Monday, September 18, 2017

How to Survive Your First Book Convention

Words cannot even begin to describe how excited I am for today's post. In honor of Love N Las Vegas, an AMAZING book signing going on in Vegas in October, I’ve created a survival guide to help make your first book convention a success. While I'm not attending the signing, there are so many amazing authors that will be there and I thought I could give some advice on how to rock the book signing. Whether it's your first or tenth book signing, going to big book signings is both exciting and nerve-wracking. I have been to so many signings within the past couple years and have put together a list of tips to stay organized and have your best book signing ever!

1. Plan transportation and lodging early 
If you're flying, driving, or staying in a hotel, make sure you know well in advance what your plans are. Most deals on hotels and flights are the best far in advance, so make sure to check out the prices very early. If you're driving, make sure you have checked how far away the event is and what the best route is. The more prepared you are, the more smooth the experience before the event will be! If you're going to Love N Las Vegas, be sure to check out Las Vegas travel deals!

2. Join/Follow the social media pages for the event
For every event I've ever attended, there has always been a Facebook page for attendees. This is the place where the organizers will post any author changes, parking information, and pre-order information. Also, for a few signings I've been to, authors have posted on the Facebook page during the event with surprise giveaways, so you never know what you could learn from being a member of the page! 

3. Print and color code the floor plan
Every signing I've ever been to has had a floor plan with a layout of where each author will be located. When this is posted, I always print myself a hardcopy because it is never guaranteed that they will be available at the signing. When I have the hard copy, I will highlight the authors in two different colors, one for authors whose books I brought and one for authors whose books I pre-ordered. This helps me keep track of who I definitely need to see for pre-orders and what my plan of attack will be. This has been super helpful and has made the experience of being in a crazy, crowded room full of people much less stressful. 

4. Pre-sticky note all of your books
To save some time, go ahead and put a sticky note with your name on it on the title page that you want the author to sign. Instead of wasting time for the author or their assistant, all of your books will already be ready to sign!

5. Bring a set amount of cash
If you're like me, if there are books around, you're going to want to buy them. All of them. The last signing I went to, I only allowed myself to bring $80 in cash and that was it. That way, I set a limit to how much I could spend and also knew that I had money to use while I was there. Cash is super easy to use to buy books at signings and it let me splurge a little without going overboard and just charging everything until I had bought over a hundred dollars in books. Setting a budget will keep your wallet happy and give you a little sanity. 

6. Bring a cart 
If the event allows them, definitely bring a rolling cart to transport your books. The last signing I went to was the first one I brought a rolling cart to and it was a life saver. Seriously. I normally bring just a big tote and my arm is worn out after only an hour of lugging around books. Add in my pre-orders and I can barely handle the books I have and have to juggle bags as I try to talk to authors and find their books in my bag. With a cart, you don't wear yourself out physically and it's so easy and organized!

7. Wear your fangirl attire
While it's always great to look cute when you know you're going to take a ton of pictures, I definitely recommend wearing your bookish attire where you know there will be people who get you. I recently wore my "I Like Big Books and I Cannot Lie" shirt to a signing and it was a hit. Even authors that I just walked by would compliment my shirt. If there's a time and place that is perfect for a good bookish shirt, it's a book signing!

8. Arrive early and mingle
The best part of book signings has definitely been meeting people while waiting in line. You are all there to gush over the same authors, so it's easy to make friends in line. Arriving early leaves room for any delays (the last signing I went to there was an accident on the highway, which added an hour to my drive. Good think I left two hours early!) and it also gives you time to chat with others who arrive early. I have met some pretty great people and have discovered amazing new authors based on their recommendations. Chat and mingle! 

9. Bring your phone charger
Since most people take pictures on their phones and post all over social media when they're at a signing, it's easy for your phone to lose juice. Definitely bring a charger if you have any downtime so you don't miss out on any pictures with your favorite authors or sharing your experience on Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, and any other social media site! 

10. Have a blast!
No matter how stressed or nervous you may feel before the signing (don't worry, I ALWAYS feel that way), have fun! There will be so many amazing authors at Love N Las Vegas and you need to have fun. Stop by tables of authors you've never heard of or only seen online and talk to them! Discover new favorites while visiting your old favorites. You'll be surprised by how many amazing authors you'll discover! 

Authors to Visit

Some of my absolute favorite authors will be at this signing, some I've met and some I haven't. If you have time, definitely stop by their tables and give them some love! Make sure to say hi to Kandi Steiner, Corinne Michaels, T.M. Frazier, Helena Hunting, Mariana Zapata, and Penelope Douglas! I am probably Penelope Douglas's number one fan, so I'm super jealous of all of you meeting her next month! Give her an extra big hug for me! 

 Me and Mariana Zapata    

 Me and T.M. Frazier    |     Me and Kandi Steiner

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