How to survive a convention

Posted: June 7, 2013 in General
Tags: , , , , , , ,

On Monday I posted about my time at Book Expo America, which is basically a book-shaped heaven. It’s a convention of sorts, great for networking, getting books that aren’t even on shelves yet, and schmoozing with your favorite authors.

It’s also the first con I’ve ever been to. And, well, I learned some things.

  1. Pack light. You don’t need your whole wardrobe and everything in your desk drawer. You can over-prepare, and maybe that’ll come in handy once in a while, but just think of how much walking you’ll be doing. When I was in NYC, I had to walk from the bus station to the convention center with my overnight bag, and it was HEAVY. And it’s not like the two places were right next to each other. I had to do the same thing on the way home too, only I had MORE stuff. That’s another thing – you’ll always get swag, so make sure you pack light enough that you won’t regret getting all the free stuff at the con.
  2. Dress comfortably. I’m talking from your shirt to your pants to your shoes. Us girls have trouble with our wardrobe on a daily basis. We want to look cute, but we also want to be comfortable. You’re going to be on your feet all day. If you can, pack something nice that you know you’ll be comfy in too. And if those two worlds don’t collide in your closet, err on the side of comfy. Trust me, when you’re running on little sleep, sweating from 90 degree whether, and limping because of blisters, you’re not going to look attractive no matter how well you dressed.
  3. Have back up battery power for your phone. Let’s face it, we all pretty much live off of our phones. If you have a smartphone, you can do just about do everything from it, including blogging, tweeting, Facebook, email, texting — the list goes on. And while you’re at the con, you’re going to be doing all of that. I got a handy backup battery charger that is small, sleek, and powerful. It allows me 2-3 charges on my phone per charge of the device. It was a life saver at BEA, especially since I ended up live tweeting the Children’s Book Breakfast for Hypable.
  4. Do, see, and get as much as you can. I don’t know about you guys, but cons are going to be a once-in-a-while thing for me. Who knows if I’ll ever make it to BEA again, let alone SDCC (can you say EXPENSIVE?). So, I’m going to take advantage of the opportunity. I grabbed everything that caught my attention at BEA, and we stayed out late exploring the city, even when we were all dead tired. But who knows when I’m going to make it again? Sleep is a wonderful thing, and I recommend getting as much as you can, but don’t sacrifice life experience for something as mundane as a little bit of rest!
  5. Accept that the con is totally going to kick your butt. I’m not even joking. I was sore for days after BEA. My arms and shoulders hurt, my ankles, my bones. I was in pain and I was tired and I was way behind on everything, but it was worth it. If you accept the fact that you’re not going to make it out of the con unscathed, you’ll be much happier. Just go with the flow, and stick with the motto no pain, no gain.

If you could pass along ONE piece of advice to someone about to attend a con, what would it be?

  1. I’ll be going to my first Con in August, so I won’t know until then, but these tips are helpful. 🙂

    • Karen Rought says:

      Thanks! You’ll have to report back ad let everyone know how it goes.

      Another one I would add to this would be to bring snacks and water. Everything is so expensive!

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