My BookCon Experience!

Hello everyone! You may have noticed I did not put up a post last Friday as I usually do. This is for two pretty big reasons. One, I was sick which threw off my writing schedule completely. Two, I wanted to talk about BookCon and didn’t want to wait until next Friday!

Before the event

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This year BookCon was in Chicago, which is very close to me. I live out in the suburbs so I was able to hop onto the train and get downtown to the McCormick Place. I first found out about BookCon when ReedPop, the same organizer as C2E2, emailed me saying I might find BookCon interesting. It did work as I bought my ticket right before the mailing deadline and prepared to go. I didn’t find the website too helpful but I figured it was probably because this was the first year they would be in Chicago and might not know what their attendees needed to know. They did reuse a lot of information they had used on the C2E2 website but didn’t offer as much information for BookCon. I did figure out that BookCon was the portion of the show that was open to the public while BEA, the event in the days leading up to BookCon, was open only to industry professionals.

The app was also pretty bare until right up to the event, as is usual I think as C2E2 does the same. They also announced Hannah Hart would be at the event doing a panel as well as a meet and greet. In order to get a ticket to her meet and greet they had people put their names into a contest of sorts to win a ticket. Since she was the only one I really wanted to see I didn’t bother to worry about getting to the event early in the day to get wristbands for other author signings. The Booksplosion Booktube group was also there (polandbananasbooks, jessethereader, and katytastic) doing a panel so I planned to try and get into that one after Hannah’s meet and greet. Author Ransom Riggs (Miss Peregrine’s series author) was also doing a reading and signing but I knew I wouldn’t get there in time as I was going to take a late morning train.

The week of the event I did get sick, as I mentioned earlier, so I was actually worried I wouldn’t feel well enough to go to Chicago for BookCon. Luckily I got better pretty quickly and was able to go. On the way out the door I nearly forgot my badge (whoops) and once I got on the train I scrolled through the comments in the BookCon app. So far the comments did not seem good.

Nearly everyone was complaining about lack of organization at the show opening and autograph wristbands. Apparently they closed the line to get to the wristbands area, so everyone who was already in the room was able to go from table to table to get multiple wristbands while everyone else was stuck outside and couldn’t get wristbands to popular authors. At the same time people were trying to line up to get into the show floor and not even the show employees knew if they were in the right line. I later found out that the front of the line was chaos when they did allow people to start walking in as everyone was in such a hurry to get onto the floor. I ended up closing the app and focusing on getting to the event to judge how it was when I arrived.

At the event

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My first view of the showfloor!

I finally got to the west building of the McCormick Place and found the show floor.  Walking around I realized that the exhibitors were giving out a lot a free books and selling books at pretty good discounts (at least some of them). There were also authors signing their books and giving them away for free as well as authors selling their books. There was also a little stage on the show floor where you could watch interviews. PBS also had a little set up where they were recording interviews with authors as well.

I left the showfloor after a few hours of book grabbing to go to the Special Events Hall early to get in for the Hannah Hart panel. I got in during the Tig Notaro panel, a comedian. It was very entertaining and interesting and I wished I had been able to get to the booth where Tig Notaro was going to be signing and giving out books ahead of the release date but Hannah was up next.

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Tig Notaro on stage

Afterwards Hannah came onstage. It was very exciting as Hannah Hart has been a Youtuber I’ve followed for quite some time. She spoke about her upcoming book and even showed us the final book cover! (No pictures of the cover per the request of Hannah herself.) Hannah explained the book would be about her life, including life before Youtube as she was growing up. Her mother suffered from a severe mental illness, Hannah was struggling to accept herself as gay while being a strict Christian, and her own struggles with depression. It sounds like it will be a good one and I’m excited to get it when it’s released.

After her panel I went up to the meet and greet location and waited to meet Hannah. When I saw her I revealed she was actually the first person I subscribed to on Youtube. She laughed and said “me too!” which was great. I did actually discover Youtube as a result of her My Drunk Kitchen videos. I hadn’t realized Youtube was a place where people made videos and did it more than once. Now I’m subscribed to a ton of Youtubers and keep up with way too many. I was very happy to meet Hannah and she was such a lovely and warm person.

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My picture with Hannah Hart! It was printed out at the event for us and we were able to share it immediately on social media. Best photo op ever!!!

And lastly I ran over to the almost full Booktube panel. I managed to get in right as the room filled and was able to see the panel of Christine, Kat, and Jesse. It was pretty funny, they didn’t actually talk much and instead answered a lot of questions from the audience. At the end they did do a meet and greet (which was a surprise to everyone as this was not promoted beforehand) but I didn’t get to stay as I needed to make my train and pick up some food beforehand. I do wish I had gotten to stay but oh well.

Books I got!

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First up I got Username: Evie by Joe Sugg. This is actually the only book I bought at BookCon. I did pay a discounted price of $5 for the book so I’m excited to read it. This is Youtuber Joe Sugg’s graphic novel.

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Next up is Four Friends by Robyn Carr. This is a book that has already been released and was signed by the author. I’m not sure how I’ll feel about this one but I think it’s not going to be one I’ll enjoy.

The next three books were actually the first three books I picked up. Sea Change by Frank Viva was the most fun to get. To get the book you had to do a dare. I had to walk the length of the aisle while balancing the book on top of my head. The woman at the booth giving out the dares seemed to genuinely love the book so I’m excited to read it. There’s also a little blurb from Lemony Snicket on the back with makes me extra excited. The next book is The Shannara Chronicles: The Elfstones of Shannara by Terry Brooks. This is the first book of the series and is apparently a TV series on MTV now as well. This seems interesting and I’m looking forward to reading this one. The next book is actually an advance copy of The Nix by Nathan Hill. This book will actually be published in August 2016. I’ll definitely try the book although I’m not sure how I’ll feel about it yet.

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The next group is the samplers I got at the event, so not full books but parts of books (usually the beginning I believe) so you can get a sense of the book and find out if it’s something you’d be interested in buying. Warren the 13th written by Tania Del Rio and illustrated by Will Staehle. It does say it’s for ages 8-12 so while I might not pick up the full book I’ll still read this to check it out. Serafina and the Twisted Staff by Robert Beatty will be out on July 12, 2016 but I did get this sampler. It is a sequel, so I will probably need to read the first one to fully understand the story but I’m excited to check out the sampler.

I also picked up an Iron Man sampler, The Guantlet by Eoin Colfer. This will be available on October 25, 2016. Wayfarer by Alexandra Bracken will be on sale on January 3, 2017. This is also a sequel as well. The Allen Eskens Sampler by Allen Eskens which has portions of three novels by the author. These seem to be mystery fiction which I don’t usually try but I’d be interested in reading this and trying something new.

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I also got a sampler of Rise of the Red Harbinger by Khalid Uddin. The author did sign the sampler and this is actually the first chapter of a sequel. I’m not sure if I’ll check out the first book yet but I’ll read the sampler first to find out.

I also got an advance copy of the book Loving and Leaving Washington: Reflections on Public Service by John Yochelson. I spoke to the author for a bit who did sign the book. This one will be available in August 2016.

The other advance copies I received in the day were A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess on sale September 20, 2016, The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden, on sale January 17, 2017, We are Unprepared by Meg Little Reilly, on sale August 30, 2016, and Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow, on sale August, 2016. I’m really looking forward to reading these actually so I’m glad I picked these up.

So that was my BookCon experience. I’m glad I was able to go. I didn’t think it was as entertaining as C2E2, probably because C2E2 has people in cosplay and there’s always something catching your eye. By comparison BookCon was a lot smaller and more bare. There were also quite a few booths with very little or nothing at all decorating the area.

It was a fun time though and I’m very glad I had the opportunity to see Hannah Hart and meet her. While I probably won’t go to New York City next year for BookCon 2017 I would go again if it was in Chicago again next year. Let me know if you were able to go to BookCon either this year or previously or what your most anticipated books are for this year if you’d like.

Thanks for reading!

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