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How to Con!


With so many professional conferences and fan conventions each year, we thought it might be helpful to provide some tips and tricks for not only surviving the con, but getting the most out of it at the same time.

How to pack

  • Comfortable yet professional shoes – Convention center floors will kill your feet, your Pack Thisback, and your soul.

  • Layers – Get ready to bundle up or strip down depending on the hour. If you’re going to be in cosplay, be prepared for weather fluctuations!

  • An extra bag (or 3) or a budget to ship things home

  • Vitamins/Airborne – Seriously you will need them.

  • Snacks (protein!)—a must for on-the-go energy replenishing

  • A versatile bag that holds a lot without hurting your back. See above. Bonus points if it fits with your cosplay!

How to schedule

  • You can’t do everything. Don’t try. Seriously.

  • Things that sounded great on paper might be super boring in reality, so schedule NYCC Schedulealternatives.

  • Some things that sounded OK might be the greatest thing ever, so be prepared to totally scrap your schedule and do something completely different.

  • You may want to stick with your colleagues for everything, but try to resist that urge. Being on your own is so much easier mentally and physically. Meeting people in a huge place with shoddy Wi-Fi is incredibly difficult, and you may be wandering hopelessly around for hours.

  • Make time to eat. Eating is the most difficult thing. Food is expensive. The lines are long. There are never seats in the food court. Either plan a lot of time to eat, or pack your lunch and snacks.

  • A lot of networking happens at night… with drinks. Definitely make an appearance, but don’t close down the place. Get some sleep! You’ll need it.

How to walk the floor

  • If you want to “see everything”, start at one end of the floor. Walk NYPL at ALAup and down each aisle methodically. RESIST the free candy unless you are willing to talk to that particular vendor. If you don’t have time for the “stop-and-chat”, you don’t have time for candy.

  • If someone asks to scan your badge, YOU WILL GET EMAILS FROM THAT VENDOR. In some cases, you may even get a box of L. Ron Hubbard books sent to your office. Just be mindful of who is scanning your badges and prepare for an onslaught of spam.


How to save money

  • Don’t stay in the closest hotel to the convention center. It might be convenient, but you will pay a LOT for that convenience. There is usually a Holiday Inn or similar nearby. Just make sure the hotel is officially linked to the conference (there are usually several) so you can take advantage of any free shuttle services they might offer. ALAMW Hotel Map

  • Share a hotel room! – You might think it is unprofessional to share a hotel room with a colleague, but sometimes it’s more than just convenient, it’s beneficial. If you have a colleague that you’re friendly with, and on the same wavelength with, rooming together could solidify your relationship. Think about future meetings, reminiscing and commiserating about various con-related memories. It adds a special layer to your partnership.  

  • Take the free shuttle! – It might have a long line, but free transportation in a major city is a great bonus. If you need to take a cab, look for other attendees to share a ride with. Odds are, a LOT of people are going in the same direction. Of course, walking is always a great option, but can be quite time consuming.

  • Do not buy food at the convention center. As stated above, it is mediocre at best, and ridiculously expensive. Buy food at a grocery store in advance. Pack your lunches and your snacks.

How to party

  • If you are invited to exclusive parties, only say yes to those events SLJ Reviewer Partyyou are sure you will be attending. If you say no, and then are able to attend last minute, you are usually let in if you just show up and explain.

  • Remember to always be outreaching. Always be networking. You never know who will change your life.

  • Do not shut the party down. Remember, you have to be up early tomorrow.


How to have fun

  • Arrive a day early NYPL Sightseeingor stay a day late to go sightseeing. Even if you’ve been to that particular city before, it’s great to have a fun day around town.

  • Find the event’s hashtag and keep the conversations going! This is also great for when you are unable to attend everything, and want to know what happened.

  • Finally, it’s a con! Enjoy being surrounded by likeminded people, colleagues, and friends.



Remember: New York Comic Con’s Professional Programming  is at the Stephen A. Schwarzman building on Thursday, October 5th!

Further Reading:


Sam Maggs
The Fangirl's Guide to the Galaxy
Info for ALA Attendees
Fan Guide
Ultimate Fan Guide to NYCC



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