I am SO EXCITED for this Friday, which is the first day of YALC – the Young Adult Literature Convention at LFCC in London.
It’s three days of books and authors and panels and signing queues and nerding out. It’s like my own personal heaven.
And this year I am super excited because this is the first year when I’m not going by myself! While I don’t mind going alone, I am so much more excited that some of my friends can make some of the days, and also that I’m going to meet up with some A+ twitter folk for the first time!
As a result, I’ve found myself giving out loads of YALC tips over the past week and I thought – why not share it with you?!
So here are my top tips for a successful YALC. Let me know if you are going by leaving a comment below!
1. Comfortable shoes. You will be walking and standing pretty much all day, unless you’re sat down at a panel. Find your comfiest shoes, and wear them the WHOLE weekend. (obviously this rule doesn’t apply if you’re cosplaying…)
2. RATION your books! I know. You think I’m mad. There are a BILLION signings you want to go to, and some authors like VE Schwab don’t come over to the UK very often, but please ration your books! The one thing I wish someone had told me at my first YALC was to ration my books – spending the whole day lugging around ten or more books in a tote bag was difficult, frustrating, and I ended up almost resenting having to carry them all around. Which leads me on to…
3. Get a supportive rucksack. You will have a lot of books with you, even if you do successfully ration yourself. And bringing a bag that doesn’t support you is going to involve some serious back pain. For example, don’t do what I did first year and bring your books in a tote bag. It may have looked cute, but my shoulder has only just forgiven me…
4. Bring a battery pack! I wish I’d known YALC doesn’t have charging points. First day my phone spent most of the day struggling around 10%. I had to stop off at Starbucks on the way home even though all I wanted to do was go home and sleep because I had to charge my phone! Also it’s great to tweet your experiences of the day, and publishers and stalls tend to announce surprise giveaways on twitter! So you definitely want a battery pack to make sure you don’t miss anything amazing while you’re there.
5. Bring food and drink with you. There’s not really anywhere to get food at YALC, and the Tesco across the road from Olympia tends to get pretty decimated by half nine. Bring yourself plenty of food, snacks (last year me and a few others sat and had cheesy snacks in the Holly Bourne signing queue!), and most importantly WATER. It can get pretty warm inside the convention hall – especially when people from LFCC come up to our floor for a breather – and you want to keep hydrated so you don’t faint in a queue or suchlike!
6. Accept you won’t be able to do everything. First year of YALC I tried to get to everything. Back to back panels, workshops, and agent talks. By 2pm I was utterly exhausted and overwhelmed and had to go and hide in the deckchairs / beanbags corner and try not to cry. Pick your absolute must-go-to events, but make sure you build in breaks to your day. EG, three back-to-back panels is too much. Even if they are three panels featuring your absolute favouritest authors.
7. Chat to people in the signing queue! Okay, this is a terrible piece of advice to give as I do NOT stick to this myself, but I really wish I could be more confident with this! Everyone in the queue loves books, and they clearly love the same author as you, seeing as they’re in the queue with you! Get chatting – you’ll meet some awesome people and it feels so great to be sharing your YALC feelings with others!
8. Take to the Internet! If you want to get in touch with people on twitter who you’ve chatted to for ages but would love to meet, now is the perfect time! There is usually a hashtag on twitter to share your YALC selfie that day so people know what you look like and whether they are okay to come and say hi – eg, last year I said I really wanted to meet people but if you ran over loudly and enthusiastically I’d probably run away. People just want to be considerate of your feelings, so if you want to meet some other twitter folk, this would be a great way of doing it.
9. Bring a reading book. This may be the most bonkers piece of advice you’ve heard, but when you’re so bothered about getting your books signed, it’s easy to forget you’ll want a book to read between events too! (Or, go to the shop and lust after all the books there…). Not that re-reading your favourites isn’t an excellent idea, but it’s great to have somewhere new to disappear to between events. It’s also really great to chill if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the occasion. There’s a corner of YALC full of deckchairs and beanbags and it’s a really great place to hibernate if you want some quiet time away from the chaos of the convention floor.
10. Budget your book buying! I know. I can barely believe myself when I say the words. But it’s so easy to buy a ton of books just because, and to get carried away with the YALC rush, but deciding what books to treat yourself to is far more rewarding, I’ve found, than buying every new release in sight. That said, I am desperate to hunt down a copy of The Loneliest Girl In The Universe, and I’m powering to get Mel Salisbury’s samples of her new book! Scope out the bookshop, scope out the publisher’s stands, and decide on your purchases well in advance. Also, allow for surprises! I didn’t expect to be buying any V.E. Schwab last year, but I bought A Darker Shade of Magic after watching her at a panel. You never know what might catch your interest!
I hope these are some helpful tips for any of you attending YALC this year. It would be great to meet some of you there! Let me know if you’ll be going.
I’ll be getting excited about the whole weekend over on Twitter, so follow me there if you want to keep up with the YALC excitement!
Happy writing (and reading!)
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