC) and they were both just as sweet as I remember. I also love that they’re friends and they always seem to be together. It’s super cute.
For day two, I was way more prepared. First, I got there earlier so while I was still stuck in the queue line to get to the show floor I was much closer to the front of line and actually made it to the show floor by 10:10 a.m. Because I was so early, I was able to just stumble upon a signing with Sarah Mlynowski who was signing an ARC of the latest book in her Whatever After series. While I haven’t read the series, I’ve loved so many of Mlynowski’s other books that I couldn’t pass up the chance at meeting her, and since I was so early there were only three people in line when I got there so it was super easy.
After the struggles I went through on the first day I was also more prepared for the ARC signings on day two, particularly at the Penguin Random House booth. For the Penguin ARC signings you had to have a ticket and it was one book per ticket so things were super cut throat over there and filled up very fast.
For instance, I knew for the E. Lockhart signing, which was happening at 11 a.m. that I’d need to be hovering around the booth at around 10 a.m. Therefore I jetted over pretty quickly and was able to somehow get to the front of line and not only meet Lockhart and get the ARC but I also got a cute little makeup bag too.
From there I met up with some bookstagrammers, Mags and Len, who were super cool and really helped me out a lot. I accredit a lot of my day two success to them. I stuck with them for a little bit and then met up with my friend for lunch, because I unfortunately was too late to get into the Cassandra Clare panel (it filled out so fast!) so I had time to kill.
For the record, finding time to eat at BookCon is difficult. It’s basically either you have to be willing to sacrifice missing something in order to find time to eat or you better have a bunch of snacks in your bag that you can eat while standing in line. There’s really no in between. I think that’s partly why I was also so miserable on day 1. I didn’t take a break to eat at all and just snacked on honey nut Cheerios all day. Having lunch on day 2 truly saved me.
After that I once again successfully hovered around the Penguin booth and was able to get into the Leigh Bardugo signing, which included an ARC of her Wonder Woman book. I’m super excited to read it and was glad I was able to snag a ticket because that line was insane and my friends, Mags and Len, were unable to get one.
Also, shoutout to Mags who snagged me an ARC of Krysten Ritter’s novel Bonfire after her panel. I also caught a glimpse of Ritter who was doing a signing at Penguin but I was too tired to try and fight for a spot in yet another line.
Instead, Mags, Len, and I got in a much more chill line for a partial ARC of Stephanie Perkins’ new novel There’s Someone Inside Your House, and let me just say, standing in line with friends is way more fun than standing in line by yourself. Get yourself a line buddy if you can. They’re fantastic. Then, we saw there was another ARC signing at the SOHO teen booth and it was just one of those things where we were like, “We don’t know what this is but it looks free so let’s do it.”
We ended up getting signed ARCs of Love, Hate, and Other Filters, which I’d actually heard about before and was excited to read, so that was a nice surprise. Also the author, Samira Ahmed, was incredibly sweet and funny, and my only regret was not snapping a pic with her.
Sometime during the day I also found time to meet Jeff Giles and get my copy of The Edge of Everything signed. I’ve actually spoken to Giles on the phone before and he gave me writing advice and I wasn’t sure he was going to remember that but he did, which was super nice. I told him I got into grad school and I’d be getting my MFA in Creative Writing and he congratulated me and it was great.
To close out the day I went to a panel with Kevin Hart and Charlamagne tha God it was honestly one of the funniest events I’ve ever been to. I’ve only seen Hart live once and it was at one of his Move With Hart events so he didn’t really talk much. However, this panel was almost like getting a little stand up from him. He was so funny and honest and he said a lot of motivating things that made me feel like I could do anything.
It was quite possibly the best part of my day, to be honest. I loved it so much I ended up buying his book, I Can’t Make This Up, right after the panel. My mom’s reading it now, and I hope to get to it soon.
Overall, I was definitely exhausted by the time BookCon was over. My feet were killing me and my back and shoulders ached and I still think I need to a get massage. Still, it was totally worth it. In totally, I got 13 books, only two of which I actually purchased, and I got nine books signed. I can’t wait to go back next year.
Did you go to BookCon? Do you hope to go next year? Let me know in the comments below!