I made my first trek to BookCon on Saturday, May 30th, 2015. It was the day of my first signing as an author (mostly–I’d attended a local writer fair a week earlier, but that didn’t really count) and the day I got to meet a lot of awesomely supportive Month9Books authors and staff after talking to them online for so long. It was also the only day this trip that I got to hang with my fellow YA author, bestie and beta reader Melissa Giorgio, as she was busy attending BEA (lucky!) half the time I was there and working the rest.
It wasn’t my first rodeo as far as a book-only convention goes. I’ve twice gone to ALA’s conference when it was in Chicago. (Although I’m not a librarian, the show floor tickets are available to the public.) I think I was expecting it to be more like that, with ARCs flowing like water to all who pass by, but apparently that’s more of a BEA thing. There were ARCs and free books to be had, but they were much scarcer or you had to play a spin-the-wheel game to only get one per booth (although that made the whole thing kind of fun). Then again, I didn’t even arrive until early afternoon. I’d heard the morning was crazy crowded, but there was plenty of room to walk through the convention center by the time I got there.
There were events and signings going on throughout the day, and I should have gone to more, but I mistakenly (?) thought they’d be packed! The one event we did try to go to, a YA/kids fantasy panel with Maggie Stiefvater and Jackson Pearce, did fill up while we dared to leave the area for a few minutes, so we wound up having to listen from nearby and were mostly unable to see them.
There were a lot of pretty booths to look at, and I loved being a part of all of the book lovers’ energy and excitement. My signing was the last one Month9Books was doing on Saturday, and by that time (5:00, an hour before the show floor closed), a lot of people who had been there had left the building. Plus, I was a new author. A number of people came, but perhaps not as many as had come to earlier signings. I was genuinely excited to meet the new readers, who were (I think) mostly drawn in by my book’s fabulous cover design. One of my editors (whom I met for the first time) even said she met an eager reader earlier in the day who was really looking forward to my signing, which made me awestruck! I tried to be friendly to everyone who stopped by, although I know I can be awkward in social situations. (Shout-outs to Melissa and my boyfriend for sitting nearby and being my cheerleaders!)
While I signed, I met Abi Ketner & Missy Kalicki, authors of the incredibly popular Branded and Hunted, and they were super friendly and each got a copy of my book–and gave me signed copies of theirs! After the con, I met up with a few other Month9 authors and staff and enjoyed a dinner with the likes of A. Lynden Rolland, Donna Galanti, Elizabeth Holloway, Natalie Decker, Lindsay Leggett and Annie Cosby. (There were more at the dinner–including author/publisher Georgia McBride, but we sat in two separate groups and I didn’t get much of a chance to talk to the others.) It was my first time eating in a “diner” in NYC, and they served delicious food–and a lot of it. We talked about BookCon experiences (although some hadn’t attended yet, as they were signing Sunday), writing and general get-to-know-each-other stuff.
I did a number of bookish things this trip–my boyfriend’s and my 8th trip to NYC together. (He has family there we visit, although they weren’t even in town this trip, but we got to housesit for them.) We tried to keep the spending to a minimum, so we did a lot of free and cheap things. Looking at books is always free. (Buying them… Not so much, ha.) We visited The Strand, and I bought Magic Under Glass and an adorable cats-and-books tote bag. We also toured the NY Public Library and saw plenty of nifty things.
On Tuesday, June 2nd, we attended Adam Silvera’s launch party for his debut, acclaimed book, More Happy Than Not. (Lauren Oliver was the moderator, and there were a number of other authors, agents and editors milling about! I stood next to Alex London in the line to get Silvera’s autograph, although I was slow to recognize him and almost too chicken to ask him if I was right, ha.) It was the most crowded I’d ever seen a Books of Wonder event, as he has a lot of fans already (and he used to work at the store). Luckily, my boyfriend and I got there early, so we got front-row seats when the vast majority of people there had to stand! Not only did I get Silvera’s autograph (and gave him my business card–even though I felt embarrassed talking to him about my own writing), I managed to run into Oliver on her way out and asked for her to personalize the signed book of hers I’d bought there, and she kindly obliged. (I did talk to her a bit about my own writing, too.)
I also went to Japanese bookstores as I do every time I visit NY: Kinokuniya (both in Manhattan and near Mitsuwa in New Jersey) and Book Off! We also went to Nintendo World almost every day to collect Street Passes, and we saw a live taping of The Nightly Show one night, which was so fun.