So, you’re going to the Young Adult Literature Convention this year. First of all, I’m glad you decided to take this step. Not only is the convention fantastic, it’s a nice ray of sunshine on the shit storm that is 2016.
I’ve only ever been to YALC once, but since talking to others online and getting the experience of being an absolute newbie, I wanted to share tips and helpful advice about going to the most bookish event in the country. Whether it’s your first time or you’ve been before, it’s nice to know a few things to prepare yourself, as well as to help yourself while you’re there.
It sounds like a no brainer, but you’ll be surprised at how many people over pack and end up lugging every single thing they own around four floors of nerdiness. You have to remember that not only are you taking books to get signed, you’re also going to be coming away with a lot more books then you started with. Not to mention YALC is a part of Comic-Con, where there’s three more floors of stuff to buy; Pop Vinyl figures, art prints, plushies, stationary, there’s everything. Make sure you have a backpack along with a totebag or two so the books can’t get easily damaged by all your merch!
If you can’t pack light, YALC offers locker facilities for (I think) £1 a day.
SNACKS AND DRINKS
I want you to think about this, Comic-Con is the biggest nerd convention in the U.K…it’s going to be busy. And while the convention space is big, it’s going to be hot and it’s not going to have enough resources for everyone. Having at least one bottle of water will be good for your health and for your wallet. YALC is the quietest floor and it’s very easy to find a place to sit and recuperate. There’s also a small cafe, however in my experience, I found the food expensive and lacking in variety. I was hungry for most of last year, and I waited in a queue for forty minutes to get an overpriced chocolate muffin. TAKE A LUNCH.
WEAR COMFORTABLE SHOES
You’re going to be doing a lot of walking and shuffling, so it’s best to wear shoes that don’t rub and don’t have heels. I mean, if you’re cosplaying and used to it, then by all means, where those 6 inch stilettos! But for me, I found nice breathable trainers or comfortable flats were the best at getting around. While there are seats available, you will be walking up and downstairs a lot.
Last year was a bit of a disaster getting into the actual venue for me. While I got the knack of the trains and the tube, I didn’t really think about the queuing situation once we’d got there. Note that there are multiple entrances to get into Comic-Con depending on what ticket you have. No matter which ticket, you can still get into the YALC section of the convention. However, if you have the YALC priority pass, you can go through a ~special~ entrance that takes you straight into YALC from Hammersmith Road. Try not to get caught up in any other queue; it happened to me and I ended up queuing around the whole building for an hour when I could have just gone through one door and got in. Some of the stewards didn’t even know what YALC was and didn’t help us at all, so make sure you get to that entrance and keep shoving the ticket in people’s faces to prove you can come in!
This only applies if you’re planning on buying things. Comic-Con can be considered one big shop, and unfortunately, not a lot of the stalls take card. There are numerous cash points on each floors, but all charge you a rate for taking money out. While it doesn’t seem so bad at the time, the amount of times you’ll need to take cash out will add up the charges. This also includes stalls that DO take cards as their card machines will also charge you. I would suggest taking cash just so you at least have some money on you. If you want to take a lot, split it into different areas so, if you do get pick pocketed, they won’t be able to take the whole thing e.g. some in your wallet, some in your bra, some in your shoe e.t.c. This might seem a bit far fetched; everyone is generally lovely and don’t go to YALC especially to commit crime, but making sure you’re not out of pocket is always a sensible idea.
If you’re like me and you live on the internet, you’re bound to see people you talk to on here. Considering all we’re going off is our Twitter icons (which my grandmother said looks nothing like me ???), use #Yalcselfie on the day so people know what you look like! It’s great for when you’re going on your own and you’re a little nervous. Speaking of, I’ll be at YALC on my own on Friday so make sure to find my #Yalcselfie and COME SAY HELLO TO ME.
And that my lovelies is my YALC 2016 Survival Guide! If you’re going, I hope you have a fantastic time and it’s as super and smooth as you can possibly make it. This list is purely on the experiences I’ve had in the past, and considering I don’t suffer from anxiety and am a bit of an extrovert sometimes, there may be things that I’ve missed out on that may apply to you.
Amber over at The Mile Long Bookshelf wrote a post about visiting YALC while you have anxiety and highlights a few points that may help you too!