Hey, guys, it has been a while since my last post and I do apologize for being AWOL but it has been a crazy two weeks to say the least. Apart from being crazy busy at work I also had a various bookish/nerd events that I shall be posting about in the coming days. As you can probably guess from the title of this post I went to NYCC this year and it was an interesting experience. I also quickly stopped by Leigh Bardugo’s launch of Crooked Kingdom that happened at The Strand bookstore, met Tim Burton and Ransom Riggs, went to the first ever Wattcon in NYC and saw Marissa Meyer, Anna Banks and Caleb Roehrig. For now though I want to focus on NYCC since it offered tons of bookish (and not so bookish) events alone.
After having the forethought to pick up my 4-day pass on Wednesday, I went straight to the line for the Green Entrance on Thursday morning, which was spanning for a few blocks and went all the way around Javits Center!! Now, I don’t know how familiar you guys are with the New York City layout but for those of you who don’t know NYC has a grid system, which is incredibly easy to navigate. The actual Green Entrance was around 37th st. and 11th ave but the line snaked all the way around 12th and 34th st. In other words, it’s incredibly long! There are also NYCC volunteers at the subway station (which is essentially on 34th st. between 11th and 10th ave) who make you circle around 10th ave, then go up 37th st. and make your way to the end of the line which as I already mentioned is at 34th st. Why couldn’t have we just gone west on 34th st. instead I hear you ask? Well, dear readers, I cannot for the life of me answer that. It seems logical and yet somehow it’s not the practice. Anyway, you get in line and then you go through a security check and then you end up in purgatory, I mean Queue Hall, where you can choose to line up for panels on the main stage (I didn’t have any panels I wanted to see on Thursday) or the show floor. I made a bee line for the show floor chutes and then the real wait began. It’s worth mentioning that the show floor opens at 10am and they let you enter Queue Hall between 8:00-8:30am, so the wait is pretty substantial. Once I got to the floor I went straight to Random House’s booth to pick up an advance copy of Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves, which is one of the books I was most excited about. They were also giving away ARCs of Salla Simukka’s As Red as Blood so I grabbed a copy of that as well. I checked what other books Penguin would be giving away throughout the weekend and left to see what the rest of the publishers had in store for us. The best part about NYCC is how close the publishing booths are to each other. Unlike literary festivals where everything is spread out, New York Comic Con had them all clustered together so it’s easy when you have signings at different booths at the same time, for example. I had a floor map with me but really didn’t need it for the most part since I only needed to turn left and practically walked into Epic Reads and HarperCollins. If you follow them on Twitter you already know they released their scheduled giveaways a few days before NYCC but I went to check what books fell into which theme and to get my Red Queen bandana. Epic Reads used to have a wheel you spin to get a book but this year they had decided to change the way they were handling their giveaways and I have to admit I much prefer the way they did it at NYCC. Basically they announced themes and there was a schedule that tells you which theme was each day. Once you go to the booth on that particular day, they had a list with three books you get to CHOOSE from. That’s right, no more spinning the wheel and ending up with a book you do not want, no more people trying to exchange them for different books and no more people crowding the booth trading between each other. It was a miracle! It was faster, more organized and people were actually happy with their books since it was their choice to begin with. I glanced quickly at the books they were offering on Thursday, made a mental not to come back at the appointed hour and went exploring. And by that I mean I practically bumped into Abrams Books’ table. They had ARCs of Roseblood and A Face Like Glass so I gracefully (not!) turned my hitting their table into me reaching for the books. I was fooling no one so unsurprisingly they laughed; and then proceeded in telling me they were giving free copies of Iron Cast by Destiny Soria if you signed up for their newsletter. Books in hand, I then went in search of the Funko booth since I had won a ticket for their line at 10:30am. They were so many people who either didn’t managed to get a ticket or weren’t even aware they needed one to get in line. I only wanted to get a few of the NYCC exclusives they had so when I saw a bunch of guys begging people in line to get them various Pops I offered to help them out. Huge mistake!!!!! A lot of the other people in line were actually charging them for ‘their services’. I didn’t. I didn’t care to make money off other attendees so I only wanted them to give me the exact cash for their purchases, which is what led to me being swarmed by twenty guys waving money in my face and pointing at their phones. I don’t exactly regret helping them out since we were only allowed one of each exclusive so it’s not like I was depriving other people in line from their share but I definitely wished the guys I was helping out were a bit less enthusiastic about the whole thing. There was talking over each other, arguing who asked me first for a specific figure and general noise that gave me a headache. After that it got pretty busy on the show floor and people were just shoving books in my hands even if I had stopped at their booth for a completely different reason. Not a bad problem to have but it explains how I ended up with over twenty books that day. It also explains why I cannot tell you what other books I got that day because I simply have no idea when I got what. I do know I got a proof copy of Nemesis by Brendan Reichs that day though. I left 10 minutes before the show floor closed for the day at 7pm and barely managed to drag all the books I got. Revelation: books are incredibly heavy!
I somehow managed to sleep through three alarms on Friday so I had to take a cab to the convention center if I had any hope of making it in as soon as they opened. I am still convinced my driver was not human because he somehow managed to get me there in 12 minutes during rush hour, dropping me off just before a hundred or so people were about to get in line. Needless to say I got even a better spot in line than the previous day. Score! I walked around the floor for a bit before getting in line at Epic Reads’ booth for an ARC giveaway. The theme was Fantasy Retellings and they were offering The Wish Granter, Hunted and something else that I cannot remember. After picking up my book I went to Quirk Books to pick up an advance copy of Geekerella by Ashley Poston and then got in line for a V. E. Schwab signing at Tor. They were giving away free copies of Vicious and wrap for the Shades of Magic trilogy that will go around all three books and it looks stunning. The line was pretty long and the guys at the booth actually worried they might not have books for everyone. I met a girl who was there with her boyfriend (who was only there to carry her books by the way lol) and we talked about other giveaways happening that day. She held my spot while I ran quickly to Penguin to grab us copies of The Valiant and then she went to get us both copies of Wolf by Wolf. Once Victoria got there the line started moving pretty fast. When I got to the table we chatted for a while and reminisced about her incredibly long line in London, I grabbed some A Conjuring of Light buttons and ran to get in line for Naomi Novik. She was signing along with Katherine Arden, whose book I already had an ARC of but the guys at Del Rey asked me take one anyway. So there might be a giveaway of The Bear and the Nightingale coming your way soon. I also got a free copy of His Majesty’s Dragon and a signed copy of Uprooted. Feeling pretty good about my loot so far, I decided to head over to Disney-Hyperion for a pin and as luck would have it, they were giving away proofs of Royal Bastards by Andrew Shvarts at that time. By then I was starving and since I had nothing else for the moment I decided to head to the food court to grab something to eat. A lot of people actually bring their own food to NYCC, however, I like my lunch hot and relatively fresh so I was buying food at Javits throughout the weekend. I might be a minority but I actually think the prices were not that bad for NYC. Obviously it was slightly more expensive inside the convention center and you should totally disregard the $18 dollar sandwich but there were tables with seats, it was not as crowded as the show floor and the food was hot so you feel like a human again. My last event for the day was an Evangeline Lily signing at Titan Books, where everyone was from the UK and complaining how the weather back in London was warm and sunny and they were not there to enjoy it. This was actually the only book that I bought during NYCC and I got to meet Evangeline Lily and discuss Australia with her (completely random and I have no idea how we got into that conversation!) of all things. I left straight after that.
Saturday was the worst crowd wise. It was so packed it took me 10 minutes to walk 15 feet! I had a bunch of panels I wanted to go to so after I managed to grab a spot for those I went to the show floor and there was a girl who told me they were giving Heartless ARCs at Macmillan so I made my way there. I was pretty close, hence the 15 feet comment above. 10 minutes later I had my boxed ARC and t-shirt and I left Javits to head out for the Shadowhunters panel at Hammerstein Ballroom. I had to fight my way through some fangirling teenagers to get a seat but a seat I got and it was practically next to the stage. Score: me -1, screaming teenagers – 0. After the panel they were giving away totes, t-shirts (I actually got a MALEC one so I’m pretty happy about it), and Lord of Shadows chapter samplers. I grabbed some and went out running back to Javits. While I was waiting for the Shadowhunters panel to start I was browsing Twitter and saw there was a surprise proof giveaway of Frogkisser! by Garth Nix happening right then so I was pretty bummed out on the way to Javits Center for missing it. I got myself some pizza to drown my sorrows and took my sweet time getting back to the convention center. My next signing wasn’t happening for another 45 minutes so I decided on a whim to go and check if Scholastic had some Garth Nix galleys left. Imagine my surprise when I went and there was a bunch of them left. It might had something to do with the location of the room there were in or people not checking Twitter but there were at least twenty galleys left and I even managed to snag a signed one! Frogkisser! secured, I made my way to Random House to get a signed copy of Shadow Run after which I just walked around the floor for a bit and grabbed a Häagen-Dazs. I decided to sit down for a bit but before I could do so some guy told me they were giving away galleys of the new Anne Rice book at one of the Penguin booths and on my way there I saw Garth Nix singing copies of Goldenhand. The last thing I did on Saturday was a Netflix and Iron Fist panel, which was ridiculously crowded but also incredibly fun.
I woke up pretty early on Sunday and got ready only to find out it was pouring outside! By the time it eased a bit it was almost noon and I got to the convention center pretty late and had already missed the only panel I wanted to see that day. I browsed the floor for a bit and bought a stuffed toy of some mythical animal from an upcoming anime. Don’t ask me why. I just thought I should buy something. We’ve all been there…I hope. I then grabbed a bunch of free books from booths that were really persistent. And yes, okay, I wasn’t exactly resisting free books. I also went to one of the Penguin booths to spin a prize wheel while waiting for the last Epic Reads giveaway. I won an audiobook of Fangirl, which was actually the second audiobook I had won. The first being Harry Potter, which I won on Thursday. Overall, I think Sunday was way more relaxed than Saturday. Also a lot of vendors were trying to get rid of their stock so the price slashes were insane. Publishers were offering a buy one get one free deal on books the entire day and some of the toy vendors had up to 35% off and it felt like every single person on the floor was trying to buy something whether they needed it or not. I ended up with 67 books, only one of which I’d bought. Of those, 55 are advanced copies so I’m pretty happy with my book haul and my NYCC experience in general. I met so many awesome new people, and finally put faces to people I’d known only as screen names on social media platforms. I talked to authors and actors. But most importantly, I’ve met so many like-minded people and ultimately they were the ones that made my comic con experience so enjoyable.