YALC 2018: Tips for the Convention

YALC aka Young Adult Literature Convention is fast approaching and I couldn’t be more excited! I attended my first YALC in July 2017 after wanting to go for years and it’s safe to say that I had the best time! You can take a look at my posts about the event here.

Whether you’re new to YALC or a veteran YALC goer, I thought it would be fun to write down some tips for you to (hopefully) use. Now I’m by no means an experienced Con attendee, having only been to 3 conventions so far – YALC 2018 is my fourth, but there are definitely things that I would do differently from my first convention and there are also things that I’m glad I did last year! So with that, let’s get onto the tips!

  1. Get there early! For YALC last year, we stayed about an hour away on the tube. We aimed to be at the convention centre for 8am every day which was a good idea as the first morning, the line came to be quite large! So get to the convention early if you want to be in the centre before everyone else! Last year, we were stood in the entrance opposite Tesco, on the main Street. The comic con goers have a different entrance to the YALC attendees.
  2. Backpack. I’d definitely recommend taking a backpack with you! I took a small handbag backpack last year which worked out well as it meant that my hand were free to pick up all the books and it’s better for your shoulders, back and body balance! I’m thinking of taking a larger backpack this year but it really depends on what books I’m taking this year! I definitely will be taking a few totes with me as I’m like a magpie for books so know I’ll be taking some home with me! Alternatively, consider bringing a small suitcase if you’re taking a lot of books to YALC each day.
  3. Comfy shoes. You will most definitely need some comfy shoes for those long days around the convention centre! There are places to sit around although there’s not loads but if you really need to rest your feet, just find a comfy place on the floor! Last year I took one pair of trainers that I could wear with all of my outfits and that working out perfectly
  4. Snacks and water. Not all of us are made of money and can afford pricey convention food. Luckily, there is a mini Tesco just outside the convention centre! I’d perhaps recommend getting your food prior to the convention asnby lunch time, food can get a bit thin on the ground there! The meal deals come in at £3 which is quite affordable in comparison to the more pricey meals.
  5. Tablets. No, I don’t mean the electronic kind. I’d recommend bringing paracetamol and ibuprofen with you. You’ll be stuck inside all day and it can give you a headache if you don’t keep yourself hydrated. Having paracetamol will help to relieve that pesky headache so that you can enjoy your time at YALC.
  6. Money. I took some cash last year and didn’t end up using it all, but if you’re in a budget, it may be useful for you to bring a certain amount of cash to spend at the weekend. If I’m honest, cash is easier and I’m fairly sure that other than the Waterstones stand, no other stands take cash or at least not publisher stands!
  7. Twitter notifications. Twitter notifications for all the different publishers are basically essential for YALC. Last year the publishers put out loads of tweets about drops and giveaways so it’s worth having these switched on for each publisher so you’re aware of what’s happening. Just make sure you have enough data and battery to last you the weekend!
  8. Battery pack. This relates to the point above! A battery pack for your phone is super convenient, especially since I don’t think there are that many plugs around and you don’t want to run out of battery when there are Twitter notifications to look out for!
  9. Know your surroundings. If you’re at YALC for the full 3 days, then I’d definitely suggest getting to know where each booth is. Last year I knew where the ends booths were but as there were loads in between, a few times I went down the wrong row. If there’s a book drop, you need to know where each booth is to make sure you’re one of the first there! Also, get to know where the toilets and the seated area are as you’ll need them. Just as a side note, I’d fully recommend knowing your surrounding more widely than YALC by checking out the comic con in the floors below. Your YALC ticket will get you into the comic con below too!
  10. Have a plan of what you want to do each day. Have a look at the schedule before the event and figure out what you want to do and who you want to see. I can guarantee you probably won’t stick to that plan – I didn’t got to any panels last year even though I wanted to, but it’s good to have an idea of what you’re doing over the day/weekend.
  11. If you see someone you know, say hello! YALC is a great opportunity to not only see authors, but to also see and make friends. If you know somebody from social media, don’t be scared to say hello! I can guarantee you that they’ll love to say hi to you!
  12. Most importantly, have fun! YALC is an amazing experience for any bookworm and it’s so great to see bookworms from all over coming together. Don’t feel embarrassed if you get excited about a book, we’re all the same here! I once lay on the floor after Benedict Cumberbatch walked by and I don’t even care if it looked weird because I am there to have a good time! You are there to have a good time in a bookish environment, so go nuts!

Those are my tips for YALC. I hope they are of use to you and that if you’re going, you have the most amazing time! If you see me, make sure you say hello! If I remember, I’ll be posting my outfits on my twitter which you can follow @whatvickyread.

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