Friday 21 June 2019

The Writing Greyhound’s YALC Survival Guide


It’s only a month until YALC 2019 – I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait! To try and pass the time while I’m eagerly counting down the days, I thought it might be a fun idea to try and share some advice with anyone else who will be attending YALC this year. 

For those who are unaware, YALC is the UK’s biggest and best Young Adult Literature Convention. Spanning a total of three glorious days, YALC is part of the London Film and Comic Con (LFCC) and is held at the Olympia venue in London. It’s a haven for authors, publishers, bookish PR people, book bloggers, and, of course, fans of Young Adult literature. Offering plentiful opportunities to meet and network with authors and industry professionals, collect old, new, rare and signed books, take part in fun-filled workshops and attend exclusive talks and panels, YALC is the perfect place for anyone and anything to do with the genre.

While seasoned YALC-goers are likely to know far more tips and tricks than I do (2019 being only my second year going), I know that I learned a lot last year that I wish I had known beforehand! So, for any newbies thinking of dipping their toes into the wonderful world of YALC, here is The Writing Greyhound’s survival guide to help see you through!

Plan, Plan, Plan!

As regular readers of The Writing Greyhound will undoubtedly already know, I can’t stand being disorganised. Everything has a place, and everything needs to be planned out, down to the tiniest little detail! However, I do think it is important to plan your day/s at YALC to ensure that you don’t miss out on anything. YALC schedules are usually made available on the website a few weeks before the event, so keep checking back for any updates. Once you have a copy of the schedule, you can then check out what’s on offer and begin to formulate a loose schedule based around timings of signings, workshops and talks. Hopefully, this should help you to make the most of your experience and avoid wasting any time!

Book Early to Avoid Disappointment

YALC gets bigger and better with each passing year, and as bigger-name guests attend, awareness around the event also grows. Understandably, Young Adult fiction is incredibly popular, so if you are hoping to attend, it’s important to book as early as you can. Historically, the Saturday of YALC is always the most popular, so if this is the day you intend to go on, don’t forget to order your tickets!

Personal Safety and Wellbeing

It’s worth remembering that YALC isn’t the only event that will be on at the Olympia – LFCC will also be in full swing. This means plenty more people, crowds, and a noisy, busy environment. Remember to stay hydrated, and if you feel overwhelmed at any point, try to find a quiet space to recuperate away from the hustle and bustle. If you are attending with a group, it might be a sensible idea to agree on a designated meeting point should you become separated. Both YALC and LFCC are spread out across various floors of the venue, and with all the noise and people, it can be very difficult to find your friends again!

Keep in the Loop

There is always a lot going on at YALC, and in such a busy environment, it can be difficult to keep up to date with everything that is going on. While there are staff members stationed around the venue who will be able to help you out or point you in the right direction, it might be a good idea to keep up with all the latest news and developments on social media. Follow YALC’s Twitter feed for updates in the lead-up to the event, and when the convention starts, I’d also recommend turning on Twitter notifications for all the publishers and PR people who will be in attendance. Providing the perfect way to stay up to date, you might also catch a bargain or be the first to know about an exclusive signing!

Storage Space is a Must

YALC is a book lover’s paradise, and I can pretty much guarantee that you will end up buying much more than you initially planned! From eye-catching new releases to signed copies and exclusive editions, there are plenty of treasures to be discovered. Plus, that’s not to mention the array of promotional goodies and bookish accessories you are likely to accumulate! Tote bags are your best friend, but some people prefer to go the whole hog and bring along wheelie suitcases just to carry all their books!

What to Bring

Similarly, the chances are that you won’t want to bring too much with you to save more space for all those exciting new purchases! If you have your heart set on meeting a particular author, it’s worth bringing along your favourite copy of their book/s to get signed. However, be realistic in your expectations – remember you will have to carry everything you bring around with you for the rest of the day!

You Can Never Have Too Many Books!

Simple and straight to the point – as every bookworm will agree, you can never have too many books. While it’s important not to go overboard (as previously mentioned, remember you need to be able to carry everything you buy!) and stay within your financial means, YALC is the perfect place to indulge your bookish whims and pick up all those must-read books on your shopping list! Whether you’re intending to look for specific books or simply want to browse what’s on offer, YALC is the perfect place to find your next read… Or ten!

Although this guide may make the whole event seem a little overwhelming, above all else, if you love Young Adult literature, you are going to adore YALC. Last year’s YALC was one of my highlights of 2018, so if you are still in two minds about whether or not to give it a go, hopefully, that will persuade you!

Will you be attending YALC this year? Let me know in the comments below – I’d love to meet up!


  1. Looks like a fun and busy time. Great tips. #PoCoLo