Jun 9, 2017

Jessica's BookCon 2017 Recap!

Image Credit: Santiago Rolon

Hi guys! Today on the blog, I'm doing a recap post for my favorite weekend of the entire year -- complete with pictures, opinions, suggestions, and more! It was such a great weekend meeting so many amazing authors and friends, and I am so glad I got the chance to see everybody. Also, I'd like to shout out my amazing boyfriend for taking the beautiful picture above! He took some beautiful, professional-grade shots of my BookCon haul such as the one you see above and also some more that will be dropping on our Instagram in the next few weeks!! He's so talented, I swear, and I'm so grateful that he helped me out, since I basically have whatever the opposite of a photographer's eye is.

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Let's start with what I liked about the weekend. As always, I was super excited to be in an entire convention center filled with book people -- because I truly believe that we are the best people. It was so nice to see everyone reading books while waiting on lines instead of playing on their phones, and some people were even talking to each other about their favorite authors and books. Waiting on lines was a lot less aggressive than in previous years, and it seemed like everyone wanted to help one another more than anything else. (Which is the exact opposite of what happens at Comic Con.) Within our first few minutes of arriving on the first day, we met a handful of eager newbies who wanted to learn how everything worked, and we ended up making new friends and possibly even being asked to be panelists at a future Nerd Camp later this year! (How awesome is that?)

We also got tons of great books (which I show later on in this post!), and it overall seemed like things were a lot more organized this year than they were in previous years. It seems like every major publisher picked up the ticketing system for in-booth giveaways and signings, which was super helpful so people didn't waste time waiting on lines only to get to the front and be told that the event was over. (That seriously sucked in the past, and it happened to a lot of people.) As I told Emily several times, I felt a LOT less stressed this year than I did in past years. We made our schedules in advance, got in line for events early, and didn't get turned away from many things due to our careful planning. (Except the JLA signing. That part really sucked, but you win some, you lose some.) Overall, I left the weekend feeling satisfied that I saw a majority of the authors I came to see, I managed to get copies of the handful of books that I was really eager about (in addition to some awesome bonuses!), I met some of our awesome blogger friends, and had an all-around good time. We chose to skip any panels this year, which ended up being an excellent decision on our part. There just wasn't anybody that we were crazy about seeing, and it freed up so much of our time for us to be able to go to in-booth signings and giveaways and just enjoy the show floor more, which is something we hadn't done in past years because we spent so much time waiting on line for panels and sitting through them.

I also really, really liked how BEA and BookCon were separate this year, and that BookCon got the entire show floor. There was so much more room and things were much less chaotic, and for the first time since BookCon's birth, I wasn't dying of 100-degree heat on the show floor the entire time, because I wasn't crammed shoulder-to-shoulder with other people for the entire duration of the event! (Well, except in the Penguin booth. But that's another story.)

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We also met with her awesome blogger friends Jaclyn and Angel and played around in the photo booth!

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However, as amazing as the weekend was, I definitely think there were some things that could've been improved. I definitely believe that the autographing system's "reserving your spot in advance" policy was genius, because Emily and I didn't have to wait for hours to get into a signing when we already knew that our spot was reserved and that we definitely would be seeing the author. We could show up to a signing 10 minutes beforehand and everything was a-okay! But what I didn't like about the ticketing system was the purchasing of books scenario, because it was very under-the-table and confusing. For example, for the Jenny Han signing, my ticket did not say a book purchase was required. It said it on my Colleen Hoover ticket, so I knew what it was supposed to say if I needed a purchase. I even DMed the BookCon staff to inquire about it, and they said that a purchase wasn't required, but then when I showed up on the day of, it said that it was. Thank God I had the money on me to buy the book ($20 -- *cue eye roll*), because if I hadn't, I would've been out of luck. That part really bothered me.

The only other thing that I wasn't crazy about was Penguin's booth. Don't get me wrong, I loved all of the signings and giveaways and events going on there, and we spent a majority of our time there during both days. But I definitely think that everything was too crammed together, and too much was going on at one time. The lines became angry crowds, all shoving and pushing, and at times it seemed like the staff had no idea what was going on. 

The show floor opened at 10am on Sunday, and the E. Lockhart signing was at 11am. So right when the show floor opened, I went to the Penguin booth and asked where the line started. Three separate staff members told me that the line wouldn't begin forming until 10:30, so I had to come back then. So I said okay and waited by a pillar near the booth, which is what they had people do on Saturday before a line formed. At 10:30am, a few other readers and I went back to the booth and asked them where to start the line. And guess what happened? It turned out that other staff members had been forming a line for E. Lockhart on the other side of the booth since 10am. If the line had formed at 10:30 like I had been told, I would've been the first person on line. But I ended up being 67th in line. I was lucky enough to still make it to the signing and get a copy, but there were several other people who had waited by the pillar with me that ended up not making the cut for the line cap, after waiting for half an hour for a line to form while other staff members were already forming one. It was really frustrating because it felt like a lot of the Penguin staff wasn't on the same page with things, and I know that things were definitely chaotic, but it seemed like the sort of thing -- how they were going to form lines for signings in advance -- that they should've discussed before the big day came. And apparently this happened with the Wonder Woman signing for several other blogger friends of mine as well. So yeah, there's a long-winded story about the part of BookCon I was kind of upset about. 

But back to the positive things. I also met some sweet and amazing authors! Jenny Han, Colleen Hoover, Adam Silvera, Morgan Matson, and E. Lockhart were all super sweet. Adam was especially talkative and took time to really converse with all of his readers, which I really enjoyed! I will be cherishing my signed copies of their books forever. *heart eyes*

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And lastly, as I'm sure you all wanted to know, I walked away with some pretty awesome books. I'm really excited to read all of these! There was even a super sweet girl named Dominique that I just have to rave about for a second. We were on line for an ARC drop, and she overheard me telling another girl that I was bummed because I missed out on Zenith due to a scheduling conflict. She then turned around and gave me her extra copy of the book, just like that! I couldn't believe it and I was actually starting to cry. It was totally selfless and so nice and it perfectly captured the spirit of BookCon and I just couldn't believe it. I am so, so thankful for her generosity and I couldn't stop telling her so. She didn't even know my name or anything until after she gave it to me! I didn't catch her social media handles but she'll be attending Emerson College in the fall if anybody happens to run into her and tell her that Jessica from The Book Bratz is eternally grateful for her kindness!!! <3333

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So, that's my recap post for BookCon 2017! What were your takes on the event? What did you like and what did you think could be improved? What were your favorite parts of the weekend? What authors and bloggers did you meet? Comment down below and let me know alllllll the deets! :-)

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