So this post is going up really late because it took me a while to get myself back into the swing of things. Not going to lie, the three days of YALC knocked me out of my system for an entire week and I am now heading back to the doctors soon to try and find out whether a) my vitamin D levels are low again or b) something else is wrong. But that is an entirely different story… for now… YALC!
I want to start this post with the positives and then I’ll move on to the unfortunate negatives of the weekend.
The first thing to note is that for each day of YALC, I spent about four hours of my day travelling as I decided not to get a hotel and instead commute from Coventry each day. This may have seemed like a bad plan but incidentally, being able to sleep in my own bed was a godsend and I actually don’t think I’d have managed the weekend without that small comfort.
So, I arrived around 11am on Friday and was expecting to have a pretty full on day with all the panels and signings that I had planned but instead, my plan went straight out of the window the minute I walked into the building. In all honesty, I had forgotten how overwhelming the event was and so for the first few hours of the day, I just walked around the stalls and caught up with some friends.
The rest of Friday was spent queuing for the authors I wanted to sign my books, buying books from the stalls and chatting to people that I hadn’t seen for a while. Which included nearly an hour catch up with the lovely Michelle from Fluttering Butterflies and it was just so nice to have a little chat to her as we both realised it’s been quite a long time since we last saw each other!
Highlights of the Day
– Finally getting my hands on Giant Days by Non Pratt and getting her to sign it too!
– Meeting up with the lovely George!
– Catching up with Michelle (Fluttering Butterflies)
– Winning The Girl King giveaway!
After a stressful Friday evening whereby we almost decided not to turn up, I was glad that Jess, Ray and I made it to YALC on the Saturday. Once again, all the plans were pretty much thrown out of the window the minute we walked into the venue and we decided to sort of just, wing it as the day went ahead.
It was so nice spending the day with the two of them, we went into signings, queued up for proof giveaways and did some more wandering around the place too. We also finally got a chance to make it to the last panel of the day too which was really nice. I got a chance to catch up with some more friends and meet some new faces as well which was really awesome!
Highlights of the Day
– Creating (but not really creating) a queue for The Sawkill Girls proof giveaway! Jess was desperate so we ended up “queuing” for an hour!
– Bumping into Keris after her signing (which we missed) and having a proper catch up with her!
– Getting the chance to say hello to Amy McCulloch as I didn’t know she was going to be there. We had a little catch up too.
– Being there for the cover reveal of Pride and getting a Proud badge!
– Getting the chance to speak to Laura Wood at one of her first YA signings and being able to see her be so glad there were people in her queue – she thought no one would turn up!
– Spending the day with my girls!!
After throwing out the plans on the first two days, I decided to just go away with the plan on Sunday too. (More on this below!)
So, unfortunately I was too late to get one of my most anticipated proofs of the day due to train problems but I was pleased that this wasn’t the end of giveaway failure for me! The day started off with me having another little venture through the tables and saw a few giveaways happening that I decided to try out. The first was Mirror, Mirror and the second You Only Live Once. I won both giveaways which was very exciting!
I then stood in the queue for Marieke Nijkamp which was great. I wasn’t too far from the front so it didn’t take too long – fortunately. I then caught up with some more friends and had another little wander. I then met up with Daphne for lunch which was a lovely addition to the day.
I then had to wait around a while for the last signing I wanted to do which was for Christina Henry so I just wandered the floor a little more before giving up and just sitting and reading for a bit. Towards the end of the day, I was definitely starting to flag on the energy a little bit. It was while I was still waiting for my number to be called that some of the stalls announced they were selling books for cheap… so I went on a little bit of a spending spree. Deciding to spend the last of the cash I’d brought with me for the weekend because, why not?
After the signing ended, I picked up one final book I won and then decided to call it a day and headed home.
Highlights of the Day
– Meeting up with Daphne for lunch (It’d been far too long since we’d caught up)
– Winning almost all of the giveaways I entered!
– All the book sales!
– Meeting Christina Henry and Lydia Gittins!
So the very first thing you probably noticed is my abandoning of the plan on each day. This was in part because it was all a little overwhelming but also because it quickly became noted that it would have been impossible to stick to. If I wanted to go to a panel, I would have missed out on a signing and vice versa. And as I was always entering the building after 11am, there was absolutely no chance I’d have time to sign up for the workshops – which I later found out where actually first come first served rather than sign up in the morning like they were the last time I went to YALC.
I felt so dismayed by the fact that I had to choose between a signing, giveaway or panel that I just scraped the panels altogether, telling myself that I can always see authors at bookshops in the area I’m in instead. But, this is still annoying when I had spent so much money on the ticket in the first place.
Then there was just the awkward signings in the first place. Queues were massive, then barely ticketed or not ticketed very well and it all felt like disorganized chaos which was incredibly sad. I am also aware there were massive disability issues with the signings which really, really upsets me.
On top of this, there was also a massive lack of seating at YALC. I think I spied maybe six chairs outside of the panels for guests to use and that is beyond unacceptable for the amount of people that were in the room. I ended up sitting on the floor which on an OCD level was really difficult for me but I also hurt so much in my feet that I didn’t really have much choice.
And my mental health was a big downfall for me over the weekend. This is entirely on me and not on the organizers for this, but all the people plus my tiredness meant I felt really off all weekend. It’s hard to truly describe and I know that if you saw me you may not have realised I was dealing with anything but I really struggled. There were groups of people I wanted to meet but felt entirely unable to approach them. Plus there was one person there whom I really didn’t want to see and one of the days she was literally in my eyeline once an hour and every time I saw her, I just wanted to go cry. So that didn’t exactly make things great for me. I know that if I hadn’t gone home each day that I probably wouldn’t have made it to YALC on Sunday. I almost didn’t anyway so I am sure I would have just camped up in my hotel room if I had been in one. Which just irritates me really and I wish there was some way I could combat this part of it but I think it’s just something I’ll have to learn to deal with if I go again.
Lastly, was the disappointment of the goodie bag. I’ve never actually received a goodie bag before, this being the first time I’d been for the whole weekend, but I was honestly so disappointed. It was basically just the bag, the programme and a few bits of swag and I had to go in on the Sunday to get it. And it was one of the reasons I decided to actually go on the Sunday. I felt really let down on this and think I might even just get a normal LFCC ticket next year if there isn’t actually any benefit to the YALC ticket!
All Wrapped Up
All in all, I did have a lovely weekend and I am looking forward to doing it again, it’s just a shame there were so many issues this year!