So did we remember that I was going to be attending BookCon this year? Yes in fact, I did. Yesterday was a whirlwind of events. I decided I wanted to share my WHOLE day experience because after I had discussed the series of events throughout the day, my mother proceeded to laugh at me and said I could write a book about it. I’m settling for a long blogpost, but hey, whatever works. I’m attaching some pics along ALL of my daily commentary. Literally it’ll be half the day’s shenanigans as well as BookCon experience.
Let’s begin . . . . . . . . .
I went to bed the night before later than anticipated, so that probably should’ve been a clear warning sign that without the proper amount of sleep, things were going to be a little off. After checking my phone at 4:27am….I decided ughhhhhhh, I should just get up. So I roused myself and could not forget that I to print my ticket–couldn’t forget that– so ticket printed √ and then off to shower and beautify myself 🙂
My plan was to drive to as close to the city because I wasn’t sure if I was going to stay late hanging out with book people and possibly want to drop my stuff off back at my car, plus I wanted it to be a cheap train ride into the city too! I made great time driving, my parking situation was problematic because I had never been to Newport. I took the PATH train into 33rd St. NYC, so from NJ to NY. Now I would say I have sufficient traveling experience, especially to NYC. At this point, I’m getting better at realizing what trains I will need to catch and how to get there; whether I’m going Uptown or Downtown to Brooklyn, a farther destination, tricks of the trade is what I call it now. Anyway, while I wasn’t entirely sure my parking was legal because a lot of high-rise buildings, ritzy buildings were located right by this PATH connection… so for a good while I was convinced my car was going to get towed. I finally figured out what train to take and then I waited.
FINALLY TWENTY MINUTES after the train was scheduled to arrive, the steeled cars pulled up and the doors opened to….a sea of people needing to get into the city! 8:15am on a Saturday morning and the train was PACKED! And let’s not forget arriving late, but, this …THIS I just was NOT expecting. So while I had to endure an uncomfortable-invasion-of-personal-space ride, a girl who decided she would botch all traveling etiquette and proceeded to yawn into my face at least six times and take up too much of the holding rail with her body, was lucky enough to get off at my stop. The last stop. 33rd Street.
Fantastically enough, I actually knew where this train had brought me out to! Exactly where I pick up the train for work when I’m in the city, so that was a breeze. Things were looking my way even though I was on the verge of tears because the train was so late and I knew the lines forming at the Javits Center would be packed with fans and book lovers galore, I knew I had to book it to my destination.
Now before I go any further I’d like to state a few things:
- I’m terrible at math. Numbers just don’t add up, pun intended, for me and I freeze when needing to give tip.
- I’m a COMPLETE germfreak! I hate germs!
- I hate touching money. If I touch money and don’t proceed to douse myself with Purell or Lysol or wash with actual soap and water, I start to panic and think of all the disgusting tiny, microscopic organisms that are just producing diseases all over the coins and bills and …well I think you can understand my aversion to it.
Okay now I can move on.
So after getting myself to 43rd Street, close to Times Square, I decided Starbucks was needed badly. Majorly. Of course there was a decently long line but I figured, whatever, I’ll wait and then just start walking to wherever I’m supposed to go. I had mapped out on Google what direction I had to go in so a coffee frapp and chocolate croissant was in order because I had already been up for four hours and needed all the caffeine I could consume.
SUCCESS! I had downed my croissant and started juggling sips of my frappuccino, figuring out directions, following the phone/Google’s directions and lug around my rolling suitcase. Oh right, because BEA/BookCon was going to have TONS of books available for me to get my hands on! ALAMW had me coming home with 30+ books, but we’ll get to the suitcase much later. So remember, I’m trying to balance all of these things and navigate myself when all of a sudden, (this series of events will be demonstrated via the following GIFs that I so nicely borrowed from Google Images) I’m walking full speed ahead when out of nowhere this GUY DECIDES TO ASK ME IF HE CAN HAVE A SIP OF MY DRINK AND WENT ALL INTO MY FACE!
I could not breathe, guys! Here you have me dressed all cute, hustlin’ and bustlin’ through the NYC streets, which happens on a monthly basis, I’ve experienced this fast-pace, but THIS? NO WAY JOSÉ! I just was not prepared. I have NEVER encountered this kind of behavior and had like no idea what to do besides swear and scream at him running away. After catching my breath and went like two blocks in the opposite direction of where I was headed but also far, FAR, away from creepy-man-who-tried-to-kiss-slash-drink-my-frappuccino I decided, to hell with it–I’m hailing a cab. Which actually was cool, because I’ve never done that before so that was an accomplishment.
I was totally not risking credit card anything in this taxi, because with my crazy morning, the numbers would get stolen and the few pennies to my name would be gone….so that meant….cash. UGH! Gross, gross, GROSS. So with my tip calculator app out and a matter of the smallest small talk, I was $8 poorer but the Javits Center was right in front of me and I’d take it!
I rolled my suitcase with fury as I had been tweeting w/ a friend who was inside saying the BookCon lines were insane so good luck when I walked in. Oh joy! As I called my mom to recall the strange events of the morning I walked ever so far out of the building and waited in the long lines. Yes, people, I walked into the building and had to walk right back out because there were THAT many people there. Apparently Publisher’s Weekly tweeted the day after that 10,000 were in attendance through ticket sales so….you see where I’m headed with this.
Next thing I knew, the line was actually moving pretty quickly and as I reached the doors, this heavy-set, older gentleman said, “Oh yeah, go to him [points to BookCon guy…who’s geeky cute, btw] he’ll take care of you.” So I roll myself on over to him and he basically looks at my computer print out–DOESN’T EVEN SCAN MY SCANNY-SQUARE BARCODE THING and just gives me a badge with a lanyard and was like “Okay, here you go.” OKAY? OKAY? I mean, what about all the other people. How about aren’t you going to check my bag? I mean, it was empty besides my windbreaker, but hello, what if I had been unhinged and was like going to bring evil to the bookish world? What if someone else was? NO SECURITY CHECKED MY STUFF! We have amazing mothers who are berated for bringing the minimum ounces of breast milk on a plane, but I bring a rolling suitcase to a conference center, IN New York City, and no one checks my stuff. No one checked any belongings. That’s pretty disgraceful. Maybe BEA things were checked but, no BookCon attendees that I saw let through were checked.
Now after I went to stash my suitcase in the bag check area, I decided cool… this place is BIGGGG, I need to document my rush and surroundings, as well as Purell my phone because after the money situation, haha…
Funniest thing about my BookCon/BEA sign picture? It just looks like a normal conference, but when I got in there….holy moly! PEOPLE. EVERYWHERE! I had no idea where to start. Nothing looked like it was for sampling. Books were being displayed only or for purchase. An occasional author signing at the booths, but literally just masses of people. Such disarray. I was pushed, prodded, poked, tons of tweens in light blue, clouded covered tshirts saying “Okay” “Okay”…so you knew the John Green legions of fans were all around. People with children, some had babies, I ran into a few poor folks in wheelchairs, who probably thought this place was a nightmare because it was too crowded for someone standing, let alone in a wheelchair. I hope things were easy to navigate because that just looked very difficult, especially because a bunch were not paying attention. Lines for signings and the few book drops that happened were enormous. Poor Jennifer Armentrout’s line was so long, she was gracious to sign everyone who had had a ticket for The Return, but that signing was at 11 and it was apparently going to run into her 1pm signing. Just chaotic happenings such as that.
I was able to manage a small book haul from the day
Remember when I said I brought the suitcase? Remember when I said at ALAMW I came home with 30+ books I couldn’t wait to devour and blog about? Yep. This is what I walked away with. I’m still shocked when I see a few people on Twitter and Instagram who walked away with MUCH more than what I did but….this BookCon pass, was so disappointing. None of the books that I thought would be available were. They were strictly enforcing not crossing over into the BEA-side, which apparently was deader than dead. When the news came out my ticket price for BEA Power Reader day had been reduced because I was now having access to BookCon I was pretty upset. I paid to get BEA access. I paid to see friends and fellow bloggers and networking at BEA and they changed it right up on me. Not only that, but the many author guests that were on the BookCon side were basically celebrities. Obviously there were many authors signing but, the majority of who I was hoping to see from BEA or still able to get their titles were not around. Authors who had movies coming out or already out, bigger names, even C-List celebs like Nicky Hilton was there and let’s not forget the longest line ever was for…..Grumpy Cat. I mean really? BookCon was all about the consumer and I was under the falsest pretenses after being reassured by someone in the Registration department that I would get a good amount of book access just not some of the literary things, like useful technology for libraries, some panels and workshops, which I totally understood. I am more interested in marketing and publishing rather than the other side of the literary world so I was okay with that.
And I WAS happy I got to meet some bloggers FINALLY in person and see some friendly faces once again!
I got to see:
- both Nicole and met Ashley from The Quiet Concert
- finally was able to meet Jaime and Erin Arkin from Fic Fare
- the sweetest, Hannah from So Obsessed With
- the happiest, Cassie from Books With Cass
- the usual crew I see a bunch: Betty from Book Rock Betty, Gabby from Queen Ella Bee Reads, Alexa from Alexa Loves Books, and Jamie from The Perpetual Pageturner
I missed a few ladies that I really wanted to see but I’m prepared for next year and BEST of all, I think the rest of Book Club wants to attend so it’ll be a blast! For real this time! 😉
After several goodbyes and my shortened day, I decided to walk back to 33rd to pick up my train and caught some views and amazing city life. Every time I walk around I find something new to be in awe of.
My long walk back had me close to Madison Square Garden which was sorta around the corner from where I needed to be. (Although walking back would prove difficult because I made so many wrong turns…hey as long as I find Manhattan Mall, I’m A-OKAY.) I heard folksy tunes drift into the noisy streets, people were enjoying the tiny bit of warm sunshine so I decided that Nathan’s or Taco Bell inside Penn Station wouldn’t do it for me…remember I’m STILL lugging this rolling suitcase that pretty much has nothing in it except those few books from above’s picture, so I found the outside bar and sat myself down. I quickly got over how I was going to have the late lunch alone but at this point the day was kind of a disaster and I thought, maybe the change and eating something local would be nice. I ordered my favorite draft beer on tap and was patiently, but hungrily waiting for my spinach and artichoke dip with chips to arrive when the skies opened up and started to drizzle. I moved to an area that was covered but that did not stop the gusty winds to blow things everywhere. Including the copy of my check (from my credit card which I didn’t want to be charged on) that had my name on it as well as some delicious chips that proceeded to fly off my plate after the check fiasco. So after all of that I decided to use my jacket as an impromptu umbrella and make my way to the PATH train to get the hell out of NYC.
The train ride was a little less crowded and was actually the right train back to Newport. I had been scared when we got to Hoboken thinking we were headed back to the city when we started rolling backwards. But so many people never left the train I was convinced, no one would’ve made the same mistake like me and not gotten off, haha, so I was good to go.
Several flights of steps up and back into New Jersey reality later, one view had caught my eye before I went underground that morning: One World Trade Center, the new Freedom Tower. I’ve been wanting to see it for awhile, and the beautiful sight I saw on the Newport Marina was breathtaking. I stood and enjoyed it–took it all in.
The last of my day was more Starbucks to keep me awake on my drive home. Going on 14 hours of being awake, around six miles of walking and slight anxiety, I was in need of a boost. And exciting news! My car hadn’t been towed and I had parked in the right spot!
Overall this day was one for the record books! I know I’ll be more prepared next year and that ALA was definitely a great idea and exciting first time than BookCon. Online several attendees thought it was a success, and others….not so much. You can probably guess what category I fit myself into. But I did score a few new titles, including a signed copy, and I got the chance to finally meet some awesome ladies and catch up with a few regulars so that definitely had been worth it. For those I missed, I will see you next time! Look out BEA15….I’M COMING FOR YOU!!!