My #BookCon2014 Experience -Jessica

As most of you know, this past Saturday was #BookCon2014--we most likely saw a majority of you there! I'm here to report on how the day went down for us, what friends we made, my opinions for next year, and much more. Amber and Emily will also have posts with their opinions of their BookCon experiences, so be on the lookout for those--coming soon!

Okay, so let's start out by explaining how our day went. We got on an early train at around 8:30am and headed to the Javits Center. On the train ride, we solidified our plans to tackle BookCon and also put on our Meet Up? Meet Up. badges, which were created by a fellow member of the BookCon app community, Denise. (I also got stopped at several points throughout the day to have people ask me where I got that awesome-looking badge from.)
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Train ride to #BookCon2014!
Once we got to the Javits Center, we had a quick, two-second check-in, got our badges, and went to go check out the show floor. And let me say, that place was packed. I expected a lot of people to attend, but not that many! We browsed around the floor for a little bit, picked up a few things and some swag, checked out the super awesome Penguin Book truck (and then had a rep take a picture of us and Tweet it to swag out our blog!), and then met up with some awesome girls while we were all waiting on line for Jennifer Armentrout to sign The Return--Dana (from, Stephanie, Brielle, and Lindsey! These girls were the absolute sweetest, and we had great talks with them and even stuck together for Jennifer's signing, and also to get autographed copies of Dorothy Must Die from Danielle Paige! (We formed our own little group. It was an awesome way to start the day.)
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From the left: Jessica, Stephanie, Dana, Brielle, Emily, & Amber!
So after we got our autographing for Dorothy Must Die out of the way, we were pretty hungry (because waiting on those lines took forever--a suggestion to fix that will be included in my opinions for next year below!), and Dana and her friends had another autographing to go catch, so we said goodbye and split up, heading down to the food court for lunch with Lindsey (who, by the way, is also so sweet and pretty awesome!).
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Spent a good majority of the morning waiting on lines--but at least we had some cool girls to pass the time with!

After lunch, we did one more quick sweep of the show floor (which was still packed to the max), and then we decided that it was time to line up for the TFiOS panel with John Green and Josh Boone. (Note: The picture you're about to see is a PRE-LINE just to LINE UP for the panel. And this was also two and a half freaking hours early.)
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Yes, these were all people waiting just to be allowed to start lining was absolutely insane. Lindsey parted ways with us to go see Veronica Roth, and we stood in that sweaty clump of people (loud, nasty, complaining people!) and totally rude staff members who were giving everyone a colossal attitude. Finally, about an hour before the panel began, the ropes were moved and the sweaty, crushing clump of people surged forward. Luckily, the three of us managed to squeeze in--we actually ended up pretty far towards the front of the line, which made us extremely lucky. 

Long story short, we spent two and a half hours standing on a squished line, awkward and uncomfortable. It was worth it to see John Green, but the lines were just horrifying. It was hot and everyone was sweaty, cranky from a long day, and severely irritable in general. We tried lightening the mood and actually ended up next to some pretty funny and sweet nerdfighters, sparked some conversation, and eventually  got some nice seats and air conditioning. (*happy sigh*)

Needless to say, the John Green panel was so worth it! Nat Wolff actually came too, which surprised everyone. WE GOT TO SEE AN EXCLUSIVE SCENE FROM TFIOS, the egging the car scene, which pretty much psyched everyone up for when the movie comes out on Friday. John, Nat, Josh and everyone were all hysterical, and some pretty good (and funny) questions came up during the Q&A session at the end. It was an incredibly surreal experience to say that we were all sharing the same air and space as the man that created TFiOS, Looking for Alaska, and the rest of his wonderful books. Plus--Josh said that the odds of Looking for Alaska being picked up as a movie may increase after TFiOS hits the box office! Eeeek!

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Watching John! Ahh!

Okay. Enough nerding out. After that exhausting day at BookCon, guess where we went? That's right, Barnes & Noble. Because we are book nerds and that's what we do. We picked up a few new books, got some pizza, and then headed home to catch some Z's after such a long and exhausting day. It was a great day all around!

Now, what are some opinions that I have so BookCon can improve themselves next year? I definitely have a few, such as:
  • All autographings should be ticketed the way that Jennifer Armentrout's was. For those of you who don't know, fans on line for Armentrout were handed little cards to hold to serve as a "ticket" as they lined up on line. THEY DID NOT HAVE TO "PICK UP" TICKETS LIKE THEY DID FOR CASSIE CLARE. They only had enough tickets as as many books as they had to get signed. For example, if there were 300 books (I'm just making up a number here), there were 300 tickets were given out to the first 300 people in line. The point of this is that once the ticket distributor ran out of tickets, they knew that there were no more books to give away, and they turned people away. This was effective because people didn't have to wait on the line only to be told an hour later that they weren't getting a book and should just leave. People with the "ticket" were guaranteed a book. It was a good system.
  • Always, ALWAYS be overprepared rather than underprepared, BookCon! So many people came to BookCon, and I'm sure that they expected that, but I don't think that they expected as many people to show up as they did. There was such limited security trying to instruct SOO many people--especially with the TFiOS panel. For some reason, every event that has John Green as a guest always SEVERELY underestimates how many people will be attending. This is John Freaking Green that we're talking about. Where he goes, the masses will follow, and I feel like the BookCon staff was COMPLETELY unprepared to deal with that many people, which would explain the shoddy security and crowd containment. 
  • More free books. I did get a couple of free books, but I felt like a majority of them were all over at BEA, which we didn't have badges for. (But we definitely will next year!) A majority of stuff there were children's books, too...huh?
  • ALL panels need to be ticketed. All of them. To prevent the disaster that was the TFiOS crowd...and then people even got turned away! Like I said with the Armentrout signing, although maybe on a larger scale--they won't charge money for tickets, but attendees should be able to "purchase" (aka reserve) a ticket for a panel before the actual day of the event. This ensures them that yes, they will be getting a seat at the panel and therefore won't wait hours on a line to make sure they get a spot or be turned away, or no, there are no more available tickets for the panel, so again, they won't wait hours on a line to be turned away.
So, those were my suggestions for next year's BookCon, and I really hope they take them.

All in all, BookCon 2014 was a great experience. We're definitely coming back next year and we hope to the high heavens that they'll take some suggestions given to them by attendees! Can't wait to go next year for BookCon 2015!

What were your thoughts on BookCon? Opinions on how to improve next year? Comment below!
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Outside of the Javits Center ready for a great time!

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Grumpy Cat! (Who actually seems sort of nice...)
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Some of the books we managed to walk away with after an awesome day at BookCon!
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The awesome Meet Up? Meet Up. badges, made by Denise!

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