So, it’s over. After the anticipation and the constant counting down to YALC, it’s now been and gone. Au revoir my bookish paradise. Arrivederci to my lack of guilt over buying a shit ton of books and HELLO again to twelve hour work days and new book ban!
You’re probably wondering how I coped after my last post discussing how anxious I was feeling about attending the convention for the first time, and truth is, I didn’t cope all that well. Not the first day anyway.
Saturday feels like a massive blur to me now. I had been confident prior to waking up. I was going to go up and say hello to all of the publishers, make some contacts within the industry, become best friends with all my Twitter pals. But no, Saturday morning turned up (as to be expected I suppose, it always does – a very punctual thing really, the changing of days), and I had a meltdown. I hadn’t been anticipating the rain, I was going to straighten my unruly hair, but wasn’t able to because of the weather, and I hadn’t brought enough clips along to tame the mane! Tears everywhere, mascara everywhere…it was just an absolute mess of a morning!
We arrived into Kensington Olympia at around 11.15 – I’d been debating not going so we were considerably later than we’d anticipated – and despite the dreadful queue management, managed to find our way round to the YALC entrance.
Once we left the lift and entered the convention itself, I started really panicking. In fact, if it hadn’t been for John, I probably would have had a full blown panic attack and ended up leaving. However, we decided to sit down for a bit, take it all in and just go slow. We ended up starting from the beginning and walking round all of the stalls, and that really calmed me down. I’m definitely one for having a plan of action and organisation.
We attended a couple of signings (Keris Stainton, Amy McCulloch, M.A. Bennett), attended the Amongst the Stars panel with Lauren James, Sasha Alsberg, Becky Chambers and Samantha Shannon, which was just absolutely phenomenal. The highlight of the Saturday for sure! Went to a couple more signings (Lauren James and Laura Steven) and called it a day.
What I failed to mention was that by this point I had purchased/been given over thirty books. Well, between John and I anyway. This included a Waterstones haul that came to over £100. Oops.
Day One Haul (Purchased)
- Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova
- Bruja Born by Zoraida Córdova
- This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp
- My (Secret) Booktube Life by Charlotte Seager
- Orphan Monster Spy by Matt Killeen
- The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
- To Kill A Kingdom by Alexandra Christo
- How To Write A Love Story by Katy Cannon
- Are We All Lemmings & Snowflakes by Holly Bourne
- Out Of The Blue by Sophie Cameron
- Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall
- My Heart Goes Bang by Keris Stainton
- All These Beautiful Strangers by Elizabeth Klehfoth
- Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith
- Wing Jones by Katherine Webber
- In Paris With You by Clémentine Beauvais
- The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton
- Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
- The Island by M.A. Bennett
- Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill
- Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman
Day One Haul (Given out)
- Sawkill Girls by Claire LeGrand
- Chemistry Lessons by Meredith Goldstein
- The Foreseeable Future by Emily Adrian
- Ascension by Victor Dixen
- Kick The Moon/I Am Thunder flip sampler by Muhammad Khan
On the second day, we decided to do a little less and venture into LFCC to see what all the fuss was about. We eagerly awaited Muhammad Khan’s signing (and he recognised me before I’d even said my name!) – this was easily my favourite part of the weekend, and given how much I adored his novel, I Am Thunder, it was so amazing to see that he was as lovely a person as he is a great writer! John also had his book signed by William Sutcliffe who seemed really lovely too!
I didn’t enjoy LFCC at all. It was too busy and manic, overpriced and just felt like the same stall over and over again. I’d go back in next year just to get some more pop vinyls (this year I bought Buffy, Harry from Kingsman and Jabba the Hutt) but besides that, I won’t be wasting my time again.
Going back to YALC, I purchased considerably less the second day as most stalls had sold out of a lot of their more popular titles but I still managed to get some great novels!
Day Two Haul (Purchased)
- The Extinction Trials by S.M. Wilson
- The Extinction Trials : Exile by S.M. Wilson
- Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
- Hollow City by Ranson Riggs
- Library of Souls by Ranson Riggs
- Geekerella by Ashley Poston
My Personal Highlights
- Jason Momoa walking in during the Amongst The Stars panel, and Lauren James unveiling her new book cover.
- Meeting Muhammad Khan.
- Buying ALL. THE. BOOKS.
- Being surrounded by like-minded people and everyone being really friendly.
- The ability to be able to freak out over a book without getting judged!
Ways I think YALC could improve
- Have better accessibility and help for disabled/less able people. It shocked me how certain rules applied to some and not to others.
- Have a better queue system and a better grasp of which authors are going to have longer queues.
- Have people explaining where to go, and what to do when you first arrive. I had no idea how to book into workshops or how the panels worked or anything. I know they had an info point but a lot of book people have anxiety and asking things is out of the question. I missed out on a lot due to this.
- MORE WATER FOUNTAINS PLEASE.
- Put the air con on! It was sweltering. Even on the days where it wasn’t even hot outside.
Things I would do differently next year
- Book a three day ticket. Friday definitely looked to be the best day, and it was the only day I didn’t book tickets for.
- Bring a suitcase?
- Attend more panels and try a workshop!
- Be more confident with authors at their signings. They’re most likely going to be lovely and know you’re feeling a bit awkward.
- Speak to people I recognise. I saw so many people, but didn’t have the courage to go and say hi. This really led to me feeling a little left out, but hopefully next year I’ll try and be a bit better at this.
Overall though, we had a fantastic few days and 2019 cannot come quick enough! Thank you to all the organisers, publishers, authors and bookworms who made it happen! See you all again soon!