Last weekend, I went to YALLWEST in Santa Monica. This was my first time going to YALLWEST. I will for sure be going next year. I had so much fun, met a ton of people, and got super sunburnt in the worthwhile pursuit of ARCs.
RECAP of the Day
I arrived around 8am to find myself behind a couple hundred people (The gates were supposed to open at 9am). I was totally not expecting to be that far back in line. While waiting, I started reading I Believe In a Thing Called Love which I got last week from the LA Times Festival of Books. Around 9am I started to get worried because they were not letting us in. A good 30 minutes after the gates were supposed to open, they actually let us in.
My schedule consisted solely of waiting in line for ARCs. I didn’t plan on going to any keynotes or signings that weren’t giveaways. I’m lucky enough to live in Southern California where a ton of authors either live or frequently visit on tours, so I’ve met nearly all of the YA authors that I love. Also, last week I was at the LA Times Festival of Books and saw some authors and keynotes there. My first ARC line of the day was at the Epic Reads booth for They Both Die at the End. Since they let us in late, I ended up at the back of the line and didn’t get a copy before they ran out. Luckily, that was my only big ARC acquisition failure of the day.
The rest of the morning until 12:30pm I went around to booths getting swag, ARCs and
other cool things. I stopped by HMH Teen where I got a poster, some pins, a bag, and a finished copy of Under Rose-tainted Skies. Next door I saw that the Disney booth was giving out ARCs of The Belles. I freaked out, and immediately got in line and snagged a copy. I also got to see the cover reveal for Not Your Villain!
While waiting in the Owlcrate line, I checked Twitter for updates on Giveaways. Earlier in the day I was bummed out to hear that Meet Cute ARCs were not going to be at the HMH Teen booth like they said they were. Luckily, they found one copy and announced on twitter that whoever got to the booth first and said “Happy Valentines Day” would get an ARC. The Owlcrate line was right next door and within minutes of the tweet being out I ran over and got the one ARC available that day (You can check out this video of me thanking HMH Teen on their twitter. I am super sunburnt & I swear I don’t normally look this disheveled or ridiculous).
My goal of the day was to get an ARC of the Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue. I have
been DYING to read this book. There is so little Bisexual rep, and the fact that the story had a bisexual lead in a historical setting made it that much better. Again, I would have to wait in line at the Epic Reads Booth. I was super worried that I would miss out and end up with a book I didn’t want, so like the totally over prepared person I am, I got in line 2 hours early (and I wasn’t even the first person in line). I didn’t end up reading at all while waiting in this 2 hour line. I talked to the people around me the entire time. We exchanged advice on what to do next year and what festivals to go to. One person even turned out to even live in the same city as me. Thankfully, being the second person in line guaranteed me an ARC of my choice. I am now the proud owner of an ARC of The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue. I’m still crying about it.
At 3pm, I Got in line for Cindy’ Pon’s ARC signing of WANT, which I am super excited for. Almost immediately after I got in line for the Penguin ARC drop. They were giving away tons of cool ARCs. You picked up a rubber penguin and whatever color was on the bottom determined what ARC you got. This was by far the longest line I waited in. I was
in the front but the line went on for what seemed like miles. One person was saving a spot in line, and when their group of 20 people got in line I was kind of peeved considering they saved spots for so many people. In the end, it was a good thing. I was really hoping to get the ARC of Forest of a Thousand Lanterns. Being the Genius that I am, I assumed that I need the Green penguin to get the ARC I wanted. The girl in front of me picked up a penguin and it turned out to be green and she ended up getting an ARC of Forest of a Thousand Lanterns. I wouldn’t call it cheating, but, when it was my turn, I picked up the same penguin and snagged a copy of the ARC.
The Haul To End All Hauls
I got everything you see for free (yes, including the finished copies). I got a ton of cool tote bags, and buttons. I was truly amazed at how much free stuff there was at YALLWEST. I even got three free audiobooks. My back was in pain by the end of the day. It was so worth it.
My Advice for Next Year
1. Bring Friends (or force other people to go)
When I went to LA Times Festival of Books, I went with my parents because they wanted to see some of the authors there. I had no one to go with to YALLWEST. None of my friends like reading, so I don’t invite them to book events. I do regret not bringing at least one of my parents to be a pack mule.
You need to have people with you to sit in lines while you go to panels, or give you a break from standing in line while they save there spot. I had to prioritize everything I did. I would’ve loved to have waited for the When Dimple Met Rishi ARC signing, but I decided to get in line early for the Gentleman’s Guide giveaway instead. If I had another person with me, I could’ve had my spot saved in one line while I waited in another. And that’s not even considering panels. If you’re planning on going to panels (which I want to next year), you need people out in lines if you want to get ARCs.
2. Go to Fierce Friday
Fierce Friday is kind of like a preview to YALLWEST. It’s at the Santa Monica Library and a lot of authors make an appearance and there’s giveaways and panels on a smaller scale.
Making a drive out to Santa Monica two days in a row was not appealing when the weekend before I drove out to Pasadena two days in a row. I really didn’t want to do that to myself AND I had meetings on Friday. However, I talked to a bunch of people in line who are seasoned YALLWEST attendees and they said that going to Fierce Friday is a must if you want to see authors because the lines aren’t nearly as long and you can get some panels out of the way before the crowd that happens on Saturday.