YALC 2017 is around the corner and this makes me both VERY excited and a teeny-tiny bit terrified/anxious. A few people have been messaging me for advice on YALC so I thought I’d write up a quick post. I’ve been to YALC twice, I went back in 2015 for one day and enjoyed it so much that I booked a weekend ticket for last year’s. Along the way I’ve picked up some things that I think are really important in ensuring a smooth weekend! Here’s a quick list of some of the most important:
- DON’T OVERDO IT: if you’ve never been to YALC (or any other kind of convention) try not to overwhelm yourself. Last year, I tried to do the entire three-day thing and it made me ill and completely ruined my experience. I had so much more fun the year before even though I only went for a single day. So, if this if your first time and you’re worried or don’t think you could do the entire thing, I would recommend only going for a day or two just to feel things out.
- PLAN: plan, plan, plan. I’m a planner by nature but I can not emphasise how important this is. It ties in well with tip numero uno in the sense that planning your day prevents you from overdoing it. Remember: many authors will be signing at the same time and sometimes it’s possible to get books signed by more than one of them but there’ll be a lot of waiting in line. Last year, the wonderful Alwyn Hamilton was signing for THREE hours.
- BRING WATER AND SNACKS: trust me, you’ll need it. You can snack while you wait in line or in the infamous and invaluable book corner. I’d recommend bringing a sandwich or crisps etc. along. I tend to bring breakfast oat bars which I find easier to carry. ALSO, COMFORTABLE SHOES AND A DECENT CARRY-ON. I wore a backpack but I know LOTS of people who brought a small suitcase and didn’t have to deal with the month-long back and shoulder pain I did.
- TAKE BREAKS: this is definitely another important one, and ties in, again, with tip #1. There is a wonderful book corner, decorated with a wall of books and with bean bags/fold-out chairs. This is one of my favourite areas at YALC and it comes in hand, especially if you’re like me and grow tired from social interaction quite quickly. It’s a good spot to just sit and take a break or even sit and read in between panels/signings.
- INTERACT: take this from someone who is a painfully shy introvert. Back in 2015, I went with a bookish friend but spent most of the time alone because I hadn’t yet made many close bookish friends. But I promised myself I’d make the most of it so whenever I was in line for an author, I’d chat with whoever was in line next to me. I mean, if they’re in the same line as you they’ll most likely be holding a book you recognise. Who could ask for a more perfect ice-breaker? Last year, I met up with a bunch of bookish friends and it was just as fun! We talked books and GoT (I had my ears covered for most of it because I’m SO behind).
- HAVE FUN! Enjoy your time at YALC, visit stalls and collect freebies, attend a workshop or panel if you get the chance, keep an eye out for competitions announcements on Twitter (ARCs!!) and enjoy watching the cosplayers pass by. Just make the most of it!
I hope to see some familiar faces at YALC this year, and if you have any other tips to share, please let me know!! It would be super helpful.