I went on the Sunday. I was so excited leading up to it that I didn’t sleep and I was shattered. Somehow, once I got there, my energy came back and I had an awesome time.
We got to the outskirts of London at around 9am. The tube took 1.5 hours to Earls Cross. They we had to wait for a special train to Olympia. Once we got there we followed people round to the entrance but discovered we didn’t have to queue because we had YALC tickets. Bonus!
There are loads of reasons to attend YALC but here are a few from the my competition entry:
The above was for one of the competitions run by Penguin and whilst I entered, I got a cup of free lemonade and it was the best lemonade I have ever had! Ever!
They were not alone in their competition entries. Almost every stand had a competition for you to take part in, there were people winning stuff and incredible deals on books (3 for £10 on books that usually retain at £7.99 each).
We didn’t need the lemonade to be hyped up but it was a great touch!
Most competitions required you to follow them on Twitter and tweet about their book. There was lots of opportunities to sign up to newsletters and I was very tempted to subscribe to book box club. You can get just a YA book each month or a YA book each month with related gifts like candles, pens, sweets etc – mail just got interesting.
I got a lot of freebies – especially bookmarks (the business card of authors). There were some unique ones like stickers, a notebook, seeds and environmentally friendly cotton bags – or swag bags as I called them as they became in credible useful for carrying my loot. I had not idea the publishers, agents and authors would be so generous.
There were author talks and my friend and I sat in on a panel where three authors were interviewed regarding what goes into writing the second novel. There were workshops and they were free! If I didn’t need to eat – otherwise I would have fainted – then I would have gone to these as they were key topics on things like getting published.
I also put my name down for an Agent 1-2-1. I’ve never been speed dating but i imagine it is similar. We all sat in a row and slowly moved around until it was our turn. Our turn was 5 minutes with an agent to ask them anything we wanted. I asked what genre my novel is. She confirmed it is YA Fantasy. Sadly, she also told me that publishers don’t seem to be interested in mermaid stories at the moment – that’s because they haven’t seen mine 😉 . My agent was really sweet and I could tell she knew her industry well – its just a shame that the introduction was so quick I didn’t get her name and 5 minutes goes really fast.
By 3pm, we realised we had still not been downstairs to view the Film and Comic Convention which formed part of our ticket.
There were two huge rooms (probably called arenas) where people were queuing to get celebrity autographs or a photo with them. You had to buy a ticket for that and cost £12+. The stalls were full of movie and comic memorabilia and there was a section for gaming too. I took pictures of batman’s car, boat and motorbike for my son – he loves that sort of thing.
The YALC part was definitely the best. I got so many book samples, I don’t know where to start but I plan to blog in a few months regarding which of these I recommend purchasing – birthday wish list.