Young Adult Literature Convention, or as it’s better known YALC, is fast approaching and I feel vastly unprepared. So what better way to try and gain some resemblance of order than making a blog post about preparing for YALC.
YALC takes place at the end of July alongside LFCC at Olympia London. It launched in 2014 and celebrates the best of YA books and authors across 3 days, and provides a place for readers, publishers, and the book community to have a great time with workshops, panels, signings, and stalls.
✅ YALC tickets
The first and most important thing you better have ready is your YALC tickets purchased. They’re on sale now and I believe will remain on sale until the day of or they’re sold out. Whichever comes first. I’m sure by now most of us have our tickets ready but make sure you have them somewhere that is easy to access – unread email at the top of your inbox, loaded on your Eventbrite app or digital waller, or printed out ready being kept somewhere safe.
✅ Train tickets (or arrange a lift / put money aside for petrol)
As I live nowhere near London I have to make my way there on the train so I’ve got my friends and mine tickets purchased and seats reserved. I opted for physical tickets for once so we could all keep hold of our own tickets once on the train (I’ve found this makes passing barriers a little easier) and right now they’re kept safely in my “YALC BOX”.
✅ Booked a hotel
I know hotels nearby either sell out quickly or are rather expensive so make sure you’re looking around for the best option for you. Or have you instead bribed a friend with books and company to let you crash on their couch?✅ Buy a suitcase
Surprisingly I didn’t actually own a small suitcase the past two years I’ve been, seeing as though its become a yearly event now I finally splashed out (£30) and a 4 wheeled suitcase that is suitable for hand luggage. This’ll be what I take my books + some clothes to London, as well as being used each day at the event. This seriously helps my body not die.
I’ve already packed my Sarah Maria Griffin, Natasha Ngan, and Christine Lynn Herman books in my suitcase ready. This means they’re out of the way and definitely wont get forgotten.
✅ Create a YALC box
I’ve repurposed an Illumicrate box and started putting in anything that I need to remember to take to London. If you’re more organised than me you might already have a designated “safe space” for important things, but I don’t so I figured this would do.
In here I have my train tickets, cooler bag, luggage tag, oyster card, business cards, lanyard, and a little pouch for keeping important things in each day.
◻️ Plan your days
It’s handy to know what to expect each day so I suggest looking at the programs provided to prioritise what you’d like to see each day, or the spreadsheet I made with additional links to help. As the map doesn’t exist yet we still aren’t 100% on all the stalls (publishers, authors, and shops) that’ll be there and other bloggers are collecting the information to generate an ARC list for us again too it means we can’t plan our days to the fullest yet.
This is how I’ve currently set out and organised the authors I plan to see; pinky-red being my priorities, green being a yes, and orange being a maybe if time/queue size is ok.
I also deleted anything from the schedule that I don’t plan to attend so I can just see what hours I need to make sure I’m somewhere, this really helped me chill out as I realised I have a lot of free time. This year I wont forget to eat!
I think it’s this lack of information that has left me feeling under prepared at the moment. I know I need to be patient but I ‘m just very ready to see my pals again.
Now you have an idea of what you’d like to do each day, it’s a good idea to look at what books you need. As I’m a more visual person I made my spreadsheet with that in mind and had each author name linked up to their Goodreads page so I could see the covers to know which I already have, which I need to read, and which I’d like to consider getting before the trip arrives.
As you can see from my plan above I have a
few lot of books I still need to read before YALC. I honestly don’t see this happening so instead I’ve split my pile into two.
The first image is my “priority stack” which are the books I’d most like to attempt to finish or read a good chunk of prior to YALC. This stack includes:
The Tesla Legacy by K. K. Perez | The Wrath & The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh | Spellbook of the Lost and Found by Moira Fowley-Doyles | The Elites by Natasha Ngan | The Deathless Girls by Kiran Millwood Hargrave | Viper by Bex Hogan | Dread Nation by Justina Ireland
(I’ve also put all my copies of Spare and Found Parts in my suitcase given I have a personalised copy that I intend to read this week.)
Finally we have my “I should give these a try” book stack for YALC. Given that my unread books are so many, these are the ones that I’ll just read a chapter or two to get a feel which’ll help me figure out if I definitely need to bring them all. This stack includes:
Demon Road by Derek Landy | Outside by Sarah Ann Juckes | Viper by Bex Hogan | The Rose & The Dagger by Renee Ahdieh | The Truth About Keeping Secrets by Savannah Brown | The Quiet at the End of the World by Lauren James | We are Blood and Thunder by Kesia Lupo
As I’m reading a different Lauren James book (not my copy though) this month I figured I’d just put this on the second pile as I’ll have a feeling for her writing by the end of that one.
The reason I have Viper here even though it’s already in my priority stack is because this copy is already signed, so if I’m short on space this one will be left at home. Similarly Demon Road is already signed too so that’s another I could possibly leave at home – especially if I’m not super super hooked after a few chapters.
I do technically have four other books I should get ready for YALC but I’ve simply not been through that shelf yet so I’ll add that to my checklist…
◻️ Get the last of your books ready
For me it’s finish unshelving my books, but for you it might be to buy some books you’re missing. I have 0 to buy cause I’m fab (see also: a mess who has a lot of unread books).
So I think I covered everything? But I have no idea which is one of the reasons I wanted to make this blog post, hopefully if there is anything I’ve missed you can let me know.
18 thoughts on “How to feel prepared for YALC and create a TBR”
I hope that you have an absolute blast! Bookish festivals sound like so much fun!
Have loads of fun at the festival. :-)
I’ve never been able to go to a book event before because none of them seem to happen where I live, but this one looks super cool. I hope you have a lot of fun! Also, how cool is it that you can meet Alice Oseman and Renee Ahdieh? They are both such talented authors! I also am very excited to read The Truth About Keeping Secrets because it’s gotten a lot of praise!
This is good advice for any con. There are never really any near me and I don’t have the money to go to those farther away, but I’m super jealous of those who can.
Ah I, so excited, just over a month to go – yay! I’ve got everything prepared, mostly! Just need to book transport home and buy a suitcase and the books I want to get signed 😊
Your checklist is great! Super organised. I wish I was going
I am feeling grossly underprepared and it’s making me feel sick. I’ll definitely be trying to organise myself this weekend!
Great advice! I love the spreadsheet. I will definitely use that to plan YALC 2019! It’s been a while since I’ve done a whole weekend at YALC, I normally prefer the Friday as it’s a lot quieter.
I cannot wait for YALC! I am not at all prepared but I hope to be soon!
I am getting second hand excitement for you I cannot wait to hear all about YALC, and honestly I wish I would have thought of so many of these things before I went to Cymera, it’s not a far event from me but I feel I should have been a little better prepared (and had more time to explore it). I also am just drooling over all these book stack picks, again, I’m so excited for you!!!!
Urgh, I’d better get reading haha. I have a couple of the same books on my TBR too.
And I need to buy my train tickets sharpish too, I keep forgetting!
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Wooo I’ve done all of these apart from putting things aside that I might need, I can’t make those decision yet haha.
I probably won’t get to YALC anytime in the foreseeable future, but I’ll definitely adapt these tips for when (if) I someday go to Book Con!
you’ve definitely got this, Lauren, and I hope you have lots of fun at YALC (and yes, eating is good, make sure you do that) 💕
I honestly cannot believe that YALC is almost upon us. I feel so under-prepared in terms of reading but I have at least sorted my schedule and everything else.
I live in London and have always completely missed yalc every year, seeing everyone talking about it has really made me want to get tickets but everyone seems very organised and it seems kinda stressy lol BUT your post has def made me want to go xx
I am still on the fence about going or not as it seems really intimidating, so I haven’t bought tickets yet. For a first-timer, would it be better just to go for one day? I struggle a bit with big crowds, although I’m sure that a bookish crowd would be better than an average one!
this is a great checklist! so far the only things I have are my entry tickets and the train to London, everything else is still written in the stars. But then I’m usually completely unprepared and just go along with what comes and it works out. I hope it does again this year :D