Today I’m sharing some helpful tips for first-time book convention attendees, in honor of Love N. Vegas, a romance book convention/author signing that will be held October 27-29 at Planet Hollywood Vegas. Although I won’t be attending this convention, I’ve been to a few in my time!
For a full list of authors attending the event, check out Love N. Books site here. You can also buy tickets for the convention on their site and learn more. And of course, Vegas.com has some great flight and hotel packages for attendees.
I’ve mostly only attended book conventions as an author, but I’ll try to share some tips for both authors presenting at their first convention, as well as fans attending their first book convention.
It’s my first convention, I’m super nervous/don’t know anyone!
- It’s okay to be nervous! A lot of other people are too, trust me. And you’re almost certainly not the only author/fan at their first convention.
- Hang out in common spaces to meet people: lounges, bars, the lobby, eating areas, any place where folks are mingling. These are the best places to meet new folks and strike up a conversation.
- Attend panels and readings–discover new authors, as well as other fans of your favorite authors. It’s always great to have someone to gush with!
- If you can bring someone along with you to the convention it always makes things a little less nerve-wracking. But don’t worry, even if you go alone, it’s easy to make new friends.
What are some do’s and don’t’s of attending a book convention?
- DO be ready to mingle, chat, sign autographs, and take pictures with your fans. That’s what they’re there for!
- DO keep an open mind, as not every fan who approaches you may agree with the way you wrote a story. Helpful criticism and venting may very well be part of your fan experience (this was something I wasn’t prepared for at my first convention!). Of course, there’s a huge difference between criticism and someone being abusive. Know when to end a conversation, if necessary.
- DON’T stuff your work down the throat of everybody you see and promote yourself to the point of being annoying. Let folks find you–you may very well become their new favorite author!
- DON’T get discouraged if you see other authors getting a lot more attention than you. You’re there to have fun and make your presence known to readers. That could be you someday, too.
- DO check out new authors, books, and series. Take in everything–and everyone–the convention has to offer and enjoy yourself to the fullest.
- DO tell your favorite authors how much you love them, and tell them specific things you like about their characters and books. They’ll appreciate it!
- DO make friends with other convention-goers as well and be open to conversation and discussion. You might just find your new best friend!
- DON’T expect free stuff from every single author or expect people to give you free books. Authors need to make a living too!
What should I bring with me?
- Bring swag–things like pens, buttons, stickers, bookmarks, and other fun toys and gadgets with your name/website on them. The more creative and memorable, the better! You can also make things like character cards, postcards advertising your book, and business cards. I’ve seen authors make t-shirts to pass out, as well. Vistaprint is a great place to have things like this made in bulk, for a low price. You can also make posters/signage for your table. Make sure you bring advertising materials with you to pass out to fans!
- If this is a convention where you can sell books, be realistic about how many you need, so you don’t sink a fortune into a book order. No one wants to go home with a huge box of their own unsold books!
- Bring anything you’d like your favorite author to sign for you–books, postcards, an autograph book. If you’ve made something special in honor of your favorite author, book, or character, bring it along. Trust me, authors love to see how you appreciate our work!
- Bring money–trust me, you’re going to find all kinds of new books you want! Carry cash, as not all authors may be capable of processing a card for you.
What should I take home?
Books! Tons of books! Also swag, gifts, food, and memorabilia that reminds you of what a great time you had!
What do I wear?
The fun thing about conventions is they’re a time to cut loose, have fun, and dress any way you want to. Some people of course come in normal, casual wear, some people dress formally, and other people dress in costumes, like their favorite characters, or very dramatically or in period clothing. At my first convention I was Steampunk-ed out almost the entire time! Of course, always check ahead of time to see if there’s a dress code, but if there isn’t, you’ll probably see a lot of people dressed in fun attire!
Any additional tips/advice?
Book conventions can be really overwhelming, especially if it’s a huge event held somewhere exciting. Ask at check-in about maps and schedules to make your experience easier. It’s best (and most fun) to rent a hotel room in the hotel where the convention is held (if it’s held in one) but staying off premises can also be more relaxing and let you decompress between events.
There you have it! Are you planning on attending any book conventions in the near future, as a fan or author? Will you be going to Love N. Vegas? If you have any additional questions for me, feel free to ask!
Urban fantasy and paranormal romance author.