BookNet Fest is like the Disney World for book nerds like me! This is my second year attending BNF in Orlando, FL and I loved my experience so much that I am already highly anticipating for the next book event for next year! I loved my second year at BNF the most because I met so many amazing people the second time around. My first year at BNF I met a couple of people here and there but I was a bit socially awkward throughout the experience because I didn’t really know many people there.
The year of BNF 2018 was a complete game changer when it came to meeting people because of the creators of BookNet Fest created an actual discord app for BookNet Fest attendees to connect with one another! This was a perfect way to connect because I was able to get to know people, know their blogs/channels, and make lunch/dinner plans with them! It was awesomeness! Most of us bookish people may be introverted but we definitely need to connect to share our book nerd love with one another!
Unfortunately, I didn’t get to take many pictures the first day due to the fact that my phone was less than 20% that day! #Tragedy
Due to the amazing Discord app, I was able to share a room with blogger Sarah Viehmann, Jocelyn @ Yogi with a Book, and Tea Hags! They were very accommodating and I am very grateful that they introduced me to one of the best things I have ever seen in my life!!! Three words!!! Potter Puppet Pals!!! There are no words to describe it just please watch it if you’re a fan of Harry Potter!
The Tea Hags did an awesome panel about Small Communities! I loved this panel because I am part of the small community when it comes to my blog and it is always nice to be able to connect with a panel that has to do with your own situation. They gave out some great advice about starting out in the book community and how it’s important to start and not to worry about having a perfect book channel/blog. One of the things, I learned about this panel is that it’s not about having 1,000 followers or even 10,000 followers, it’s really about the connection we make with other people through what we love which is simply books!
One of my favorite panels was the Outside of Romance panel because of course readbyzoe was part of the panel! I loved the panel because it discussed books, where the romance wasn’t the main focus and these kinds of books, are always my favorite books! Not to trash on romance because I am one that loves a good romance but I used to be a part of a romance book club and let me tell you, those romance books get old real fast! They discussed books that focused more on the family and friend dynamics such as To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and The Hate You Give. I asked a question about books about friendship and of course, I had to mention the book Since You’ve Been Gone because this book has my fave friendship in the world of YA! Friendship and family in books are lacking and we definitely need more books with these themes! Also, I would love a book that focuses on the three is a crowd dynamic! If any of you have any book recs about this topic I would appreciate it! Let me know in the comments below!
Not only were there well-known YouTubers and bloggers in the event but there were authors too like Alexa Donne! She hosted a mini writer’s meetup and this was the meetup where I met a lot of the people from BookNet Fest that I could now call friends! This writer’s meetup was a fun casual meetup where we just talked about how we are involved in the book community and what we are writing/working on. She started the meetup by asking us if we are plotters or pantsers! For those of you that don’t know what plotters/pantsers are basically plotters are people that plan out their writing through outlines etc. and pantsers are people that just write without much of a plan. I am someone that is mostly a plotter but during certain times of my writing, I am a pantser. After the meetup was over, I met a really funny blogger/writer local from Miami named Zina Hutton and we had wine and cheese and had an overall awesome time! Also, we met up with Madalyn from Novel Ink, Joce from Squibbles Reads, and Emily from Possibly Literate.
Zina Hutton wrote a short story for a book called Undercities that is made up of queer narratives set in an urban fantasy setting. I haven’t read her short story yet but I am really looking forward to delving into it since there aren’t enough queer narratives out there! If you would like to purchase the book you can contact Zina here.
The day started with the keynote speech by Marines and Sam and they were lovely and cute as per usual! Then I attended the panel Finding Your Community which brought out many good points. Alexa Donne was amazing on the panel! She stated never to be friends with anyone to increase your own status and jokingly said that anyone that isn’t very approachable more than likely has social anxiety. Actually, I find this to be a fact because many booktubers that seem extremely approachable on camera are completely not!
Also, I attended the Sex in Romance panel which was entertaining as usual!
Then I had lunch with some lovely ladies such as Kelsey @ KelseyReads and Alexandra @ A Lovely Jaunt! They were such genuinely nice girls and I can’t wait to also meet up with them next year! Until then I can catch up with them through their bookish platforms!
My phone was dying at the end of the day and I was able to retreat to their quiet room where there were a charging station and coloring books based on amazing YA books! I am about to color the Lunar Chronicles here while charging my phone!
The last two panels that I attended was the book blogger workshop that always gives me some great advice that I was able to carry over to my blog just recently! Thank you Madalyn!
At the end, the last panel was Women of Color in Books and this was amazing, to say the least! The ladies were articulate, honest, and just overall beautiful people. It’s so important to continue to have women of color in our fictional stories so we can continue to represent all kinds of people. Growing up Latinx, I never had a Latinx actor or fictional character that I looked up to and I remember feeling out of place and having an identity crisis many times in my life. If I had that growing up through my books and the media I consume, my adolescent years would have been a bit more bearable!
At the end of the event, we all took pictures, said our goodbyes, got our books signed and headed over to the bar to enjoy our last few hours of BookNet Fest!
My last day I spent it packing up and getting ready to have some me relaxing time before I headed out to drive the four hours back to Miami. I had an amazing breakfast where I indulged in way tooo much bacon.
I never got to experience the amazing pool at BookNet Fest last year so I decided it was time for a me day to relax by the pool, go to the jacuzzi, and read some Fangirl! Also, you can’t forget the pina colada. It was an amazing spa book day for me to say the least!
My BookNet Fest weekend was incredible! Last year, I was really excited about the huge BookTubers I was going to meet and the panelists but this year was my favorite of them all because it was the year I really connected with the book community! After all, it’s not as fun to meet famous creative book people if you’re not sharing the fangirl glee with others!
It was amazing to meet so many people that shared the same interests with me when it came to books and it was so awesome to share our book platforms with one another! My bookish heart is full and I am so ready to fill it up more for next year’s BookNet Fest 2019!!!!