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Friday, September 29, 2017

What I Learned at BookExpo 2017

Personally, I have been to Book Expo so many times but I believe I learned the most at this year's convention, so I thought I'd share it with all of you. 

Get Organized!

In my opinion, this is the first thing you need to do when you are planning to attend a convention. Do a lot of research, go to the convention website, check the social media accounts of exhibitors, and create a schedule based on the things that you want to see and do. Overcrowd your schedule, and include things, even if you're not sure you'll make it, and even if it overlaps with something else. You never know how long each event will take so you might have time to do more than you originally anticipated!

It's also very important that you have the booth numbers of the exhibitors you want to see. I can't tell you guys how many times I forgot where a certain booth was and needed to refer to my list. Conventions are often in huge locations to accommodate all of the attendees and the exhibitors, so be prepared!

Twitter Notifications!

Very often throughout conventions, exhibitors tweet out passwords for prizes, giveaways or just general useful information about events that you may not have known about when you were originally making your schedule, so it's always a good idea to set up your phone to get Twitter notifications for everything your favorite booths are talking about during the convention.

Plan to Be There All Day!

At the end of every convention I've been to—without fail—someone says "I didn't realize this would take all day!" And think about it... you spent all that time making plans, and you spent all that money on tickets to the event, for the hotel, and for transportation, and food, and so on. You should make the most of it!

Besides, a lot of people don't realize that even when they make a schedule for themselves—there is always tons of stuff to do all day long. Aside from what you see ahead of time, conventions often have many surprises, and there will definitely be things you will miss out on if you leave early!

The only exception to this might be the very last day because exhibitors often don't have as much going on, and are generally slowly packing their things. However, if you're feeling very dedicated, they do normally give away the display copies, so if there was an ARC you were really dying for that they weren't giving away during the convention, you might have one shot at it—but be prepared to line up early and be first in line for it. Also, lots of merchandise and books are sold at discounted rates on the last day to get rid of the stock.

All in all, make sure you stay hydrated and give yourself some downtime when you need it, but try to stay until the end! You don't want to leave early, only to regret it after hearing from other people about the awesome stuff they got or what fun thing they did after you left.

Proper Attire! 

No matter what kind of convention you're attending, you're going to want to wear comfortable, breathable clothing. Convention halls are hot, there are not many convenient places to sit, and you'll spend most of your day standing in some kind of line... or sitting on the floor after you can't stand anymore.

Though some conventions like BEA and ALA call for more professional looking attire, I suggest wearing something that would be classified as business casual, and for the love of god—don't make the same mistake I once did, and stay away from high heels!

Unless it's for a specific costume event! In that case, capes are awesome.

Have Cash!

While a lot of booths will have card machines for your purchases, many will not. Most importantly, many places where you'll be wanting to buy food will only accept cash. Also, they sometimes separate the lines between credit card purchases and cash, and the cash lines are always faster. Therefore, make sure that you have some cash on hand for all of your purchases.

Bring Portable Chargers!

I promise you—portable chargers at a convention will save your life. While there will often be places for you to be able to charge your phone, do you really want to be stuck at a charging station in some random corner, away from everything, when you could be walking around the sales floor? I doubt it. And when I say to bring portable chargers, I don't mean the little ones that are good for one charge. I mean the ones that can charge your phone multiple times. You'll be taking photos, checking your schedule, texting and calling your friends, and posting on your social media throughout the entire convention, so unsurprisingly... that's very draining to your phone battery!

...Except That, Pack Light!

You will receive and/or buy a lot of stuff at book conventions. From finished copies to merchandise, galleys, and ARCs. The last thing you want is to be carrying more than you need.

Here are the only things you need with you:

  • Your Tickets/Badges
  • ID (to prove that your tickets/badges belong to you)
  • Cash
  • 1 Water Bottle (more than this, and you'll hate yourself. If you feel thirsty, there are usually plenty of places to buy water in the convention. Even if they're overpriced, it's better than lugging extra bottles around all day and giving yourself herniated discs! The books you'll be carrying are heavy enough—trust me. Plus if you're lucky, water bottles are sometimes even given away in the booths randomly.
  • Portable Charger + Chord
  • Sanitizer (remember, you'll be surrounded by a mob of people at all times and conventions aren't the cleanest places)
  • Painkillers
  • Other Hygiene or Feminine Products
  • Gum/Mints
  • Lip Balm (as pointed out by a Becky @ Stories and Sweeties below, convention halls are very dry)
  • Business Cards (Also added by Becky, all conventions are great networking opportunities, so if you're a blogger, reviewer, librarian, designer, or any other occupation that is related to the convention you're going to, it's a good idea to have these)
  • Bandaids!!!! (self-explanatory)
  • A Large Bag (to hold all of this in, plus to fit some of the things you buy/receive at the convention)

Decide on Meeting Locations Ahead of Time!

Trying to meet up with your friends or family is a mess at conventions. There are so many people, you have so much on your schedule, and it's really hard to think straight in all of that chaos.

It is much easier if you designate a place to meet up with them ahead of time—preferably one that is far away from the main crowd of people.

Aaaaaaand there you have it! I hope this post was helpful to you guys, I'd be happy to answer any questions you have!

Have you ever been to a book convention? Which one(s)? What was your favorite memory? If you haven't ever been, which convention would you like to go to and why? Let me know!

FTC Disclaimer: No one at Brittany's Book Rambles has been compensated in any way for this post.


  1. Ah, I miss conventions. It's been way too long since I've been to one! This is an excellent post, great advice and the packing list is awesome, though I do need to add one thing---chapstick/lip balm. I don't know why the air in convention halls always seems so dry! LOL I always write out a cheat-card with all the important booth numbers and signing times on a card small enough to fit into my badge holder (one for each day, or they wouldn't all fit lol). I also usually throw a few business cards into my badge holder. My poor badge holder is always multi-duty xD

    I hope you and I will be at the same convention someday so we can hang out! ;D

    1. Thank you so much! And omg yes, chapstick/lip balm is very important! I usually put my schedule and booth numbers onto my phone to minimize what I have with me. Plus my phone basically never leaves my hand during conventions. I can't believe I forgot about business cards! I'll add that in now!

      That would be so much fun! I hope we can do that someday ^_^

  2. I love this! I have only been to SDCC but have always wanted to go to a book convention. I will save this post for reference (:

  3. Wow! This is really useful. Thanks for sharing all these tips.

  4. I have only been to one very small book convention, and it wasn't something that I needed to prepare too much in advance for. The twitter notifications idea is a good one! I always see the tweets in my timeline and wonder how people have time to scroll through Twitter during an event. Lots of great tips here! ;)

  5. Wonderful post! I am hoping to go to NYCC next year, so these tips will come in handy. I will be linking your post on my Sunday wrap-up. :)

    1. Thank you! I hope this helps you out with NYCC! Thank you for sharing my post ^_^

  6. This is all great advice! I especially agree with packing light---you need to save up your energy for lugging books!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    1. Thank you! And it's so true about needing to conserve your energy ^_^

  7. Oooh this is so fun! I cannot even believe that you wore heels once! Like how are you even still with us? I was barefoot at times, and that is with flip flops so yeah, wow. I DO drag a lot of water bottles though. Because I am poor. I can buy a whole case for the price of one there. I can't do it. I can't. I want to save my money for ALL the coffee. And then you know, drinks when it's over ;) PLUS, it encourages you to keep drinking water to lighten the load! Painkillers are a very important one for sure!

    1. You know, I ask myself all the time how I survived that convention lol. But I looked fabulous haha. I totally hear you about the water but I have back problems so I have to be extra careful with what I carry. And painkillers are a godsend especially after the second day of a convention haha.

  8. I've yet to go to a book convention, but I will definitely have to keep all of these tips in mind if I ever go to one. That portable phone charger tip sounds especially invaluable. I honestly didn't even know there was such a thing.

    1. Portable phone chargers have saved my butt more than once! I highly recommend getting one, even for every day things. You never know when you'll need it, and most of them are pretty small and easily put in a purse ^_^

  9. Sadly, I've never been to a book convention. There not many being organized where I live, Portugal. But my dream is going to one someday (it will have to be out of my country, so it will be expensive), so I'll definitely keep in mind all of your tips. I confess that I'd never have thought of the sanitizer. Thank you for all the great advice.

    Happy readings! ;)
    Tânia @MyLovelySecret

    Halloween Book Bingo

    1. I hope you do! Book conventions are a lot of fun, and are expensive in general, so I imagine having to travel from your country would make it a hefty sum. Either way, I hope you are able to someday!

      Sanitizer will be your best friend after someone sneezed right before shaking your hand, trust me *shudders*

  10. I haven't been to any bookconventions because they don't really do that here in Belgium. We do have this yearly bookfair where I live where sometimes international authors come sign. So I have met Cassandra Clare, Holly Black (they were together on tour) a few years ago and the year before that Lauren Kate. So much fun!

    1. Bookfairs are great! I wish we had more here... but you know New York City, so full of people, so little free space haha. That's awesome you got to meet so many great authors ^_^

  11. Great suggestions! I'm going to a professional convention for English teachers in November, so I am going to bookmark this post for myself as I get ready.

    1. o0o that sounds cool! I hope these tips are helpful to you. I hope you have fun at the convention!

  12. Such an awesome post sweetie :D Thank you for sharing all of these tips. <3 I wish I could get to go to a bunch of conventions too. Aw. Maybe one day :D

    1. Thank you! And yes, maybe one day you'll be able to! You never know ~.^