Hi everyone! I keep seeing these posts and really wanted to add my own tips and tricks, so here we are.
I’m lucky enough to be going to YALC for all 3 days this year! I’ve been twice before, but only for one day at a time. This year it’s become possible to go for the whole weekend so I took my chance. I didn’t want to write this post from the prospective of something I know loads about as I haven’t done the whole weekend before, so instead I’m just going to lead you through what I’m doing in the lead up to the big weekend. Posts I’ve found helpful while planning are this one at Connie Reads and this one at For the Love of Books!
YALC stands for the Young Adult Literature Convention and is probably the biggest YA event we have in the UK. It takes place at London Olympia as part of London Film and Comic Convention, or LFCC. The convention is full of stalls, authors, publishers, workshops and talks.
1.Organise your travel beforehand
This is a big one for me. I’m staying at a hotel that’s a short tube ride away from the convention hall itself, and I’m having to get down to London on a train and a few tubes. I’ve actually never been on the tube in my life and it absolutely terrifies me! To prepare, I’ve done full research on how I’ll be getting there, home and to and from the convention hall each day.
2. Pack well and plan what to take
Of course I’m prioritising books and will be taking a suitcase for my books and a backpack for clothes (because of course clothes are less important). Luckily as YALC is in the summer I can travel fairly lightly! Each day I will either take my suitcase to YALC with me for my books, or my backpack, depending on how many books I need to have signed that day. I’ll also take a fair number of tote bags for extra purchases!
3. Take food and water
Food in London, and the Olympia, is expensive. YALC has a small cafe and have confirmed on Twitter this cafe has facilities to refill water bottles for FREE. I believe the Olympia itself (on lower levels) also has fountains. I’m eating breakfast at my hotel, taking food for in the day and having dinner out. If you need somewhere cheap for snacks or lunch, stop at the Tesco Express opposite the venue!
4. Make use of your ticket
This may sound like a stupid thing to suggest, of course you’re going to use your ticket! But what many people may not realise is that on the floors below you, London Film and Comic Convention is happening and if you’re into that stuff, it’s brilliant. It’s free to enter with your ticket so if you have a lull in the day (hard to find, but still), make sure you go and have a wander around if you can.
5. Take cash
This is one of the things I’m really going to prioritise this year. Many of the stallholders will take card I’m sure but having cash will be so helpful! It’ll also help me budget, as I’d like to stick to the cash I take out (let’s see how well that goes).
6. Check the schedules, and the floor plan
The YALC programmes are now available here, and the floor plan will be available at this link. I’d recommend printing these off before you leave, and circling/highlighting signings and events you want to attend.
7. Use Twitter (and other social media)
Social media is definitely your friend when it comes to YALC. I’m going to be turning on notifications for the publishers that are there, so when they tweet about ARCs/competitions I should see it right away! I’ll also have notifications on for YALC, the venue and my favourite authors, so I can know of any changes or unforeseen circumstances. If I can, I might also pick up a portable charger to make sure my phone stays charged for the whole day!
8. Take a notebook
I have a little notebook and pen handy to take with me, which already has lists of authors I want to see and my full itinerary for travelling.
9. Wear loose, light clothes and comfortable shoes
I cannot stress this enough. Yes, there are places to sit down and chill. If I recall, some of these in previous years haven’t been all that great (beanbag chairs in the chill out zone etc). But the reality is, you’re going to be on your feet, queuing and walking for most of the day. The venue is also HOT, with a glass roof!
Still have questions? Drop them below or check the official YALC FAQ. And if you see me over the weekend, come and say hi!
May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽