[Top Ten Tuesday] – #157 – Reasons I Love Attending Book Events/Conferences

Top Ten Tuesday is an original weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish, which is now hosted on That Artsy Reader.


This Week’s Theme:
Reasons I Love Attending Book Events/Conferences
(feat. Book Expo America)

Initial Thoughts:

Many entries this week may feature swoon-worthy romances that give all the feels but with the coming and going of many book events as of late (e.g. Book Expo America, American Library Association Conference, Ontario Library Association Super Conference), I thought I’d depart from the main prompt to glimpse into nostalgia and up-vote book events being a rad experience and why you should consider going if you have the resources to attend.

I should also preface this post to say that for many industry events, the focus is for librarians and educators. Not saying it always is, but bloggers and other influencers need to be mindful of that fact.

For the purposes of this post, I’ll be highlighting standout moments from Book Expo America 2017.

Reason #1: New Voices, Stories, and Faves

What is any book convention without the printed word at the forefront? It’s thanks to events like Book Expo that I’m able to speak directly with authors and publicists alike, learn what everyone’s excited for, and share these favourites with everyone! (The books featured in the image below are titles received and promoted last year.)

For the record: DEAR MARTIN (Nic Stone), LONG WAY DOWN (Jason Reynolds), NYXIA (Scott Reintgen), EPIC CRUSH OF GENIE LO (FC Yee), and THEY BOTH DIE AT THE END (Adam Silvera) — are some great reads I discovered during Book Expo America…to the extent that my recommendations are now a staple at a location at Indigo Books & Music, a chain bookstore in Canada. (Yes, non-employees have to use the Kids Pick sticker with an appropriate age…)

Reason #2a: Community

The book community is a worldwide congregation of [mostly] online flailing. So to be able to put a voice to a face or even sparking new connections is another wonderful reason for attending these conferences.

Between my rooming situation with bloggers from four different countries to rendezvousing the floor hall leading me to cross paths with other Canadian influencers (it’s cool to meet up with hometown crowds in another country!), there’s an unspoken sense of unity, love, and belonging that emanates from the joy of being together. Sure it’s not a long time that you get to spend with people (assuming you’re from out of town), but when you converse with them often enough online, it’s like no time has passed.


Reason #2b: Muggles Everywhere

It is so often that authors, like many celebrities, are put onto a pedestal as a result of the art that they create. Perhaps their words came to us in a time of need. Maybe their characters’ views shifted our own perspectives. Or their writing could just be captivating and entertaining.

But we mustn’t forget that they’re [mostly] muggles like the rest of us, so it’s just awesome sometimes to run into authors on a whim.

Also: can we talk about how Nic Stone, New York Times bestselling author of Dear Martin, HAS MY BUSINESS CARD ON HER UNICORN HEAD? Truly a highlight meeting Nic in person; who is fully deserving of the “Best Author on Social Media” award from two influencers on my 2017 Thinker Book Awards.

Reason #3: Behind the Scenes

The face of the event is what we usually see in our socials, and as much as I’m happy to also report on that, it’s the intimate events at a publisher’s office etc. that sparks the most insight for me to takeaway. It’s simply more relaxed and personable and with large [unfamiliar] crowds giving me anxiety, the intimacy of smaller focus groups allow me to develop further dialogue. On another note, as I’ve only experienced the Canadian arm of book previews, it was a great experience to be invited to attend seasonal book previews with Hachette, Penguin Teen, and Bloomsbury; an opportunity I wouldn’t have otherwise had if not for being in the city during the week of Book Expo.

Reason #4: Inspiration and Empowerment

As an offshoot of the previous Reason, attending panels and discussions involves a lot of sitting around and actively listening, but in that, there’s invariably so much learning that can be had. All it takes is being open to reciprocate other voices and apply the same moving forward in the everyday.

Further to this, I was asked to be a moderate a panel at Blogbound Con (a mini convention by [book] bloggers for bloggers) and as a forever-student, being surrounded by brilliant minds who consistently churn out refreshing content was uplifting and empowering to get back into the swing of blogging culture. If you’re a veteran or newbie blogger, I implore you to take a second to reflect on all of your effort that you’ve put forward and the connections you’ve made along the way — you’re awesome!

Reason #5: Traveling, but Bookish.

Downtime is inevitable at any conference, and you’d be surprised at how many memories are created during the event when you’re milling about the area on a food run or just walking around. But unlike the dynamics of travelling with family or friends of many years, there’s a different take with book friends. Plus, it’s also fun when new settings are tackled by mild incompetency due to everything -new- and so you are able to attract interesting laugh-out-loud memories.

Sightseeing means visiting Strand Book Store. It means hanging out at the Big Gay Ice Cream Shop. It means eating dope $1 pizza and getting lost in the NYC subway system and having to double back to find friends. And it means fun and a host of other emotions.

Reason #6: Being Present

As much as I’ve been doing this book “thing” for the good part of four years now, there’s always a part of me that wonders ‘what if interest wanes?’ so much that this doubt encourages me to go forth and capitalize on current hobbies to enjoy these moments and events while I can and while I’m still interested. And I am extremely thankful for that. Truly.


What does this all amount to?

Me suggesting that, if you have the opportunity and resources to attend book events and conferences, that you should consider going because the moments you create from immersing yourself with the art of written word are more than just the word itself. It’s the community and memories that come with it.

Some questions for you:

Have you attended BEA, ALA, etc.?

Do you have plans for a book conference in the future?

Who’s one author you’d love to meet?


afterthoughtAn // twitter
anotherafterthought // goodreads
picturevomit // instagram


56 thoughts on “[Top Ten Tuesday] – #157 – Reasons I Love Attending Book Events/Conferences”

  1. I still haven’t been able to attend any of the big bookish events, but one day it shall happen! Your post just made me want to go all the more and I love that you took the time to spotlight lovely aspects of events rather than go the traditional route for the theme of the week!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This sounds awesome! I’ve never been to a book conference or anything other than a book signing (which I just started going to). What a fantastic way to get to know the bookish community! I would love to attend one of these someday!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Book signings is where I found my local book community too! Granted, it was a slow endeavor because I am an awkward otter, but I’m glad that a few years later, it got to the point of “hey, you want to go to [book-event-that-we-have-to-fly-to]?” I hope you do consider attending something one day and that you too find more bookish buds at home.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I love this post! I went to BEA back in 2016 and it totally reaffirmed my passion for book blogging and the book community. I went to ALA last year, and while it isn’t targeted to bloggers and the whatnot, I still loved feeling the energy! I hope to be at ALA this year as well. I think my favorite thing about these events is finally meeting your bookish friends. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, for sure! It’s definitely a weird feeling going “…is that…can it…[NAME]?” and at the same time hahhahahaha. I haven’t been to ALA, but I do know some people going to NOLA this year. I’m just majorly undecided what I’m doing but I agree that the feeling of community is strong at national conferences like these. I also would have totally loved to see how BEA2016 at Chicago was (since I also have not been to Chicago).


  4. This made me want to go to a bookish event even more than before, and I wanted to go already way too badly, so thank you for that, ahah 🙂 I hope to be able to attend one of these amazing events someday, too, everything sounds SO amazing, bookish friends and fun, that’s the dream ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love all this! I dream of going to BEA/BookCon or any book festival, but I just don’t have the resources right now. I can’t wait to visit some day, though!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I have never been to a book conference/event, but I’ve always been interested in the idea of attending one. It sounds like such an incredible experience and I am all or $1 pizzas!!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Aww this post was so cute and creative! I’ve never been to BEA or any book convention but seeing all the friends get together makes this the reason I’m glad book cons exist. 🙂 My TTT

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Definitely! Go for the books and authors, but stay for the community, I’d say. I hope you get the chance to attend a conference one day too! I assure you that it’s the most oddest and fulfilling experiences to meet large groups of Internet friends in one place and feel like no time has passed.


  8. I loved this blog post and reading about your experience! I have to say that I am very jealous because I am French and will probably never be able to go to BEA and more haha! However, I am going to YALC this summer (at London) and to another book fair in Paris next month (and so many amazing authors are coming for once!). I always love to go, especially ever since I started to be an active member of the book community. I went to another parisian book fair in November and it was so fun to meet everyone, to have fun with my Internet friends and to also be recognised by strangers haha! Also, for your last question, I met Cassandra Clare last summer in London which was my main goal. Now I want to meet Marissa Meyer and V.E. Schwab but I’ll be meeting them both next month. AND I would die to meet Adam Silvera but he may come at the end of the month in Paris so! *fingers crossed* ANYHOO, great blog post haha!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You never know! Maybe one day you’ll find yourself travelling to one of them book conferences out west! Sounds like your eventual trip to Paris (I think?) will be met with many feels when you meet some fave authors of which you’ll surely create many wonderful memories with! Feels are feels are feels.


  9. I’m still bummed that I still haven’t met you, Tam-Tam! But reasons #3 and #5! I obviously haven’t been to a huge event like BEA, but I absolutely agree with the things you pointed at. There really is something about hanging out in person with bookish people you’ve been talking to in the internet forever. Always gets me inspired. Wonderful post!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m a librarian and a blogger and I’ve been to BEA and ALA and I prefer ALA. I think BEA is great. I took some of my library teens when it was in Chicago and they have A GREAT TIME! Because it’s all blogger and or readers, the lines are bananas and I don’t enjoy standing in lines especially just to get a book. The overlap of bloggers and librarians is small so the lines at ALA are shorter and you don’t have to wait in line for book drops. I can literally come away with 100 books at ALA but I only got 5 at BEA. The author panels at BEA, however, are phenomenal. I will be at ALA in New Orleans-very excited. I have never been to a Yallfest or Texas Teen fest or anything like that and I would love to go. I know it’s cliche but one of the only authors I’ve never met that I would like to is John Green. I saw him on his Turtles tour and that will probably be as close as I get. Meeting authors is my sport and I have a bucket list and besides Green, the top of my list include Rainbow Rowell and Jay Kristoff.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I can imagine the insanity of line-ups that can happen at any event open to non-core industry individuals (meaning bloggers and general public). The craze of book con was very overwhelming for me last year as I hadn’t expected the turnout, I guess!

      I went to select BEA Panels last year for authors whom I was interested in (YA specifically) and seeing authors just speak about their books makes it that much more compelling.

      I’ve some friends (you included!) going to ALA NOLA but I’m not sure if I’d be able to take that specific block of time off — not to mention that the costs for a non-industry (ish) like myself seems more daunting to apply a pass for.

      Also really hoping you get to meet those author faves in due time!


  11. I’m too socially inept to attend bookish events tbh 😆 I usually live vicariously through tweets and posts about the events. But I know I’m missing out big time and I plan on attending in the future. And if I ever do, BookCon would be my first choice. Love this post, makes me want to brave it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. After experiencing Book Expo and Book Con, if you’re able to attend the former, I would advise on that only because it’s a more intimate experience with less people so you aren’t feeling overwhelmed with the swarm of book lovers which isn’t a bad thing per se but if you’re even a bit socially anxious like me, then it’s the choice I would recommend!

      All I’ll say is: I took that step to attend these events and connect with new/familiar faces and there are no regrets (even if my wallet cries a bit)


  12. i’ve been to BookCon and it was so fun!! definitely not as much industry focus as ala or bea and instead consumer focus, but it was fantastic and so fun to go to!! I MET MARIE LU


    i love her so freaking much!!!

    I really want to go to BEA in the future, because it sounds so cool and fun to go there??

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m ecstatic to hear that you met (and maybe flailed a bit) over meeting Marie Lu! I know these feels very well hahahha.

      From an influencer standpoint, although there are more focused panels at BEA, the contents of Book Con is quite similar to BEA with the exception that there’s more people– and perhaps more “stars” show up for the Con portion. But in any event, they’re both wonderful vessels to gain insight as to what’s coming out to promo to the wider community!

      Liked by 1 person

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