Discussion Post: I’ve Had the Time of My Life or How Do You Feel About Book Conventions?

Posted November 10, 2023 by Lisa Mandina in discussion post / 18 Comments

Okay, it’s November and I’m working on getting my goal of 6 discussion posts for the year met, this is my 3rd one.

I love a good book convention and meeting authors has always been the coolest thing in the world to me. I think the first big book convention I remember going to was the Book Expo America, or BEA, in New York City in 2012. My sister had just moved there the year before, and when I realized I’d have a free place to stay and I could visit her while I was there, I signed up and went. What was so cool about BEA is that you got books for FREE!!!! ARCs from all the publishers’ booths. People would line up to get the ARCs. Then there were the authors that were signing, and you lined up to meet those authors. So many really really good, popular, famous authors. Here are a few pictures!

In between then I think I went to several author signings in my hometown, including many at the bookstore where I worked at the time. The Romantic Times Convention also was in my hometown one year and I got to meet more awesome authors!

In 2014 I went to BEA again, stayed with my sister in NYC.

Since that time I’ve also gone to several other conventions. ApollyCon in Orlando, NOLA Storycon in New Orleans, Kinky in Kansas City twice, Flirty in KC once, ALA in New Orleans, a couple of AASL conventions including this past year, and Book Bonanza the first three years, including its first year in Denver. And the last two years I’ve not been able to get tickets to Book Bonanza. Thanks to TikTok exploding Colleen Hoover’s popularity. Which I’m very happy for her, but very sad for me.

Although I also think about how there are only a few new to me authors there every year. Now, last year there were two there that I really, really wanted to meet. One that I even suggested she fill out the form and she did and so not getting to see her kind of sucked.

And now, I’m wondering, with how much it costs, and the fact that I’ve seen most all my authors or most of the ones that are even at other conventions, do I need to keep spending that money? One minute I want to try to go to a different one, like in Vegas. I mean that would be cool. But then the next minute I’m thinking maybe I need to do other things, like my Scotland trip, although I’ll never be able to afford that again.

Okay, enough about all that. Let’s discuss. Have you been to any book conventions? Did you love them or hate them? Do you want to go if you haven’t?

And as always, I have to share the video to my post’s song title.

Please follow and like us:
Tweet 0
Pin Share20

18 responses to “Discussion Post: I’ve Had the Time of My Life or How Do You Feel About Book Conventions?

    • Lisa Mandina

      Yeah, I’m going to cut back for sure! At least for the next year. But since the library one I went to this year is in my home state in 2025, I’ll go then!

  1. I do enjoy a good book con, but I tend to be drawn to smaller events. I attended Lori Foster’s RAGT even in OH for years and years. I also went to the Authors After Dark event back when it was up and running. I attended one RWA (2019 in NYC), which was such an event! But my favorite is Coastal Magic, where I’ve been a featured blogger for the past three years and have attended most of them. I love the size of the event and getting together with friends, readers, and authors just to hang out and chat.

    • Lisa Mandina

      The Flirty in KC one is smaller, and I do like it, although they did need a bigger room last year because it was crowded! Plus you don’t get as many of the big authors.

  2. OK I’m going to be honest here. I’ve been to RT in Atlanta, Book Bonanze in Dallas, Apollycon, DragonCon and NolaStorycon. My favorite hands down was NOLAStorycon because it had the authors and books I love most. DragonCon was also great but so huge and crowded. I did not enjoy the romance genre conventions as much after going to them the first time I wouldn’t go again. I would love to go to Emerald City Comic Con and also Boucheron or other mystery or Scifi con. And maybe Coastal Magic because it is smaller and has more diversity.

    Anne - Books of My Heart recently posted: The Olympian Affair by Jim Butcher @longshotauthor @AceRocBooks
    • Lisa Mandina

      NOLA Storycon was so good! I wish I still had my free place to stay down there, or that all the great authors would go again. But I think it was kind of toned down in how many authors the last years.

  3. Omigosh! I LOOOOVE Book Conventions! I used to LOVE attending RT! That was my jam! I went to the Kansas City one too! I think my last one I attended was in New Orleans! I also went to NOLA Storycon, the first one at least! I wanted to go to it again, but couldn’t convince anyone to go with me! The first (and only time) I convince my mom and her then boyfriend now husband as he had a Coast Guard buddy who lives there that he wanted to meet up with. So it was really perfect timing! I loved that little convention! I thought it was SO much fun! I loved seeing Jennifer and a hoard of other authors! It was literally the best! I mean, it was practically a mini RT and that’s what I loved about it! I was sad it couldn’t be somewhat regular. I’ve been trying to go to Apollycon for a few years now but literally can never get tickets. I’m not on Facebook and can’t bring myself to create an account to try to get resell ones. Plus, I feel like trying to get the ticket and then not have enough time for travel plans (saving for said travel accommodations) and getting the time off request in at a reasonable time would cause me too much stress!

    I did attend the one and only Origin Event that JLA hosted which was a mini-mini Apollycon as it was just a signing. No panels of any kind. I think I liked the Storycon event more since it at least had some panels! I always enjoy learning craft!

    I did get attend my first and last BEA when it finally, FINALLY came back to Chicago in 2016! It was pretty fun! I struggled to get ARCs as a blogger, so this was a nice treat! I got to meet quite a few authors I never met before and I had brought one or two books from to have signed by attending authors. I mainly remember bringing my YA horror anthology with me as a few of those authors were there like Jay Kristoff and Kendare Blake! And I got to meet so many of my blogger friends in real life that year. It was just SO much fun!

    I have to say that I miss the convention scene. I always judge my going to them by the author attendance. How many of my favorite authors are there, how many have I not met, and that kind of thing. Then I try to get a brief cost estimate going, like convention price, whether I’d have to fly or not…how many books do I need to bring for luggage fees–lol–and other travel expense related things. Usually the attendance doesn’t make it worth it. Like I’ll find a new con, somewhere new even, but then like only 2, maybe 3 authors I adore are there and the rest are ones I’ve never read and usually wouldn’t care to pick up for genre related reasons. Like they’re more contemporary than anything else.

    I’ve got a teeny tiny Teen Book Festival happening here next month! It was boasting around 20-25 authors although when I last checked, there were only 2 I’d like to meet (again!) but since it’s local I totally plan to go! The only time I don’t go is when I am double booked…which happened twice this year! There’s hardly EVER two signings I want to go to on the same night, but it’s happened twice now, this year alone! The first time I was lucky and I was “caught up” with my signed books from this author, so I just ordered a signed copy from the store and was able to pick it up later that week while I attended a signing for an author I hadn’t seen since her debut! So that was fun! The second time was when a UK author was coming who I had read and enjoyed a book from while the other event hosted all new to me authors with mostly debut books. So I sadly missed that one, but I did pick up a signed copy at the store later that week for one of them (the other one I was most interested in, I actually won from Fierce Reads! So that was a plus, but sadly I didn’t get it signed. Oh well.).

    But yes, I love conventions! I love meeting tons of authors in one go if I can! It’s perfect for me! RT conventions were always a blast because I got to meet soooooooooo many amazing authors! It was like Disney World practically! My level of enjoyment of both things were pretty level! Lol! But cost was always a factor, what authors in attendance was the lead factor. If there were a lot, I could justify it! Like this weekend I was really thinking of making a long haul drive to Charleston for YALLFest, but then I somehow got a ticket for the Rebecca Yarros event in Naperville after a chaos virus was unleashed on the ticket system. Somehow my friend and I both got tickets so that pretty much clinched my plans. The attendance at YALLFest was perfect for me since Stephanie was there (Lol), one author I’ve been DYING to meet, one I haven’t met since those RT days, and a few others that I’d like to see again or for the first time. But sigh…maybe next year the attendance will be good too!

    • Lisa Mandina

      I’ve never been to a YALLFest, but have always wanted to go! You love conventions as much as I do, and author signings! Yeah, I love Book Bonanza, but I’ve met almost all the authors. And while they are favorite authors that I love to see again and again, I have to start wondering if I should be spending money on that or more trips like my Scotland trip. Not that the book con trips cost anywhere near what my Scotland trip cost, lol. Maybe you and I should plan to meet up at a convention some time! I think we got to meet in person one time, maybe at the ApollyCon in Orlando? We were both at the same NOLA Storycon it sounds like!!

    • Lisa Mandina

      Agreed! I think maybe it is being surrounded by fellow book lovers who also usually have some of the same anxieties.

  4. I miss BookCon. First of all, other than the year it was in Chicago, this was a local event for me. Even before I went to BEA, I loved the panels and just being on the floor at BookCon. They said they were planning something new and better. Well, that was three years ago. I have been to other conventions, but none compare to BEA/BookCon for me.

Leave a Reply

(Enter your URL then click here to include a link to one of your blog posts.)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.