I attended Book Con on June 2nd for most of the day and my mother came along with me. Getting there was a breeze–we just took one subway with a single stop and were right across from the Javits Center. The con was pretty sizable, with thousands of attendees. This review is from the perspective of a first time attendee.
Expo Center: The exposition center featured dozens, if not hundreds of vendors selling books in about every genre. Big and small publishing companies, in addition to popular and more obscure authors. Fantasy was quite popular in this event. I was pleased with the variety of items available to sale, even non-book related items which appealed to the nerdy crowd such as t-shirts and card games.
Guests: The convention had an excellent selection of guests who wrote many books I read in college. I noticed many familiar names and some new faces, as well. Amanda Lovelace, Cassandra Clare, and David Levithan were a few authors and writes I often hear about who were guests at this con.
Autographing: I did not get any autographs this year due to it being my first year at Book Con. Many autographing sessions require a book purchase and advanced tickets to ensure a spot. I was not really too keen on how autographing was run. There were two ways I know of to get an autograph: either at the expo center or at the designated autographing room. There were long lines which got in the way of traffic. Some lines had line breaks in order to alleviate this, but not all lines did.
Panels: I attended one panel hosted by authors Holly Black, Neal Shusterman, and Charlaine Harris. The panel’s theme was on dangerous Characters and themes. All of the authors were well spoken and gave great answers to the questions run by panelists. Many authors there noted that many characters in this dangerous category are morally gray and have a great time writing villains. They also discussed their writing process. Holly Black’s writing process stuck out to me: she makes organized notes and used an single image to branch off into further ideas for her stories.
Attendees: I had a few interactions with attendees. I’ve been going to cons for awhile now and feel that sometimes attendees make a convention special. I spotted a few cosplayers, including someone who was dressed up as Belle from Beauty and the Beast. Attendees were a little more pushy and a little crankier than the average convention goers I’m accustomed to. Some sort of tried to push their way through the crowds. Others were irritable and frustrated, or confused as to how the convention was run. In the case of irritable attendees, I came across one who was very frustrated, as she was unsure where a line ended at the Book Con both in the expo hall. But I came across a really sweet girl at the Miss Peregrine photo booth who helped me out, as well as others and this made my experience better.
Staff: Staff were great and friendly. They were available to help if needed. I felt that there was a nice amount of staff at the con, too– not too much or too little.
My Favorite Author: For those of you who know me in real life, know that I love Ransom Rigg’s Peculiar Children series. I really look up to Ransom Riggs. About two years ago, I got pretty sick. I read his books during this time and they helped me out a lot. And more recently, his works have inspired me to make progress in my manuscript which I hope to turn into a book.
He appeared at the event and there was an opportunity to take pictures with him at a photo booth which gave the appearance of the cover of his upcoming book, Map of Days. This was not widely announced and tickets were required in order to meet him–I did not find out about this until the day of the con and was excited to at least get the chance to see him in person. I was very disappointed to not be able to meet Mr. Riggs, but really hope to get the opportunity to meet him in person someday. The silver lining is that I got a sneak preview of Map of Days.
In Summary: Although getting a preview of Rigg’s new novel was a big highlight, I also loved being able to attend a panel and see how fellow writer’s get their ideas down onto paper. Although the con does need a bit of work in terms of autograph lines and some organization aspects, it is worth attending for a day to check out what the con has to offer.