This will be my fourth YALC, so I thought I’d share some bits and pieces from my experiences 🙂
The first year, I went on the Sunday because a friend of mine, Casey Obsidian, had a book for sale there. I wanted to go and say hi, plus the event sounded interesting. While there, I met the girls from Book Box Club, right before they launched, and picked up a leaflet for the box. I was new to the bookish community (despite being a bookworm my whole life) and thought it sounded great. I’ve never looked back. Through that community, I have met my people. My sisters in arms. I have bookstagram, book twitter, a blog, and a whole lot more books :D:D
My point with that bit of history is that there’s no right or wrong way to do YALC. It was quieter that year, and I had no idea what I was going to. I didn’t get any free books, or meet many new people, but I still had a great time! And the people I did meet (Kate and Libby) ended up helping me make the best friends I could ever ask for. Basically, I have a lot to thank Casey for!
However, if you do go these are some of the things I do:
- Make friends! Even if you don’t know anyone, everyone is friendly. Chat in queues. I promise you, you will have things in common. Plus you will see the same people frequently – you like the same things. Hey presto, new besties! 😀
- TAKE WATER IN WITH YOU. This is SO important. It is cess pit of heat on the top floor of Olympia, you need to be prepared. They have a cafe, and you can buy expensive food and drink there, but there’s queues and it’s hot. They will free your water bottle for free though. Though they may be grumpy about it 😉 There’s also a tesco across the street (go before you head in). Trust me, you will want to keep hydrated for all the excited flailing you will be doing.
- Similarly, take a fan. Even a handheld paper one will be better than nothing. This year I have a chargable super fan. And I’m going to get a cooling mist spray. And pack deodrant. *laughs* I really hate being hot.
- Comfy shoes. Queues are a part of the British life, but there are SO MANY queues at YALC. Be prepared. *lion king moment*
- Similarly, don’t be afraid to go find somewhere to sit and chill for a bit – I normally grab a bit of floor to stake out for the day with my friends, but there are seats in the chill out zone and cafe. Plus the workshops and panels, if you want to participate but also sit! 😀 You will want to rest your legs, and calm down every now and then.
- Look for book deals but don’t go mad getting everything just because it’s there. I feel like a hypocrite even saying this, as I always break this one, but some books you can get elsewhere. Having said that there are some great deals 😉
- Take totes or a backpack to carry for the day. I also have a suitcase i use to get there and back as I take quite a few books for signing, but I dont want to lug it all day, so I have everything in totes too. Figure out what works for you. 🙂
- Pack a battery pack for your phone! Self explanatory. It’s a long day. And turn on twitter notifications for the publishers who are on site – they may have announcements you want to see.
- Try to limit your pre YALC TBR. This is a bit late really, but don’t feel bad that you can’t read everything before. And don’t feel bad going to get books signed anyway. Tell authors why you bought the book if you haven’t read it. They don’t mind!
- Be understanding of others. There are people who will get het up over small things, and can ruin it for others. Be more kind 🙂 Seriously though, try to have a chill attitude and you will enjoy it more. It can be a bit manic. If you’re getting stressed or anxious find someone who can help – I am always willing if you need, even if you don’t know me. People tend to get it, us bookworms are largely introverts and these events full of people are slightly scary 😉
- Don’t over plan. Plot which things are must and wing the rest. You will manage most of it, but it’s not worth getting stressed about. It’s supposed to be fun :):)
- Pack your books to be signed by day, it will make life easier if you’re there all weekend.
- And most of all – HAVE FUN.
That’s my thoughts – there’s loads of other great posts on YALC out there, so I hope this has helped, but if not one of those will! This may seem like a lot, but it honestly does boil down to – slow down enough to enjoy it and look after yourself. 😀