I remember, last year, when I was jealous of everyone preparing for YALC, gushing about it everywhere and I was at home, at work – anywhere but in London. [Which is, just saying, my favorite city in the world so far.] This year is different though! I got my ticket, booked my train and my hotel and am in full-on prep mode! I’ve looked up some posts and decided to combine all the interesting tips I could find. Because if you’re going, or maybe someday going to a book convention, you might need these as well!
1 ~ DECIDE WHAT BOOKS YOU FIND INTERESTING
Admittedly, I started simply adding all the books sounding remotely interesting on a Goodreads-shelf while the author announcements were still flooding in every week. This ended up being a whole lot of them, but at least I had my first selection.
As soon as all authors were announced, I looked through them thoroughly deciding which ones I found interesting enough to actually read before YALC.
2 ~ START READING
Then I had to actually read them. Granted, I’m still in the middle of that, but so far I definitely have some books of which I’d love to meet the author. Right now, Sara Barnard is highest on the list since I love A Quiet Kind of Thunder to the moon and back!
Definitely keep in mind you can’t read all the books by the time YALC comes around. We can only try and read as much as possible. Creating a priority list can help! I don’t think any of us wants to meet an author and having to admit you actually haven’t read their book just yet. [At least, I wouldn’t want to do that.. I can’t even imagine how I’d behave if it were the case.]
3 ~ PLAN, PLAN, PLAN!
There will be so much to do! Author signings, panels, browsing all the different stands to discover new books and so much more. That’s not even mentioning the fact that there’s more than just YALC! You also have actors coming, a comic convention and a gaming section – bye boyfriend; see you on the train home… Knowing up front what you want to do, where you have to be at and how many time you need for everything is probably important if you don’t want to miss out on anything!
I have to admit I don’t know how I’ll go about that yet. I feel like Friday will overwhelm me and maybe I’ll be able to prepare better for the two days afterwards once I’ve gotten a first YALC impression?
4 ~ LET PEOPLE KNOW WHO YOU ARE
Sure, you guys might have that little light bulb-moment when I bump into you and mention my blog, but sometimes people keep doubting whether or not that’s you. You look familiar, but they’re simply not sure. Want to avoid that? Maybe check out Jenniely’s Etsy Shop [Literary Galaxy] and order one of her lanyards? [Although that might be a little late depending on where you’re at..] Or create some kind of badge for yourself? Or simply get creative yourself with anything, really!
5 ~ PREPARE YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA
We all know YALC for bloggers is partly about the ARC’s we can get our hands on. It’s no secret and I’m not going to treat it as one either. Especially since I’m an international blogger and this convention might be the only real chance I have at getting my hands on certain ARC’s.
I’m definitely planning on following as many publishers as I can by then – I know I already follow loads, but there can always be that one I missed out on – and making sure my notifications for their tweets are on. That way I’ll be able to see when and where they’re handing out those precious books!
6 ~ BUT HOW DO I CARRY IT ALL?
Sure, the attendants living in London probably don’t have to think about it that much but since I live in Belgium, this is definitely something I need to consider. I’m already planning on making my boyfriend take his own suitcase – even though our luggage can definitely fit in just one – simply because I want room for the books I’m bringing home! As for YALC itself? Backpack and extra totes! You never know how many books you’ll end up getting your hands on and I’d rather have too many options than curse myself for not having enough. I also made sure to book a hotel not too far from the convention, so if need be I can always drop off my stuff at the hotel before heading back. [Or make my boyfriend do that, ha!]
7 ~ NEVER FORGET SELF-CARE
As far as conventions go, I know from experience drinks and food are way more expensive when you buy them on site. I’d say: come prepared, bring your own water and snacks and try to make sure you have to spend as little money on expensive food as possible. After all, we want to buy books!
Definitely mind hypdrating though! Going to a convention can suck the energy [and fluids] right out of you so having water with you at all times is key.
On top of that, if you feel like you need a break, even though you should be heading to that panel or that signing, just take a break. It’ll be a tiring three days, filled with a lot of energy-consuming activities and walking around. Staying on top of your health is important. We don’t want to crash before we get to experience everything we can, right? [And preferably not crash afterwards either but I just know I’ll be sleeping the entire journey home.]
8 ~ SOCIALIZE, MEET UP AND DON’T BE SCARED
A lot of people mention the lines you’ll be waiting in to get a book signed. It might take a while before it’s your turn so having something to do is… well.. least boring? You could always start reading one of the books you picked up already but you can just as easily start talking to some of the people around you! Sure, a lot of us are introverts and awkward as freak [I’m one of those, seriously.. I’m not even joking right now.] but we all have one passion in common and that’s books.
I’m going to try and talk to strangers, and I’m sure you can do it too!
Do you have any other tips? Are you going to YALC? Or another book convention?