The YALC Survival Guide: Tips and Tricks to Help you Survive the Convention

YALC (Young Adult Literature Convention) is fast approaching and I couldn’t be more excited. In case you don’t know, YALC is the biggest UK bookish event that takes place on the last weekend of July every year and is held in London, as part of LFCC (London Film & Comic Con).

2019 is going to be my third year attending YALC and with that, I’d consider myself leaning more toward Veteran status. I thought I would compile a handy little guide of tips and tricks to help you get through YALC. Whether this is your first YALC or you’ve been before, I hope you can take away something from this!

  1. Wear comfy clothes and shoes – This is a pretty standard piece of advice, but after the heat of last year, I feel like I should definitely stress the fact that you will absolutely want comfy clothes and shoes. I’m not sure what the weather will be like this year but definitely try and plan to the it because you don’t want to be too hot if it’s boiling again. Comfy shoes are also a must because you will be on your feet for so much of the day in signing queues and just walking round the convention floor.
  2. Be prepared for a lot of standing – I mean, you can sit on the floor too or try to finding seating but take it that you’ll be standing a lot of the time at YALC, which is also another reason why you should take comfy clothes and shoes with you.
  3. Take a backpack, especially if you’re there all weekend – I wouldn’t recommend taking a shoulder or cross body bag unless you aren’t taking a lot of books around with you. Backpacks are honestly your best friend at an event like this. The past two years I’ve taken a small backpack with me and then have ended up with tote bags full of books. My shoulders do start to hurt after a while and so this year, I’m taking a larger backpack (only a school sized one) and I think this will be much better for me as the weight of the books will be spread across my back rather than on just one side.
  4. Try to pack lightly before YALC, you’ll be taking a lot of books home – Both years I’ve come back with a LOT of books including the books I’ve taken down with me. When I say a lot of books, I mean way more than I actually intended to bring back. Both years I’ve taken a small suitcase with me and a holdall just in case and both times I’ve needed the holdall because apparently I have no self control. I’d suggest trying to pack lightly for your way there, but the other alternative is to just take a bigger suitcase. I’ll be taking a medium sized suitcase down with me this year just because I really cannot be bothered to try and cram a load of books into a smaller one. Plus I know I’ll probably end up hauling a load of books back with me. So your options on this one: pack lightly, or if you know you’re taking a lot of books down, just take a bigger case.
  5. Try to be organised – Organisation is your new best friend when it comes to YALC. I’ll be doing a separate post on how I stayed organised myself last year because it honestly did wonders for me at the event and helped me know exactly where I needed to be and when. I’ll be organising myself the same way this year so I’ll absolutely be sharing that with you guys.
  6. Twitter and battery packs – Sounds a little weird but make sure you have your Twitter notifications on for publishers whilst at YALC. I’m not sure how much they’ll be tweeting this year, but the past two years, they’ve been announcing when ARCs that they’re giving out will be dropping so its useful to have these turned on. If you do turn them on though, be warned because you’ll want a battery pack for your phone and you might also want to watch your phone data!
  7. Make sure you have snacks and water – The days at YALC can be so long and you’ll probably find that you’re inside all day. I’d absolutely recommend having snacks and water on hand at all times. Unfortunately with the heat last year, there weren’t any water fountains but hopefully YALC will make accommodate fountains this year but who knows? There is a small cafe in the venue and several other food vendors in LFCC but if you’d like the cheaper option (which we probably all do), there is a Tesco Express just across the road from YALC.
  8. Make sure you have plenty of money – Probably a bit late to give you this tip as we only have one more payday between now and YALC but I’d recommend taking plenty of money with you. The publisher stands at YALC have quite a few discounts that you may want to take advantage of but there’s also a Waterstones stand so if you don’t have a book for an author to sign, you can purchase it there. There’s also the opportunity to buy books that have been released early at YALC. My advice is to take more than you’ll need just in case. That way if you need it, you’ve got it and if you don’t use it all, then you’ve got money left over!
  9. Take a look at the map beforehand – You’ll want to have a look at the map beforehand as it’ll tell you where each vendor is. It’ll also help you get organised as if there’s an early copy of a book you really want, you don’t want to be running round like a headless chicken because you can’t find the booth you need to be at!
  10. Take a lanyard or some form of identification if you’re a blogger or booktuber – Lanyards are great things to take if you’re a blogger or booktuber. YALC is a great way to meet not only friends, but also publishers and it can give you the chance to really establish connections. I took one last year and whilst I consider myself fairly unknown in the book community, it was nice to be able to talk to publishers and say that I have a blog.
  11. Head down to LFCC – Not exactly a YALC tip but all YALC goers have access to the LFCC floor which I would definitely recommend going down to and checking out. There are loads more vendors down there and it’s just so fun seeing all the cosplays.
  12. Have fun! – YALC is the biggest YA convention in the UK and it’s also the convention that people travel from afar too. It has a great atmosphere and it’s so nice to see everyone without screens and the distance between each other. Don’t be afraid to be excited if there’s a book you want or an author you love because we all feel that way about another book or author and we’re all here because of our love of books. The most important thing about YALC is that you do have fun. Some of my best memories are from YALC and I really look forward to it every year.

I hope these tips are helpful and that they can help you get yourself prepared for the convention. Look at for my post on how I get organised for YALC which will be coming soon!

13 thoughts on “The YALC Survival Guide: Tips and Tricks to Help you Survive the Convention

  1. I went for the first time last year, and I read a survival guide similar to this before going and it was so helpful! Definitely agree with all the points. I didn’t wear a lanyard last year, I might give that a go!

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