YALC is the Young Adult Literature Convention happening in London on Friday 29th July to Sunday 31st July (link here). It is an event that brings together loads of YA authors for a weekend of panels, workshops, book signings and a chance to meet agents for aspiring authors.
I have never been before, but I am SO excited to see what it’s about and meet some of my favourite authors, as well as loads of bookish people I’ve had the lovely fortune of meeting on Twitter/Instagram/book blogs etc.
So some time last month I have a hazy memory of convincing my friend (in the middle of my exams) to come to YALC with me this year since it’s my first time and I don’t want to go alone. She agreed and we both decided on booking tickets for the Sunday and quickly booked some train tickets whilst they were cheap.
Pretty sure it’s one of the best decisions I have made so far this year.
Because it sounds AWESOME.
Last week there was a brilliant YALC chat organised by one of my favourite book bloggers, ReadDreamLive (link to her blog here) and YALC answered loads of questions about what to expect at the event and some people gave tips on how to maximise your experience by doing some preparation beforehand, by those who have been before. I definitely got some really good tips, as well as finding out some really cool things like one of my favourite authors is going to be there every day, despite only being written down for events for one or two days.
This chat on Twitter really got me excited for YALC and I thought I’d share some tips that I have found out from others, as well as my thoughts/ideas of what I’m going to do and which panels/workshops I’m going to attend on the day. There’s also going to be another chat on Twitter tomorrow at 8:00pm to ask any more questions and find out what to expect from YALC.
First off, loads and loads of people have said BRING YOUR OWN FOOD because London. Do we really need to explain more? As a student studying in London for the past two years, I definitely agree with this – bring food from home if you can because not only is food expensive at conventions, but so is the Tesco Express down the road. Save yourself the money to spend on more books and bring food/drink from home.
Along the same lines, people have said to bring cash since most stalls don’t accept card. This is such a good idea too because then you can set yourself a limit on how much you’re going to spend – it’s easy to get swept away by the moment and frantically think ‘I’ll only be here once, I better make the most of it and buy as much as I can’ but in reality, you can’t spend all your money just because this is a one-off. So budget for what you can and take a set amount of cash to avoid overspending on the day.
Many people told me to take as many books as possible because you’ll regret it later if you left that one at home because you thought you probably wouldn’t get chance to meet that one author, only to find that you did and could probably kick yourself for not bringing it. Since I’ll be going down on the train the night before, I can’t take too many books but I think one per author that you have read and enjoyed is a good aim – more if you’re sure this is the only chance you’ll get of meeting this author.
Get there early seems to be another tip everyone is saying – there’s a special entrance on Hammersmith Road just for people holding YALC tickets, so make sure to get there before 9am and allow lots of time for public transport and check for any planned works that night before as well as any delays in the morning (there’s actually a chunk of the northern line shut off for engineering works that weekend so plan accordingly for this).
Take multiple bags! You probably won’t think you’re going to buy that many books, but who knows what treasures you’ll discover there, so take more than just the one tote to be on the safe side – you can think about how much your shoulders/back will hurt later.
Here’s the biggie: print off the day’s schedule beforehand and note what you want to do/see. I’ve already printed off the schedule for Sunday and my friend and I have discussed which panels and workshops we want to attend. It allows you to make the most of your day(s) there – you can’t just wing something like this, what if you missed a signing by your favourite author? What if you got the wrong time for that panel you badly wanted to attend? It’s best to jot down what is happening when, so if one of the events is full, you have a backup and aren’t left flailing around because you didn’t plan beforehand.
Some other useful things to know:
- there’s a cloakroom you can put your stuff in to save you lugging it around all day (about £1 per item),
- there’s a room for lounging in and relaxing if YALC gets a bit too much for you – a chance to take a breather and calm your jittering nerves,
- you can enter/leave half way through panel events should you wish (no one will take offense),
- there are stalls and merch you can buy there as well as books.
So there you have it, some tips and things to be aware of in preparation for YALC! But if you don’t want to take my word for it, then check out this really good video by booktuber Karen which includes loads of tips for attending YALC from someone who went last year.
My plan for YALC 2016
Since I’m only going for the one day, I thought I’d do a bit of everything and attend some panels as well as workshops and book signings.
I really want to attend the creative writing workshop to see if I have an creativity deep inside and improve my poor writing skills and my friend is a really good aspiring writer so she’s keen on this workshop. There’s also a co-writing workshop which she’ll probably go to, but I really want to get my books signed by Holly Bourne (she’s one of my favourite authors ever) at the same time the workshop is on – you can check out a post I did on Holly Bourne’s writing here.
Some panels I’m keen on going to are Ask YALC and Maggie Stiefvater in conversation. I might also attend an agent 1-2-1 session just to see what it’s about and if my friend wants to go, since she wants to eventually get some of her writing published 🙂
And then finally there’s a Harry Potter party which, of course I am going to!
The whole weekend looks amazing and I really cannot wait to go to YALC for the first time. Let me know if you’ve been and have any more tips that I haven’t mentioned – I am soooo excited for next weekend! (Can you tell?) Bring on the books!