Epic Reads decided to do something a little different and have their event on two days. This allowed an opportunity for more folks to join in on the fun. I attended the inaugural event last year and I loved it. This year did not disappoint, especially considering this was happening during a heatwave.
The doors opened at 9:45am and we all checked in to get ready for the day. Badges were given and we waltzed toward the Epic reads day room. Waiting us was the new stylish Epic Reads ‘no Shelf Control’ bag filled to the brim with some amazing reads along with an Epic Reads pin banner, a YA all Day enamel pin and a pack of OOLY gel pens. On the table was a pretty mugged given by one of the sponsors for the day, LitJoy Crate and a Epic Reads Day booklet lining out the events and sponsors.
As we settled into our seats with coffee and doughnuts, I was able to say hello to all the bookish friends I haven’t seen in a couple of months. After a introduction full of laugh from Epics reads Member Michael D’Angelo, we were ready to start the first panel: Making Art from Self.
Making Art From Self
Tahereh Mafi talked about her journey with the shatter me series, especially how she was happy to see Juliette’s growth in the book. The panel continued with talking about what she would have done if she didn’t write. She mentioned wanting to be a fashion designer and if you have seen the way she dresses, she would have been AMAZING at it. To feed her love of fashion she reads about fabric. One thing she mentioned about clothing was how she saw it as two things separately; a uniform and an armor. The uniform is your basic two pieces that are comfortable and go with everything. You build your armor by adding to your uniform to make it more you and feel great about it. She talked about writing A Very Large Expanse at Sea and how it was the story closest to her story. Until then, she didn’t see herself represented anyone. She realized as time went by that she had to be the trailblazer to write that story. If you haven’t read it, AVELOS is about a young teenager Muslim girl growing up in the Post 9/11 world, finding herself through break dancing with a love interested in the mix. If you haven’t read this story, you should pick up a copy today. Tahereh Mafi also graced us with the cover of Imagine Me and it was stunning.
So You Want to be a BookTuber?
After this amazing panel, the next panel: So You Want to Be a Book Tuber? Was facilitated by booktuber Emma. This panel went more in depth of tips and tricks for those who are thinking of going into the book tube world. My main takeaways form that panel were the following:
- Be active
- Use existing Book tube prompts especially when you are just starting off
- Befriend fellow newbie booktubers
- Be original!
- Don’t worry about the numbers
- Expand your coverage to other social media outlets such as bookstagram and/or book blogging
It was a pretty good panel and helped a little to understand the booktuber world.
Then came the morning break, where booknerds took to the gif creator to create bookish gifs, and to pick the cover they found the most appealing before moving onto the next panel titled: The Line Between Light and Dark with Tiffany Jackson and Justin A. Reynolds.
The Light Between Light and Dark
This panel was amazing. So much resonated with me and both authors are just inspiring. The panel focused on writing serious stories that are both accessible and easy to read. Justin A. Reynolds mentioned two things that were such huge takeaways:
- “We need levity and comedy to get through the tough times.”
- “People of color are more than the sum of our pain.”
Both quotes set the panel to understanding that people of color should be able to write both serious and lighthearted stories and that there is more to it then just the pain, there are good moments, there is a way to write a story and still have the point, but make it accessible for all ages to read and think critically about. The panel continued with the authors discussing about their works and how time travel both in the novels and the mindset was important in writing their stories.
We were feeling puckish and knew lunch was looming. After a great salad provided by Just Salad, I was ready for the next panel titled: I’ve Got a Cover Crush.
I’ve Got a Cover Crush
This was one panel that was replicated from last year’s Epic reads Day and I was stoked to see what cover we would surprised with. The first cover was the cover of Kingdom of Souls. We were walked through the process of how it came about, from lettering to finding an illustrator, hiring a model and finding the right pose to fight with the story line. Because this book is a trilogy, they’ve decided that some of the images may be potential book 2 and book 3 covers. It was interesting to see the process come to life and how different people can interpret a cover. This is one panel I hope to see each year.
After this very informative event, the next panel focused on the day in the life of an Epic Team member. Similar to the Cover Crush, this is a repeat panel from last year but added new faces to the mix. We learned different roles from the marketing team, such as who creates the funny and quirky tweets, to the editorial department to working alongside the design team. All in all being a book nerd in Epic Reads sounds pretty great. Each member majored in vastly different things which show that you don’t have to major in English to want to work in publishing, but it is a plus.
The last afternoon break ended and we were on to our last panel: Wild World, #Relatable characters with authors Victoria Aveyard and Shelby Mahurin.
Wild World, #Relatable Characters
Victoria began the conversation telling us about how her visual of the Red Queen came about. She mentioned that she envisioned a girl about to be executed but electrocutes her executor. She continued to say that current events at that time has some inspiration when writing Red Queen and that the beautiful map we see for her world is actually, you guessed it – The United States of America. As a newbie to her world, I actually learned something new at that moment. Shelby Mahurin knew her story was going to have French aspects to it but it wasn’t going to be historical fiction. She also mentioned that her novel Serpent and Dove does have some Beauty and the Beast vibes going on. Honestly, that statement alone sold me because I am such a sucker for a Beauty and the Beast retelling.
After the final panel concluded, it was time to sign all the books. The process went pretty swiftly and after that the day concluded. All in all, it was another great event and I look forward to future Epic Reads Days in the future.