My first visit to YALC (2016)

This year was my first year attending the Young Adult Literature Convention (YALC). With having to work on the Friday and going away on the Sunday, I was only really able to attend for a few hours on the Saturday. It was a fantastic few hours spent.

Contrary to a lot of the attendees, I was not actually there to get books signed. With only a limited time, I decided to make the most of it and not spend my time waiting in queues. I also decided to focus on the agent’s arena. Having just finished editing my manuscript, I wanted to get advice on how to actually get that manuscript picked up by an agent and then published.

YALC was fairly empty when I arrived, which I was pretty happy about. After gearing myself up for crowds of people, the spacious hall was a pleasant surprise (I’m not a crowd person) and it let me wander around to get a scope of where things were and how things worked. As I wandered around, I told myself not to buy any of the glorious books on display. I’m sure you can imagine how well that worked out.

As time went by, I started chatting to people at the stalls, getting involved with what they had on offer and all-in-all just enjoying myself.  I also bought a lot of books – 18 in all. To be fair, about half of those were free, but I am pretty pleased in my haul / disappointed in myself.

The talks I went to were really very interesting. The first one was the Publishing 101 which the agents gave about the process from completing the manuscript to getting it published. This was the main reason I went and it was incredibly useful. I picked up a lot and my notebook is scrawled with notes. I also went to the YA in Space talk about science fiction which was also really interesting. By this point, however, I had a headache brewing so decided to go the agent 1-2-1 before heading home.

I had no idea what to expect for the agent 1-2-1 which meant that I had not really prepared anything in particular. I had a pitch and a number of questions but with only 5 minutes to talk, I had to decide what to focus on. I was still deciding as it was my turn to go up. I went with the questions as I sat down, my brain too confused to even contemplate trying to pitch. It was quite useful and a number of confused knots in my mind have been untied, which is excellent.

All in all it was a really good day. I am going to try and attend all the days next year as there were a number of talks I wanted to go to but couldn’t this time around. I also felt like I had to get as much done as possible in a short space as time so being there longer would mean a more relaxed visit. I am really excited to read all of the books I picked up and really enjoyed meeting everyone there. Until next time!

Tips for Next Year (that I may or may not be following):

  • For anyone who does go the agent 1-2-1 next year, I would recommend taking a typed up query letter/pitch to show them or a set questions. They won’t take anything away with them but do offer advice.
  • Get there early to avoid queues for your favourite stalls
  • Don’t be afraid to talk to people. You never know; you might discover there is a freebie you didn’t know about.
  • Take pictures! I was so caught up in the event that I completely forgot that I had brought my camera (hence this rather sparse post).
  • Go over multiple days. I couldn’t this year but I think I would have enjoyed it more if I had more time (I also could have spread out my book buying and not ended up doing heavy lifting for the last hour).
  • Plan to do a mixture of things – it will keep the day interesting if you’re not just sitting in talks all day. Even pop into LFCC if you have time. The costumes I just saw in YALC were amazing, I imagine there were a whole lot more in the LFCC area.

My YALC 2016 stats:

  • Talks attended: 2
  • Sessions attended: 1
  • Stalls visited: all of them!
  • Tote bags gained: 4
  • Books gained: 18






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