If I Ran Book Expo America and Blogger Con

Amanda Nelson

Staff Writer

Amanda Nelson is an Executive Director of Book Riot. She lives in Richmond, VA.

I’m home from Book Expo America and have consumed enough water and vegetables to cleanse my system of all the bourbon and fried chicken I ate while in New York; therefore, I finally feel like a human being again. BEA is double-cool-with-knobs and Blogger Con is the cat’s pajamas, but there are a few changes I would make so the experience is a bit more enjoyable for all:

Blogger Con

  • Outlaw non-bloggers from being opening or closing keynote speakers at Blogger Con. Ok, outlaw non-bloggers from being any kind of speaker at Blogger Con. Ok, outlaw non-bloggers at blogger con (kidding about that last one). Because author keynotes tend to be a bit BE NICE TO US ALSO DID YOU READ MY BOOK ALSO BE NICE and industry speakers tend to be a bit BE NICE TO US ALSO REVIEW OUR SHIT WHEN WE TELL YOU TO ALSO BE NICE.
  • Have an uncon option for veteran bloggers. It seemed like most folks there this year were newer bloggers for whom panels about blogging platforms and extending your audience would be super-informative. But if you’ve been doing this sort of thing for a hot minute, you probably know most of that information (or know how to get it without leaving your couch). If Blogger Con gave veterans a room with a white board and the ability to talk about our own shit in person without any industry folks giving out business cards, that would be the bee’s knees.
  • During the Q&A section of panels, prohibit anyone in the audience from making statements. “I ALSO have a blog and I do it THIS way and that is all” is not a question and is just self-promotion and no one cares, sit down in the back and be quiet.


    • More of the following: carpeting, randomly placed tables and chairs, and phone charging stations. They have these things in the Press and ABA lounges, but I want them ON THE FLOOR. I’m already walking all over creation, I don’t want to hoof it to a lounge just to sit down for 30 seconds. 
  • Thirty lashes with the badge lanyard for anyone who stops in the middle of the big aisles to look at their phone, their swag, the booths, or anything else. MOVE.
  • Anyone who sneaks a rolling suitcase onto the floor will be forced to spend the rest of the day in the Scientology booth dressed as a pirate.
  • Anyone who cuts in line for a signing will wake up the next day dyed red, like that woman in When She Woke.
  • For the love of all that is holy, put in another Starbucks.
  • Shuttles from Javits to Penn Station (the closest subway stop, which is a million miles away [this is hyperbole, but it FEELS like a million miles when you’re carrying eight tote bags full of books and your feet are now nubs and you can’t remember your name]).
  • TWITTER AVATARS ON EVERYONE’S BADGE. I don’t know your real name and you don’t know mine, but I know you’re the girl from Twitter with the picture of the dancing unicorn with a horn made of blood, so.
  • All swag totes must have solid bottoms. All swag buttons must be clever. No one wants your postcard.
  • If you hold up the line for 10 minutes so you can tell your boring life story to the author who is signing, you will be forbidden from ever reading that author ever again. And everyone in line behind you is allowed to take your books. And your totes.

    I now realize I would basically be turning BEA into a bookish Lord of the Flies but I’m sort of FINE with it because efficiency. What changes would you make to the conference, if you had God-like conference powers?


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