Prepping for YALLWEST!!!


So I’ve been to LeakyCon, but I’ve never been to a full book conference before, and prepping for this thing was WAY more work than I ever anticipated. I am super lucky that my wise friends Christy and Nancy from Tales of the Ravenous Reader and Kelly from Bookcrushin have been kind enough to guide me through this process. Otherwise I would have left sunburned and probably with stress fractures in my shoulders from carrying so many tote bags.

So here’s what I’ve learned about prepping for a book conference. Hopefully some of this will be helpful for you, actually hopefully it’ll be helpful for me too! We’ll see how much success I have!

Find Your People

If you’ve ever looked at a schedule for a book conference, you know they’re intense. There are at least 5-10 different things going on at once that you’re going to want to be a part of, so go in with a crew, so you can divide and conquer! If you’re going solo, hop online and find some other book bloggers going and create a book squad. Check out the schedule for YALLWEST below, so you can see what I mean.

Decide Which Books to Bring

Once the conference announces the list of authors who will be attending, you can start prioritizing and book shopping. Clearly, my philosophy is just bring ALL the books on the off chance that you can actually make it through all the lines to get them signed.

No Totes!!!

I never would have thought of this if my much wiser friends hadn’t told me, but if you’re bringing (or hoping to collect) lots of books, don’t bring totes! Get yourself one of these handy rolling carts and save yourself some tired shoulders. Mine is super minimalist, since I just decided I was going to this thing three weeks ago, but people go all-out decorating these things! I can’t wait to see everyone putting their arts and crafts skills to work!

Shameless Self Promotion

This such a great opportunity to network with other bloggers, publishers, and authors, so rep your brand! My lovely t-shirts were created and designed by my friend Molly over at Blu Bear Bazaar. Aren’t they AWESOME? Also make some business cards to swap with other book people!

Prep Those Books

Time is of the essence when you’re trying to score this many amazing author signatures as well as some much anticipated ARCs/Galleys, so have your post Post-its in and ready before you go. It will help everyone have a better opportunity of getting their books signed if you aren’t holding up the line.

Self Care

Check out your venue and plan your attire appropriately. Also be ready to be on your feet in line ALL DAY. I always buy Dr. Scholl’s before a vacation (since we always go on super touristy vacations) but these babies are especially important when you’re going to spend a lot of time just standing around. Also, for YALLWEST specifically, sunscreen! Apparently it’s outdoors. Good thing it’s in Cali!

Prioritize and Organize

Once the official schedule comes out, you can start planning which authors you’re going to try to meet at what times. Or what panels you want to go to if you’re a panel person. Things get much more tricky when publishers start announcing the schedules for their booths, because they tell you when they’ll be giving out some of their ARC copies. So watch for announcements from your fav publishers carefully in the weeks leading up to the event. I’ve set up all my favs on Twitter notifications for the weekend.

I’ve also created a color-coded spreadsheet with everything I’m going to TRY to make it to while I’m there. I’ll be referencing that thing like crazy all day as well as the map, so I can make it where I want to go as quickly as possible.

That’s all I’ve got for now. I’m sure I’ll come home from YALLWEST wiser and ready to conquer the next con. Fingers crossed for galleys of  Wonder Woman, Warcross, and They Both Die at the End!!!!

45 thoughts on “Prepping for YALLWEST!!!

  1. Beware Of The Reader says:

    Fantastic advices Krysti! Especially the crew I would not have thought about it! I’m going to my first one RARE London February 2018 so iy’s super useful.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Justine says:

    I’m so jealous, I used to live just north of Santa Monica! I moved away too soon. I’m going to try to do YALC in London this year and need all the tips I can get despite being a seasoned Comic Con-goer!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. krazaykris says:

    How fun! I did RT last year (my first big convention) and it sounds like you’ve got it all figured out. The only thing I can say is be sure to pack snacks in your bag. I don’t know how YALLWEST runs but RT was back to back madness and unless you sacrificed not seeing “x” author or not going to “x” event, you pretty much didn’t break for food or drink until the day was done. So pack your own water and food 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  4. bookishinbed says:

    This is super helpful. I didn’t realize so much planning goes into going. I am going to Book Con and now I feel I need to prepare myself for that. I sure knowing myself things will still end up being a mess lol. I also love the post-it note idea. That’s so smart and like you said makes the lines move faster.

    Liked by 1 person

    • KrystiYAandWine says:

      Oh, that’s awesome you’re going to BookCon! That sounds amazing! I definitely recommend prepping so you can try to meet the authors and get the ARCs you want. I can’t wait to go to another con!


  5. Ann says:

    I wish I could go to YallWest! I hope you have a great time! The cart tip is something that I might have to keep in mind if I go to something like this in the future! I can’t wait to read about your time!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Christy Luis says:

    Sounds like soo much fun! Dr. Scholls = GOOD TIP! lol I can’t wait to hear more about your trip! *crossing fingers* that you’ll get those galleys!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Jackie B @ Death by Tsundoku says:

    first of all, I’m SUPER jealous that you’re going to YALLWEST! That sounds awesome!!! If it was closer to me, I’d totally make that trip. Secondly– I adore this post. I’ve never been to a book conference yet. I would never have thought of any of these things! Business cards? Brilliant. I might need some of those anyway. Now to find a designer…

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Amanda @Cover2CoverMom says:

    Those custom shirts are FABULOUS! and yes, a rolling cart is definitely the way to go vs. totes or backpacks 🙂 That’s awesome that the book convention allows you to bring your books to get signed. I’ve been to a few where you have to purchase all books to be signed by the authors who are attending. It stinks 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    • KrystiYAandWine says:

      Thank you! I do love them. Oh, that would be awful if an author you want to meet is there whose books you already own. They have books for sale at YALLWEST in case you’re missing any, but I’m so glad they don’t require that!


  9. Cristina @ Girl in the Pages says:

    These are all such great tips, and I hope they served you well at YALLWest! I ALWAYS forget to bring post-its for some reason to EVERY event I go to, even though I’ve been at this for several years! Also, I’d love to see your color coded schedule next year- I love that you went in with a strategy!

    Liked by 1 person

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