Hi adventurers! Today’s post is all about YALC ’18!
First of all, just in case you’re unsure, YALC is the Young Adult Literature Convention which is held in London alongside Comic Con. It’s three days of book signings, panels, workshops and meeting awesome bookish people, grabbing freebies and chances to win ARCs!
I’ve been to YALC only once before in 2016, but I was with two friends and we spent a lot of time on the Comic Con floor, rather than the YALC floor. So really this year felt like my first time at YALC! It was the first time I’d attended completely alone and I have to admit I was kind of terrified. I wouldn’t say I’m the most outgoing or confident person when it comes to social things, especially when I’m alone. For instance the first author I approached to get my book signed I literally just didn’t even know what the hell to say, so I didn’t really say anything and it felt so awkward. Thankfully, the more I talked to people I didn’t know, the more authors I approached, the more I relaxed; the easier it all became. I had such an amazing time, even though I went alone, which for me is weird. See I have this thing where, if I do something I deem as a social thing, like a should-be-done-with-friends-or-another-person thing… (for example, eating out, clothes shopping etc.) But I do it alone, I feel super awkward, uncomfortable, odd and like a bit of a loner, then I think other people must also be thinking that about me too, so then I just become more uncomfortable and ugh. But the older I get the more I see that clothes shopping for example, can’t always be done with friends or other people, it’s waaaaay too difficult with work, family and life to only go clothes shopping when you’re with another person. I’d never have any clothes! And if I’m hungry while out clothes shopping alone, I’m not going to starve because I don’t want people to think I’m a sad loner, so I’ll sit and I’ll eat alone. So yeah, that’s something I’m working on but anyway we strayed a little (okay a lot) from what we’re supposed to be talking about! So yes, I, Jordan, attended YALC ’18 alone and actually had a blast.
Day One – Friday 27th
Day one of YALC was probably the scariest, since it’s the first day, I’m totally alone, I didn’t plan to meet with anyone that day, didn’t really know anyone going that day. But I actually wouldn’t have changed it at all, by going alone I built up my confidence a lot, I had only myself to rely on, I had to force myself to stand in queues and talk to authors, to strike up conversations with people in queues and publishers at their stalls. Which then really helped me be a more confident me for the rest of YALC. So I’m so glad I went alone and didn’t meet anyone on the first day. Except maybe if I had met up with someone they could have stopped me from buying ALL THE DAMN BOOKS! I bought 20 new books on Friday and spent well over £200, I also bought three new Funko pops!
Books I got signed –
The Smoke Thieves – Sally Green (this one was the first and super awkward one)
Rebel of the Sands, Traitor to the Throne, Hero at the Fall – Alywn Hamilton (she was amazing, so lovely and asking questions and just generally making you feel super comfortable)
The Testament of Loki – Joanne Harris (picked this one up in the Waterstones pop up shop on the day, it was gorgeous so I had to haha)
The Surface Breaks – Louise O’Neill (I’d been meaning to get this book for a while so I grabbed a copy at the Waterstones shop there so I could get it signed!)
Day Two – Saturday 28th
Saturday was much busier than the Friday and I actually knew a few people that were going, I met up with Hâf, a lovely fellow book lover that I’ve been talking to online for a long time! It was such a fun day and we worked so well as a team getting all our books signed. Probably the best thing was that it wasn’t awkward at all when we met and it was like we’d know each other and been friends forever, we spent pretty much the whole day running around like mad women or queuing for hours haha! I feel like spending the Friday alone really helped me to be more confident and less timid on the Saturday, which really helped with meeting Hâf and all of the other people I met, I actually just randomly spoke to people in the queue instead of trying to avoid talking to people!
Books I got signed –
To Kill a Kingdom – Alexandra Christo (this was a special signing that wasn’t actually on the official author/signing line up!)
My Heart Goes Bang – Keris Stainton (I didn’t actually get this signed myself, Hâf went and got it signed for me as I was in the queue for another signing :D)
Floored & State of Sorrow – Melinda Sailsbury (Melinda was lovely and she even added a cute stamp into State of Sorrow!)
Floored – Sara Barnard, Holly Bourne, Lisa Williamson, Tanya Byrne, Eleanor Wood, Non Pratt (Floored is written by seven authors and I managed to get my book signed by all seven, but it was no easy feat, there was a lot of running around and honestly if Hâf and I hadn’t worked together to get them all to sign it I don’t actually think it would have been possible with how long some of the queues were)
Children of Blood and Bone – Tomi Adeyemi (I was so lucky to have my book signed by Tomi, her queue was insanely huge and slow moving, she’s absolutely lovely and I managed to give her one of my candles (without shaking too much) I made of the Iku Clan!
The Bone Season & The Mime Order – Samantha Shannon (one of my favourite, auto buy authors and I was so happy I got the chance to meet her, she’s so nice! I didn’t take The Song Rising because it was already signed (but not personalised) and I knew she’d be super busy)
Eve of Man – Giovanna & Tom Fletcher (their queue was absolutely insane, you had to actually queue well before the signing to get tickets to queue for the signing, it was crazy! They were both super nice)
Day Three – Sunday 29th
Sunday was another day that I kind of spent mostly alone, I knew a few people that were also going and did meet up and chat with them a little, but we had different things we wanted to get done that day so we didn’t hang out all day! I had a really fun time though and met some absolutely lovely people in the queues I was in, unfortunately I didn’t get any of their blog/Twitter/insta names which sucks, but they made queuing more bearable, especially that long Sara Holland queue! I also attended my first panel at YALC, it was the dystopian ‘It’s dark in here, bring a torch’ panel and I really enjoyed it, I think next year I’d love to go to more panels and maybe even some workshops!
Books I got signed –
The Fandom – Anna Day (A fellow northerner! She was lovely and we had a nice chat, although there was a woman that kinda butted in and like just took over)
The Survival Game – Nicky Singer (grabbed this one after the dystopia panel, sounds so good and Nicky was lovely!)
Gilded Cage & Bright Ruin – Vic James (Vic was also on the dystopia panel and I really loved the sound of her books, plus the first had been on my TBR for forever, so I thought why not pick them up and get them signed? Unfortunately they’d run out of book two haha, so I got one and three.)
Everless – Sara Holland (Sara’s queue was also pretty big and honestly, it was my last queue on the last day of a very busy weekend and my feet were killing 😂 but she was really nice and chatted to me)
Books bought at YALC –
Talon, Rouge & Soldier – Julie Kagawa
The Wicked Deep – Shea Ernshaw
The Extinction Trials & The Extinction Trials Exile – S.M. Wilson (both were signed!)
Words in Deep Blue – Cath Crowley
Moxie – Jennifer Mathieu
My Heart Goes Bang – Keris Stainton
Floored – Multiple Authors
Ash Princess – Laura Sebastian
The Book Ninja – Ali Berg & Michelle Klaus
Save the Date – Morgan Matson
Kingdom of Sleep – E.K. Johnston
The Belles – Dhonielle Clayton
Gilded Cage & Bright Ruin – Vic James
The Survival Game – Nicky Singer
The Fandom – Anna Day
All the Ever Afters – Danielle Teller
Sea Witch – Sarah Henning
The Testament of Loki – Joanne Harris
The Surface Breaks – Louise O’Neill
A Thousand Beginnings and Endings – Ellen Oh
The Heart Forger – Rin Chupeco
See? I really needed someone there to stop me from buying literally everything!
I had such an amazing time at YALC this year, I met some lovely new people and some people I’d been talking to online for a while. I did it alone even though I was afraid and I feel like I got the best and most out of the weekend for me. One thing I know annoyed a ton of people were the way ARCs were given out, instead of them being handed out on a first come first serve basis, they were made into competitions and raffles to win them, so it would be fair for people with a disability, but it didn’t really feel like it was actually fair for people with a disability (or anyone to be honest) because you still had to get there quick/on time to queue otherwise they ran out so quick (yes even with them being giveaways) because there was only like 25 to be won, so if you weren’t there straight away then they were already gone by the time you got there! And no, of course YALC isn’t all about the ARCs and the free stuff, but I really do wish they’d brought more with them to give more people a chance of actually winning! I’m also not very lucky when it comes to giveaways/raffles so I was a little bummed out haha! Although actually, on Sunday I was lucky enough to grab a couple of ARCs since I didn’t have many signings to go to!
Have you been to YALC? Do you go alone or do you always go with friends? If you haven’t been yet, why? And would you ever go? ❤️