Today is the official start of YALLfest in Charleston, SC! I wait all year for this festival and it is the best time of the year! Several hundred readers descend onto Charleston to meet authors, attend panels, and get their hands on some of the most anticipated YA books of 2020. This will be my 4th year attending YALLfest and each year I learn something new to make the next year better and easier. So if you’ll be attending YALLfest or any other book festival, I’ve come up with some tips to help you make the most of the event! Here we go!
1. Deciding Your Main Goal
At YALLfest or any book festival you can do three things, go to author signings, attend author panels, or get ARCs (advance reader copy) of books coming out next year. Now, if you plan carefully, you can do a little of all three of these things. But if one of these is more important to you, you’ll need to decide which one is more of your goal. I go for ARCs. The last 2 years, I get around 40ish ARCs. That’s enough books to satisfy my bookshelves for a year. So to me, I plan my time at the festival around getting as many ARCs as possible. But I’ve also met people at YALLfest who solely go to get their books signed or attend all the panels. Know what you what out of the festival and plan around that.
2. Plan Your Day
YALLfest releases their schedule of signings and panels a few weeks before the event. I highly suggest using this to plan out your day. Make a schedule in excel, on your phone, etc. But making a schedule will help you make sure you stay on time and get to do all the things you want to do. Be sure to prioritize things. At YALLfest, some author signings and panels will be on everyones list so YALLfest will give out a limited number of wristbands for these popular events hours ahead of time. Be sure to have down the times to get those wristbands. For ARCs, you’ll want to stalk the publishing companies that will be attending the event. These companies are listed at the bottom of the YALLfest website. These companies will slowly, but surely post their schedules of ARCs in the days before the event. Again, prioritize. The books you want the most, should be at the top of your list. Of course, these books will be popular, so you’ll want to make sure to get in line as soon as you can.
3. More People, More Things
If you are wanting to do multiple things that are happening all at the same time, it’ll be important to have people with you to help you. My mom goes with me every year. She helps me get the books I want when ARCs are dropping at the same time. The more people with you, the more bang for your buck. You can have someone in line for you to get an ARC, another person in line for you to get your book signed, and another person holding your place in line for a panel. If you’re wanting to do it all, bring several people with you. I love bringing my mom, while we wait in line, we have time to talk and laugh and those are some of my favorite memories of YALLfest every year.
Those are a few tips to maximize your time at YALLfest or any book festival. I’ll be at YALLfest this year and will be posting my haul of ARCs of November 22nd, so mark your calendars, geeks!