Book Festivals – What I’ve Learned + Tips

When I went to my first book festival, there were a couple things I wished I knew before I went. I was really glad I had my friend with me because she knew what she was doing and I didn’t. I just followed her around. I didn’t even know about the panels at that festival. That’s how clueless I was.

Image result for sherlock wait what gif

^^ me when my friend suggested we go to a panel at my first book festival

Anyway, I compiled a couple tips and things I’ve learned from the two book festivals I’ve attended. I am by no means an expert, but I hope this can help at least one person.


Before Attending

Do your research

This is probably one of the most important steps. If you don’t know what you’re walking into, you’re going to get lost and that won’t be all that fun. Research the schedule, the panels, the authors that are attending, parking, rules, etc. The more informed you are, the less likely you’ll be stressed.

Find a friend to go with

This is my own personal opinion, but festivals and events are more fun when you have someone to share the experience with. With bigger book festivals, I find that it’s easier to go with one other person rather than multiple people. The more people there are, the less you will probably get done because there are more people to keep track of. Different people have different preferences, and that includes books. Plus, it’s hard to find more than two seats together at panels unless you get there really early. If you do happen to go in a group of more than two people, then I suggest having an even number of people so there will be some sort of buddy system in case the group gets split.


There are only a couple authors and a ton of readers, so don’t expect to meet all of the authors you want to. That’s why you should prioritize who you want to meet and which panels you want to go to.

Plan your schedule

Going off of the previous step, you need to plan your schedule based on what you want to prioritize. The great thing about prioritizing is that you have a back-up plan in case you can’t do your first or second option. Now, I understand that schedules are not everyone’s thing, but if you like to be orderly and know what the expect, then I suggest you make a schedule. If you don’t really care about having a schedule, just have a general idea of what you want to go to.

Prepare the day before

Pack the things you need: books, phone, money, etc. I will also suggest having a pen and paper with you in case you need to jot something down or put your name in a book when you’re in line for a signing.

Day of the Festival

Get there early

Often times festivals have early incentives like tickets to meet certain authors, so I suggest you make sure you check out all the details of the festival and who you want to meet. Getting to the place early means that you have earlier access to… well, everything. You have earlier access to books, merch, information, etc.

Pack your own food

This is an advice I got from a friend, and boy, am I glad she told me about this one. Most of the time, the food at festivals is super overpriced and you have to wait in a long line to get a measly portion. Instead of spending all your money on food, you should just pack your own so you can wait in line for the next event you want to go to without having to pay for lunch. That’s what my friend and I did. Because of that, we were able to get into the BookTuber panel and meet people like Jesse from Jesse the Reader and Regan from Peruse Projects.

At the Festival

Don’t expect to meet all the authors

Once again, there are only a couple authors and a lot of readers, so they might not have the time to meet everyone you want to. That’s okay! There are always other authors you can meet and maybe you’ll find a new author that you’ve never heard of before and get to know them a bit better.

Patience is key

You’re going to be doing a lot of walking so make sure you wear comfortable shoes. Also, there will be a lot of standing in lines, so patience is key.

Get to the signing booth early

If there’s a famous author that you really desperately want to meet, I suggest that you skip the last panel before signings and just head over to the signing line. My friend and I really wanted to meet Marie Lu so we skipped the last panels and went down to where the line was waiting and it was already so long that part of the line was outside. Even though we were an hour early, there were still many people waiting to meet these authors. That being said, if you wait until the actual time of the signing, you’re going to be waiting for a really long time before you can meet any of the authors.

And lastly, just have fun!

This one is pretty self explanatory. Book festivals are meant to be a fun and carefree day, so why not enjoy it with people that share the same interests as you? Get to know people while waiting in lines! Talk to them. Surely you’ll find someone who loves the same books as you. Just have fun!


What are some of your tips?

Are there any book festivals or author events you’re planning on attending?

What is one author you’d like to meet?


Until next time….


11 thoughts on “Book Festivals – What I’ve Learned + Tips

  1. Dalindcy Koolhoven 01/20/2018 / 8:57 am

    I’ve been to a couple of book festivals but I’m not nearly as well-versed in them as you are. I struggle with the planning of the day – I really need to research better and then plan WHEN I’m doing WHAT. That”s honestly the best way to get the most out of the festival. They’re really fun but a bit hectic.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jessica 01/20/2018 / 3:48 pm

      I agree! If I don’t make a schedule of what I want to get to and when, then I feel a bit out of control. There’s so many people that it can get crazy at festivals. 😄

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Annie Xia 01/20/2018 / 10:28 am

    I’m planning to go to my first book festival this summer (which is very exciting), so this post is perfect! AH, you got to meet Reagan from PeruseProject?? She’s my favorite booktuber. Oof, what one author would I like to meet? That’s tough. Maybe Christopher Healy, the author of The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom. I think he would be hilarious.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jessica 01/20/2018 / 3:51 pm

      Ooh! I hope you have a blast at your first book festival!
      I did get to meet Regan briefly last year but I was so shy that I didn’t say much 😬
      I’ve never heard of Christopher Healy, but I hope you get to meet him sometime soon! ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

      • Annie Xia 01/20/2018 / 5:51 pm

        Thank you!!
        Oh, that’s okay! I feel like if I met her I would just give her a huge hug and then ramble something that doesn’t really make sense.
        Me too!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. xpectopatronerd 01/22/2018 / 9:34 am

    I really enjoy reading about book festivals from the other side – I spend much of my year working at them; so it’s interesting to know what guests actually think! Totally agree on the food and drink situ… thank god we can usually expense our meals at YALC or I’d spend more than my usual monthly shop over 3 days! x

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jessica 01/22/2018 / 5:20 pm

      I was so surprised at how expensive the food is at the last book festival I went to so I’m really glad I brought my own lunch. Otherwise I would’ve spent all my money I brought for books on food 😬


      • xpectopatronerd 01/23/2018 / 5:39 am

        It’s ridiculous – they know they can charge that because people WILL spend it. At YALC we always advise people to pop out to the Tesco over the road!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Jessica 01/23/2018 / 7:51 am

          Good idea. Maybe next time I go to a book festival I’ll check out some stores nearby 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  4. mscomfyjumpers 01/24/2018 / 11:49 pm

    I really, really want to attend a book festival sO BADLY. There aren’t any here (at least not for YA books that I like) but I keep watching BookTube videos about these events and, ugh. WHY NOT ME?! *throws a plate*
    Anyway, you met Jesse and Raegan!! That’s so freaking cool. I love their videos. Maybe you could do a post of everything you did at the event, people you met and panels you attended. That’d be cool.
    Also, great job on the tips and advice! These look really helpful.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jessica 01/25/2018 / 12:31 am

      Good idea! I plan to attend the same book festival this year (we’ll see if I can actually make it) as I did last year so maybe I’ll make a post about that in the future.

      I really hope something pops up around where you live in the near future. I think every reader should have an opportunity to meet their favorite authors!

      Liked by 1 person

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