Hey, everybody! Sorry I have been a little MIA lately. I know I don’t regularly post on here as it is other than book reviews (which I now have about 3 to catch up on?), but this past May was a little crazy with 2 shows opening at the beginning and end of it and then straight into BookCon. Which is what I am going to talk about today!
If you feel at all jealous of my going, I am very sorry and hope that you do get to go someday. It can be both a great and aggravating experience, because while you get to meet favorite authors and get cool swag and listen to some awesome panels, you don’t always get exactly what you want, and while most people there are extremely nice and fun to talk to while waiting in line, some people can be a bit testy. Last year I came home with nearly every ARC I coveted that year, but this year was harder to do so. Part of this was because the publishers were purposefully giving out less at BookCon than they did at BookExpo/BEA, which is for professionals (booksellers and librarians). ARCs like The Wicked King, Muse of Nightmares, A Curse So Dark and Lonely, The Priory of the Orange Tree – I don’t think any of those were available at BookCon. And I get it – the publishers and authors are tired of seeing people coming in, getting these ARCs, and then reselling them on ebay or something. It’s illegal, it’s not right, and it’s harmful to the industry as a whole. And it sucks because I understand why they do it, but it would have been nice to get one of those ARCs I so coveted. (Well, actually, there was one that I had lumped into the great sum of “ARCs to be seen at BEA only” but I ended up getting when Simon & Schuster started putting out their extra ARCs at the close of Sunday and oh my god I was so happy. More on that later).
Anyway, as I was saying, BookCon.
Saturday started off with lots of nerves and anxiety because the first thing my friend and I wanted to do was the Alexandra Bracken signing at 10:30 at the Disney booth. I was so nervous that we wouldn’t get there in time and that we wouldn’t get to meet her at all (because the next day we had something planned at the exact same time as her 1:30 signing). But I knew the map, I led the charge, and we ended up being like 5th and 6th in line. I was a little shook. Not only did I get to meet Alexandra Bracken and talk to her (totally gushed about her dog), but I didn’t have to worry about being late to the panel I wanted to go to at 11:30 (lol but it was a real fear). In fact, I had enough time to get in line for another ARC signing I had initially been interested in, for Caitlin Seal’s Twice Dead which comes out in September. It was literally right around the corner from the Disney booth so talk about a win.
(Seriously, I am over the moon about meeting her).
So, like I said, the next thing on my list was the panel, Time Traveling Fantasies, which had Naomi Novik, Deborah Harkness, and V. E. Schwab on it.
It was definitely a fun and interesting panel, and although I haven’t read any of Deborah’s books I own all three of her All Soul’s Trilogy and after hearing her speak I definitely want to read them soon. And I was really impressed by the audience questions – all I could think to ask was what other favorite time traveling books they loved and would recommend, but of course was too nervous to actually ask that and oh man compared to those other questions I am so glad I didn’t.
After that panel I went back to the floor, played Plinko at LitJoy Crate and got a cute Arthur Weasley bookmark.
And they had the cutest line signs ever.
Then I got in line for the Seafire ARC signing by Natalie Parker at the Penguin Booth. I was only slightly intrigued by the book initially, but then the first review I read happened to be a 3 star review that did nothing but praise the book, and I think the only reason the reader gave it 3 stars was because they don’t like pirate stories in general so I was like “well gee if the 3 star review is all positive, then I gotta read this book”. And Natalie was extremely nice, very sweet, I totally made her laugh with a corny joke “I love anything that takes place on the sea, except me because I get seasick,” and I came away with the ARC, a cute decal, and a super cute bandana that says “Sisterhood is Survival.” Gotta hang that in my room somewhere.
After that I wandered a bit then waited in line for the Swoon Reads giveaway and by the time I got to the front all that was left were ARCs of To Be Honest which, to be honest (lol), I’m not all that interested in. I might try it, or I might give it to a coworker who I think might like it.
At some point I waled by the Hachette booth and saw Laini Taylor there. I thought about saying hi, but other people kept talking to her first, and I thought that since I actually haven’t read any of her books yet (I so want to though) that I wouldn’t be rude and take time away from her actual fans. I did get a cute picture of her mid-laugh though.
After that I made my way over to the signing line for Naomi Novik at 2:30. I got there 15 minutes early and the line was already super long. And when I got up there with the group of people I was talking to in line, we found out that they ran out of Spinning Silver ARCs and were absolutely devastated. But then the amazing person in line behind me asked the Strand worker to talk to the publisher and she did and they got us more and it was an absolute joy. The line was taking a while, though, and I realized I wasn’t going to make the Alexandra Bracken and Amandla Sternberg Darkest Minds panel but honestly wasn’t all that bothered by it. (My friend went and plus it was livestreamed so…I also just don’t think I’m big on panels?). Anyway, the line went so long they ended up having to move us to an extra table all the way at the end of the autographing area. But when I got up to her I told her how much I appreciated that she was spending quality time with everyone because seriously how often do you get to meet your favorite author/your fans and she was like “Yes, that! It’s so much better when it’s personal and not through a computer screen or something like that!” And I told her I went to the panel and how awesome it was and she was all “Oh yeah, the Time Traveling Fantasies panel. What a strange name. I didn’t feel like I belonged there because I don’t write time travel. In fact Deborah was kind of the only one who really did. They should have called it something else.” And I just went “Like Out of Time Fantasy?” and she said “Yes, something like that! You should’ve been naming the panels!” Anyway, it was just such a pleasure to talk to her, she was so sweet and nice and personalized all my books and I can honestly say meeting her was definitely one of the major highlights of my weekend.
Also, this is probably one of the best pictures I’ve had taken of me. That lighting is perfect and the angle is just right. And to have it with Naomi? Score!
Since I missed the panel I then wandered the floor for a while, and ended up waiting in the extra long line for OwlCrate. I got the funniest pin ever (I Survived the OwlCrate Line), and when I spun I of course landed on the one book I already own – The Upside of Unrequited – so I gave it to my friend who wanted to try Becky Albertalli’s books anyway. I also gave her the tote because my sub-goal for the BookCon was to get as few tote bags as possible (I got way too many last year and I don’t use tote bags at all. Maybe once in a while. I think I used one to haul my snow boots/sneakers around with me in the winter.)
After that my final thing was the Morgan Matson signing. We hit another snag when they told us that they ran out of copies of Save the Date – which, in way the ticket had been worded, we thought was the only book for sale there, and all of the people who hadn’t brought a book frantically ran to the Strand booth to buy one. When I got up there, it turned out they had brought more copies, plus they had copies of her other books, but I watched one girl not buy anything even though the ticket had said purchase required and when I asked the Strand woman just shook her head no so I was very happy that I didn’t have to spend money on a hardcover book (I have all of Morgan’s books in paperback and I would really love to keep it that way. If not for aesthetic, then for $$). Anyway she was super sweet and nice as well, and I can’t for the life of me remember what I said to her.
And since that was close to the end of the day, I wandered the floor a bit more, but everything was starting to close down, and so I met up with my friend and we left. Outside we sat down on the steps to look up a place for my friend to get a bite to eat (I had packed my lunch, she hadn’t and forgot to eat all day) and while we were sitting there we saw Laini Taylor again and waved hi and she looked behind her like she thought we were waving at someone else like how cute is that? I really need to read her books so I have a legit reason to meet her someday.
Anyway, that’s it for day one of BookCon. And just as I was absolutely tired that night, I am tuckered now and need to go to sleep so I can get up for my 7am shift at work (ugh).
Day Two/Sunday recap will be posted tomorrow.