[Ontario Book Blogger Meet-Up 2015] – Event Recap + Haul

Where do I begin—what words do I even use to describe the crazy bananas that made up my first #BookBlogOn experience?

Prepare yourself for lots of word vomiting.


The Awkward Beginnings

There was this wonderful strangeness in being in a room filled with so many other bloggers (all platforms inclusive) whom reside in Ontario. Because if you’re unaware, pre-event Joey knew of only a handful—perhaps 7?—bloggers across all of Canada. There was a ballpark of 60 peeps in attendance. 60 bloggers. In Ontario. In this room. Mind implosions, dude.

I was of the latter bunch to enter The Ballroom’s game room where all the festivities were held. After receiving my nametag sticker (written with my own questionable handwriting), a raffle ticket, and a tote filled to the brim with books, I was directed to a table with a plethora of book-swag. I didn’t take too many because the realist in me would not know what to do with most of it.

Next, there was a table featuring books belonging to the authors in attendance. I grabbed a copy of Erin Bow’s The Scorpion Rules (YA, Sci-Fi, Dystopia, LGBT) and Leah Bobet’s An Inheritance of Ashes (YA, Fantasy, Paranormal). They had extra copies of Kevin Sand’s The Blackthorn Key (MG, Mystery, Hist-Fic, Fantasy) near the end of the event…and yes, I needed it too. At first, I did want to pick up K.A. Tuckers’ Chasing River (NA, Contemp., Romance) because #JoeyReadsNA is something many of you seem to want to see but then my hand gravitated towards familiarity instead. So…

(Click the images to enlarge them!)

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With that, I set up shop in a corner next to the ping-pong table as most tables seemed occupied with people mingling. Hello crowds and anxiety! I chose not to open my tote to see what books I had received (because surprises are fun?). Thankfully, I sparked a conversation with Indigo (Adventures In YA Fiction) and one of the hosts, Liz (Midnight Bloom), and the event, for me, took off from there (well, sort of anyways)!

It’s those first conversations, you know?

I was unsure what to expect regarding food, so I did pre-eat before attending (#valuemenuatmcd #juniorchicken). Otherwise, the grub included tapas-style chicken skewers, mini burgers, fish and chips, poutine, and risotto balls, among others. I actually didn’t get to try the fish n’ chips despite wanting to. I’m still on a mission to find the best fish and chips in the city. But I digress.


The Raffles

At around the halfway mark, the hosts started up the raffles that ranged from gift cards to bagged totes (with more books!). There were many instances when they called out the raffle digits and it was 5-10 numbers off my ticket. With a stroke of luck, I ended up snagging a win! I had a choice between two totes and didn’t know what was in either so I reached for one and came out with the bag courtesy of Harlequin Teen! Seriously, amazeballs.

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The “Holy-Shit-More-Books” Moment

We were then told that at 3:30PM, some leftover books that didn’t fit into the initial totes would be available for grabs. It was a first-come-first-serve basis. There were titles like Neil Smith’s Boo (YA, Coming of Age, Fantasy), John Corey Whaley’s Noggin (YA, Sci-Fi, Contemp., Humour), and Sam Maggs and Kelly Bastow’s Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy (Non-Fic, Graphic Novel, Humour)—all titles I’ve had interest in…

bookblogon15_extrahaul

…BUT MY EYES LOCKED ONTO SCOTT WESTERFELD’S, MARGO LANAGAN’S, AND DEBORAH BIANCOTTI’S ZEROES (YA, Sci-Fi, Fantasy). I had my TBR planned out for a while, but this changes everythinnngggg. I was also in on a conversation with Patty (Bookish Wanderlove) and I forget who else, and it was her excitement that encouraged me to pick up Don’t Fail Me Now by Una LaMarche (YA, Contemp., Realistic, Diversity). I mean, why not? That cover!


The Construction of Bridges

There were a handful of other bloggers that I got a chance to mingle with and it was a blast speaking to each and every one of you! The conversations ranged from Book Outlet and musicals to what everyone was reading, blogging tips, and even Asian drama/music. Basically, the talks were full of randomness and life–what more could you ask for?

When things slowed down near the end, and I was packing up to go play pool with some buds of mine, Tiff (Mostly YA Lit) and Melissa (YA Book Shelf) approached and we had a light conversation that began as a tangent from me being that token guy blogger. I’m okay with that though. This just means that I need to do work in finding new male voices within the region that can attend next time around!

For the sake of full transparency, I think one of my most awkward responses (yes, this would mean it happened more than once) was when someone said “great to meet you!” and I responded with “thank you!” ……….LOL? No, I was not trying to be ego-tripping-ly vain or anything (I apologize if it seemed that way) but my mind was [likely] overwhelmed by everyone. Such a fail brain fart.

I left the restaurant with two totes full of books (the event runners weren’t lying when they said to bring an extra tote/suitcase/mobile-storage-unit) and embarked on my walk towards Eaton Centre. Thankfully, it didn’t rain as it was forecast. I chilled at the food-court for a bit and took that time to check the original swag bag. Insanity. Ah—I should have opened up the swag bag initially as I could have given The Merit Birds to someone else since I’ve already read/reviewed the ARC of it.

bookblogon15_attendancehaul

Carrying both totes was definitely my workout for the day (considering we then walked from Eatons to Chinatown then back down to Union Station).


The Reflection

Buuuuuuuut yeah, that’s the experience from my end! Though the 3-hours passed by super quick, I really wouldn’t have minded for it to have been longer haha. The most surreal part was definitely the fact that despite being present in a small pocket of this niche blogosphere, meeting up at events like this really gives perspective to the sampling of voices within the community.

I wasn’t able to take my own photos (for reasons of being engrossed in conversation), so here’s a collage of photos credited to Book Blog Ontario:

bookblogon15_collagephoto

At the end of it all, I’d like to thank the ladies at Book Blog Ontario for hosting this event (here’s a link to their wrap-up post!), all of the authors in attendance (whom I was too noob to approach), the many publishers for their kindness and support, everyone who attended this event, and those who will attend this event in the future—

(^THERE IS NO PERIOD—THEREFORE THIS CONVERSATION AND EVENT ISN’T OVERRRRRRR)


Here are some other attendee experiences at #BookBlogOn for you to read about:

Michelle Lynne (Musings of a Writer)

Amanda (Brains, Books, and Brawn)

Christine (Constantly Moving the Bookmark)

Paul (Scoops Mental Propaganda)

Danielle (Bookish Notions)

Jaclyn (Literary Treats)

Nikki (Nikki The Knack)

Are there any titles on your radar that I should keep near the top of my TBR?

Cheers,
Joey

connect: afterthoughtAn // twitter  |  anotherafterthought // goodreads

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(Disclaimer: image used in banner licensed under Creative Commons 2.0 via Flickr and Anton Bielousov)

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59 thoughts on “[Ontario Book Blogger Meet-Up 2015] – Event Recap + Haul”

    1. Yes! Just talking to 1 person and growing from there is really all it takes; and that was the main hurdle for me. Next time, I can totally be like “yo, what’s happening homeslice!” …well, maybe not like that.

      I’ve heard good things about All The Rage (I forget where but maybe Catagator?) Anyways, that’s not important. What’s important to ask is: whether or not there’s a post-2013 trilogy that you haven’t yet read?! (I’M THINKING NOT)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks for sharing, because I can totally relate with that first-time-event-meetup-shyness-anxiety thing. I was PAINNNNFULLLLYYYYYY awkward the first signing. God, I still cringe remembering it.
        ALL THE PEOPLE. SO CROWDED. SO MUCH FOOD. SO MUCH NOISE. People were just shoving cookies, and chocolate into my hands, and my head was, like, spinning.And, I knew the author, we had been talking for months. And I was just like “I. CANNOT. SPEAK. *knocks over pile of books*”

        LOL, that was a wonderful image. I just imagined you exactly like the picture in your bio all in that “homeslice” glory. Dying.

        YES. The second event was much better, the place was CROWDDDEEEEDDD with authors, and I was significantly less awkward (meaning I was able to actually open my mouth). So, you definitely have it down (since you were able to answer people talking to you in which I was like *nods excitedly while people talk to me*) When you were like “set up shop in the corner”, MEMORIESS. I think I heard about it from Catagator, as well. I don’t think there is a NYC blogger meetup, I may have looked it up once. And with my luck, if there is, it’s all the way in Staten Island.
        Answer To Important Question: There must be something (I DOUBT IT *analyzes TBR critically*)! 🙂

        And I meant to ask this earlier. TOKEN GUY BLOGGER? As in, uno? Solo? One? OUT OF SIXTY? My head kind of spun a little at that being a possibility. Most likely, no one knew, so next year?
        BUT STILL?!

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        1. It helps if you’ve read said authors titles; how much uniqueness can you really spin a generic comment if you haven’t, right?

          Surely there is a NYC blogger event because…it’s NYC. Unless the yearly meet up is blogger con? I don’t really know how that event in particular works sooooo yeah.

          As mentioned in other comments, there were 3 guys; myself, another male blogger whom I didn’t get a chance to talk to (he looked older than me–although I don’t want to make immediate presumptions), and someone from a publishing house.

          I don’t think it’s the fact that no one (re: guys) knew about this event but rather the possibility of “more” males attending doesn’t really have a high chance of happening at all. I’m not trying to devalue the dudes in this community but in terms of representation, yeah, we’re basically extinct. Okay, that’s not true but we’re definitely not as concentrated in numbers as everyone else. That’s just how I see it.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. (Yeah, you don’t have to respond to this one, or read it, I’ll never know.) I think the yearly meetup was/ IS BEA Bloggers Conf, and nobody saw the need for anything separate? Which makes sense, and it’ll eventually come back to NY. Also, Book Con? Also, EVERY LAUNCH EVER? You should see it, launches are stuffed with like all of the city, and its mother. Oh, that’s so sad! Thanks for your time!

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  1. Wow this sounds amazing. I’ve never been to one of these events and I admire you and all the others who go to these events! Being in Australia I feel like we have nothing here, especially in Western Australia. Your post makes me really want to attend these events! Great post.

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  2. BUT WHERE IS THE PHOTO OF THIS NAME TAG?

    Gosh. Tam-Tam. So happy you had an awesome time! Double cheers to us! And wow. What a haul. The Scorpion Rules (didn’t know that’s an LGBT title)!!! And Don’t Fail Me Now! And All the Rage! And and…

    So, okay. “Token guy blogger”? Like, you were literally the only one? And also, those awkward responses are the highlight of this recap. #awkwardisforever

    Ultimate question. Between Armada and Zeroes, what are you reading first?

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    1. The name tag is immaterial; it don’t matter if it exists or not…

      I only found out it was a LGBT-book via the shelving on Goodreads; the blurb doesn’t actually say otherwise. I guess that’s a good thing because there’s no onus on it to be a “diverse” book just because.

      And like I told you in DM, there were 3 guys: myself, another blogger, and a publicist. (Just sharing in case someone else reads this.)

      I think…I THINK….I will read Zeroes after Armada. Ugh. Maybe. Maybe. I don’t know. Stop it. I hate you.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I loved the story so far, but to be honest, Ember one of the main characters pretty much sucks. She’s too annoying for me. But if you can get past her, the books are so good.

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  3. Wait a second you were the only guy out of the 60 people that attended? 😮

    And gosh, after reading your (and Shelumiel’s) post I really want to go to one of these events! So glad you had a lot of fun, got some highly anticipated titles, and made new friends despite there were awkward thank you responses.

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    1. From what I saw, there were 3 guys in the room. One of them was from a publishing company (I forget which), the other was a blogger (although I didn’t get a chance to mingle with him!), and then there was me. The rest was a floor of lava…swimming with ladies.

      Surely there are events that happen near you! Ask around!

      I definitely walked out with a different feeling than I thought I would have. It was pretty cool!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. You do know if I ever meet you, we will be doing the “nice to meet you” “thank you” thing lol that made me laugh, but I wouldn’t worry, it just sounds polite. Awesome haul! I hope some Irish bloggers are planning a meet up soonish, and I really want to go! Also, I spluttered, “WUT? NO?!” when you didn’t pick up the FREE NA book. Le Sigh. Maybe Someday 😉 R x

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    1. HOW IS IT POSSIBLE THAT MAYBE SOMEDAY (OR COHO) CAN BE WEAVED INTO EVERY SINGLE COMMENT YOU LEAVE?!

      Noooo. I doubt it. I KNOW you though, sort of. I’ve at least had conversations with you; can’t say the same for anyone else in the room when I first started. Which is why the awkwardness was real!

      Aren’t there a few Irish booktubers? Maybe you can spark some interest and get a gathering going! Then you shall see the power of awkwardness via. “nice to meet you” “thank you” :)!

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      1. Cuz I’m good like that, and the Universe is telling you that it NEEDS to happen.

        I know of more Irish bloggers than BookTubers, and even then I don’t know many, but there’s more I need to find! I don’t know of ANY in NI apart from me. I need to find them. R x

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  5. Wow, even with the initial awkwardness it still sounds like an absolutely amazing experience! Reading these kind of re-caps always makes me wish I lived in Canada(/US).
    And I haven’t heard of The Scorpion Rules before, but it has a pretty cover and is LGBT – gimmeee! 😉

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    1. LOL it was still a good (fun!) experience despite my anxiety. But it’s really what you make of it, right? And as a new venture for me, I was stoked to walk out with new friendships.

      If you want real talk, I think there are more opportunities in US than Canada for events like these (but I still love my country; plus Savindi is here so #TeamCanada in another light).

      Like

  6. You are so adorably awkward…or awkwardly adorable? Either way, you’re adorable. Glad you had fun. Here in Manitoba, there are probably like, 5 of us. So, luck you! And also, ALL.THE.BOOKS. O.O

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    1. Oh please, don’t you “all the books” me when YOU get ALL. THE. BOOKS.

      Ahhh, what’s funny was that I was pumping myself up before I entered the room. “You will be extroverted; you will talk to people; you will show personality” then I turned to jelly after I got my name tag LMAO.

      Start a cult with your Manitoba blogging friends! Alpacas! Goats! Prarie traditions!

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    1. Yes! Although I don’t want to claim anything since it’s a year down the road (who knows what will happen in the blogging journey) but I definitely hope to see you there if we’re still bloggers then!

      But at least the prospects sound good that the # of male bloggers attending will have increased by 50% LOL.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Gah! I found out about this wayyyy to late or else I totally would have come! I definitely plan on going next year!

    Glad to hear you had fun and got/won so many books! I’ve enjoyed the Talon series so far and All the Rage was very different from other YA contemporaries out there 🙂 Happy reading!

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    1. Oh, where about do you reside? (Have I asked you this before? I think i knew you were Canadian, just not where.)

      That’s good to hear that All The Rage was a different kind of contemporary. I don’t really do well with fluffy contemp. romance anyways so that sounds refreshing!

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    1. I don’t familiarize myself with when authors come for signings either! I just happened to find out about this event through word of mouth. If you can find other bloggers in your area, maybe you can start something up (you don’t necessarily need authors to attend); just meeting up with fellow community members is pretty awesome in itself.

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  8. I’m soo jealous!! That sounded like such an awesome event! Living in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont I am sooo removed from everyone and everything! 😦

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    1. My American geography isn’t amazing but if you describe Vermont as a “Kingdom” — dang, that sounds like a exciting place to live not gonna lie LOL.

      If there’s nothing in your state, you could always travel south to the various events in New York (I’m only assuming there’s something happening there because it always seems that way). Either way, I do hope you get to meet with fellow bloggers and the like during your blogging journey!

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  9. Lol I would have been just as awkward if not more! Sounds really fun and it’s great that you got a bunch of books you wanted. Now I just wish there were more events like that in Kentucky because lord knows my parents won’t be willing to drive anywhere further.

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    1. You never really know how awkward you’ll be until you’re put into that situation, and for me, oh boy was it quite the daunting first half hour LOL.

      I hope you find an event or bloggers nearby you to have this same kind of experience. It’s pretty surreal to meet people of Team Internet haha.

      Liked by 1 person

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