This is a genuine question. Are book conventions worth it? As a blogger I had never heard of book conventions. It wasn’t until I started my BookTube channel that I heard of book conventions such as BEA, BookCon, Yall West and Yall Fest. From the outside looking in via vlogs, Instagram pictures, and tweets I feel like I am 100% missing out. Am I?
First, I’ll be completely honest here and say I have maybe a handful of friends that are book bloggers or YouTubers. Sure I have more than a handful of subscribers but only a handful of those folks are actual friends (meaning I talk to them on a regular basis). Of these friends none or very few of them choose to attend these events for a variety of reasons ex: funds, traveling, family/job obligations, etc. So the people I see attending via vlogs, Instagram pictures, and tweets are people who I know of but I am not necessarily friends with. Does that make sense? I hope it does.
Book Expo (formerly Book Expo America) and Bookcon seem to collectively be the biggest book conventions I know about. Thousands of people flock to both of these events. I recently saw that someone I know is most likely going this year (they live in NY) and it made me really want to go, but then the reality of having to pay for a substitute teacher for the days of work I would miss settled in and it seemed impossible. Why can’t these be during the later half of June?!
There are several reasons I am hesitant about going. The first being the hardest to overcome, my social anxiety, meeting new people, doing new things, etc. The second is the funding including travel and hotel, etc. Going to the biggest book convention I personally know about would probably not be the best first step.
Yallfest, set in Charleston SC seems more my speed. It’s smaller and in a familiar(ish) environment. Sadly again this is during the regular school year and paying for a substitute can be outrageous. It’s still a fair distance away from home base so travel and hotel expenses would be something to consider. I have notice tickets to book conventions tend to be reasonably priced so that’s a plus.
So what are the general pros and cons of book conventions? I am not really sure so I am asking those of you who have been. From the outside looking in:
meet up with online friends
meet people who love books as much as me
meet authors, publishers, etc.
advanced readers copies
From my little list it seems like the pros would have it but the cons are actually pretty major ones so I dunno. What do you think? Are book conventions worth it?