Book Con: Much Better Than Anticipated This Year!!!

Okay, bookworms, it's time to talk about Book Con.

I was DREADING Book Con. I wanted to pop in on Saturday, make Cindy Pon's SERPENTINE signing, and GET OUT. I was so soured on the event from last year, which was a nightmare.

BUT!!! All of our feedback was taken into consideration last year, and Book Con was so much more manageable! (At least in my experience; I wasn't there all that long, though!)

All week long, A LOT of people at BEA were saying that the were going to skip Book Con Hell. On Friday afternoon, I stood in an autographing line next to two publicists working their booth the next day, and one of them said that she needed to find out where John Green was going to be and stay as far away as she could.

I was really nervous about what I'd find, especially since I'd gone to a breakfast at the Bloomsbury Publishing House beforehand and didn't arrive at the Javits until close to 11 a.m. There was a huuuuuuuge line snaking outside the building of people waiting to get in!!


I had my pass already, so I could just walk in and skip the registration line of doom!

I hightailed it straight downstairs to the panels and sat in on "We Need Diverse Books Presents In Our World and Beyond." The panel featured authors Kameron Hurley, Ken Liu, Joe Monti, Marieke Nijkamp, Nnedi Okorafor, Daniel José Older, and Miranda Paul.

The panel was advertised as:

Fantasy and science fiction explore a range of (im)possibilities, in our world and beyond. But full representation and inclusion of marginalized characters is still the final frontier. Where are the characters of color, the LGBTQIA characters, and the disabled characters? Why does representation matter? What can we do to promote diversity? And who are the great authors we should be catching up on?

Last year, I wouldn't have been able to get into the panel so close to start because of how overcrowded everything was! This year, there were still a few rows of empty seats in each aisle, despite the room being mostly full! If you follow me on Twitter, I posted a lot of great tweets from the panel! #WeNeedDiverseBooks!

After the panel, Daniel José Older and Nnedi Okora for were autographing, so we went to the Autographing Area.

This is where I saw how much more organized things already were! There were, for lack of a better word, cattle shoots set up. This image here listed the line-up area for the 6 p.m. John Green//PAPER TOWNS event. I was surprised no one was there yet, but I have a feeling nobody was allowed to line up too far in advance, either!

Then again, I heard that Sarah J. Maas had her autographing line capped THREE HOURS before her signing began, so who knows!?

Either way, it was very organized!

The least organized part was that if you had to purchase a book (Which you did for Nnedi Okora), the staff leading you to the line didn't tell you. They were checking the line to our right featuring a YouTube guy for purchased books, but not our line. PLUS our line also had an early line-up for the next signing with Marie Lu, so we wound up waiting for no reason until we figured it out! That could have been organized a little better.

Daniel José Older was signing ARCs of his upcoming novel SHADOWSHAPER, though, which is getting great online buzz!!

After the signing, we headed to another panel!

The Faraway Lands Panel featuring Renee Ahdieh, Marie Lu, Aisha Saeed, and Sabaa Tahir had already started and was capped. ;_;

But that was okay!

Instead, we went down the hall to listen to Taye Diggs and Shane Evans talk about their new picture book coming this fall, MIXED ME.

The panel was described as:

Actor Taye Diggs and his childhood friend, Shane Evans, an award-winning children's book illustrator, have teamed up to create Mixed Me, a vibrant, upbeat picture book that celebrates everything that is special about growing up in a biracial family. Maria Russo, Children's Book Editor at The New York Times, will moderate a discussion with Taye and Shane about their own multi-racial families, and why it was important to them to write a book that showcases what it means to grow up mixed.

It was amazing to listen to these two men who grew up together and hear how they work together on picture books so well! Taye Diggs read MIXED ME, which has an amazing message and will be a great addition to the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign! After he read, illustrator Shane Evans sang a song while Taye Diggs did some beat-boxing! It was amazing. I've been a fan of Taye Diggs due to his stagework, especially in Rent, and it was wonderful to see him in this new light!

Next, I ran upstairs to go to my signing at Month9Books, featuring Cindy Pon's SERPENTINE!

I REALLY thought I took a picture of Cindy signing, but I can't find it on my phone. I'm sorry!! ^^;;;

Seeing Cindy was a huge highlight of my Saturday. I love her books and adore talking to her on Twitter. I made sure to see her at Book Con while she was in town! PLUS I snagged an elusive ARC of SERPENTINE!!! I have been waiting for this book for YEARS.


It was really easy to walk through the booths upstairs. I wasn't near the Big 5 Booths, though. I'd heard that there was a huuuuuuuge line earlier in the day at Penguin Random House for swag. Not even books, but swag! Okay...

So who knows how crowded that side was?

Where I was, it wasn't bad, however!

I was getting ready to leave and ran into an ongoing signing for ROOM by Emma Donoghue!

I recommend this book a lot, so I loved meeting the author and telling her--and her publicist--about how much I recommend it!

The teen girls in line behind me were talking about how upset they were that they waited in a long line for a "free book" only to find out that it was for SEVENTH GRADERS. Did they LOOK like Seventh Graders!? They should have been told in advance because the staff should have known they didn't look that young! ^^;;; The book was GOODBYE STRANGER by Rebecca Stead. I told them that the author had won a prestigious Newbery Award and was a fantastic author. I had a copy, too, and they should give her a try! Later on, they started complaining that they didn't want to wait in line. Couldn't they just have the "free book" and skip the autograph and keep going to get more freebies?

That kind of attitude made me really sad! I also saw people justifying why the "free book" they had no interest in must be great and worth their time and why they MUST be excited to have it (even though they really weren't).

There was a huge feeling of entitlement in the air, but I think that comes from the nature of Book Con in general!

In the end, it wasn't a nightmare experience! I did a lot of cool things, got the one book I really wanted, and still had a good time!

The only thing that DIDN'T have a good time? My suitcase!!!

I'd had trouble packing the night before, and I was like, "I can fit one more book, no problem!!!"
...and THEN I came home from Bloomsbury and Book Con with SIX more books, not one! *sigh*

The three books I snagged at Book Con, two of which are ARCs!

The three books kindly given to me by Bloomsbury!
I've been really wanting to read BECAUSE YOU'LL NEVER MEET ME
and I've heard great things about WHERE THE STARS STILL SHINE!
I read and enjoyed OPEN ROAD SUMMER so much last year,
but I only have it on my Nook and can't loan it out. Now I can!!!

So that was my BEA and Book Con experience for this year! I can't wait to see everyone else's round-ups.

Did anyone else brave Book Con? How was it for you compared to last year???