Survival Tips for BookCon


Happy Summer Convention Season! Time to cram a bunch of introverted super fans into one building and hope they can make a line. This weekend is BookCon, a bookish pop culture smorgasboard hosted at the Javitz Center in New York City. Whether you’re taking a bus, train, plane, or just hoofing it a few city blocks, you’ll want to be prepared. And we’ve got the ultimate guide.

Eat, Drink, & Don’t Fall Over Dead

It’s easy to say you’ll eat later when you really want to go to an event. Rather than starve until food is possible, keep your bag full of snacks. Make the investment in a Brita filter bottle and drink water constantly. Granola bars or crackers make the best bag snacks. They fill you up quickly and take up very little space.

Sync Up Your Calendar

If you’re going with friends or family, sync up your google calendars with the events you’re hoping to attend. It’s easy to get separated and even easier to lose cell phone reception. It might feel like overkill up front, but you’ll be happy you did when it comes time to gather everyone up for a meal.

Separate Your Money

This one is important. You will buy books. You will buy food. You will pay for transportation. You will pay for snacks. And you will need the money to do it. You can absolutely do the entire BookCon event for less than $300 if you try hard and believe in yourself.

You should have separate funds for:

  • Books
  • Food (meals and snacks)
  • Transportation
  • Emergencies

And never, NEVER bring all of your money with you to the convention. Visa and MasterCard gift cards, as well as Apple Pay and Google Pay are a God send. BookCon is prepared for digital purchases, and you should be too. Keep your money secure and carry minimal amounts of cash.

AUGH! People!

Not everyone handles crowded spaces well, I feel you. BookCon still doesn’t have social badges like some other cons do, but that’s okay. Here are some that you can print out and hang on your badge to help people interact with you or simply leave you alone.

Print these side by side, then fold them over and secure with tape. If you’re feeling particularly anxious and want to be left alone, display the red/white card. If you’re in a good place, or just a social butterfly, display the green one.

Chargers Are Important

Bring a charger for your phone. Yes, the one that plugs into the wall. There are ports all over the Javitz center. You will be on your phone for everything. You’ll be checking the BookCon app, you’ll be following authors and publishers on Twitter (yes, you will because they’ll tweet out updates about the convention), you’ll be texting friends, you’ll be taking and posting photos, you’ll be keeping an eye on the time, and you’ll be checking that one event religiously to make sure it doesn’t get moved or canceled. And your poor phone’s battery will die quickly. FEAR NOT: you can just plug it into the wall.


On May 11th, 2019, BookCon would’ve sent you an email prompting you to grab your two free tickets for autographs. After that, you’ll have to make sure that you’re in line for any authors who were sold out before the con. That means having patience. Hopefully, you’re all set with your top two. If not, be prepared to get to the convention center early, wait in line, and get to the autographing area quickly to get in line for the extra tickets. Some autograph sessions require you to buy the book at the convention, all of these details are listed on BookCon’s website and schedule. And some authors will only be signing books purchased at the convention. These will be available in line during autograph sessions.

Packing for Autographs

If you’re all set to go with your scheduled autograph sessions, let’s talk about the weight of books. You’re going to come home with at least 20 or so and that doesn’t even count the ones that you’ll actually purchase. Of course, you want your copy signed. But your copy weighs a ton when it’s next to the rest of your copies.

Instead, pack a sheet of bookplates. Pick up some mailing labels, decorate them, print out a template if you want. The bookplates will take up less space, weigh less, and you can get multiple signed, which means you’ll be able to have an entire series signed.

A Note About Service Dogs

Service dogs are trained to assist someone with a disability. They have tasks to perform and are not just there for companionship (although that is an added bonus). If you see someone with a service dog, leave them be. Don’t comment that they have a dog, or point out that they “don’t look disabled,” or ask to pet the dog. Do not make kissy noises at the dog. And if the dog turns around and sniffs you, simply ignore it.

When you distract a service animal, you are putting their handler at risk, because if the dog is focused on you, they could miss something that their handler needs them to check.

If you see a service animal without a handler, follow the dog. Their handler needs help.

Be respectful. Remember: No touch. No talk. No eye contact. No kissy noises.

BookCon 2017

Maggie and I went to BookCon this weekend. It was a lot of fun and, as always, a lot of strife. ARCs were really hard to come by this year. I didn’t see any that weren’t attached to a LONG autograph line-and on the note of autograph lines-can we talk about how PRH seemed grossly under-prepared to handled all of their in booth signings?

A line for tickets that security kept moving, a line after tickets that security kept moving, no idea where to wrap it–every time I passed their booth the inside was just a gaggle of people. It’s not their first rodeo so it’s very disconcerting to see things like that.

I made it to all of my autographing sessions but not the panels. Panels were another let down this year. The booktuber panel especially was just watching them do what they do on their channels. It was boring. And they didn’t know how to talk into a microphone or moderate themselves.

The Holly Black and Leigh Bardugo panel though-hands down-best panel I have seen at BookCon period. They were just fabulous. Fun fact: Leigh jumped out of a tree to meet Holly at SDCC.

One year, I really need ReedPop to step up their game and get organized. This year was such a pinnacle of no one knew where things were supposed to be. They turned lines around-like-completely around-made the front the back and the back the front, cut them in weird sections, told us we couldn’t go one way, then that we could only go that way. It’s unacceptable beyond the first year. These are lessons they should have learned from by now.

BookCon Autographs

Some of them were sold out by 12:01pm. The autograph ticketing site opened at 12:00pm. That is insane.

In the mean time: Thought I’d let you guys know who I’m seeing and what panels I’m planning on squeezing into and maybe I’ll see some bloggers there?

June 3


  • Kerri Maniscalco Signing
  • Marissa Meyer Signing
  • Victoria Aveyard Signing


  • The Magic of World Building – Danielle Paige, Renee Adhieh, Marie Lu & Melissa de la Cruz
  • Confronting Social Issues
  • Magic with an Edge – Holly Black and Leigh Bardugo
  • Find Your Voice – Sarah Dessen, Shannon Hale, Henny Han, and Morgan Matson
  • A Spectrum of YA Authors
  • Do You Ship This?
  • BookTuber Booksplosion

June 4


  • Bill Nye Signing
  • Lemony Snicket Signing


  • Books + YouTube = BookTube
  • A Picture Tells 1,000 Words: Graphic Novels
  • Real Science, Big Adventure: Bill Nye the Science Guy’s New Series for Kids

Social Badges for BookCon

Not every bookworm is a social butterfly. As of yet, BookCon does not have social badges for their event. So I made some. Feel free to download these badges, print them, fold them in half, laminate them, and hang them from your lanyard to help make your con a little easier.

3Green: I like making friends! Come talk to me!

2Yellow: I’m a little shy. Please let me start the conversation.

1Red: Do not talk to me unless I know you.

Social Badges

Two posts in one day! Who knew that was possible?

In any case, BookCon is upon us. And I know I’ve shared a social badges post before but I really want this to catch on at BookCon. I’ve been to other cons where these are a thing and it really makes the experience that much easier ESPECIALLY if you have social anxieties. So please wear these if you need them and respect those who are wearing them this year.

Green: Talk to me! I like being social!

Yellow: I’m a little shy. Please let me start the conversation.

Red: Please do not talk to me.

Social Cards

I posted a whole newbie guide for BookCon at BookedAllNight, but I wanted to help spread this section specifically. I think there are a lot of anxious BookNerds in the world and more cons should be adopting this trend.

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!

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.

USA by Way of Train

20151208_135156.jpgMy good friend Magdalyn Ann and I are going on a super long road trip across the USA and the best part?


You heard me. Train. We’re going to be going for two weeks for this trip and most of our time is going to be on the train, ha ha, but we’ll have plenty of time for reading and writing so it’ll be just fine!

We are going to NYC, Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco (where I’m going to get to see my Aunt and Uncle), New Orleans, and then home. And it’ll be right after I graduate from Rowan!

No, really.

Right after.

graduation_caps_throw_a_hbLike, I’m going to toss my cap in the air, or move my tassle over, or whatever and then sprint to the car because I have a train to catch. Same day. I might just wear my gown on the train. Wouldn’t that be a site?

I’m leaving from a local station to head up to NYC and then over to Chicago! For BookCon! Which really prompted this whole trip.

A year or so ago Maggie and I read an article about a trip from NYC to San Francisco and doing it for about $250 using the Amtrak train passes. But when we looked into the passes we realized we had to buy 8 of them.

So I said, “If we have to get 8 of them–let’s use 8 of them.” Which is why we’re traveling the perimeter of the United States.

I’m so excited for BookCon, to meet author and other readers, but I’m also really excited to spend all this time with Maggie and to have this experience. I can’t think of a better time to do it. Well… maybe the day after I graduate… you get my point though.

So if anyone lives in those cities, or has visited those cities, PLEASE suggest things for us to try! But also keep in mind that we’re walking–like–everywhere.

Summer is Ending

wpid-img_20150704_132124.jpgI’ve been a very busy bee this summer. I bet you’re thinking “Whatever happened to the vlogs you were doing, Jess?” And I will tell you: adult life.

After the third Casavloga episode all I did was go to work and write more of my thesis project. Which means all I have are video clips of me in the car on the way to and from work talking about my thesis project.

And I imagine you don’t want to watch what is pretty much the same episode week after week.

Eventually I just didn’t have the time to edit the videos, especially since I didn’t have much to say in most of them except, “On my way to work… again…”

BookCon 2015

wpid-img_20150531_221219.jpgAs you may know, this year I had the pleasure of attending BookCon 2015, in NYC. I have to say: pretty cool but it needs some work on the organization side. There were many snafus with the autographing sessions. One author’s autographing line was capped before she was even out of her panel. Which means that the people who attended her panel did not get to get her book signed. In my own experience, I went to the James Dashner signing.wpid-img_20150530_085647.jpg

I got in line an hour and a half early so that I wouldn’t miss out on it like I did for other ticketed events (Rainbow Rowell, Steven King) and waited. I was 6th in line and was hoping to go to another panel after getting my book. Instead, BookCon made us all move. Specifically they told us we had to disburse. Well of course no one did. We’d been waiting and most of us had missed out on other events because we weren’t there early enough. Eventually a huge mob formed from all the people getting out of line but still trying to stay in the area. A mob, I might add, that wouldn’t have been there had we not been asked to move our actually organized line. I went from being 6th in line to 50th in line. At least I got to meet James Dashner and get a signed collector’s edition of The Maze Runner and The Scorch Trials.