BookCon Newbie Guide

Hi there Booknerds!

BookCon season is upon us! Badges are in the mail! Badges are in hands! And the official I-Really-Can’t Waiting Game has begun! If you’re on the BookCon App (and I highly recommend that you are) then you’ve probably seen all sort of questions about how things work at BookCon and questions about big important things-like autographing lines.

Social Cards

Some cons include social cards with your badges. Green for “I’m social! Please feel free to talk to me!” Yellow for “I’m a little shy. Please don’t talk to me unless I’ve instigated the conversation.” Red for “Do not talk to me.” This helps people who don’t do well with crowds (like myself). BookCon does not include these types of badges but I’ve made up a few that you can keep with you to put with your badges in case you need them.

I recommend getting the Scotch brand photo lamination packets and then punching a hole at the top so that you can swap between these. But you can also tape them over your badges-they should fit. Put them on the front so that you don’t cover up the QR scan for your badge.


  • RED: Please don’t talk to this person. They do not want to socialize or find it very difficult.
  • YELLOW: If you don’t know this person-they don’t want to talk OR they are okay with talking to you but they need to start up the conversation.
  • GREEN: All social all the time!

What to Pack

#1 Umbrella

You think I’m kidding. It has rained every year I’ve been at BookCon. Make sure to pack an umbrella so that all of your BRAND NEW BOOKS don’t get soaked on your way back to the hotel/train/car.

#2 Clothing

BookCon is all about books! But it’s also about waiting in lines and walking around a lot. Forget the five or so blocks from Penn Station to the Javitz Center-I’m talking about the convention itself. So those gladiator sandals are adorable but they’re probably not very supportive. PACK SNEAKERS and light clothing. The crowd in the Javitz Center (and the fact it’s made of glass) makes it very hot inside. If you’re sensitive to temperature pack a hoodie, but I’m willing to bet it will stay tied around your waste for both days.

#3 Backpack

Not a wheeling suitcase, not a tote bag, not a purse. Backpack. Or a messenger bag with zippers and clasps. You are going to be walking around with a lot of merchandise and a lot of money. The backpack allows you to keep it secure and to carry it a lot easier than the millions of adver-totes that you will pick up at the con.

#4 Waterbottle

I recommend the Brita filter water bottle because filtered water is wonderful, also if you aren’t from NYC or the surrounding area your body won’t be used to how the water is filtered and it will upset you. You paid a lot of money to attend the con-don’t spend it in the bathroom.

#5 An Extra Empty Suitcase

Are you flying out? Do you have a cross state commute home? My first year at BookCon I brought home almost 30 books. I only live a few hours outside of the city so this wasn’t a problem-but last year BookCon was out in Chicago and I’m so thankful that I brought the extra case because it made traveling back home that much easier.

#6 Any & All Medications + ICE Card

If you need to take medications at certain times of the day, or need to watch foods that you eat, or need to monitor your blood sugar, make sure that your traveling companions know when and what you need and how to tell if you need it. ย If you are traveling alone, prepare an ICE Card. ICE stands for In Case of Emergency. You should keep this in your wallet in case you aren’t able to voice directions for your care. Include your name, emergency contacts, allergies, and any medications that you are on and need to take.

#7 A Lanyard

You must wear your badges all day, everyday, at the BookCon. If you didn’t purchase the official BookCon lanyard this year have no worries, you can find one at the dollar store, Target, Walmart, really anywhere that sells miscellaneous things. And if you’re crafty, you can always hit up the craft store and make your own.

Eat, Drink, and Don’t Fall Over Dead

Taken from the printed pages of the Otakon manual. Remember, books are great-but your body needs sustenance too. BookCon takes place in June. Summer is in full swing. Remember to break for lunch and dinner and keep drinking fluid throughout the day.


In years past, BookCon autographs have been a messy free for all-not unlike the cornucopia bloodbath at the beginning of the hunger games. Hardcore BookNerds wait in line from 3am onward so they can beat out others to get all of the wrist bands for autograph sessions.

BUT THIS YEAR, ReedPop is shaking things up. On May 22 at 12:00pm EST you will be able to visit The Autographing page and, using your badge ID numbers, sign up for up to 2 autographs per day.

This is for the autographs that require ticketing. Some authors will be on the show floor, signing at their publishers booth. You can find the autographing schedule at and on the app!

Download the BookCon App

Aside from being able to connect with other bookworms, you can stay up to date with changes in the schedule. The app let’s you finalize what panels you want to see and which authors you want to sign your books. And best of all you can copy it to your calendar on your phone!

Pick Your Schedule

Personally, I allow myself up to 3 panels in a single time block. Sometimes things fill up, sometimes they’re across the convention center, sometimes I’m hungry and I don’t go. Leave yourself choices but make sure to make some, so that you don’t wander around aimlessly. This helps you to get in the most of what BookCon has to offer!


By J. M. Tuckerman

J.M.Tuckerman is a neurodivergent writer with a big education. She holds an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults, an MA in Writing, and a BA in Writing Arts (specializing in Creative Writing, New Media Writing, and Publication; concentrating in New Media Production), which she somehow managed to earn despite her three very loud and large dogs. Jessica was lucky enough to intern at Quirk Books and Picador, USA while earning her masterโ€™s degrees. Her service dog, Ringo, is very proud of all that she has accomplished and hopes to be on a back cover of a published book with her very soon. An avid reader, writer, and lover of young adult and middle-grade literature, Jessicaโ€™s bookshelf is overflowing with hardbacks, paperbacks, and a million half-filled notebooks. She is a proud fur-mommy to two lab/st-bernard littermates, a retriever-mix service dog, and one orange little hobgoblin cat, all of whom have made very audible appearances on the Booked All Night podcast.

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