What I Should Have Done – BookExpo/BookCon

Today I’m continuing my post series by talking about tips for next year! Make sure you check out Part 1 – BookExpo Experiences – and Part 2 – Book Con Experiences. That way you don’t miss out on any of the convention coverage.

Recommendations Based on My Experience

  • I would recommend many things. Drink more water. I know that this may seem counter intuitive, but I felt almost dizzy by the end, and these four days (including BookCon) made me feel like a desert. In the worst way. There is time to drink some, and even drinking something like Gatorade or something ‘smarter’ is a good idea. You are going to be running around and doing tons of carrying, so you need water!
  • In the same vein, bring more filling snacks. If you can, bring something like nuts, protein bars, less sugar (that only gets you so far and it’s a quick fix). You want something that will keep you full, something not messy which you can eat in lines, and something that could replace a meal. I didn’t eat a sit down meal (except in lines) for the two days.
  • Be realistic about what you want to do. This means plan in time to drop off books in your suitcase. Also don’t go wild and schedule things every day after BookExpo – like I did. You’ll need rest and recharge time. Don’t discount it. I went straight for about four days and by the end of day four I felt so wrung out – almost having an emotional break down. You need to rest and be able to put your feet up.
  • Do make a list of things you want to see. Whether this be an excel grid or a post it, or flashcards. Make a list, but be flexible. You can’t be everywhere and things could pop up. So build yourself some rest time, be patient with yourself and with others. (Julie makes a great one which she shares. If you can donate, donate back to her, because this is so mega helpful. By then I had made my list already, but it’s incredibly helpful).
  • Do a range of activities. Go to a panel, stand in an autographing line, meet up with new people. Make sure you can walk away knowing you sampled everything and were able to see the full range of activities.
  • Print business cards. You can even give these to people you meet in line, which I did. This is so useful and make sure you have them handy.
  • Have a handy smaller bag you can keep essentials, like a phone, business cards, etc. Keep this standard. This way you know where it is always. This can form a habit where you can always know where the things you need are. I found myself putting my phone away in the right place subconsciously.
  • Remember that you can always read the book still. I think we can get caught up in the hype, but it’s not worth physical or emotional peril. If you don’t get it, you can ask to borrow it from a friend, or buy the book later, or the library. I know this seems almost condescending, but once I accepted this, my stress and anxiety levels went down so much.
  • You don’t need to take every book. If there’s a title you really won’t be reading, or aren’t interested. Don’t take it for fun. There may be people who really want that title or want to read it and you’re taking that chance away from them.
  • Go with an open heart, patience, and a generous spirit. We’re all humans. Even the rude booth staffers, even the pushy attendees. We should be as kind as possible to everyone. Be extra nice to the people who are trying to help you. Make sure you don’t push other people or are mean to them. Go with an open heart. Be open to new experiences and new people. Remember to say thank you. It makes a difference.
  • Turn on tweet notifications for publishers you want to see. This is incredibly helpful because often they will post things that are surprises.
  • Reach out to other people who are going and make a mini network. This means that when publishers put their schedules out you can see it, that you don’t miss it. This was incredibly helpful to me because I was often alerted of things before I would have found out, and even before BookExpo began.


Do you want to go to BookExpo/Book Con next year?

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