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Should You Apollycon?

Yes, you absolutely should attend Apollycon.

A stack of books in front of a mirror with white flowers in the background. There is a mug sitting on top of the stack on the right side and in the center sits the Jodi Picoult book Small Great Things
I Met Jodi Picoult and Have Talked of Nothing Else Ever Since

What Should You Expect From Apollycon

I'm not going to lie; after my experience last year, I did not have high hopes for this Apollycon. I was expecting longer wait times, waiting in lines that ended in disappointment, and a general air of disorder. So much so that I bought the most basic ticket again, wanting to put my money toward buying more books. (You can never have too many books!) When I saw the Jodi Picoult brunch, I almost had a brief lapse in judgment and forked over the $50 regardless, but level heads (aka my book besties) persevered. More on Jodi later, but back to the topic at hand.

I contented myself with knowing that while I would more than likely be walking into the bookish version of Fyre Fest, I would only be out $20. But I must say I was more than pleasantly surprised! Despite my reservations, this year's Apollycon in Washington, D.C., exceeded all expectations. For those unfamiliar with this convention, it is an annual literary convention that celebrates young adult and romance literature, bringing together readers, authors, and industry professionals for a weekend of panel discussions, author signings, and other exciting goodies.

The event started on Thursday evening, but my friends and I didn't head over until Friday night, and that was only to get our passes for the next day. As Deity ticket holders, we were only eligible for the Saturday signing. However, those who had Titan passes got a whole slew of events goodies. Several panels this year sounded really interesting, everything from Romantasy to YA fiction discussions. There was even a really cool themed party. And, of course, the swag bag, which I heard through the grapevine, was truly spectacular this year. But for the $20 I spent, I honestly could not have had a better experience!

I approach book cons entirely differently than I do with my day-to-day life, which is to say, I go with the flow. Except for a few authors, I have no idea who's there and what I am getting myself into. I use these events as a way to discover authors that are new to me. The signature, merch, and swag are cool, but tell me which book of yours I should start with and why. I'm here to discover my next great read. And I purchased some books I can't wait to dive into! (Full disclosure, though - with the amount of ARC reads and books on deck from Indies, plus whatever I picked up at my local bookstore in between, I might not get to them for a couple of years.) Still, when I have the time, I'm looking forward to it.

Now, back to one Jodi Picoult. Meeting her was one of the most incredible and nerve-wracking moments of my experience at Apollycon 2023. As someone who has struggled with social anxiety (all the anxieties, really), I was proud of myself for even lining up to get at all. She's one of my idols, and the thought of meeting her in person was both thrilling and downright terrifying. As I approached her table, I was quite literally trying to suppress my shaking. (Spoiler alert: I failed. I was vibrating like a phone on silent.)

But Jodi, despite my complete awkwardness, was super friendly and gracious. Even though I was a bumbling mess, she was incredibly kind to me, taking the time to chat and make my friends and me feel welcome. To be honest, I don't recall entirely what was said, but she signed Great Small Things for me, my favorite novel by her. (I have a fun story about that, but I'll save it for another time). But the most mind-blowing part of our meeting was that she noticed my sweatshirt and said she loved it so much that she planned to purchase one herself! She also said she loved my bag that I had her sign. I was over the moon with happiness and in a daze for the rest of the con.

So, what you can expect from Apollycon? All in all, this year's Apollycon was not only an improvement over last year's but an absolute blast! I cannot wait for the next one. I'm even looking into how to become a vendor. But if I can't, I'll be springing for the Titan pass with all the extras when ticket sales open on June 9, 2023. You can learn more about Apollycon by visiting their website.

Have you ever attended a book convention? Would you? Which one is your favorite? Let us know in the comments!