So, if you’ve been following me for a while you’ll know that last year I went to my first ever YALC. What is YALC, I hear you ask? Well it is the Young Adult Literature Convention! It is based in the UK every July and forms part of the London Film and Comic Con, and showcases bookish events and chats with some of amazing YA authors. ❤
YALC was such a fun and exciting experience for me, it was my first ever bookish event and I was overwhelmed that this was even a thing. I’m definitely going again this year and, although I am not an expert, I wanted to share my top tips for you. Although everyone has their own experiences, I felt there are a few things that may be useful for YALC participants (veteran or newbies) to help make this year as fun as possible 🙂
So, here are a couple of tips for the upcoming YALC:
- PLANNING. From my experience, planning is most definitely key with YALC. Before the event YALC publish a schedule for each day of the convention. It is definitely worth looking at the timetable and highlighting which talks/workshops you want to visit. That way you can plan your day effectively, and make sure you don’t miss anything! Just make sure to leave some time in-between to go and look at the book stalls, of course ❤
- WORKSHOPS. So as well as the main talks/panel events, YALC also offers workshops (such as creative writing) and talks in the agent arena (mainly about agents and book publishing). You don’t need to book the main panel talks in advance, although make sure you get there about 10 minutes before it is due to start, to make sure you get a seat. However, for the workshops and agent arena, these talks have a limited availability, so I’d recommend booking a slot AS SOON as you enter YALC. They fill up fast. I visited a few myself and these were very fun!
- SUPPLIES. I’d definitely recommend bringing some supplies with you for YALC. Make sure you have some water with you to keep hydrated and, if you have one, bring a portable charger/battery pack for you phone and devices. Last year there was a café on site, and a supermarket opposite the venue, but the café was a bit pricey and I didn’t really want to leave the venue while I was there. So I’d also advise bringing some snacks so you have some energy while immersing yourself in all the books 🙂
- COMFY SHOES. This one kinda links to the supplies point, but comfy shoes are advisable! If you’re like me you’ll spend a lot of time on your feet, walking around the room looking at each table multiple times. You don’t want to be in pain at the event, so comfortable shoes you can walk in are really helpful 🙂
- KEEP AN EYE ON SOCIAL MEDIA. Okay, so this one is optional, but if you have Twitter I’d advise keeping an eye on it (particularly the YALC hashtag) throughout the event. Publishers at the event can sometimes hold special events or surprise signings during the day, where details and passwords are only found on Twitter. Definitely worth periodically checking the page for some secret swag and additional fun 🙂
- SIGNINGS. At YALC there are book signings going on throughout the day, which is very exciting. If there are some authors you are really excited to see, I’d definitely recommend getting to the designated area about 15-20mins before the signing is due to being. This is especially helpful for really popular authors, as the lines can get really long, really quickly. Last year I was going to see Victoria Schwab, but a workshop I was in finished just before she was due to start signing. When I got to the signing area, the queue for her booth was SO long, it took up half the hall (see my bad quality pic below)! I was too impatient to wait, but I thought I would let you know what you can expect, just in case you have a busy schedule!
- POPULAR BOOKS/VENUE SCOPING. Okay, so this is two points in one, but they are closely related! At the beginning of the con I’d recommend scoping out/touring the whole venue, and all the publisher stalls. Scoping is useful for getting freebies early, as a lot of the best goodies do disappear really early. By scoping you can also look at each stall and make a note of which ones you want to come back to later. In terms of book-buying, a lot of the big books by authors in the panel talks are usually available at the Waterstones stand. I found the popular author’s books sold out by lunchtime (or just before their book signing slot), so if there are any you know you want to get, buy them early. That will also help you plan your budget in case you want to buy any treats later 😉
- HAVE FUN. This one is the most important tip. This is such a cool event, where YA book-lovers can unite and enjoy so much bookish content. Make sure you take it all in at your own pace, relax and enjoy yourself!!
I hope these tips help. All in all I find YALC to be such an amazing experience, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy yourself no matter what. This year’s YALC is from Friday 28th-Sunday 30th July 2017. I myself will be going on Friday (just like last year). Are you going? If so, which day? Let me know!! ❤