Book Con: FAQs, Advice & Tips

Book Con

Hello everyone! Today I am going to talk to you about one of my most favorite places on Earth: BookCon! I went for the first time ever to Book Con last year (in 2017) and I absolutely adored it! I also did not fully know what to do lol Of course, I researched as much as I could by reading a bunch of blog posts and watching a ton more YouTube videos but there were still things I didn’t really know. Plus, I was fasting during BC and had to take into account how I would manage that because gosh knows I would not give up fasting nor would I give up BC. Anyways, after having so much fun at BookCon seeing my friends and getting a bunch of books, and since Book Con 2018 is a little over a month away now, I thought I’d help impart some advice to you guys about going to and managing Book Con, as well as answering some questions I definitely had going into it. Hope you enjoy….

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Should I bring food/drinks?
    • I would suggest you do (especially water) but you don’t have to. I was fasting all through book con and I was perfectly fine the entire time (granted, I fast every year and am used to it but still)
  • What should I wear?
    • Sneakers – really, it should be whatever shoes make you comfortable but I’m not the fondest of sneakers outside of for sports and even I was so happy that I decided to wear sneakers during BC
    • Something comfy that you can run around in – because you will be running or at least really fast walking when trying to get books –  that still looks good for meeting new people and taking pictures in. Aka, not something you would cringe about taking a photo in but also not something you would wear to a party.
    • Note: Book Con is also totally the time to come in cosplay! I saw quite a few people cosplaying when I went and it made me wish I had gathered up the courage (and clothes!) to do it too! Do make sure you’re comfy, though, as you’ll probs end up really sore and tired by the end of the day even in comfy clothes.
  • What should I bring?
    • A sturdy backpack and sturdy tote bags
    • Charger cable (being the person I am, I would say bring at least 2) and as many battery packs as you can bring because your phone will nearly die 20 times in just the first 2 hours sooooo
  • Is baggage check really worth it?
    • I didn’t do baggage check as I felt it would cut time for me to get things and see things. Plus, I had brought a backpack and tote bags and got a ton more bags there so, overall, I don’t really think it’s that important. It’s up to you, though, and what you think you’ll need and how much time you have.
  • How do I even get to BC?
    • Subway
    • Train
    • Uber or taxi (not the best thing I’d suggest as NY, even New Jersey, can be reallly busy even in the mornings)
    • Plane
  • Where do I stay?
    • hotel
    • airbnb
    • friend’s place
    • family’s place
  • How early should I get there?
    • Well, BC officially opens its doors at 10 AM both days and start processing people around 8 AM I think so, personally, I got there around 5ish or 6ish and there was still a line from before (not a huge line though) so I’d say get there but it doesn’t have to be at like 3 AM as some people have said
  • How do I get into all the parties/VIP thingys??
    • Giveaways: a publisher or author might have a giveaway to hang out with them at a party or author breakfast or luncheon
    • Being on a publisher’s mailing list
  • Follow up question: ok I got into a party or two (or more, that’s cool!) but do I have to go?
    • Nope, not at all! at least, for me, it wasn’t ever required to go to something so, if you can’t/don’t want to go, just politely decline and say you look forward to seeing them at book con or something!
  • Do I need a schedule?
    • YES YES YES YES 100 TIMES YES regardless of what type of person you are on the organized-disorganized spectrum, you NEED a schedule!
  • How do you find everything that’s going down!??!
    • Book Con website
    • Book Con app
    • Goodreads group (more about that later)
    • Twitter
  • Do I need business cards?
    • So, last year, before BC, I printed like 500 biz cards for relatively cheap (at Staples) and I ended up not giving out a single one at BC. Mind you, most of my time was spent running around with friends and getting books so there wasn’t a lot of time to share around biz cards but I don’t think it’s the biggest deal? I think it’s more important if you want to get your name into a publisher’s lists so essentially, feel free to bring as many as you want but don’t be discouraged if you don’t end up giving any out. BC is more about having fun than it is about biz deals (though both are great!)

Note: If you do need help with creating a business card for yourself, I can design them for you! Just tweet me for more details!

[Related: DISCUSSION: The Magic of Pre-Order Incentives]

  • Can I get an ARC/swag for a friend?? They really want it….
    • ehhhhhh ok this is an iffy question because Book Con is for the people who are there however, there is also a lot of systemic reasons why people can’t go so my thought is, if you’re doing it, make sure you’re doing it quietly and make sure you’re not taking the opportunity away from someone who’s there. Aka, if possible, you can just take one for yourself and share with your friend, especially if it’s a super popular ARC. If it’s a swag item that like there’s a ton of and not a huge line for, maybe. It also depends on how close you are to this friend I guess. Overall, I don’t really know. You do as you wish, just make sure you’re considering everything.
  • How early should I wait in booth/ARC lines?
    • Oh gosh, so the maximum you can wait in a line is one hour before it happens as usually that’s when the booth/publisher will start the line for it. and, they’ll probs be annoyed/mad if a line kinda starts earlier or if there’s like a mass group of people that hang out around the booth just waiting and they will completely disregard that mass/line if you do. I mean, that’s what happened to me & my friends last year when we wanted to wait for the Wonder Woman ARC (tbh that entire line/bit was a mess) but I also remember that people were waiting around the Harper booth for Zenith ARCs since the moment doors opened (even though the booth wasn’t giving them out till like midday). Basically, my advice is: do your own thing before an hour before the actual booth giveaway but like also keep an eye on things. Also, don’t be afraid to ask the booth/publisher when they’ll start the line and if you can wait around or not as they’ll be happy to help and give you an answer. Of course, don’t ask every 5 mins “is the line starting now? Is it now? NOW?!?!”….
  • I’m going by myself/know no one, I’m going to be lonely….
    • You won’t be lonely because there are 100s of other people going to BookCon and it’s not bad to be alone! Of course, there will be groups of friends meeting up and going together but, like what happened with me last year, our group constantly split up, sometimes in mini groups and sometimes by ourselves and I still had fun regardless! Plus, BC is the perfect time to meet people and make friends (that’s what I did!) as you already have a topic to talk about/in common: books! Even if you’re going alone, it should be fun!


  • Bring/make/get allllllll the maps and schedules of the BookCon booths and of NY in general (specifically around the Javits Centre where BC is at): sereiously, mark up EVERYWHERE you might want to go and when they are and what the most important ones are and when you should be there etc and also figure out, if you’re going by subway, how far the subway station is from Javits, how long it will take you to walk there (add in at least 5 or 10 mins to that as you’ll be carrying a LOT of stuff after the BC day), the various times that the subway will be there etc maps and schedules are the best thing ever esp as sometimes, your phone might die or google maps might not work bc of sucky internet/signal.
  • Goodreads group: there is a Book Con Goodreads group that you can be added to that is really awesome for getting advice about everything to do with BC (like when author tickets drop, schedules, if a hotel provides shuttle service to BookCon etc)
  • Book Con twitter DM groups
    • last year, one of the best things that happened was the some friends and I all made/became a part of a DM chat for BookCon so that we could hang out together and give each other advice and tips. Some of the people were people I didn’t know but now consider friends and we talk about things other than BC. So, my suggestion is to make a group chat for you and some friends over twitter DMs who are planning on going to Book Con!
  • Twitter push notifications
    • Follow allllll the publishers going there as well as any authors and influencers who are going who you ‘have’ to see! This way, you get pretty much immediate notice whenever an ARC or swag giveaway drops, or if an influencer or author is at a specific booth etc. Having push notifications was actually the reason why I won the big book box Penguin Teen was doing giveaways for last BC! Plus, I know Sasha Alsberg last year was using Twitter to show hints for which booth she was at giving away surprise ARCs of Zenith.

Other Tips

  • spreadsheet
    • write down anything that you might think is interesting; even if there are 50 things at the exact same time
    • check out who is going and what their books are and what might interest you
    • check out other people’s schedules if you can so you can see if there’s anything that you missed (because you will for sure miss something)
  • clean out your phone pictures and video beforehand
    • you will be taking so many pictures and videos while you hang out with friends and wait in lines, or even after BookCon if you go to a party or chill with friends afterwards and you do not want to be in the midst of capturing all that fun just for your phone to say you don’t have enough memory/storage left.
  • check the weather!!!!
    • seriously, NY can be kind of ridiculous when it comes to the weather where it might be cold sometimes, or rainy or very hot so make sure you check the weather so you know what to bring while you wait to get into BookCon, and also for when you leave BookCon
  • don’t get your books personalized unless you love the author to death
    • seriously, there are some books – regardless of how much you might be anticipating them – that might not be amazing or up to standard and having a book personalized is a big thing. So, unless the book is from your favorite author ever, just get it signed.

And that’s all I can think of for advice, tips and questions! If you have any questions for me (to add), feel free to comment below or Tweet me! Now, have you guys gone to Book Con before and/or do you plan on going this year? Let me know in the comments below! Thanks, have a great day/night and tata for now!


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