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The BookCon 2018 - My Experience

For the past year, I have been preparing for the largest event of my writing career: BookCon. Having made preparations the previous summer, I had been collecting items, filling out paperwork, and promoting. Not to mention I also wrote the first two books of my children’s series “Adventures of Wobot” and my first collection of poetry “Stardust” within that same year.

Day 0

When June 1st arrived, the day I was to bring my things to the Javits center, I had such a strange feeling. I had been worried about that day for months and when it came it felt completely normal. My boyfriend and I drove to Clifton, NJ to meet my dad who already had the van packed with stuff. Together we drove to the city in the Friday night traffic.

Getting to the center, my nervousness started up again. Reading all the regulations and rules from the exhibitor handbook is enough to make you a little anxious. Nonetheless, when we got inside there was a worker there who clearly explained what we had to do. We pulled right into the Javits’ parking lot and began to unload. Since the bigger booths had been there from BookExpo the day before, there was plenty of room and no issues. Within two hours, we had unloaded, unpacked, and had my booth set and ready.

Then the sun fell on that day and the big event followed.

Day 1

We arrived at the Javits’ Center the next day, June 2nd, my nervousness faded away. I had my booth all set and I was ready to seize the day (as Keeper Mallory quotes [Isles readers will understand ;) ]). Once the doors opened, hundreds of book lovers swarmed the floor. Quite a few people came to visit me as well. I gave out my signature Isles’ bracelets, guitar picks, and bookmarks (of course). To my surprise, I sold two books within that first ten minutes.

After that, my confidence boosted. I stood behind my booth and smiled at all who passed, inviting them to take advantage of my free merch. Throughout the day, I met so many incredible people. I will never forget the wonderful duo of Nikki and Nikki. They were so sweet and loved everything that I was doing….and they fell in love with my 30” stuffed Wobot from my children’s book. They were the first to enter the selfie contest (and one Nikki won).

Finally, the evening crept up on us and the first day came to a close...and I was exhausted. I had stood on my feet all day, barely ate, and took only one break. That was definitely the busiest day of the weekend, and it was a great one.

Day 2

The next morning was a little more stressful. Being a Sunday, we needed to catch an early morning Mass before venturing into the city. The earliest was a 7:30 am. Thankfully, we made it, picked up another SF Crew member, and made it down to the city right on time. We may have not been early, but all the bookworms lined up to meet their favorite authors that morning. It was perfect. I had time to set up even though I was late.

The day went on and the attendees came and went. We and the other vendors found that that day was much slower than the previous. There weren’t as many people there and if they were, they were visiting the big name authors and speakers. With that being said, I had a little more downtime. I was able to talk more with my booth buddy, author and writing coach Kristen Martin, who bought my book the previous day. She is such a sweet, inspirational woman and it was a pleasure having my table next to hers. After speaking with her, my boyfriend and I walked the ground and visited some other vendors. However, when we returned, something was wrong.

Wobot was gone.

Thankfully, my booth guards had informed me that he was stolen away by my beloved mother and grandmother who were doing some field work. They had taken Wobot and introduced him to many other bookworms walking around. They met great individuals who in turn came to say hi to me afterward. Wobot was even introduced to the inspiring author Matt Mikalatos and was given a copy of his new (and beautifully designed) book, “The Crescent Stone”.

After Wobot’s hour of fame, I brought him back to where he belonged. The day continued and I was visited by more book lovers and Wobot’s biggest fans again, Nikki and Nikki and their friend Brittney (all who were once again dressed in fabulous cosplay). More books were signed and sold, Wobot got more selfies, and I met more smiling faces.

Finally, the day was coming to a close and the rush to takedown was on. The workers for the next convention were already there and ready to move in. This added a lot of pressure. With the whole SF Crew working double time, we took down the entire booth and brought it down to the lobby while we waited to load up the car...that wasn’t there yet. Traffic had prevented our vehicle to get there on time so we waited for a half an hour in the corner of the Javits’ center lobby until it finally arrived. Once we were packed up, we jumped into our cars and headed home.

It was finally over.

A year’s worth of preparation and the two days flew by in an instant. Even though the days were quick, they were worthwhile. My books are now in good hands and I hope they they cause the readers to smile (or shed a tear).

To all those who visited me at the BookCon, it was a pleasure meeting you and I thank you for all your kind words and encouragement. I hope you enjoy my books and my work, and I hope to keep in touch with you all. Thank you!

- Sara Francis, Wobot, and the SF Crew


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