It has been a while since I have posted. Don’t worry! I have not stopped reading books. It was finals time and then graduation and then I moved. So a lot had happened in the period of a month but I am back and ready to get  caught up on my reviews. First though I wanted to write a different kind of blog post. As I had mentioned in a previous post I was attending a book festival so I decided to write about my first experience at the YALLWEST book festival.

So I had found out about this book festival through some authors that I followed on Instagram. It takes place at Santa Monica High School and is the west coast version of YALLFEST. I have been to book festivals before but this was my first time going to one that was this well sponsored. There were so many large companies there and so many large authors. It is a two day event but I only went for one day.

We got there at 8:00 am and the gates officially opened at 9:00 am. The line was crazy long by the time the gates opened (they were running about 30 minutes late). A majority of the people were there for the opening keynote by Rainbow Rowell, which if you are familiar with young adult books you know she is very popular. There were hundreds, literally hundreds, of people there to see her keynote. We had decided that we would go look around at the booths instead while everyone else was at the keynote.

I had seen that there would be freebies and giveaways but I had not expected to get actual books for free. There were multiple ways to get free books at this event. A lot of the booths were doing “book drops” at certain times during the day. This meant that at each time listed the first 50 (or whatever number they chose) people in line got a free copy of that book. A couple of booths had a spinning wheel where the first 50 (or whatever number they chose) people in line got to spin a wheel and whatever book it landed on they got it for free.

My friend and I did a spinning wheel right away. We stood in line and when we got up there we realized there were about 11 slots on the wheel. Nine of those were for a book and two of them were for a sneak peak of a book or a poster for a book. When it was my friend’s turn to spin the wheel she managed to land on the slot of the sneak peak of the book. Of all the chances she didn’t even get a free book! However, while we waited in line we overheard about a book drop at another booth. So that was our next stop. She got in line for the book drop and I went to go meet some authors and get books signed (more on that later). Turns out this book drop was for an Advanced Reader Copy and the author was there signing the book. So we both got autographed copies of advanced readers.

Another way we got free books was through book yoga. We had just gotten lunch and we were walking to find somewhere shady to sit and eat it. A quick note on the food. There were several food trucks there and we had decided to go with Downtown Dogs and it was delicious! Back to the book yoga though. We walked past this grassy hill where there were stacks of books just sitting there. We realized that was book yoga and if you participated you got to keep the stack of books you used. Book yoga was such a fun experience. They even had authors there participating so if you had their book in your stack you could get it signed. There was also a bookswap where if you brought a book to leave behind you got to take a book that someone else left behind. That was a fun way to get a new book too!

Meeting the actual authors was definitely a stressful experience. There were probably over a thousand people at this event and they had about 12 authors at a time out for signings. The lines were so long and you had to stand in the sun while you waited. I waited about a half hour for some of the authors just to get a book signed. Because of this I only ended up meeting three authors that way. That was a shame but it was the three authors I really wanted to meet so I was okay with that at least.

Overall it was a fun experience. I would definitely consider doing it again. However, it is definitely a two day event. Trying to do everything in just one day was too hard with how many people were there. I wasn’t able to go to any of the panels because of having to wait at least a half hour for several things. So next year I plan to go both days and get even more free books and meet more authors.



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