YALC Round Up Part 2: 9 Tips for Making the Most of 2017

Welcome back to the second and final part of my YALC round up, my lovely little pumpkin pasties! If you haven’t read Part 1, you can head over and have a little nosey here.

I had an absolutely brilliant time at YALC, but there are definitely a few things that I have learned and some tips I’ve picked up that will help me (and maybe you!) make the most of the convention when next year rolls round.

Get comfy, it’s time for my YALC survival tips!

Forsake the beauty sleep

The doors opened at 9am and when we arrived at 9:15, the queue was already pretty long. The first panel had started just as we got in, so if you’re desperate to be on time, put away those sleepy grimaces and arrive an hour early.

Bring a sturdy bag, and wear cool clothes

Yes, I am your Mum and I do mean cool as in breezy. Even if it’s raining outside, it’ll get bloody hot in there. A comfortable and roomy bag is of utmost importance – your shoulders will thank you later in a way that mine definitely didn’t! Classic disorganisation on my part.

Bonus tip: coffee is useful, water is a must. You can take both in with you.

If you can only go on one day, prioritise!

Can only make one day? You have two options: either prioritise the authors you’d like to meet/panels you’d like to listen to, or the proofs you want to get your hands on. Lots of publishers brought proofs and excerpts with them, but many (like Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige) were gone after the Friday. If the aim of your game is to grab unreleased books, go on the Friday.

Talk to people on stands and don’t be afraid to approach people

Although I’m quite a confident person, I seem to turn into a quivering mess when faced with people I respect. I did speak to a few publishers and they were all very nice and happy to chat books – after all, they’re bookworms too! However, I wish I’d pressed more of them for details about how to get my blog onto their publicity lists, or for tips on blogging in general.

Equally, authors are just people too, and they are happy to hear why you loved their book! I didn’t see or hear of one author refusing a photo or getting tired of talking to fans, so swallow your fear and speak with then if you can! I wish I’d approached Chris Riddell to tell him how much I respect his work as Children’s Laureate, illustrator and a campaigner for children’s book coverage, but I let my nerves get in the way.

Be prepared for queues

If you don’t like a good queue, you might find it difficult to get a book signed unless you’re lucky enough to spot an author wandering the floor like a rogue Pikachu. The best way to beat the queue for an author is to leave their panel early and wait in front of the tables. Boring? Yes. But this is what the books you’ve just brought are for! Take a pew on the floor and get stuck into a new read to pass the time.

Keep an eye on Twitter

Make sure you follow all of the YA and Children’s Publishing Houses and imprints that you can, as well as the official YALC Twitter account. They regularly made announcements for surprise author appearances, the availability of proofs, YALC challenges and competitions and updates on the amount of stock they had left (I hear proofs of Nevernight by Jay Kristoff and V.E. Schwab’s new book This Savage Song disappeared pretty sharpish!).

I’ve made a list of publishers on Twitter to get you ready for 2017, because I’m cool like that. Click here to check it out.

Consider a combination ticket

If you also like your comics, graphic novels, superhero movies, sci-fi, GoT or Harry Potter, then you should definitely considering getting a ticket that allows you access to London Film and Comic Con (LFCC) too. LFCC is much bigger than YALC, and they also have merchandise stalls selling things like film and TV prints, clothing and Funkos, whereas YALC doesn’t. If you don’t fancy spending ages queuing to meet authors or get books signed, you could spend a couple of happy, nerdy hours exploring the Comic Con instead.

Make sure you eat!

Sounds obvious, but it’s amazing how things like food pale in comparison to the wonder of books and your favourite authors. You can either make like Holly Bourne’s Spinster Club girls and bring cheesy snacks a-plenty with you, or you can leave and come back in (or so I have been reliably informed) to make sure you’re fuelled up for a full day of bookish wonder. There are plenty of places to eat on the Hammersmith Road, including Starbucks, Pizza Express, Nandos, Wagamamas, as well as pubs and cafes. There is a cafe on the YALC floor, but it is very small and it gets busy around lunchtime.

Take a notepad or a portable phone charger

If you’re a blogger, you’re going to want a fully charged phone or a notepad handy for a number of sensible reasons: to take notes during panels for all of those awesome discussion or round-up posts, to live tweet your day, to take photos for your blog or bookstagram and importantly, to write down or save the details of other bloggers or people you meet! My advice? Take both. If you can’t afford a portable charger and your phone dies, you can still resort to the age-old paper and pen method. Who doesn’t love a good notebook, anyway? #PaperchasesBestCustomer


There are so few big events like this for lovers of YA in the UK and it really was a wonderful celebration. Everyone was having a good time, and there were only positive vibes in the air. If you can make it to London next year, go forth and seek all of the free stuff you can carry, chat enthusiastically to all the bookish people you meet, and spend the whole day with a massive, cheesy grin and a heart full of book love.

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15 thoughts on “YALC Round Up Part 2: 9 Tips for Making the Most of 2017

  1. That’s a great post! I love your tips! I haven’t gotten a chance to attend any of the bookish festivals but once I do, damn, I’m ready!😂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great tips! I’m attending my first event in October and even though it won’t be near the magnitude that YALC is, I assume these tips are still applicable. The tip about checking Twitter frequently and following the publishers, authors, and even itself makes a lot of sense and o probably would have thought about it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is extremely useful, Sammie! I’m like across the world for YALC and don’t see myself attending ever but the same tips could be applied to just about any conference, bookish or not. And that Twitter list is ultra-useful, thank you for compiling that. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks so much, Reg! ❤ I'm glad it's useful for you! I think you're right – most tips like these can be applied to events around the world (I hope). No problem at all – it's mostly UK publishers I'm afraid, but I am adding to it as time goes on. 🙂 x

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  4. YALC looks like so much fun and I wish I could make it, but I doubt that will ever happen. There are comparable events in America, though!
    I agree with what Reg, these are useful tips for most conferences.
    Confidence is so important! Never be afraid to ask about opportunities for bloggers, as long as you do it preofessionally. I’m just learning to do that electronically and am succeeding, but I’m not sure if I’d be as effective in person. haha

    Liked by 1 person

    • It was really fun! Never say never – you may make it over here one summer and just happen upon YALC. 😉 Yeah, I’ve heard about BookCon and obviously SDCC, which both look amazing! I’m sure there’s lots of smaller ones too. 🙂 Thank you! Absolutely – confidence is definitely key when you want to start growing your blog and interacting with publishers and the like, but it’s definitely a learning curve. Haha I’m absolutely sure you would be Naz, although I think it’s something we all believe we’re not that good at! x

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  5. These are great tips, I wish I’d had them just before I went. Granted I did forsake a lot of sleep, by the end of the third day I was pretty much walking around like a zombie I was so sleep deprived! But the ones about having a sturdy bag and making sure you eat would have been helpful to know!
    Then again these are all great tips for when I go next year! 😀 I’ll definitely think about combining YALC and LFCC, I spent all my time around YALC looking at the books, going to panels and signings but I think it would have been great to spend some time at LFCC too! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Beth! 🙂 Haha I can only imagine – I would have definitely been the same by the third day if I’d gone for the whole weekend. Sturdy bag is a must! Those tote bags are super cute, but a nightmare for carrying lots of books. 😦 Yeah me too – I think I’ll combine with LFCC next year too, just to see what it’s like! x

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      • See for me the first day was the worst in terms of me buying books but by the third I was shattered! It was amazing though. I may have to take a suitase next year if I plan on taking/buying as many books next year as I did this year! 😀

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  6. Thanks for the Twitter list! This was my first year as well. I can confirm that you can easily exit and re-enter YALC, even several times a day. Just make sure your wristband is visible. On the Friday, my busiest day, I had 12 books to get signed and I took a wheelie suitcase with me. It’s allowed on the floor and I’ve seen other people do it as well – so it’s not super weird. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • No worries! 🙂 Thanks for the information – that’s definitely a useful one to know in advance. 🙂 Haha that’s not weird at all – if I’d been going for the weekend I would have considered the same tactic for book signings! Did you have a good time? 🙂 x

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