Post by: Jess Ryno
This started as a Facebook post but ended up way too long.
To everyone asking about VIP and if it’s worth the extra money. First of all this is an opinion thing so there’s no right or wrong answer.
I feel like it depends on the year and it’s always a gamble.
Lets break down the perks
-VIPs get to pick signing tickets early. Well three years ago we got two tickets (this is all per day) and did not get to pick early. Last year it was two tickets (per day) but could pick one ticket (for each day) early and one (for each day) at the regular time. Which was kind of a pain because you had to be available at both times. This year we got 3 (per day) and could pick them all early. Three tickets per day sound great but keep in mind it takes you off the floor for a good chunk of the day.
-VIP signings They promise 1 per day but there are usually 3-4 signings in the VIP lounge. You have no idea who these authors are until about a month before the show. You might be interested in them or you might not. In years past the books at the signings were free but last year for one of the signings ran out of books before I got up there. This year they sent out an email days before the event saying VIPs would have to pay for the books at the VIP signings. I don’t know if it was a mistake or everyone complained but another email (one I did not get) went out Saturday morning that said the books would be free. However it might be a change they make next year if they tried to do it this year.
-reserved seats at the main stage That room is huge. I have never had trouble getting in.
-VIPs get first access to the show floor. This is not early access!! This year was nice they did let us in first and we were lined up closer to the big publishers so it was an advantage. Last year we were lined up on the other side, next to everyone else and they started letting general tickets in before all the VIPs were on the floor. So not much of an advantage. Three years ago VIPs lined up where they did this year and everyone else lined up downstairs. This was a huge advantage. VIPs were on the floor for several mins before the down stairs people made it up and they came up in a slow trickle rather than a giant flood.
-VIPs get a discount at the Bookcon store Again you may or may not buy something from there.
-VIP Lounge VIPs have a lounge to eat and hang out. Three years ago it was a small room downstairs. The past two it’s been a large area upstairs at the end of a long hallway. It’s a nice area but it is far away. There isn’t much there but tables chairs and a few couches. Some people like to go sit in the quite and relax or eat. I always find I am too busy to do anything but run up there for a signing and then run back, all the while grumbling that it’s too far away.
-VIP free bag check Three year’s ago it was run by Bookcon staff. It was crammed into the small VIP lounge downstairs it wasn’t very organized. They tried but things just got out of control. You were given a numbered sticker put on you badge and they put the same number on you bags. But they just couldn’t keep up with people wanting to get into their stuff and started letting people go back and do it themselves. Last year it was slightly better run mostly because they had more room. It was next to the VIP lounge. But again it was a long walk there and back. This year was much better. The VIP bag check was still upstairs but it was at the beginning of the long hallway so not nearly as far away. And it was run by the convention center’s bag check staff.
-VIP tote bag with books and swag This year there were three books in my bag last year I think there were two. The books vary (not all bags have the same books) I think this year two of the books were the same in all the bags but the third was different. I wasn’t interested in any of the three books I got this year and traded them for something I would read. I also gave away my tote as I already had a bigger one that I was using and just didn’t want to carry around more stuff. I kept the plastic zipper Bookcon pouch that was included.
There you have it all the perks of being a VIP at Bookcon and what they actually mean.
I really feel it’s a gamble and you won’t know if it was worth it till the weekend is over. Each year things are run a bit differently. I’ve had the VIP pass three years in a row. The first year I thought it was great and definitely worth the extra money. Last year was a big let down. This year, I think there are still things that could be improved upon but it was way better than last year. Hopefully it’s a trend and things will keep going in the right direction.
All that said you need to keep in mind the fact that there’s a limited number of VIP passes and they go fast.