Zoe's Declassified YALC Survival Guide

As YALC draws nearer, panic seems to be taking over my timeline. Tweets of "I haven't read this" and cries of "I don't know how to fit all these books in a backpack" are coming in thick and fast. Deep breath guys, you've got this. And if you're still stressing? Here are some tips to help you survive YALC.

If you'd like to check out my review and haul from last year's YALC, please click here.

If this is your first YALC, I understand how nervous and excited you must be feeling. That was me last year. I have severe anxiety and hate the unknown, so I was truly terrified. I did originally only intend to attend Friday but I won 2 nights at The Hilton and 3 day passes for me and my husband; so last year, I was completely thrown into the deep end.

Guys: it is nowhere as scary as you're thinking. When I walked in and saw the layout, I was instantly calmed. It is big, spacious and has plenty of breathing space (unlike LFCC downstairs, I ventured down there once last year and two words: never again).

Let's rewind though. Planning. I'm presuming by now you've got your books ready, you've got your panels sorted. If the answer is no: FEAR NOT. I found this planner (click here) a few weeks ago and the organisation of it all, has made my planning heart happy. It will help you keep on top of things, because trust me, it does get overwhelming. Especially, if you're like me and try to do absolutely every panel and signing.

Now, my top tips. These are just things I learnt from last year and I'm sure they won't apply to everyone.

  • DON'T bring too many books. You will get so many books at YALC and that extra 15 you're bringing to get signed, they will only weigh you down. I'm bringing 4 or 5 this year, my body ached so much last year, as I ended up with 40 books (pre-bought for signings and books there).
  • DO bring snacks and drinks. As you can imagine, food is expensive in the venue (and busy). There is a Tesco Express just down the road but I found buying a sandwich and some snacks, and setting up a mini picnic on the YALC floor (there's lots of space!) worked perfectly. And guys, it does get hot, so stay hydrated.
  • DO check publisher's social medias before attending. They announce what books they're selling, what mini-events they're doing and more excitingly, what hotly anticipated proofs will be up for grabs. THE BEAST'S HEART ANYONE?
  • DON'T try to fit too much in. I know it's exciting and you want to do everything but schedule in breaks and down time. You'll need it. The adrenaline will get you through much of the first day, but if you're like me and attending more than one day - try not to exhaust yourself when the con's only just begun.
  • DO get involved. Last year, I was absolutely awful. I wouldn't talk to anyone, I choked up meeting authors, I ran scared from book challenges, I took pictures sheepishly and blended into the background. This year, I want to change that! I've been to a few bookish events since and guess what? Talking to people and joining in, is actually really fun. Scary at first, but fun.
  • DO participate in events. Last year, I didn't attend any workshops or agency meetings - nothing. I really regretted that and this year I'm so excited to try some. I'm looking at you Alex Bell & Mel Salisbury.
  • DO have fun. There's plenty of these guides around with "top tips" and "how to's" at YALC, but the most important thing, is that you enjoy yourself. If you want to be a human turtle like I was last year, with 40 books on your back, do it. If you want to hide in a corner and observe the event, do it. If you want to attend every panel and every signing, do it. Make the most out of your weekend and make some amazing memories.
I really hope to see some of you there, it's set to be the best year yet and I'm so excited for what it has to bring. See you in a few days gorgeous people!

What are your "must do's" before, during, and after YALC?

1 comment

  1. These are great tips for any huge book festival or event! Thanks for sharing! I definitely agree about getting involved. It seems nerve-wracking, but talking to the person in front of or behind you in a signing line is a great way to start because you already have one thing in common: that author and their books!