The first time I went to a large convention, I was pretty scared. What do I bring? What do I wear? Mostly just “WHAT??” It’s overwhelming, a little confusing, but mostly I was too prepared and it ended up making me not fully enjoy myself while I was there. I’m a veteran now for events and conventions - not just bookish ones but also comic conventions and professional networking conventions. In honour of the bookish convention Love N. Vegas coming up (in Las Vegas!), here are some of my tips for going to a convention for the first time.
When Going to a Convention...
Understand that every day is going to be a long day. And the second day is going to feel even longer. Plan on this. Wear comfy shoes and clothes that you can sit and stand in. If you aren't comfortable wearing and walking in heels for 8 hours, don't wear them. I typically wear either tennis shoes or Sperrys. I also wear leggings or jeggings with a nice top or blouse (usually sleeveless so I can show off my tattoo tbh). I try to stay away from graphic tees unless they are book related just because I 1. don't own a lot of them and 2. am meeting a lot of authors and want to look profesh in my photos so I can post them on LinkedIn.
|Make sure you pack your bags with all the essentials!|
Plan Your Day... Tentatively
Make sure you know what is available and what you FOR SURE want to do and keep those times blocked off to do those things. But don't be too discouraged if for some reason something falls through. Have back up plans so that you are doing something else instead. Make sure you schedule a time to eat (this is where granola bars come in handy though) and to just relax and recharge. You don't have to be doing something every second of every day, but it is nice to get to different panels or authors if you have the chance.
Understand You Will Be In Lines
Lines, lines, lines. It is a huge part of conventions and festivals. If there is an author you really want to see, make sure you get in line early so you aren't spending time waiting for the line to move before you meet them. As well, talk to people in lines or pull out that extra book you brought to do some reading. I tend to do a combination of the two while in lines. ALSO, don't be afraid to ask the person behind you to take a photo of you and the author (if that's allowed) if there is no publicist/volunteer there to do so.
Follow The Rules
If they say "one book and one picture," don't bring up four books and also try to get a picture. That is a RICHARD MOVE. You wouldn't want to be at the end of the line and not be able to even meet the author because someone up front did this so don't do this to someone else. Common Canadian Courtesy.
If the author only wants to sign a specific book (which I have never heard of happening but...), don't bring a different book to get signed. That is also a RICHARD MOVE.
Also, generally, don't cut lines. Don't make people feel bad about meeting an author. If someone asks you to take a picture, do that for them. And take a couple just to be safe. Be patient and allow people the time to talk to the author.
Sometimes You Have To Go Up To Go Down
If you're in a hotel with elevators, then you'll definitely have those moments when you simply can't fit in the elevator. The trick is to take an elevator up first, then wait for it to come down. You've essentially reserved yourself a spot in (cramped) quarters.
Carry A Granola Bar
There's nothing worse than being distracted from fangirling by the need to eat. Carry something in your bag to tide you over.
Pay CASH in the Vendor Room
Leave that credit card at home (or at least in the hotel room). Carry a set amount of money and only plan to spend that much. When that's done, your spending spree is finished. Make sure you budget at least $20 for food and drink! It’s always more fun to eat with friends at a convention. (Your future self will thank you.)
Go See A Panel You Don't Know Anything About
There are so many authors and fandoms out there just waiting to be explored. Between your must-see panels, go find them!
Why not make Love N. Vegas your first convention?
Love N. Vegas is a world renowned weekend long Author Event taking place the weekend of October 27-29, 2017! Join a weekend of festivities and signings with your favourite authors from around the world at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas, Nevada.
You can buy your tickets to this convention by clicking on this link. An entire weekend package ticket is only $165.00 for a fantastic weekend with a bunch of authors, including Jessica Hawkins and Samantha Towle! But there are more than 50 authors attending so you are getting a bang for you buck (and then can read about that too)!
One of the really cool things that Love N. Vegas does that most conventions do not is include a Line Bookmark! Volunteers will hold your place in line for the longer lines and will text you when your spot is nearing the front so that you can get back and get in to see the panels and authors YOU want to see without having to stand in lines for hours!
Looking For A Place To Stay?
Vegas.com has some great packages and deals on hotels and flights! They are your place to go for all your Vegas tourist needs. Maybe once the convention is done, you can catch a show or walk the strip. Vegas.com has deals and packages for that as well.