I am thrilled to be attending YALC again this year and, as I’ve been to this fantastic event several times, I thought I’d put together a few of my top tips to ensire you have a great event.
When you arrive at YALC, you might notice many people walking around with wheely cases. These people are not rushing to catch a train at the end of the day, these people have been to YALC before, and have wisely chosen to carry their books in this manner. Tote bags are ACE, but the straps do cut in somewhat when you’re buying many of the lovely books on offer.
2. Post-It Notes
It’s a great idea to mark up all your books in advance for signing with post-it notes with your name on – it saves the publicists a job, if you want your book dedicated by an author, and you can always reuse them the following day (if your note doesn’t get stolen by an author who keeps them all to get ideas for character names).
Bring as much water with you as you can stand to carry. Drinks at Olympia cost a fortune, and the taps in the bathrooms are too low to accommodate a normal drinks bottle. Similarly, food costs bomb there, so bring what you need with you.
4. Chill Out!
There is a chill out area at YALC, but the seats fill up quickly, so any perch on the floor is good. There is plenty of floor space to sit, and it’s a good idea to sit when you can, in signing queues, for example, and the panels give you a great place to sit, plus an interesting talk to listen to!
The YALC programme is positively rammed with signings, talks and workshops. You might have loads of stuff you’d like to go to, but you probably won’t be able to do it all. Make a wishlist of things you MUST go to (V. E. Schwab signing for me, to name one), and then a secondary list of things that would be great, but not essential.
6. Look Around
There are some great books and swag items to buy and grab at YALC, so make sure you take a look at the publisher stalls. They also very often have competitions and special events, so loads of chances to have fun!
7. Book Swap
There is usually a book swap at YALC – take along a book, and find yourself a new one! I usually take one or two books along to swap, and keep checking back until there is something there that I fancy, and sometimes you find a real gem.
8. Keep An Eye Out…
The green room for LFCC is (usually) up on the YALC floor, so every so often an uber-celeb might stroll through. Try and stay calm. Last year everyone saw Jason Momoa. I saw Steven Seagal – go figure!
As a book person, you will never be more among your people than you are at YALC – enjoy the experience of getting to know some great bookish people, bloggers, authors, publicists and take time to process it all. You will have YALC hangover when you go back to real life, but take solace in the fact you’ve had an amazing few days and have loads of new books to read!