The Fandom’s Book Festival Survival Guide

Going to YALLfest or another major book event? Here’s how to survive the day!

So you’re venturing out to YALLfest– or to any book festival or con, really– for the first time!

It may seem like a simple process, but it’s a lot to take in when the day finally hits. It’s bookish overload at its best and worst all at once, so we’re here to help with a few tips for getting the most out of your day.

Ain’t no shame in your spreadsheet game!

Sure, there’s a program, but it’s really hard to muddle through all of the possible panels, signings, meet-ups, and giveaways at once without a spreadsheet. We suggest building one up that separates every event by time (and also perhaps type), highlighting your priorities along the way.

Map it out!

If you’re not from the area, be sure to familiarize yourself before you’re in the moment. The day before or early in the morning, take a stroll around the area and get a visual. You may think it’s easy to find those dots on the map, but some buildings are pretty inconspicuous and it’s just more stress to juggle while rushing around.

Expect the unexpected– Set those social alerts!

There are so many activities that have already been announced, but there will be more. Publishers like to drop secret opportunities throughout the day (mainly giveaways) and the only way to know is to catch it on social media. Doing so is a whole lot easier when you set alerts for all the major publishers in attendance and get notified every time they tweet!

Portable chargers are your BFFL!

Since you’ll be getting those alerts and just needing something to entertain you in long lines all day, alternate power sources are a MUST. An available outlet/charging station is a rare find, so portable chargers are going to keep you charged up and sane.

Bring snacks & water!

Once you get to an event you this, you’ll want to do all the things. The problem is, that doesn’t leave much time for food or drink. Publishers have been super gracious about this and have started incorporating food into a lot of meet-and-greet events (bless ’em!) but with limited spots and no guarantees, it’s best to keep some munchies and hydration of your own on hand.

Don’t break your back!

Bags and totes are great for getting books to signings and from giveaways, but you’re going to be keeping them with you ALL DAY. Five hours into the day, every muscle in your body is going to be screaming if you’re carrying everything. The best course of action to avoid this is keeping everything in rolling luggage. If you don’t have any, a backpack will allow you to distribute the weight a little more evenly.

Wear layers & comfy clothes!

YALLfest is outdoors and weather is unpredictable. This year it’s going to be in the low-to-mid 60s, which is not unbearable but also means it’ll be in the 40s in the morning. Wear something flexible or prepare to freeze your butt off. Meanwhile, you’ll find yourselves in lines time and time again. You may have a super cute outfit planned but make sure whatever shoes are involved are comfy, first and foremost. Heeled boots may be adorable, but your old, beat-up sneakers are gonna keep your feet from throbbing.

Respect the community!

There are lots of people alternately waiting and rushing around book fests and sometimes it’s hard to recognize that your goals are not the only goals there. Sometimes, just being aware goes a long way. Say your pleases and thanks yous. Apologize if you bump into someone. If you’re taking things on with a group, be especially aware of lines for limited events– while holding a spot for a person or two is generally accepted, having six of your friends show up in line 10 minutes before a limited event starts is just rude. Being in close quarters with other book nerds will give you an opportunity to revel in the books you love together, so be friendly and we promise, the good vibes will flourish!

Now, check out the program and start planning!

About Author

Kait is a New Englander, a YA book and adaptation lover, and a Slythindor, as well as a red velvet and red wine enthusiast. She likes to like things. Catch her on Twitter: @kaitmary

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