November 21, 2013

Guest Blog + Giveaway: Grace of Books of Love

This month, I'm happy to have Grace of Books of Love come and do a guest post for us. This lady is a constant attendee on various book signings and conventions and such a pro at it. I haven't been to any and from the various blog coverage that I've seen so far, I can tell it can be overwhelming. So I had to ask her for some tips for book con newbie like myself and hopefully you can pick up a tip or two.

I love going to Book Conventions. As a book blogger, I find that it is a lot of fun traveling and meeting a lot of people at them, plus seeing old friends as well. Plus it's a great way to make contacts as well. Some of my fondest memories are the ones that I make at Book Conventions. Not to mention the fact that you can dress up and have fun at the parties. Book Conventions are fun but some of them can be costly.

One of the things that comes up for me is the cost of Conventions. Some conventions are more expensive than others. The idea is to find ones that are suited for your budget and what time of year they are. You don't want to go lets say in a month when you can't get off for work. Try to find conventions that are more in months when you can go. Smaller Book Conventions are nice as well, because they are more intimate. There are also different types of Cons, so keep that in mind. Here are the two conferences that I'm familiar with

Galley Conventions-Okay Book Expo America-BEA, American Library Association, Texas Library Association-TXLA
These conferences give Advanced Readers Copies, otherwise known as ARCs, but they do have other things, but the majority of what's there are ARCs. These are cons where the publishers will give out ARCs throughout the conference or until they run out of books. Also some of the publishers will give out schedules of what they are having for in booth and at the autographing table. So I suggest you take those papers at the booths. They are extremely helpful. Also before BEA and ALA begin they start to have schedules on-line so you can plan before hand. You will be walking around a lot.

Reader Conferences
These conferences are more geared to the Reader and give readers chances to interact with authors. They are very affordable and are easy to get the tickets for, but sometimes tickets go so very fast. So if you get the chance to go to one of these they are a lot of fun, plus there are panels and parties. Parties are where people dress up in costume and have fun. Plus there is music, costume contest where people win really cool prizes. Here are some Reader Conferences: 

  • Authors After Dark
  • Lori Fosters Readers and Authors Get Together
  • Readers and Ritas

When picking a con, I do my homework for it. I go ask myself a few questions.

1. What is the cost of the convention? Can I afford it?
Now I'm not talking about the price of convention which is a part of it. I'm talking about the other stuff. Will I have to take a plane, so airfare, what is the cost of the hotel room per night. Budget for food and books, drinks, gifts to bring back for my family. Do I want to stay an extra day to get some sight seeing. Factor these things in when planning stuff. I often find that some people like to stay an extra day to do things and also explore a little bit.

TIP: I often find that getting a roommate is cost effective in the hotel bill as it will cut down the amount of money you are spending and vice versa for your friend/roommate. Also book rooms early as room blocks get reserved quickly.

2. How many meals will I get at the con? Or will I get any meals.
Believe it or not, some Book Conventions don't give you every meal. Some will give you three or five at the most. Very few conventions provide a lot of meals. I would recommend budgeting for food. This is important because one year there was a convention that I went to, and they gave us only three meals instead of the five that we were promised. Really that was because of a miscommunication between the hotel and the convention organizers, so be aware of that. Do your research on that.

3. Travel Costs. 
Book your flight early and be aware of your Airline's policy on luggage.
Once you have registered for the conference(s) you want to go to, see if you can book a flight earlier. The earlier you book a flight the cheaper it is. I often say is it cheaper to go through Laguardia than JFK or vice versa so location of where I fly out from is important. Also airlines have restrictions on how many bags or how much weight your bag should be.
Most airlines say your checked bag can't be more than 50lbs or they will charge you and they charge you a lot of money. You are allowed two carry ons, one personal and one you can stow.

So check your airlines restrictions on baggage restrictions. This helps you avoid problems later on at the airport.

4. Dress for the Weather.
Really find out what the weather is going to be like at the convention or outside where you are staying because you want to be comfortable and dress for the weather there appropriately.

Some of the other things to keep in mind that people might find handy.
  • Have business cards to hand out if you are book blogger. I can't stress how important this is. I like getting business cards because I meet a lot of people and it's hard to remember everybody. So I like to give them out and get them in return so I can visit your blog and vice versa. This is in some ways how I remember who you are and your blog.
  • Take plenty of pictures. I like taking pictures and sharing my memories with people. Not to mention Tweeting pictures is a lot of fun.
  • Evaluating all the stuff you get the day before you leave. Now at conventions, you will get a lot of swag, paper goods, candy, and books via conference or buying etc during it. Sometimes the day before the convention ends there are book signings, so you will have a few hours of free time. Now I recommend if you have free time to sort out stuff you want to take home and not take home. Please do this to preserve your sanity. Otherwise the day of leaving you will be going crazy. I normally take the pens, notepads, and a few book pins as that stuff is useful to me, and some swag to give out to my friends.
  • Books don't fit in my luggage and weigh too much. What do I do? Suggestions? Tips? Okay. This happens a lot at conventions. Normally airlines will not let your check bag exceed 50 lbs. So here's what I suggest:
  1. Pack only what you think is important to you. Books that you can't afford to lose-I normally pack 10 books that are important to me.
  2. Shipping. Find out if the hotel has a FedEx or UPS shipping available. Most do, if not find out the nearest location and walk to the FedEx or UPS store with books and get them to ship them. A little costly but so worth it. They are much better than USPS. Plus you can always track the books with the shipping label on them.
  3. Buy a carry on luggage at the airport. I saw a girl this past year be told by the clerk at the airport that her bag exceeded the weight limit and she took books out and bought a carry on and put her books in it. So if you don't want to ship I recommend this.
  • Have fun and wear comfortable shoes. My most important thing is make sure you wear comfortable shoes because your feet will be getting a work out at conventions. Also just have fun and relax. Conventions are fun. Talk to people and get to know people in a relaxed setting.

Follow Links: Blog | @princessgrace10 | Bloglovin | Shelfari

Grace's got a lot of books to spare so she's doing a giveaway for y'all. 

If you're not familiar with J. Kenner's RELEASE ME, it's the first in a romantica trilogy. It's one of those post 50 Shades read but better written.

Good luck!


  1. I have only gone to one convention, Authors After Dark 2012. It was a great experience and I agree with everything Grace says on this post. Great information to take in consideration when planing to go to a con.

  2. Great post and all valid points. Especially the cost of travel. For example I've been to AAD twice. And RT once.

    AAD 2012 was in New Orleans so I drove and saved money because there was no airfare.

    RT 2013 was also in driving distance for me so even though the con cost more it was cheaper for me than AAD 2013 since I had to fly there.

    And room mates make cons cheaper and fun.

    Another way to save money is to take snack food if it's a con that doesn't supply a lot of meals. You can spend a lot of money on food if it's held in a popular city.

  3. Excellent pointers Grace, I am so hopping to eventually be able to attend some of these conferences.

  4. I haven't been to any far away from home. I attended ALAMW in Seattle so I could drive and I stayed with my aunt. That wasn't a huge expense, just the cost to get in ($35, I think) and gas to get up there. And food, which did get expensive. I also attend Wordstock each year, which is basically like a convention and has panels with authors and stuff. I live right by that so that's easy and super cheap. Actually I volunteer a few hours and it gets me in for free so I pay parking and gas. But then the books always add up cause I have to buy some of them.
    Anyway, I love attending these things but since I have small children I don't get to as many as I'd like. I'm sure once they are older I will be planning to go to WAY more of them!

  5. Great post Grace. All of your suggestions are very well thought out and helpful.
    I hope your'e going to RT in NOLA next year. I hope to see you there :)
    Great job girl!

  6. Great post!

    I don't really try to do a lot of book cons. It's so hard for me to justify spending the money when I have two little ones who want to go on trips. I did go to RT last year, but it was w/in driving distance, and I had two roommates. I also went to Book Bash, but got super cheap airline tix and my BFF lives there, so very cheap.

    But I do slightly envy those who can go to the cons and go all out. I hope you can go to one soon!

  7. I want to go to one of these so bad. Love the pointers. And thanks for the giveaway.

  8. Great tips! I've gone to local cons before, but always wanted to attend BEA :)

  9. Very helpful and I'll keep this all in mind when I go to my first convention.

  10. Wonderful post and some really great tips as well. I've never been to a convention. Hopefully, I will get to sometime.

  11. oh that's so interesting! I would love to go to one but well the cost is a big problem too. And well being in France doesn't help either lol. But it's really to know all that and I hope I'll be able to go one day too.

  12. Great tips, Grace! I especially appreciate the packing tips. :) I do hope to get to a few cons next year. I went to RT this year. I got cheap airfare and had a roommate. But it was still pricey.

  13. Thanks for the tips Grace! I've never been to a book con either, but I'm dying to go! :| LOL hopefully this upcoming year I can make an appearance :)

  14. Braine, SW thanks for having me on the blog. I'm so glad you guys really liked this post. This post was a lot of fun for me to write.



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