The YALLWEST 2019 Recap Post

Hey everyone!  Today, I’m going to ramble on about yallwest.  I had a lot of fun, and I knew I had to talk about it with all of you.

I drove up from San Diego, and while I was glad I didn’t get any traffic on the way up, I was also glad when I got there.  After being in my car for over 2 hours, it was really nice to get out of my car and be able to walk around.

I got a few books signed- I was really excited about getting Girls Of Paper And Fire by Natasha Ngan signed, and I was super-excited about getting The Hate U Give and On The Come Up signed.   I didn’t think to actually get pictures with them, and I honestly didn’t feel like taking a picture of the actual signed pages.  But it was great meeting them, and all three books are great, so it was nice to get them signed.

I also went to a couple of panels.  I went to one that was sci-fi vs fantasy, and it was really fun.  There were definitely some surprising answers to some of the questions asked, but it was really interesting to hear the panel talk about what they like about both sci-fi and fantasy.  Veronica Roth moderated, and Jay Kristoff, Robin LaFevers, Nafiza Azad, Melissa Albert, Tochi Anyebuchi, and Brandon Reichs were on that panel.  I’ve heard that Jay Kristoff is really tall, but I didn’t realize how tall until I saw him on the panel.  I’m 4’10, so everyone is tall from my perspective.  Anyway, I really loved Nafiza Azad’s answer about why she loves fantasy, and it makes me want to read her book even more.

Oh!  I ended up with an ARC of The Tenth Girl.  They were giving them away to the people who went to the Sci-Fi Vs Fantasy panel, and it looks interesting.  I don’t know if I would have picked it up otherwise, but I’m excited to read it.

Right after that one, I went to a panel that focused on writing mysteries and thrillers.  I don’t read a lot of mysteries but it was still really interesting to hear the panel talk about writing and where they got the inspiration for their current project.  Alexia Bass, Gwenda Bond, Sara Farizan, Karen McManus, Matthew Modine, and Gretchen McNeil were on the panel, and it was moderated by Peter Stone.  I’ve only read Gretchen McNeil and Sara Farizan and while I didn’t love their books, I definitely liked hearing everyone talk about how they write.

There’s a lot going on, and as a first-timer, it was really overwhelming.  I didn’t really know where to start or go first, so I wandered around feeling a little lost and confused.  I was okay by the time I ended up leaving, but it was very much deer-in-the-headlights.  At least for a while.  It was pretty well-organized, though, and putting something like this together can’t be an easy task.

I’m definitely appreciative of all of the work that went into it, and I very much appreciated all of the authors who came out and the volunteers who took the time to be there answering questions and keep things going.  I’m glad yallwest is around and close enough for me to go to.

Now that I know where to go, it’ll be easier for future festivals, but for the first time?  It was a little hard navigating, and even with a map and program, I had a hard time with figuring out where everything was.  It’s user error, though, because I can be directionally challenged sometimes.

I didn’t buy a lot- I already had copies of the books I wanted signed, and that actually made things a lot easier.  That’s something I’m definitely doing again next year.  Even though Mysterious Galaxy had a booth right next to the signing area, it was a lot easier for me to not worry about needing to buy the books I wanted signed.

I did get this really cool bag from the Book Beau booth.  It’s a travel size pouch, and it’s super cute.  I would definitely buy a couple bigger sizes from them and in different patterns.  I just fell in love with it, and it’s just so pretty!  Not that I don’t love what I got from them, because I do, but all of the samples they had were really cute.  I kept seeing people walk around with them all day, so I was glad when I actually saw where they got them so I could get one for myself.

I also made a stop at the Owl Crate booth, and got a tote bag and a signed copy of Pride by Ibi Zoboi.  I ended up moving my books from my bag to the tote bag, which made it a lot easier to carry it around.

The only other things I ended up getting were an enamel pin and a water bottle…which got a lot of use, because I ended up getting really thirsty throughout the day!  At least there were water fountains so I could get more water.

I had a lot of fun, and I’m definitely going back next year.  It’ll be easier now that I know where things are and what to expect.

Here are my takeaways from this year:

  • I’m wearing/bring sunscreen.  I didn’t realize I’d be outside pretty much all day, so I ended up with some pretty nasty sunburns on my arms and my face, so sunscreen is a must for next year!
  • I’m using a backpack next year.  Walking around with a yarn bag full of books (I left the yarn at home this time) meant my arms and shoulders were killing me by the end of the day, so a backpack will be a lot better for me.
  • I’ll definitely be buying any books I want signed/personalized ahead of time so I don’t have to worry about buying them there
  • On a related note, I really need to remember to have my own sticky notes with my name on them if I want them personalized.  It’s a lot easier than trying to flag someone down so I can get my books personalized
  • The drive home was pretty rough.  I was tired, sore and sunburned.  I did stop about halfway home to stretch my legs, take a bathroom break and eat something, and that was a good idea.  It’s something to keep in mind for next year.  I’m glad I left when I did, though, because I wasn’t sure I could have made it until everything was over
  • I’m totally printing out the schedule for next year.  It’ll be easier than looking at it on my phone

Overall, I had a lot of fun, and I’m glad I went!