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Friday, June 12, 2015

#BookCon2015 Is In The Bag

BookCon Schwag: Free Totes
BookCon 2015 is in the bag. Literally. Fine, not literally as these bags are clearly empty. BookCon is spread around my house in organized looking piles. Now that I'm finally getting around to writing my BookCon round up blog, maybe I'll officially put all the schwag away. Or, maybe I'll do laundry. Or exercise. Or write a novel. Anything is possible!

What is BookCon? It is book lovers paradise! Every year the industry trade show, Book Expo America (BEA), comes to New York and gives industry insiders the opportunity to show their goods to each other and talk shop. But it's not generally open to the public for those of us that are fans and/or aspiring industry insiders (I think there is an option but if I recall it was cost prohibitive). Last year, they introduced BookCon which coincided with BEA to give fans a chance to get in on the action. An exhibit hall full of publishers, authors, bookstores, and other industry reps -- just begging you to take their free books (like bags full of advanced reader copies!). Book signings galore. And author panels. Like I said, book lovers paradise.

My sister's haul. I probably got more than twice the amount because mine included books and schwag for the kids. 
Now that I am a New York City suburbanite (of sorts), there was no reason not to go to BookCon this year! So early Saturday morning a couple weeks back my sister and I hopped on the ferry and headed to the city.

As I anticipated when I purchased the tickets last month, BookCon was energetic and inspirational for a wannabe author like myself. Every author was humble and human (go figure). And even though we missed out on Mindy Kaling and BJ Novak (damn young people waiting in line since 2 am), we managed to see everything we wanted and then some.

I don't think I can recap it all without losing you. But I'll give you some highlights.

BookCon was exactly what I needed. I do not need another $300 writer's conference telling me about Aristotle's three act structure or Freytag's plot pyramid. I do not need to hear about writing concise dialogue and deleting adverbs. I do not need to hear about characterization. I do not need to hear about finding my voice. I needed to hear successful writers talk about how they found their voices, how they had the confidence to listen, how they got from where I sit to where they sit. I needed to hear from authors I admire to just effing do it already....

I needed to hear Jen Sincero say our desire is all we have. It's what we are. Do what you are supposed to be doing in this world. Invest in yourself.

I needed to hear Rainbow Rowell say just write the story you want to tell don't think about the genre or the audience. Please yourself not your audience.

If not now, when? You only have this life, why censor yourself.

I needed to hear Candace Bushnell talk about working for three years on a project never knowing if anyone will ever publish it.

I needed to hear Jodi Picoult and her young (and I mean like can't drink young) daughter talk about just writing everyday no matter how bad it is.

I needed to hear Judy Blume talk about how she is certain that other writers could probably tell the same story better than her.

I needed to hear them talk about the creative process, the crappy drafts, and the days when they feel like they have no talent, but how they get through it...

I needed BookCon.

Author Panels!
Too many to choose from! Each one amazing. So inspirational to hear authors I admire talk about writing, their creative process, getting published, successes, and failures.

Writing and publishing with Jen Sincero, Tessa Elwood, Paige McKenzie

Rainbow Rowell

John Green talking about the film adaptation of Paper Towns

Women's Lit Panel with  Lily Koppel, Candace Bushnell, Emily Holleman, and Elin Hilderbrand

Wonderful YA Panel wth David Levithan, Jodi Picoult and her daughter Samantha van Leer (I like to call her Sammy), E. Lockhart, Meg Wolitzer, Jennifer Niven, and Nicola Yoon
Judy Blume and Jennifer Weiner

Coffee between panels worth the wait (for the coffee and, later, the bathroom)

Book Signings!
There were multiple signings throughout the show all day long. Many of them with free books!

David Baldacci (how cute is he?!)

Nelson DeMille (my dad's favorite) #fathersdayspoiler

Yes, that's Judy Blume

And general book nerdy fun!

Couldn't resist
BookCon is the ultimate celebration of books. BookCon is the event where storytelling and pop culture collide. BookCon is where authors become rock stars and grown women become teeny boppers at a One Direction concert that corner them in parking garages for photo ops:

Then this happened: I accosted poor Jennifer Weiner while she was playing with her phone and waiting for her car. But she was wonderful (oh, did I mention it was raining/pouring?).