Note: I used my headset to dictate a lot of this so most of the errors here exist because my computer still doesn’t understand me when I talk…
I finally got the chance to sit down and work on my write-up of my first time attending BookNet Fest, a relatively local convention for the book community that was in Orlando, Florida for two days this past weekend.
Thanks to the unbelievable kindness of people that I know on Twitter and who shared my crowdfunding a link on Facebook and their Twitter audiences as well, I was able to attend this convention where I actually had the opportunity to speak on two panels and attend Many More.
I attended the two-day convention with my childhood bestie Shannile and we had a BLAST just taking in all the amazing panels and meeting new people.
While I expected to have a great time meeting new people and talking about books with people who also likes to talk about books, I was incredibly pleased with the friendliness of everyone that I spoke to and with the knowledge I had gained from the various panels that I attended.
So let’s get started on my write-up which will include links to the social media profiles of some of the booktubers and bloggers and authors that I was able to meet and hang out with this weekend.
I have the pleasure of being on two panels for BookNet Fest 2018: Friday’s “Alternative Storytelling” panel and Saturday’s “WOC in the Bookish Community” panel. Those panels were really amazing and completely different from the academic panels I’ve been on previously at PCA 2016. While I was incredibly anxious, all of my panel siblings were super friendly and I loved talking with them!
On the alternative storytelling panel, I primarily focused on audiobooks and podcasts because those have been my main Focus from much of the past few months. however, I do have a rec list with a great deal of non-audio recommendations that I think are a “must consume” for anyone who wants to shift their storytelling needs a bit. (I’m posting the highlights here, but y’all can always reach out for the full one that I’m too lazy to type up right now!)
I think I’m most proud of the fact that I got in a reference to an Edward Said quote I first heard of in a book on colonialism in science fiction that one of my followers got me a couple of weeks (maybe a month). The quote in question sees him referring to the novel as being important to “the formation of imperial attitudes, references, and experiences”.
Quick Rec List:
- Visual Novels: Dream Daddy and robo-tea:1cup!
- Podcast: Shudder’s Darkest Night
- Audio Play: Graphic Audio’s production of No Man’s Land
- Video Game: Bioware’s Mass Effect Andromeda (look… don’t judge me)
“WOC in the Bookish Community”
My second panel at BookNet Fest was anxiety inducing right until it started and then it felt a little bit like coming home. This panel, that I was on with four women who primarily make BookTube their main site for criticism and commentary, was incredible and unlike any other panel of that I’ve ever been on or ever dreamed of being on.
It wasn’t just us airing grievances about the state of race and racism in the book Community, we talked about our finding community and what we wanted to get out of the community what we wish the community could be better at when it comes to women of color.
Personally, I really appreciated the chance to talk about my experiences with fandom racism in the context of these communities because the bookish community, like fan spaces for a lot of transformative fandoms, is primarily populated by women. Many of these women happen to be white. Additionally it’s a sad fact, that many white women don’t handle conversations about race and racism well, especially when these conversations are started by women of color. I’m really glad that I had the opportunity to speak with other women of color about their experiences, and and share you know be part of sharing my experiences and what I love and loathe about these communities.
A lot of people also said very nice things to me about this panel which I appreciated because talking about race and racism especially as a black person can be… difficult, and you never know who’s going to miss the markor become aggressive in response to you discussing your trauma or harassment that you’ve received.
10/10 would do this again!
(Also: While the panels were at least partially filmed, I’m unsure if I will be able to get links to the filmed final product, but if I get links, y’all will get links too.)
I also just… talked a lot in general. If you were wandering around and saw me, chances are that you saw me talking to someone (or a bunch of someones). I had a fantastic time chatting with all of these super cool people in the community and I’m just mad that I couldn’t talk to everyone!!
Next year though, next year I’ll be better at socializing.
I think that in two days of BookNet Fest, I socialized more than I did in two years of graduate school. I went to 1 panel per hour that we had a panel and I took notes for many of them because I was just fascinated by what the panelists were talking about and I learned so much about blogging, about YouTube, about being an author in progress that I think will shape me as a creator and as a blogger in the bookish community in the future.
I also got a ton of business cards and Twitter followers which is pretty great! I love business cards! I’m going to link to everyone that I can remember!
- Rebecca and Sarah from Tea Hags
- Hailey LeBlanc
- Alexa Donne (whose debut novel Burning Brightly was one of the books I bought this weekend)
- A Beautiful Bookworm
- Leighanne’s Lit
- CatFairy Books (she’s another South Floridian and just such a sweet peach)
- Monique Joiner Siedlak
- Max (another sweet peach and one of the first new people I met at BNF)
- Alicia (wants to read my thesis For Fun and has excellent fandom thoughts)
- Juleah del Rosario (whose debut 500 Words or Less is coming out This Month)
(If you’re like “well, I was at BNF and Stitch didn’t put my name down here even though we bonded”, please drop a comment with your info so my friends and followers can see it and bask in your awesomeness! I’ve got a memory like a busted pasta strainer and sometimes I miss people at list-focused times like this! But all of y’all deserve to be seen!)
I Couldn’t Resist Buying Books
It’s not a book convention without me spending money on books. So, here’s a quick look at my baby book haul which covers books I got at BookNet Fest and at Orlando’s Book Warehouse on the way out of the county.
First, here are the books I got at the actual convention.
Lauren Oliver’s Broken Things (Out 10/2018)
Alexa Donne’s Brightly Burning
Cheryl Klein’s The Magic Words (From Alexa’s Writer Meet-Up!)
Patrick Ness’s And The Ocean Was Our Sky
Next are the books I got at Book Warehouse on our way home:
Sable Grace’s Bedeviled (Dark Breed #2)
Robin D. Owens’ Ghost Seer and Ghost Layer
The first four books in J. R. Rain’s Samantha Moon series
Christina Laurens’ Dark Wild Night (Four Seasons #4)
And two super discounted Picadilly notebooks! (The one on the right will be where I take notes/do research for my Urban Fantasy 101 stuff! I’ve already slapped a label on it and everything!)
Y’all, I ate poutine at Disney Springs and I will basically dream of it until next year when I eat it again. It was So Good! (As evidenced by the fact that it’s in my write-up!)
To Sum Up
I left BookNet Fest 2018, longing for next year’s event. I left feeling reenergized to do the work I’ve been doing on media and fandom criticism and with tons of ideas on how to rework my approach so that it’s more accessible! I loved every single moment of the different panels I attended and I wish I’d been able to attend all of them because there was just so much to do and too many cool panels overlapped.
We’ve already got the dates for next year’s event and you can bet your sweet bippy that I’ll be back at the Caribe Royale in September 2019 with bells on! (And, depending on how my writing/brand-building/general career goal, maybe I’ll be a bigger presence and will be able to like… work up the courage to do more things and meet more people!)
While I can’t thank every single person who made my first BookNet Fest a complete success where I felt like I belong (because we’d be here all day and it’s already after 8pm), I want to end this write-up by thanking Marines and Sam, the convention’s two co-founders, for setting up this amazing event!
See y’all next year!