Hey everyone! I know it has literally been forever since I last blogged, but I thought I would try to get back into it!
Something that sparked my determination to go back into blogging was going to YALLFest 2015 this year in Charleston, SC. I don’t know how I have been ignorant of its existence prior to this year (especially since I live in South Carolina)!
It was SUCH a great experience! Everyone should go next year!
There were an insane number of authors there! 63 to be exact. So many that I really had to narrow down my choices, which was difficult. I went with my friend Jessica, and we decided to forgo the panels in order to see all the authors we wanted to see. I think what I have figured out just from going this once is that you should do either panels or author signings. The lines for the different authors can be really crazy long, and so it is easier to jump from one to the next (sometimes ahead or behind schedule) to get a chance to get your book signed. We also decided that our interests were more in meeting the authors and getting books signed than sitting through panels (although many looked very interesting).
So first, let me tell you what I did, and then I will try to dispense any tips I can think of for next year!
First off, we arrived in Charleston too late to take part in the signings that happen on Friday afternoon. Thankfully our favorite authors were all signing on Saturday too.
We are so pumped to take on our busy day of being awkward in front of authors!
Our first signing of the day was Rae Carson! She was amazing (in her Hogwarts shirt) and so nice. I was able to get all three of the Girl of Fire and Thorns books signed. This book series is incredibly awesome, if you haven’t read it….go read it now.
We thought we were doing excellent on time when we got finished with Rae Carson’s line early, but then we realized that Marissa Meyer’s line was already over 200 people long. I decided I had to go for it anyways, since I am in love with the Cinder series. Jessica decided to go and see Scott Westerfeld and take my books of his along with her (she’s the best!).
After waiting 2 hours and 30 minutes, I was one of the last 40 or so people rushed through the line to get signed by Marissa Meyer quickly before she had to leave. I’m very glad I got a chance to meet her (so sweet) and see her lovely signature on three of my books. I love this series so, so much, and I am so glad I got to meet the genius behind it all!
I was just in time to meet up with Jessica in line for Daniel Handler (AKA Lemony Snicket), the man of the hour. The fact that I met him is still astounding to me. He was exactly like I expected him to be: weird, hilarious, and loud. He made jokes with me about the old copy I brought, heartache, and receipts. Such a great guy and wonderful author.
Right after that, we headed over to another area, where Libba Bray and Elizabeth Wein were signing. Thankfully I got a chance to meet them both.
Elizabeth Wein is so cool. I loved talking to her about her book Code Name Verity and how all the technical descriptions came to be. She clearly loves airplanes, and I love how she is able to combine that love with her love for writing. Great, great lady. So glad I met her.
I forgot my book at home somehow, so she was gracious enough to sign a sticker for me to place in it when I got home.
Next up was the incomparable Libba Bray! This lady is so awesome. Not only has she written so many great books, but she is so unique and hilarious. I loved getting to meet her! She also took a good amount of time with each person in line, which was really special.
Next I got to meet the wonderfully quirky Gail Carriger! I love how she perfectly embodies what she writes. She is so friendly and I loved being able to express my adoration for her books. So many great novels!
Finally, Jessica and I got to meet E. Lockhart! She was super cool! I love so many of her books, so it was great to meet her and get my copy of The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks signed.
Okay! So for my YALLFest Tips!
- YALLFest Tips and Tricks:
- If you are confident enough to sport it, go for rolling luggage to carry your books around. If you are like me and have about 18 books with you all day, a backpack is going to start to KILL. I had to set it down so often, and I thought my shoulders would never be the same.
- Schedule! Scheduling out our day was the best decision. We didn’t have to sit around thinking about who to go see because we already knew exactly what we were doing.
- Be flexible! I know this goes against the above tip, but you also need to be ready to change things. Like when Marissa Meyer’s line was crazy long, Jessica decided to go see Scott Westerfeld because she knew we couldn’t both do both.
- Have a buddy. Whether this be a mom or a friend, having other people to get to some other lines can really help. I saw so many mothers standing in lines while their kids were in other lines. This can really help you get some signatures that you want. Splitting up is wise with the limited time and spread out signing tents. We also had some great friends along who helped save us spots in some lines, and then they would go off and do something else.
- Be friendly! Those in line beside you for hours can really be great people to talk to. I meet some people around me in Marissa Meyer’s line that were so kind and sweet and really helped the 2+ hours pass quickly.
- Parking is expensive, expect that and deal with it, haha!
- Wear good shoes that you can stand in for hours.
- Know your way around the map! The tents are set up in different (but nearby locations), and you might have to walk back and forth throughout the day (and quickly).
- Use the volunteers and the knowledge they possess.
- Carry food and water with you to have in line (in case you are like us and did not have time to eat lunch). Eat a hearty breakfast before coming, so you won’t get as hungry!
- Be okay with being awkward. Everyone is awkward, including some authors, so just relax and know you aren’t the only one saying dumb stuff.
- Take plenty of pictures!
- If you want to eat at one of the great Charleston restaurants for dinner, you might want to make a reservation ahead of time.
- Get all the free stuff you can.
- Get to a signing line earlier than time stated, if possible.
- Bring sunscreen and sunglasses!
- Bring money to buy already signed books from the authors you didn’t get to see (if you want!)
- Bring pain medication for headaches or muscle aches during the day.
- Basically be okay with carrying around a buttload of stuff for the whole day, haha!
YALLFest was SO FUN. I am incredibly glad I went this year, and I hope you all were helped by my tips and tricks! I was in the dark mostly before I went, so maybe we both can be more clued in next year.
Go to yallfest.org for more information on the 2015 festival, and as we get closer to 2016 festival, new information will go up!
Bring it on, YALLFest 2016!