THE TIME HAS COME TO TALK ABOUT YALC 2018.
It’s finally here, my mammoth post on the most wonderful, bookish time of the year. 2018 saw me staying inside London for YALC for the first time ever and walking to the venue. WALKING. It also saw me lugging a suitcase through London on the hottest day of the year (36°c, damn you global warming!) and carrying a little fan around my neck for the whole convention. If you saw a girl get her hair caught in said fan while at YALC, hi! That was me!
~ The Good ~
Without just describing every single second of each day of YALC, here are all the top highlights of my weekend!
The bane of everyone’s existence; arcs/proofs. They’re there to generate buzz and publicity, but at the same time, they’ve garnered so much value despite having no monetary value at all. They’re a tricky subject, and they’ve caused so many problems over the last few years at YALC due to the very nature of getting them. Thankfully, this year introduced the raffle. I have a bad relationship with raffles. I never won them at school fetes or carnivals and I knew I was destined to never win anything in my life. When it came to the announcement that they’d now be raffles for arcs? That was it for me; I was coming home with nothing. Which is fine! Sometimes it’s the case.
But actually, what I thought would be the continuing of my losing streak was actually a pretty fair and exciting YALC that had a lot of winners for each raffle and more accessible times for arc drops. It’s still a game that you’ve got to put effort in to win, but this year no running around and doing humiliating tasks meant everyone was happy! If you want to see which books I got at YALC, I turned that bad boy into a separate post.
One of the best things about YALC is meeting all your pals you talk to for most of your life online! I met familiar faces and new ones, and found out that I’m not very good at following back on Twitter (apologies!). I’m usually stuck at the hip with my good ol’ pal Kate (the extrovert in our introvert/extrovert duo), but I also managed to not crumble into a quiet anxious mess and talked to other people. We even met up with a big group at Foyles and then onto Pizza Hut. It’s nice being sociable! Fuck you anxiety!
Rolled out last year, the way the signing queues are handled have become better and better. Instead of wasting an hour or two stuck in line to meet your fave authors for 30 seconds, you’re now given a number and can only queue when your number is called out. It means you can go off and enjoy talks, make it to raffle announcements, and even go downstairs to LFCC for a bit. There was, unfortunately, a bit of a hiccup with Tomi Adeyemi’s line, and it meant lots of people didn’t get to meet her. But for me, I’m not upset. She’s a worldwide bestseller, when her next book comes out, she’ll no doubt be returning to the UK for a big tour that means I can get COBAB and the sequel signed!
~ Bad ~
Complaining is one of the great British past times. And while I’m a person who does it without realising, these are all genuine things I found a bit disappointing when it came to YALC 2018. So, let’s all have a good whinge together!
Humans Need Water Apparently
What really gets me every year is the lack of water available at YALC. No matter what event you go to, water can end up a little difficult to find. But at least at concerts, festivals, theme parks, or just places where there are a lot of people in one place for a long time, water is available en masse. For some reason LFCC just hasn’t got the memo yet that humans need water. This year there was the usual small cafe with it’s incredibly overpriced water, which I refuse to buy because I shouldn’t have to buy a new plastic bottle twice a day every time I need a drink.
A new introduction was a water cooler over by Walker Books and people kept crowding around it with their water bottles. On Saturday, Walker Books had to refuse people wanting their bottles filled because they were going through so much water which they had provided themselves (as marketing for Dry by Neil Shusterman) and so most of the weekend I used the small cups they provided and abandoned my water bottle. I always tell myself to use the bathroom sinks in the toilets, but forget that they’re too small to fit a bottle under the tap until I get there.
The Notorious Goody Bag
Now I’d heard that if you’d bought a 3 day YALC ticket, you received a goody bag. This happens every year and I’d never called it a goody bag. Last year I queued up on the Friday was given a tote bag with a program and some badges inside. Nothing special. This year was a little different. This year they were being advertised as ‘goody bags’ which, to me, suggests something a little more special than before. However, once we arrived, we were told they weren’t going to be handed out until SUNDAY, and were only available to the first 500 people who had bought tickets.
I mean, I definitely don’t need a map of the venue and a list of publishers present on the last day of the con. But ok.
I saw a lot of people were a little pissed at what they received (if they even got the goody bag at all), and I gotta agree. On Friday I desperately needed a tote bag and ended up borrowing my friend Kirsty’s spare for the day. I don’t like to bring one because last year they were practically being flung at me from every stall. This year? Not so much, but I wish I could have still relied on the goody bag. Oh well.
Still…Where Is The Seating?
Every year we have this section of the blog post where I complain that sometimes I just gotta sit down. If you’ve met me, you might find that I really struggle sitting on the floor. I just can’t do it. I can’t get comfortable, or sit up properly, and I don’t know where to put my lanky legs. I’m like a baby trying to learn to hold it’s own body up right.
But at YALC, all there is is floor and more floor. There are some seats in the small cafe, but if about ten people show up, then you’re screwed. I heard there were also bean bags provided, but to me, that’s another floor but with more capacity to roll away. No thanks. I remember last year YALC said the reason that they couldn’t provide more seating was due to not having enough chairs *hard glare* or enough space *super hard glare*.
~ The Just Plain Embarrassing ~
Ahhh, the part where we can all look back and laugh at how embarrassing we get when we’re all cooped up together in a room. These are my embarrassing parts of YALC 2018.
Me screaming when I won Witchsign
On the last day of YALC, I put everything I owned into the cloakroom and walked around with nothing but my phone and debit card. It was utter bliss. I had decided I would not be buying anything, entering anything, or grabbing at free things. I loved feeling like a cloud, dancing around YALC while everyone else lugged around giant suitcases.
But then Harper Voyager did a raffle.
I love Harper Voyager and own a good chunk of their titles. They publish some of the best sci-fi and fantasy out there. I ended up missing out on their cheap end of YALC sale (something crazy like 2 hardbacks for £10?) and decided to enter just for a chance to win an arc of Witchsign. Everyone was going for the Tempests and Slaughter arcs, so I felt like I had a good chance. Every time someone won, they would scream. That seemed to be normal now.
So when my number was called? I screamed. More like a ‘Yeah!’. The sea of people parted and I received my arc. Yay! It wasn’t until throughout the rest of the day people saw I had won and yelled ‘That scream was you?! I was on the other side of the world and heard that!’ Thanks, lads!
Saying Hi to Jason Mamoa
I said hi to Jason Mamoa. That’s it that’s the bit. But in all seriousness, Jason Mamoa has been crowned our new Benedict Cumberbatch, and was seen walking through YALC all weekend. He was bigger than his bodyguards, in flip flops and enjoying life. Right at the end of Saturday, he walked past me so closely, that I couldn’t help but wave and say hello (despite him being on the phone). I think he was just happy to not be mobbed and just get a little wave.
He said a hello back to me and then I DIED.
In pure diva fashion, David Tennant was announced through the whole of the building on Saturday afternoon, and tickets to meet him were released at the same time. DAVID TENNANT. My doctor. He was going to be in the same building as me!
Unfortunately, security was tight, and he never walked through YALC, and I didn’t see him down at LFCC. However, I did get to see some of my friend’s pictures with him. If you play 6 degrees of separation, that’s 1. ONE DEGREE.
Sneaking into exits to see celebrities at LFCC
When it comes to celebrities, I don’t get obsessed. I do love David Tennant, and I did giggle a lot when Jason Mamoa said hello to me. But I don’t think I could ever ‘stan’ a real life person. If I saw a celebrity in a public place, I’d probably just avoid them at all costs. But at the same time, I kinda like looking at them, know what I mean? They’re real. That’s all I need, and I’m gone.
So while at LFCC trying to see if I could spot David Tennant (again, just to make sure he’s real), I found that you could veeeery casually step into the exists of the photo sessions and just get a lil’ look at some celebrities. I ended up looking at Aidan Turner and Zachary Levi. So, just to let you all know, they exist! And my work here is done.
This year has been one of the best YALCs I’ve been to, and I owe it all to the people I hang out with throughout the weekend, be it for a little while or for the whole con. I’m so grateful to find a community who loves books as much I do, and who can talk endlessly about them as if it were our jobs (or wish it was our job). It’s going to be really tough not being there next year, but if you do end up going, I wish you nothing but the best time! Say hello to people from Twitter! Watch all the talks! Join every raffle! And sneak into the exists of photo booths to get a look at some celebrities.