I’m back! Still working on my writing up reviews for the last few books I’ve read, but in the meantime, I wanted to talk about Apollycon! It’s still book related and it was such a fun time so I wanted to share my experiences with you.
Like I said in my introduction post, I decided to return to blogging and reviewing after coming home from Apollycon 2019. For those who don’t know, Apollycon is a giant reader event featuring Young Adult, New Adult, and Adult authors. It lasts four days and includes author panels, multiple signing events, and a brunch and Q&A! I’m still trying to finish up a few more reviews, but I’m excited to start posting, and since this event was such a motivator, I wanted to write about my time!
This year it was hosted in DC which is super convenient since I only live about 45 minutes away, and didn’t have to make arrangements to stay in the hotel where the event was hosted. Also, there were different tiered tickets, so you didn’t have to attend all four days. I went the cheap route, and only went for the Saturday signing events (so my tickets were roughly $50).
I can’t remember how exactly I’d heard about the event, but I follow a lot of the author pages and have seen people talk about it in the past. At some point, I decided to take a closer look at the list of attending authors, and noticed that Sarah J Maas and Krista and Becca Ritchie would be going. As you’ll realize from my future reviews, these are some of my favorite authors in the whole world, so I was kind of desperate to go.
Back in October, I actually had the opportunity to see Sarah Maas the day her last book in the Throne of Glass series released. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get the tickets that allowed me to meet her after the event and get a personalized signature. So when I saw that Sarah would be at Apollycon, it felt like the universe telling me to go for it again, so I convinced my book-lover friend to clear her schedule in March and bought the tickets as a Christmas present to myself.
However! One of the measures they put in place for this event was line control for the really popular authors. The event handed out numbered wristbands for each of the “pre-ticketed” authors, and the first 200 people to request the wristbands for each author got one. During the actual signing, they would call out the numbers and as long as your number was less than the biggest number they called, you could get in line at any time. After the 200 people got through the line, then the authors were fair game for the rest of the event. Of course a good portion of the authors that I wanted to meet (Krista and Becca Ritchie, Kristen Callihan, Colleen Hoover, Elle Kennedy, and Helena Hunting) were all pre-ticketed authors. It was a little stressful and a lot chaotic trying to get all the wristbands for the authors I wanted to meet.
But it was definitely worth it – I got to meet Sarah Freaking Maas. Sarah was only at the session for the last hour, and we were only able to get one book signed by her (plus only candid photos). But it was still magical to be able to talk to the woman who has caused so much joy and pain in my life over the last four years. She was so kind especially since I basically gushed and I’m sure she’s heard it all before. And I got my favorite of her books, A Court of Mist and Fury, personally signed!
Also during the first session!!! I got to meet!!! Krista and Becca!!!! This was probably the greatest part of the morning! I made sure to wear my sweatshirt that said “The Thrill Of It All,” a quote from one of their books. I told them about being part of their Patreon and loving all their books and at the end we got pictures, and they both hugged me (which I’ll note did not happen with the couple of people who were in front of me – I’m telling myself I was special) and I almost cried.
The second session started at about 2:30pm. As neither my friend or I had large numbers for our pre-ticketed authors we opted not to sit on the floor in line for an hour, and instead found a cozy bench nearby and pulled out a couple books to read. This was kind of a special moment, because an organizer for the event walked past and LOVED that we were reading our books. She took our picture to share on the Facebook page – and later I geeked out because some pretty well known authors like Penelope Ward and Wendy Higgins liked the picture!
I won’t lie – the first session had all my unicorn authors, so really the second session didn’t totally hold up. But it was still wonderful meeting more amazing women! I’ve been reading all of their books for years and years and it was really special to be able to tell them how much their words meant to me! The highlights were definitely when Kennedy Ryan asked “Do you do hugs?” (Heck, yes lady) and Rebecca Yarros told me she was happy to reply to my fan mail I sent years ago after her latest book had been released!
I only had two complaints about the event. First, the bookstore: they did not restock the bookstore between Friday and Saturday. There was a signing of Friday and a lot of people bum rushed the store and bought all the available inventory for certain authors. I understand that it’s hard to transport a lot of books over several days, but perhaps half the books could have been set aside for the people who were only coming on Saturday (which was a significant portion).
My second complaint was about the wristbands: what they did was write 1 through 200 on each set of wristbands, and dump each individual wristband in the folder – so when I got my wristbands, even though I was one of the first 25 people in line, my pre-ticketed numbers weren’t any smaller than 85. My suggestion would have been to leave the bands stuck together and just tear them off as each person requested them, that way everyone got a wristband in numerical order and not randomly.
Aside from those details, I had a magical time at Apollycon. It renewed my love for books and has inspired me to come back here and write about it. And I got to thank so many authors for the impacts they’ve made in my life – maybe you won’t be able to attend this specific event, but I strongly encourage readers to try to attend at least one event like this near you. It was amazing experience that I hope I can enjoy again in the future!