Okay, who else is going?! I would love to meet up if you are!
So last year was very chaotic and kind of stressful. But now that I know what it’s like, I know how to plan better for this year! Therefore, I’d like to share a few tips for any of you who might be new to this book festival.
Last year, we arrived in town right on time. HORRIBLE IDEA. Make sure to leave yourself at least 45 minutes just for parking. Seriously, it was a zoo. And the closest parking garage has itty bitty parking spaces (in other words, drive a small car if you can!). It took me FOREVER to find a spot I could fit into (and that’s with a G6…imagine a truck or SUV), and by the time I did I was so frustrated I already wanted to leave. Then I was upset for the first couple hours because I missed out on authors I wanted to see. Don’t be like me!
The schedule of panels and signings is INSANE. Know going in that you won’t be able to see everyone. It’s just not possible. When you have 6-8 authors in one hour and it takes 30-45 minutes (sometimes more) to get through one line….well, you can do the math. Print out the schedule and prioritize the authors you want to see. Who do you want to see the most? Who can you miss out on? Be aware that you may wait in line as long as an hour, if not more, for a really popular author. Plan waiting time into your schedule.
Get into the lines early
If there’s an author you really want to see, and they’re scheduled for, say…noon: Get into their line at 11:40. Some of the authors have panels to go to, which means they HAVE to leave for that panel at a certain time, no matter how many fans are still in line. The closer you are to the front, the better chance you have to see them!
Bring a friend (or two)
The best way to get more books signed is to split the load. Then you can knock out multiple signings at once! Figure out which authors each of you wants to see the most, and which ones you can get by without meeting (but still getting a signed copy, of course). Then go your separate ways and find somewhere to meet after you’re done!
Don’t worry about being alone – there’s plenty of passionate bookish people surrounding you. Even if you’re shy I guarantee you it would take little effort to get a conversation going! (And don’t be afraid to jump into a conversation, nobody will mind!)
Like I said, don’t be me. Don’t freak out if it takes you an hour to find a space to park. (If you got there early, it won’t matter!) Go in knowing that you may not get to see everyone you want to see. Don’t get stressed out if you miss an author. If you planned carefully enough, with any luck that won’t happen! But again, keep in mind that some of the authors have panels to attend, so even if you get into the line they might have to leave before you can make it to them.
This of course is the most important part! I had a blast last year meeting bookish people (including Team Epic Reads and a couple bloggers) and awesome authors and I am SO stoked to be returning this year!!