Ok I prelude this post with its not about characters. But conventions are pretty character building sooooooo… Ok it’s a little random for Top Ten Tuesday but also quite fun.
Here are my 10 YALC top tips, which may or may not apply to other conventions but probably don’t because, let’s face it, they’re pretty specific.
1. Bring Water
Besides, you know, hydration being good and all. Also the convention centre is super hot and there isn’t any water on site so unless you want to shrivel I recommend grabbing a bottle.
2. Bring the Books you Want Signed
The stalls don’t tend to sell books by authors who are actually signing at the event, only Waterstones does. Which is great if your normal book shop is Waterstones but if you want to support that local bookshop down the road or see a good two for one deal you’ll want to buy these books in advance.
3. Bring Lunch
Not knowing if we could leave the first year we went, my friend and I basically had to take out a small mortgage to eat the paninis they sell inside the convention centre. There’s a Tesco across the street if you want a classic meal deal, or you can always DIY it, although more Tupperware means less book space…
4. Keep Your Water and Books Separate
The water is for you, not the books. You probably can’t ask an author to sign the soggy, crumbling remains of their novel no matter how nicely you ask.
5. Go Solo!
I’ve never actually done this, but if your friends can’t make it or your just sad and lonely (I can relate) just go alone! Despite all Bookworms universally being introverts (sweeping statement I know) pretty well anyone’s happy to chat. Lots of people go solo, it’s no big deal.
6. Pace Yourself
It takes energy to fangirl that much. You could be on your feet pretty well all day without even realising it, the only thing keeping you up being the abundance of free sugar every stand has. If you don’t want to crash after day one then find places to sit and don’t hop in every queue you see. Me and my friend only ever do two days, both for money and because we’re pretty wiped out by day two.
7. Only Buy what You Want
I know this sounds crazy, but they have amazing deals. With a surplus of cheap books it’s hard to say no, but you end up going to the charity shop about twenty times that year wondering what you were ever thinking if you fall for that trap. Yep, been there.
8. Bring Luggage Space
Whether you’re travelling in or staying in London overnight you’ll need spare book space. You can park a suitcase in the locker room for the day for a mere quid and will likely get a free tote at some point, but remember how heavy all those books are going to be when you trudge across London at the end of the weekend.
9. Don’t Stress About Timing
You don’t have to be there exactly as it opens, you don’t have to stay to the bitter end and you don’t need to be in every signing queue you see. The entry queue is usually pretty short, although don’t join the comi con one by accident, keep going round the building past the hoards of comic book characters to the shorter YALC one, so if your trains delayed (this is TFL we’re talking about, that’s likely) don’t panic.
10. Have Fun!
Collect badges, meet people, attend talks, stay in a dark corner the whole weekend, whatever! Just have a really fun bookish weekend.
Lets Compare Notes
So these are my tips! Have you got any? Are you going to YALC? Have you been to another convention? Do you have a list that’s actually vaguely on topic? Be great to hear from you in the comments section!