Our Tips & Tricks For BookExpo & BookCon 2019!

It's May, which means that it's finally time -- less than a month until BookExpo & BookCon! We always deliver a handy-dandy packing guide for everyone attending the events on the show floor, so everyone's prepared. This year, we decided to shake it up by also adding some non-packing tips and advice, so we hope you all love that, too. It's so wild to believe that this is going to be our FIFTH BookCon, and our second BookExpo. Where has the time gone?! So without further ado, let's get into all of the things you need to know, do, and pack to get ready for BookExpo and BookCon 2019, based on our own past experience!

The Book Bratz Tips & Tricks

Tip #1: Make sure to put all of the big publishers on your mobile notifications on Twitter. 
We've created this list of all of the publishing Twitter accounts that we'll be turning notifications on for. Throughout the day, these accounts sometimes Tweet secret passwords, surprise ARC drops, author appearances, and just a lot of other stuff that's going on around the show floor. You want to stay in the loop as much as possible!

Tip #2: Make your schedule in advance, but not too far in advance.
We always sit down a few days before the event and make our schedule with all of the stuff we want to do and see on the show floor each day. It's important not to do this too early, though -- BookExpo and BookCon continue to announce panels and events until about a week before, so if you do it any earlier than that, you might find some other stuff you want to do, and you'll have to write it into your schedule, mess up your timetable, start all over, etc. You can also follow @DailyJulianne on Twitter -- she puts together a *fabulous* spreadsheet for all 5 days of BookExpo & BookCon, every event that's happening, where it is, what authors will be there, etc. It's incredibly helpful when making your own schedule!

Tip #3: Download the BookExpo & BookCon apps.
Both are able to be found on the app store by searching "BookExpo" or "BookCon" -- they're both free apps that you can use to see what stuff is happening on the show floor, create a digital schedule, find a map of the show floor, and converse with other attendees! 

Tip #4: Join a group chat if you can!
Form a group chat with some other friends that you know are going to be at the event -- you'll have more eyes on the show floor that way, more people telling you about events going on, and you'll have more friends to meet up with! If you want to be part of the BookExpo or BookCon chats that we created with tons of other attendees, feel free to DM us on Twitter and we'll add you! :-)

Tip #5: Print business cards or bookmarks if you can!
You meet so many people during these days that it can be a bit chaotic, so it's always nice to swap business cards and have each other's contact info so you can get in contact again later on!

Tip #6: Look into other social events going on during hours that aren't the show floor hours.
There are tons of different meetups and stuff -- both formal and informal! -- that are going on after hours. Meet up with some other bloggers or friends, hang out, and socialize! There's lots going on once the show floor closes for the day, and a lot of it is talked about on social media!

Tip #7: The OwlCrate line.
It is a rite of passage to survive the @owlcrate spin-the-wheel line at least once. Just do it. It's so much fun!

Tip #8: Show floor snacks are a must.
Show-floor snacks are an absolute necessity. We always buy bulk boxes of granola bars and Uncrustables sandwiches to toss in our backpacks, because a) the food in the food court isn't great and b) you don't want to waste time on lines THERE when you have other lines to be on!

Tip #9: Explore your travel options.
If you live in the tristate area and *could* commute to the event, make sure you think it through before you decide. We commuted last year and were exhausted and really cranky -- this year, we booked a hotel for the week. It's up to you and your budget -- explore options!

The Book Bratz Packing Guide

Here are the things we recommend packing to bring with you on the show floor, based on our own experiences!

1. A backpack. 
Definitely, hands down, without a doubt. Make sure that you'll be able to fit a decent amount of books and freebies you'll be picking up, along with your lunch and other small things. There are some totes bags that are given away during BookCon and BookExpo. However, don't absolutely count on it! The totes went pretty fast and then you were charged for them at certain booths, so bring a bag (and an extra tote - like the $0.99 ones you buy at the supermarket - just in case). If you anticipate bringing a lot of books, you can also bring a suitcase to check in that you can stop off at from time to time to drop some of your books into so you can empty your backpack for another round on the floor! It only costs about $3 to check the bag, and you can go back and revisit it as much as you want throughout the day to unload your haul.

2. A small cross-body bag. 
It doesn't need to be anything big -- all it's for is storing your phone, your money, and your schedule. It would be way too much of a hassle to have to fish those things out of your bag of books and freebies and lunch and nonsense. Also store your business cards in there if you plan on giving them out!

3. Your schedule!
Write down all of the panels, signings and such that you know you MUST attend, along with their times and locations. And store that in your clutch for easy access. Four years ago, we made a not-so-solid plan, more of a loose guideline. Big mistake. Last year, we were armed and ready with a full two-page worthy plan of what to make sure we do, what times, and how to get there. (Don't forget to factor in the time it will take to wait on lines!) You can also follow @DailyJulianne on Twitter -- she puts together a *fabulous* spreadsheet for all 5 days of BookExpo & BookCon, every event that's happening, where it is, what authors will be there, etc. It's incredibly helpful when making your own schedule!

4. Comfortable clothes/shoes. 
Sure, you want to look cute while walking around and meeting other authors and bloggers, but you want to be comfortable too! Go for some comfy-yet-causal styles such as leggings, comfy flats, or sneakers. (We seriously recommend sneakers. Blisters are not a fun way to spend your day.) BookExpo tends to be business casual, so we recommend things like comfy flats, dress pants, and loose shirts/cardigans -- it gets hot in there!

5. A sweatshirt (or a nice cardigan for BookExpo).
Because yes, contrary to popular belief, it does get chilly in the Javits Center. It's always pretty sweltering on the show floor, so we recommend something short-sleeved, but definitely bring a sweatshirt because the main stage area is a bit chilly! Layering is always a great idea. 

6. Deodorant. 
Even though it may get chilly inside the stage room, the crushing crowds cause people to stress and sweat. We liked having the option of ducking into the bathroom every now and then to freshen up!

7. Cash. 
There's no set amount that you need to bring with you, but lunch is expensive at the Javits Center, so if you don't plan on bringing your own lunch, bring a decent amount of dough with you! There are also a lot of hot dog carts and food vendors outside of the center if you want to avoid super high prices in the food court. Even if you do bring your lunch, bringing $40-$50 along with you is helpful for buying books, paying for luggage storage, grabbing an extra drink/snack, or (of course, duh, because this is BookCon, people!) buying some books. Especially since you have to buy books for certain autographing sessions! Most of these locations also take credit cards as well.

8. Any books you want to get signed.
BookCon and BookExpo are going to be absolutely stuffed with amazing authors (especially our favorites!), so if you know that any of your favorites are going, toss a book of theirs in your bag to get signed. Seriously. Even if you know they aren't doing an autograph session, because you never know! Some autographing lines let you bring books from home to get signed, which is awesome. And you run into plenty of people on the show floor! (We ran into Adam Silvera several times, just milling around the show floor, and we wish that we had brought our books from home to get signed!)

9. A lunch and some light snacks. 
The Javits Center has some nice food selections if you'd like, but they're pretty pricey and lines can be miles long. Chances are, time that you will spend waiting on line at the food court is time that you could be using to check out some more amazing things that BookCon has to offer. So bring your own lunch/snacks/drinks along with you so you can eat quickly and then go back to having an awesome time. Packing a lunch or some snacks and eating them while on an autographing/panel line or while you have time to kill is the best option -- we usually pack a few of the Uncrustables sandwiches, cheese sticks, water bottles, trail mix, etc. Things that are easy to eat while walking, not messy, and relatively mess-free There is also a Starbucks at the Javits, as well as a few hot dog carts outside, so those are other food options that you can utilize.

10. Water bottles (preferably a reusable one). 
Because dehydration is a nightmare, and you don't want to get sick on an awesome day like this. One water bottle was what we recommended in the past, and it wasn't enough. So we started bringing a reusable water bottle that we filled up several times throughout the day, and it was really nice.

11. portable phone charger. 
Portable chargers are literally the 8th wonder of the world, so charge one up the night before and bring it along with you just in case your battery percentage dips into the single digits while you're out having fun. There are really no available outlets for you to charge your phone anywhere, and the ones that exist tend to be crowded with people, so bring a portable charger with you and plan to use that. Charge your phone for as long as possible on the train or in the car or in your hotel room, keep your brightness down, and only use it when you have to. The service in the Javits Center is spotty at best and your phone battery experiences some serious drainage. 

12. Business cards. 
If you're a book blogger, this event is one of the most perfect places to get the word out about your blog. Print up some business cards and bring them with you so you'll be ready to pass the word along! 

13. Pen/pencil and a Sharpie. 
You never know when you'll need a pen, and that applies to all areas of your life!

14. Makeup/Hairbrush
As previously mentioned, you'll get pretty sweaty/disheveled during this entire ordeal, so these items are a must if you plan on slipping into the bathroom and freshening up before meeting your favorite author. 

15. Some friends!
Because a bookish event is always better with your buddies.

16. Hand sanitizer. 
You're going to want it if you'll be sitting around on floors all day!

17. Yourself, ready for an awesome time! 
Because this is going to be an awesome few days!

r and r vacation GIF by Coronation Street

Hopefully this packing list for BookExpo/BookCon helped you all out, as well as all of the tips we provided! Comment below and let us know what we left out that needs to be added to the list, your opinions on the list in general, or how excited you are for BookExpo/BookCon! Also please make sure to share this post, because we want everyone to get to see this handy-dandy packing and tip guide not to endorse ourselves, but to help everyone make sure they're prepared for the best days of the booknerd year! Can't wait to see all of you this year -- make sure you come over and say hey! :-) Now, if you'll excuse us -- we have some packing to do!


  1. This list is super helpful! Thank you so much for putting this together, friends! Can't wait to see you all again in a few weeks!!

    1. Lol, that was me! I accidentally clicked "sign out" instead of "publish" 😅

  2. - Ben @ Ace of Bens, aka the guy who doesn't know how to use your comment section or make my name show up so now you have three comments imsosorry

  3. Thanks for these tips. I am looking for a hotel debut package for my sister. Great article.


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