Things I Wish I'd Known Before My First Convention

Friday 27 October 2017

October 27th - 29th brings Love N Vegas, one of the most prominent book conventions in the US, to - you guessed it - Las Vegas. And if you're interested in going be sure to keep an eye out for the best deal - here's one for Vegas! But even if you don't get there this time it's always good to be prepared. Here's some advice I wish I'd know before I went to my first bookish convention.

Way back in the summer of 2014 I attended the first ever Young Adult Literature Convention at London Film and Comic Con. It was my first ever bookish event and I have to admit that, as time went by, I didn't think it was that good. Things were poorly organised and I wasn't overly prepared for it. So, upon reflection, here's what I wish I'd known beforehand.

1. Wear comfy shoes
I made the mistake of wearing my - very cool - white patent Docs to YALC, as they matched my outfit. However. They weren't properly broken in and we spent a lot of time on our feet and walking round London. I still have faint scars from the blisters, so yeah. Comfy shoes are a must!

2. Queues can take hours
I was under no illusions that things would be done quickly, but I certainly didn't expect one signing to take three hours! There was really no structure to it and we ended up queuing way before the author's allotted time in order to secure a place in line, and it meant I missed out on several other authors I was interested in seeing. it can also mean that if you need to catch a bus or a train you might not be able to dedicate as much time to waiting.

3. It will be noisy and crowded
A silly thing, perhaps, but I severely underestimated just how many people would be there! Throw in severe anxiety that's triggered by crowds, loud noises, strange places, and general chaos and you have recipe for disaster. Thankfully, I was with my mum who's very good at keeping me calm, so my experience went as smoothly as possible but if I'd have known things could have been perfect.

4. Backpacks are best
Tote bags and the satchel that - again - matches your outfit get heavy. Carrying a bag full of books on one shoulder hurts. And suitcases are a nuisance. Backpacks really are the best way to carry heavy loads, as the weight it distributed evenly across your shoulders. Just be sure they're secure so that no one steals anything or slips you any surprises!

5. Free things run out fast
There's no point getting there half way through an event if you're hoping to get your hands on a bunch of freebies. Chances are they'll all be gone, and a lot of stalls will only have a limited number or won't have more stock for the second wave. 

To end on a brighter note, here are three things off my bookish bucket list I'd like to achieve at a convention:

1. Meet my favourite author
The chances of me ever meeting Stephen King are very slim, mostly due to the fact that authors never ever, ever come to bookshops or centres in the east midlands and travelling to London isn't always easy or convenient for me. But who knows? Maybe one day this will happen!

2. Get a physical ARC copy
This probably isn't on many book bloggers bucket lists any more, thanks to conventions and mailing lists and the like, but it's still on mine! I've been lucky enough to receive both digital ARCs and physical books to review, but I've yet to get my hands on an unfinished, yet to be published copy. One day, though!

3. Cosplay
And perhaps my most nerve-wracking goal: cosplaying. There are a few characters (Katniss Everdeen, Alex Vause, Jessica Jones) I have in mind that I think would be both fun and easy to cosplay, yet I've never worked up the nerve to try and don't regularly attend cons to do get the chance. I'd really like to give it a go, though, so maybe one day I'll be brave enough to try my hand at it.

What advice do you have for attending conventions? What's on your bucket list?


  1. I definitely was not expecting the lineups to take as long as they did when I went to my first con just recently. I ended up waiting in a line for 3 hours to meet someone, but it was so worth it.

    1. I can't help but feel that all the time and money spent isn't worth the 5/10 minutes you get with someone so I'm hesitant to go for them, but of course there are exceptions I'd make. Stephen King, obviously, and if I could somehow take my entire collection to be signed by him I'd definitely get more than 10 minutes talking to him haha

  2. Sounds like a lot of fun, too bad I live in the Netherlands. haha. We don't have those conventions here, one of the things we do have is a very big bookexpo, where you can buy very cheap books. :)


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