Hey everyone! I have something fun for you today! As a book blogger and publicist, I’ve been to a handful of book conventions, including BEA and ALA Midwinter. So when Vegas.com contacted me, asking if I’d share my tips for surviving conventions, I jumped on the idea!
Love N. Vegas is an annual book convention held in Las Vegas, Nevada. According to their website, it’s a “prominent book signing convention, bringing influential authors together in one location.” The 2017 convention took place this past weekend (Oct. 27th-29th). If you missed it, check out my tips below and then head over to Love N. Vegas’s website to find out more about the 2018 convention! And definitely check out deals for traveling to Vegas if you decide to attend another convention or expo in the big city!
Please note: This is a sponsored/non-paid post. Love N. Vegas simply provided the post idea and I took it from there. With that being said, let’s get started!!
1. Dress professionally (or at least appropriately), but wear comfortable shoes. You never know who you might meet at conventions, or who you could potentially network with – you want people to remember you for the RIGHT reasons, just in case your paths cross again! However, convention center floors are typically made of concrete and SUPER uncomfortable, and you’re going to be on your feet for hours. So if you don’t wear something comfy on your feet, you’ll DEFINITELY regret it.
2. Bring an external battery charger. Convention centers typically don’t have a large number of outlets for personal use, if any at all. And public charging stations are often packed – and can sometimes be dangerous. Not to mention, it seems that most convention centers are black holes that suck out all your phone’s battery within an hour or less. Plus, if you use your phone to take pictures or share things on social media, your battery will drain even faster. Since your phone is your lifeline for meeting up with friends and tracking any last-minute signing time/location changes, you’ll be in trouble if it dies on you.
3. Bring snacks!!! Convention center food is – often but not always – yucky and over-priced. Plus, you’ll be spending a LOT of time waiting in signing lines, and you might have to rush from one signing to another, with no time for food in between. Bring granola bars, dried fruit, trail mix, candy bars – whatever will be yummy and satisfying. Personally, I like granola bars that have peanut butter and lots of protein because they’re filling. Also, while water is your absolute best option, some drinks like Gatorade and Vitamin Water do have electrolytes, which also help keep you from becoming dehydrated.
4. Remember that authors are people, too. They’re going to be signing hundreds of books for hundreds of people, sometimes for hours at a time. Don’t get upset if an author looks/sounds tired or isn’t up for chatting or taking pictures. Be kind and respectful to them and thank them for their time. They’ll remember that kindness and appreciate it! (Personal story: At BEA one year, an author had an hour signing that ended up lasting four hours! At some point, she begged our forgiveness and ran for a bathroom break. She came back and finished signing. No one gave her a hard time).
5. Don’t be an ARC/book/swag hog. I know it’s tempting to grab every single free item you can get your hands on, just because you can. But ARCs/books are often in short supply, as is swag. What if you grab something you’re only mildly interested in and, because of that, someone who was dying for it can’t get a copy? Better yet, what if YOU desperately want something and every copy is gone by the time you try to get it because every person who was mildly interested in it just grabbed it? Also, equally (if not more) important: Don’t grab multiple copies of the same book, or multiple pieces of the same piece of swag! Same logic – it deprives others who might desperately want it.
6. Be polite and respectful to everyone you meet (see also: avoid foul language and inappropriate jokes). Remember, conventions are busy/crazy/hectic. Everyone is running around, going from signing to signing and panel to panel. Workers are trying to keep chaos to a minimum. Sometimes, adrenaline can run high and tempers can be easily triggered. But everyone wants the same thing – to enjoy the convention and have fun!
So there you have it! My advice to you on how to survive a convention! Now go forth and become convention pros! Also, if you’ve attended any conventions, let me know in the comments, and share any advice you have for convention newbies!