This year I’m going to the Young Adult Literary Convention (YALC) in London for the third year in a row. *does obnoxious dance* I was alone on my last two trips, but this year I’ve been able to find me some friends (I don’t know where they came from either). They are visiting YALC for the first time and I’ve been sharing my YALC survival tips with them for months. But, why shouldn’t I also share them with you?
Tip 1: Make sure you’re carrying cash
So YALC can be divided into two kinds of book-selling stands. First up there is Waterstones who has the BIGGEST stand, but there are of course also the publishers who are promoting their books (they are not allowed to sell the books of the authors present though). You’ll be able to pay by card on the Waterstones stand, but not with the publishers. And it’s with them that you can score books at £5 a piece. So bring cash. A lot of cash.
Tip 2: Bring a BIG suitcase
When I went to YALC for the first time, I left for London with 5 books and came back with 24 books. (I am definitely NOT exaggerating, this actually happened.) Believe me, I was ecstatic that I made the last-minute change to a suitcase where my clothes only took in half the space. I’m guessing you won’t get as book-buying crazy as I did (THERE WHERE SO MANY AWESOME BOOKS), but still, be sure to leave some room in your suitcase for extra books. And make it a lot.
Tip 3: Bring cookies and water
Fill up that extra space in your suitcase on your journey to London with cookies and water. YALC days are looong and even though you can buy refreshments at the venue, it’s expensive. (And seriously, wouldn’t you rather spend that money on books?) Bonus points if you get your lunch off-site too.
Tip 4: Don’t buy all those books on day 1
Okay, so let me start with a short disclaimer. You’ll be able to score some books at YALC that are not officially released yet. Some of these books will fly out the door, so if you want to get a copy you better act fast. That being said, most books will be waiting for you all weekend and it’s a good idea to wait until the last day until you spend that dough. Some publishers don’t really want to pack up all those books again so instead, they try to get rid of them by giving extra discounts. (Yes you read that right, you can get BRAND-NEW books for like £3 y’all!)
Tip 5: Visit the panels
Before the authors sign books, they’re ALWAYS present at a panel first where they discuss a certain topic. Even though it’s a bit tempting to sit in a queue during those panels so you’re sure you’ll get that autograph, you’ll end up missing a huge part of YALC. It’s during these panels that you get to know new authors and books (and now you know why I ended up buying 19 books that one time). The authors will definitely sign long enough, so don’t just skip them! (Unless you want to avoid buying all the books of course.)
Tip 6: Drop by London Film & Comic Con
In case you missed it, YALC is a part of the London Film & Comic Con. It may be difficult, but try to find an hour or two where you can sneak out of YALC and take the stairs down to the comic con. You don’t want to miss all the amazing geeky stuff and crazy cosplayers you find there. Be aware though, YALC is a pretty calm space, but the con is COMPLETELY the opposite. Avoid going during lunch if that’s not your thing. (Hello flashback to that one panic attack I had *breaths in bag*.)
Tip 7: Take some down-time
You’ll spend three long days at YALC that are all filled with the most amazing people, books and authors, and all that excitement might just catch up on you. Listen to your body and take some down-time if you feel you need it. The organizers have created a special zone where you can sit down and read one of those new books you bought. Before you know it, you’ll be ready to hit the excitement again. (And if you think you’ll be weird for doing this, don’t worry, you can sit down next to me.)
Tip 8: Follow the Twitter accounts
If you’re an international visitor like me, this will not be as easy as it appears, but it’s a good idea to follow the Twitter accounts of YALC and your favorite publishers. The publishers will regularly announce giveaways of ARCs or other bookish goodies. Do you want to miss that? NO YOU DON’T! And before you ask, no, I don’t know if they have WiFi. I’m hoping so too!
Tip 9: Talk to people
Do you suddenly find yourself alone in a queue waiting to get your book signed AND IS IT TAKING FOR EVER? Talk to the people around you! We all share the same love for books, so it’s pretty easy to talk to people. (Even for this asocial bookdragon that scares away small children.)
How about you? Do you have any other tips? Is this your first time visiting YALC and are you panicking about something? Let me know in the comments!