Comic Con for the Young Adult Reader Part Two – Exhibition Hall

Okay. This one is more difficult to describe if you have never been to Comic Con. But, if you know what you are doing, can be very, very rewarding.

So, what is the Exhibition Hall? Well, it’s huge. I’ve never seen any pictures that do it justice.  Even the map doesn’t quite convey the epicness. But imagine all of the movie studios, all of the toy companies, all of the video game companies all trying to out do one another on BIGGEST, COOLEST booth ever surrounded by smaller retailers, publishers, fan groups, and artists. And imagine something like 90,000 people all trying to look at everything.

It’s a madhouse.

Navigating through the Exhibition Hall is just as important a task as figuring out your schedule. It’s important to know where you want to go and why and when. But, that’s a completely different topic and such. I’m just going to talk to you about the publishers. Where they are, what they do, and how to make the most of their booths.

All this is based on previous experience but you never know when they might decide to change up their system. So, really visit the booths early on and get the lay of the land.

If you want to get the most out of the give outs and signings and everything that publishers are doing I suggest you get there early and get whatever schedules they have posted. If they only have a poster of the schedule, and nothing to take away, WRITE IT DOWN! You will forget! And write down everything, even the stuff you know you will miss! Just in case.

Let’s start with Penguin. Because I love them and they are fantastic and always have a good Comic Con presence and a good attitude towards those of us at Comic Con. AND AND AND AND!!! If you were perusing the booth listings, you’ll notice that Penguin Teen is no longer shoved into the corner by the Star Wars stuff!!

This was almost as exciting to me as the presence of Peter Jackson.

Because we wont be blocking DK when we line up! We wont be in everyone’s way! Woohoo! Okay so, our first year there Penguin Teen would just put out ARCs at specific times during the day, and if you happened by, then you got one, if not, too bad. Though, as we found out, if you stayed and chatted and expressed interest in certain books, they were really nice about grabbing them for you.

Last year they had a flyer with scheduled times for ARC giveouts and author signings and there was ALWAYS a line. Which was awesome because the lines ended up being friends as we were all always the same people in line…and it was just a lot of fun. You’ll hear people say that Comic Con is 90% lines, and this is true, but sometimes the lines are the best part. One time we were lining up and then King Arthur came by on his horse.

Penguin Teen also has, or has had in the past, awesome swag. Pins, posters, magnets, lanyards. I love the magnets. I have a whole side of my fridge dedicated to book propaganda. It’s awesome. I have signed posters and I always make sure to cover my badge lanyard with book pins. They girls working the booth have always been nice and chatty and just look like they are having a good time. Which I appreciate. And, other than the unfortunate location of their booth, things have always run smoothly. I’m really, really excited to see their booth this year, what with having it by the other publishers and everything.

Little Brown has always been good as well. They have a detailed schedule about when to expect signings and giveouts, and generally have different swag than anyone else. I have picked up a deck of cards and a lollipop from them. They are awesome. And, during our very first year, when we walked in to the (adult side of the) Little Brown booth the very first thing that was said to us was, “Would you like a free book?” We said yes, and the rest was history. I’m so excited to see what they have with them this year.

Simon and Schuster has always been a little hit and miss at this convention. I remember the first year there was a nice girl, who would talk to us and tell us their plans and such, and there was a not-nice girl who just sat there and looked like she’d rather be somewhere else. Either way, they generally had less give outs and I don’t think I remember any signings or anything. The one I remember from last year, you had to be at their panel so that you knew when to ask about it. And then they were giving out these beautiful tote bags. But yeah, hit and miss. I think last year we had a better experience with them then our first year. I’m curious to see what they will have in store for us this year.

Macmillan and Harper Collins have, in the past, had only a very, very small selection of YA books at their booth and generally no one who was very knowledgeable about their YA catalog. But, I’m so happy to see that has changed this year! It is listed that they will both have separate Teen sections and and and and EEEEKKK!!! I’m excited because it’s something new and different and is the biggest change I’ve seen from last year (publisher wise) and I can’t wait to see what the swag will be. Magnets? I love magnets!

Also, author signings. I enjoy those as well.

Random House I have zero memories of. I think we walked by one time and there was a signing? Maybe? Yeah. I don’t know. I’ll report back on this after this year’s show. I don’t think we’ve ever had the chance to chat with anyone here and I don’t remember a big YA presence. Christine might know better.

There are a spattering of other publishers, I know Disney Hyperion is usually there and some other small press, but again, no real memories of them.

Other than visiting the publishers often I have two pieces of information. Keep yourself informed! Visit all the booths that might even slightly be related to books you never know when you will get a super awesome Hunger Games pin, or come across Veronica Roth signing posters in a movie studio booth.

My second piece is make sure you schedule time to just wander the aisles. Famous people, awesome cosplay, and random moments of brilliance are sure to follow. Like Christine dressed as Rogue posing in front of the Tardis.

I will be posting a Part Three about where to find information or up to date knowledge from throughout the convention from book bloggers. And also answering any last minute questions. Please let me know if you have any questions.

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