If you’re a UK Book Blogger attending the Book Expo is on your bucket list of bookish events then below are a few tips I’ve collected over the 2 years that I’ve attended.
As we all events allow for things to change, new features and rules to come in and obviously this being venue depended. However I hope some of this will be useful.
Prior to your Book Expo experience
Application for Book Expo
After 2016 Book Expo made changes in regards to Book Bloggers attending. When I went in 2014 all I had to do was buy the ticket. In 2017 there was an application form with questions as to why you wanted to attend, as well as a requirement for a minimum of 2 references and evidence of data stats for your blog.
Put an evening aside for completing this. Do not rush it and think about your answers.
You can go back and edit the application but once it’s submitted it’s gone.
Choose your references carefully. I would recommend people in publishing instead of other bloggers. Publicists and/or authors are probably the best, if you can ask an author who’s published in the US as well as the UK even better. You can provide more than 2 references.
The application takes a few days to review and you will be notified via email if you’ve been successful.
A couple of extra things to add; In 2014 I met loads of bloggers & vloggers in signing queues, Book Expo also dedicated a whole day to Bloggers. All of that didn’t happen this time. On the occasions that I struck up conversations with people they all seemed surprised by my blogger status, being aware of the restrictions that had been added. I did see vloggers; however they were there under ‘media’ or ‘press’ badges.
While I’m not aware of bloggers being turned aware from Book Expo there did seem to be a noticeable difference in numbers. I would strongly recommend not booking your flights and accommodation until after you have secured your ticket. Unless you’re happy to take that gamble and just go for a holiday if the ticket doesn’t happen.
If you want to attend events like Author Breakfasts the tickets for these need to be purchased separately. You can buy them with your application submission or wait until you know who’s attending the events. The downside for with waiting is that you have to ring to do this so it’s an international call.
The Book Expo will release a full signing schedule of all the authors prior to the event. It’s longwinded to go through but worth it. Also there is normally a Goodreads thread that has helpful tips, and some publishers will provide links to posts about Galley Drops and in-Booth signings a short while beforehand. Most of this information will be available by 3 weeks prior to when you go.
I split down each day into a spreadsheet and noted everything into 1 hour slots. This was further divided by a traffic light system of what I really wanted to attend or get vs what sounded interesting. It’s also advisable to leave spaces as once you’re at BookExpo you’ll find out more details on the day.
All of this sounds like a massive task (and it is, it took hours!) but when you’re there it is worth it. Seriously.
Be aware that you’ll never manage to do everything on your list.
You will end up with a massive pile of books. At Book Expo there is a FedEx for you to ship them home. However the cost will be more than for an extra suitcase on the return flight.
Here’s my trick:
- One large suitcase one the way out, inside is a slightly smaller suitcase and inside that is a carry-on suitcase.
- Your clothes and toiletries must all be able to fit inside the carry-on.
- Also try and take a Luggage Scale.
When it comes to packing everything up you’ll be able to split the books over all three and so divide the weight. You’ll also know all the books will arrive together and safely, without you having to worry about them being lost in the post. Always put the most important ones in your hand luggage.
Sidenote: What To Take
Two pairs of the most comfortable shoes you have. It does not matter what they look like, if you can walk 10miles in them and stand on concrete for hours without your feet dying then those shoes are the ones you take. By swapping pairs over it also helps.
Foot cream; your feet will hurt at the end of each day. TLC will help a lot. As will a hot shower for stiff shoulders.
Layers. The most suitable outfit is probably coming to be smart (comfortable) jeans, which you can pair with t-shirts and cardigans/blazers. Inevitably you’ll end up sitting on the floors during one signing queue or another and it does get hot.
And finally, snacks. Those you can get once your there of course but if you have dietary needs or are heart set on certain things then bring them with you. I recommend high energy ones, even if they’re not on healthy side to give you a sugar rush in the afternoon.
Check in tomorrow for PART 2 – Attending Book Expo & bookcon.