You’d think I’d get tired of that title by now…
Well, it’s that lovely time of year again–YallWest time! This year saw some changes from past years and to be honest, I’m not sure how I feel about them. The major change: this year was only one day with a Friday preview night. Now if you’ve read my blog before, then you know that I tend to only go one day anyway but it makes a difference. I like having the option to go multiple days or the option of going one day over the other. If one author I want to meet is signing at the same time as another I at least had the option to see them the following day. Also! When it was two days, I could actually check out some booths and partake in activities or scoop up some awesome swag or ARCs because it wasn’t as packed. This year, I saw monstrous line after monstrous line and even tried to stand in a few only to be told when I got to the front that they just ran out. It was a major bummer but with that being said, I will also say that I totally enjoyed myself very much!
There was a Wonder Woman ARC giveaway before the festival officially opened but I knew it would be a madhouse so I opted out of that and I’m going to be super honest with you: I REGRET IT. I so very desperately want it. The book cover is gorgeous and they gave out these amazing shirts that I am absolutely obsessed with but alas, I missed out and must now live with my decision. We ended up getting there around 10AM, when the authors started signing and it was already super packed, but I was determined and went directly to the signing area and asked where I could find Mark Waid. Turns out they had moved him and Ryan North to the Comic Bug Booth. We strutted through the crowd and I started feeling little nervous. I had all these questions and wanted to tell him how much I love his interpretation of the Riverdale gang. I wanted to tell him how much I loved his run on Daredevil. But I got my book signed and chickened out. He was super nice but I just was too nervous. This literally happens at every event. The first author I meet is usually one I super love and have never met before and it gets me super nervous. Maybe I’ll grow out of it someday…
We fought our way through the crowds back to the signing area where we stood in lin in the hot hot sun to wait to meet Benjamin Alire Saenz! I was so excited and again, so nervous but I genuinely love his work and HAD to tell him. When we got to the front, I had him sign my book and asked for a picture. The result? One of the cutest author pictures I’ve ever gotten (honestly, the theme of the day though). I told him how much I loved his work and he told me to “stay sweet” and gosh dang it, I WILL.
This year, YallWest really stepped up their panel game. After the book signing excitement, we headed to the humanities department for our first panel of the day: YallCraft: So You Want to Get Published? Moderated by Seth Fishman (literary agent) and featuring Caleb Roehrig (Last Seen Living), Abigail Johnson (If I Fix You), Amy S Foster (When Autumn Leaves), CB Lee (Not Your Sidekick) and Kass Morgan (The 100). This panel was top notch, they each kind of walked us through the entire process of what it was like trying to and getting a book published. They went into such detail in such a short amount of time and gave quite a bit of insight into what it took to get published. It was super cool and relatable. They felt like real people that tried, failed and eventually succeeded and not like a strike it rich, one in a million super famous author. It was real and down to earth and I really appreciated that.
It was around this point where I desperately needed sustenance, so I got some poke from a food truck I don’t remember the name to. Sorry.
At 1PM, my boyfriend and I had to split up. I had a signing and he had a panel. After getting my food, I hustled my little legs across the campus and found that Lilliam Rivera’s line was being held at the entrance. Luckily it was in some shade because the sun was killing me at this point. After about 15 mins, they finally let us goo and we never found out why we were being held. Not even Lilliam herself knew. But whatever, I got my book signed and chatted a bit about our interview from the Ontario Teen Book Fest (that you can find here). After this, I ran into Ryan North (swoonswoonhearteyes) and Kate Leth and OMG WE TOOK THE CUTEST SELFIE. I look like a total derp because they were so nice and funny and sweet and just cracking jokes with me. It was amazing.
I caught the tail end of the panel my boyfriend was watching but I was mostly excited for the next one on our list: Yallcraft: So You Want a Career in Publishing? Which was moderated by Erin Stein (Imprint Publishing) and featuring Sona Charaipotra (Cake Literary), Peter Knapp and Kieran Scott (Disney Books). I can honestly say that I feel like I learned a lot about something I can actually see myself doing and even introduced myself at the end. I’m hoping this will be the beginning of some very good things for me and I’m hoping to get some great mentors out of it as well. Only time will tell.
After this, I just had two more signings: John Corey Whaley and Jennifer Niven. I also finally met up with my friends Kevin, Jasmine, and Ben! We got to talk books for a bit, we got our books signed and then my boyfriend and I were off for our YallWest tradition: BOBA LAB! (this also marked the last sugar we could have until June T_____T)
I know I complained a bit in the beginning but hot damn, did I have a roaring good time! I really can’t wait for next year and I really hope its two days haha.