As many UK readers know, the Young Adult Literature Convention (YALC) is coming up this week! Part of London Film and Comic Con, YALC celebrates YA books, readers, and authors in one happy weekend. I’m going to YALC for the first time, as I’m sure many others are too, but I am a seasoned attendee of both New York Comic Con and professional conferences. I thought I’d share some general conference-going tips to (hopefully) make your life a bit easier and more comfortable at YALC.
Please feel free to add to this list, especially if you’ve been to this convention before!
#1 Comfortable shoes
The best and most frequent advice I was given before attending London Book Fair for the first time was ‘wear comfortable shoes’. You’re going to be on your feet all day – for multiple days for some. I guarantee that more people will notice you limping than your absence of cute shoes!
#2 Bring water and snacks
Water is key, of course. But if you’re going to be up and about all day you’re going to get hungry. There’s usually snack/food bars, but who wants to wait in line for something that’s not a book?
#3 Phone charger
An external phone battery is a lifesaver. If there are outlets anywhere, you can bet there will be a crowd. An external battery is fairly cheap and I can usually get two full phone charges out of a single one. While you can make friends at charging stations, as I have in the past, it’s always best to come prepared.
#4 Don’t forget you can leave and come back
I have no idea how big YALC will be, but I tend to get very overwhelmed very quickly in large conventions and conferences. If you’re like me, the biggest thing to remember is you can leave and come back. I usually last about 20 minutes before I need to get out, but come back incredibly refreshed and ready to tackle the day.
#5 What bag to bring
Here’s a big one that I think can be debated — what kind of bag should you bring? A suitcase? A backpack? A tote bag? I don’t think there’s a correct answer here, but there’s a lot you should consider. Are you bringing loads of books to be signed? Are you planning to pick up a bunch of books and proofs? Keep in mind that you’ll be on your feet all day and comfort is key. A heavy purse on top of a heavy tote bag will start to drag you down after a few hours. A suitcase will alleviate that strain, but may get tangled up in people’s legs and could take up too much room in panels and such. (Past YALC attendees: what do you think?)
Me? My plan is to bring a small backpack with one or two books to be signed. I’ll have my suitcase at home with minimal clothing in it and an empty duffel bag for extra books. I don’t live too far away I can weigh myself down with loads of stuff, but anyone flying down might have to keep this in mind!
#6 Don’t be afraid to chat
As I’m sure most of you know that the book community is filled with wonderful people. This doesn’t end with bloggers and Twitter users – authors and publishing professionals are among the loveliest people around. Don’t be afraid to say hi! We’re all here because we love book and the genre. You never know if you’ll meet your new best book friend.
And of course, don’t forget to check the schedule!
If you want more in-depth info on attending conferences, you can take a look at this conference guide created by the lovely ladies at HBIC Nation!
Will you be at YALC? Let me know, I’d love to meet some of the amazing bloggers I follow and chat with here! I will be there all three days. If you won’t be going, I’ll be tweeting and adding constant updates to Instagram and my Instagram story! You can find me everywhere at @ishouldreadthat.