So I’ve been to LeakyCon, but I’ve never been to a full book conference before, and prepping for this thing was WAY more work than I ever anticipated. I am super lucky that my wise friends Christy and Nancy from Tales of the Ravenous Reader and Kelly from Bookcrushin have been kind enough to guide me through this process. Otherwise I would have left sunburned and probably with stress fractures in my shoulders from carrying so many tote bags.
So here’s what I’ve learned about prepping for a book conference. Hopefully some of this will be helpful for you, actually hopefully it’ll be helpful for me too! We’ll see how much success I have!
Find Your People
If you’ve ever looked at a schedule for a book conference, you know they’re intense. There are at least 5-10 different things going on at once that you’re going to want to be a part of, so go in with a crew, so you can divide and conquer! If you’re going solo, hop online and find some other book bloggers going and create a book squad. Check out the schedule for YALLWEST below, so you can see what I mean.
Decide Which Books to Bring
Once the conference announces the list of authors who will be attending, you can start prioritizing and book shopping. Clearly, my philosophy is just bring ALL the books on the off chance that you can actually make it through all the lines to get them signed.
I never would have thought of this if my much wiser friends hadn’t told me, but if you’re bringing (or hoping to collect) lots of books, don’t bring totes! Get yourself one of these handy rolling carts and save yourself some tired shoulders. Mine is super minimalist, since I just decided I was going to this thing three weeks ago, but people go all-out decorating these things! I can’t wait to see everyone putting their arts and crafts skills to work!
Shameless Self Promotion
This such a great opportunity to network with other bloggers, publishers, and authors, so rep your brand! My lovely t-shirts were created and designed by my friend Molly over at Blu Bear Bazaar. Aren’t they AWESOME? Also make some business cards to swap with other book people!
Prep Those Books
Time is of the essence when you’re trying to score this many amazing author signatures as well as some much anticipated ARCs/Galleys, so have your post Post-its in and ready before you go. It will help everyone have a better opportunity of getting their books signed if you aren’t holding up the line.
Check out your venue and plan your attire appropriately. Also be ready to be on your feet in line ALL DAY. I always buy Dr. Scholl’s before a vacation (since we always go on super touristy vacations) but these babies are especially important when you’re going to spend a lot of time just standing around. Also, for YALLWEST specifically, sunscreen! Apparently it’s outdoors. Good thing it’s in Cali!
Prioritize and Organize
Once the official schedule comes out, you can start planning which authors you’re going to try to meet at what times. Or what panels you want to go to if you’re a panel person. Things get much more tricky when publishers start announcing the schedules for their booths, because they tell you when they’ll be giving out some of their ARC copies. So watch for announcements from your fav publishers carefully in the weeks leading up to the event. I’ve set up all my favs on Twitter notifications for the weekend.
I’ve also created a color-coded spreadsheet with everything I’m going to TRY to make it to while I’m there. I’ll be referencing that thing like crazy all day as well as the map, so I can make it where I want to go as quickly as possible.
That’s all I’ve got for now. I’m sure I’ll come home from YALLWEST wiser and ready to conquer the next con. Fingers crossed for galleys of Wonder Woman, Warcross, and They Both Die at the End!!!!