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My tips for YALC

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Last year I went to the Sunday of the Young Adult Lit Con and my review was one of the first posts on this blog! I had planned to go all weekend this year, but I wouldn't be able to handle it, so I'm going on the Sunday again with two of my bestest friends, Stacey and Sam. Last year I went by myself, so I'm looking forward to going with friends this year.

I've got some tips for the day, especially for people who may suffer from anxiety or chronic illness. I'll share this post on Twitter too.

- Prepare yourself. Get a good night's sleep, eat breakfast and have a drink before you get there

- The entry queue is different to the one for LFCC, it is round the left hand side of the building on Hammersmith Road. Don't join the main queue!

- There are lifts inside which will take you up to the floor where YALC is if stairs are difficult for you. Conserve your energy!

- Take a minute to orient yourself in the space, for what's going on where and where the loos are and stuff like that. Last year the main space was cordoned off and had plenty of exits/people coming in and out, and all the other spaces were dotted around the edges.

- Take a look at the schedule and decide which panels/workshops/etc interest you. Keep a rough idea of the times in your head (or write them down!) and check out what will happen in what space. It will lessen anxiety, and you will move better through the spaces. No one will mind if you slip out of one place early to get to another in your own time if that's something you need.

- You can take books that you already own for authors to sign, or you can buy them there. Authors won't mind signing ones you already own, I swear! Some queues have given out Post-It notes for you to write your name on, others won't. But, if you have an unusual name or an unusual spelling, do be ready to spell it out for the author. You want your inscription to be right!

- There will be cosplayers around and they will look amazing - last year I saw 4 young Muslim girls, all wearing hijab, dressed as each Harry Potter house. Many cosplayers will agree if you ask to take their photo, but please don't take their photo without their permission. It's creepy and unfair.

- You WILL need a bag or bags if you take books or are planning to buy books. Last year I had two tote bags but they were far too heavy for me by the end of the day, so this year I'm packing everything into a wheeled suitcase.

- I will however take an across the body bag where I can keep things that I'll need quickly, like my phone, a bottle of water (an absolute necessity), some cash, my book/tablet, maybe a notebook too.

- Some bookstalls accepted cash and others didn't. As I recall, the food place didn't take card, so cash was needed. I would recommend taking some at least.

- Last year I bought lunch from the cafe in the same space as YALC, but it was crowded, the queue was huge, and the food wasn't that good. This year I'm planning to leave the Olympia and find food close by. You can also take your own food in, don't feel like you can't.

- Take some water or another drink because you will need to keep hydrated.

- If everything is getting overwhelming, or you're tired, do take quarter of an hour to sit in the reading area and just chill out. There were some chairs, and cushions to sit on the floor. Do take a book and just breathe. You can stay there all day if you like.

- I believe that your YALC ticket lets you into part of LFCC, which is downstairs in another part of the building. If that's your thing, do go and have a look. I think I saw people last year had bought Harry Potter merch down there.

- As the con was coming to a close on Sunday afternoon, some publishers started doing deals on their books like 3 for £10 or even 2 for £5. If you're around at this point I'd recommend searching out some deals!

- Do talk to people. Everyone will be the nicest people you'll ever meet and you're all there for the love of YA literature. Come and talk to me! I look like this and I'll be wearing a patterned dress most probably. I have visible tattoos on my arms. I think there's a plan for people to tweet/instagram photos of themselves on each day of the con with the hashtag #YALCselfie so that other people know what they're wearing - I'll try to do this too.

- I bought some business cards for this year to give to people. They have my Twitter handle on them and the address of this blog. I plan on foisting them on everyone!

- Finally, try to thoroughly enjoy yourself. Listen to authors, go to a workshop, make some new friends. Buy some books, learn some new books, meet someone whose book you've loved.

- Go home and rest and maybe stroke your new books a bit... Or is that just me?

See you Sunday!

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