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GUIDE TO: Yallwest

2019 Dates: May 3 – 4, 2019
Location: Santa Monica High School in Santa Monica, California
Link to Site: YALLWEST
What is Yallwest? Yallwest is a book festival located in Santa Monica High School. Publishers and authors from all over come together for various author signings, panels, and general bookish events. It is an event geared toward readers in the middle grade and young adult community. It is also the west coast sister event to YALLFest.

In 2016 we attended our first Yallwest and it was a great time, however we did not prep for it the best (or at all) and did not know everything that was going on.

Us with our very first bags of bookish swag in 2016.


Things To Do Before The Event

  • Go in with a specific headspace. Is your aim to be very intense and get all the swag, get all the arcs, go to all the panels, and meet all the authors? Spoiler: you can’t do everything. Do you want to go to a variety of panels and have a chill day? Then don’t get upset when you don’t get all the swag. Manage your expectations. You can’t do everything, unless you enlist your family to be your henchmen.
  • Look at the author lineup and figure out who you want to meet. Many authors’ signings require wristbands which will have to be picked up in advance. Budget time for picking up the wristbands, it might take a while and there will be a lot of people.
  • Make sure to dress comfortably. You will be in the sun and on your feet for many hours.

    Taking a well deserved break from waiting in lines (2017).
  • Always set aside more time than you think it will take. Trust us, everything takes longer than you think it will. If you really want to do something, you should be in that area at least 45 minutes ahead a time.
  • The publishers will release their schedule the upcoming weeks before the event (make sure to follow their social media, because that’s where they drop the juicy details) and Yallwest will release their official schedule (hopefully) a week before the event. Peruse this as make your plan as much as you would like.
    • We have seen some very intense color coded schedules that plan to the minute.
    • But, also some people just show up and go with the flow.
  • Check out the author line up carefully, but plan out which authors you would like to see. We usually decide which ones we have to see and then the ones that try to see if we have time.
  • Recommended Things to Bring:
    • Water (Bring at least two bottles per person. It gets very hot during the day and you will get dehydrated.) We also usually bring coffee and Arizona Iced Tea as well because we have caffeine issues. (Stay Hydrated Kids!)

    • Snacks are key. (While there are food trucks at the event, they tend to be pricey and crowded. So, it’s better to bring food and not depend on buying it there.)
    • Sunscreen (highly recommended by Tree)
    • A backpack (We prefer this to purse-like bags. The two straps help distribute the weight of all the books better, which hurts your back less. We have also seen some people with rolly carts and suitcases…)
    • Pens and Sharpies
    • A printed-out or screen-shoted schedule (It can be tricky to get things to load internet-wise.)
    • All the books of authors you even think you’ll be interested in meeting. We store books in the car and then go back multiple times during the day. Last year Tree brought When Dimple met Rishi on the off-chance that Sandya Menon’s line would be shortish. We happened to walk by during her signing time and there were only two people in line, so she was able to get it signed and chat with her.

At The Event

  • Try to be chill and remember that this is supposed to be fun! We have seen mothers whose children force ask them to stand in hour-long lines. Those family members are the real MVPs, but don’t put pressure on them to do all of this for you.
  • If you forget an author’s book, there is a tent selling copies of their books.
  • You will get A LOT of swag, but remember to make sure you have enough room to carry it. You probably will pick up a tote or three, so you can use those for all your goodies.
  • Try not to get greedy, don’t take ALL the swag. Try to limit yourself to what you really want or will use. This applies to ARCs and swag (we need to try to follow this advice too).

    Us in 2017 with some of the days’ swag.
  • You will be standing in long lines, don’t get irritable or frustrated by this. It is just a fact of the event.
  • Wander around and see what all the booths are offering, sometimes all their details won’t be in the Yallwest program. Some booths also hand out physical copies of their schedule for the day.
  • Remember not to stress about your schedule. If you see something fun you hadn’t planned on doing, you should make time to do it anyways. Yallwest exists for you to have a good time, not for you to be the most strategic participant. I know some of our favorite memories are things we wandered into.
    Screenshot_20190223-024919_Gallery 20190223_030143
  • Talk to people in line! Basically everyone there loves books and you can find tons of people with your similar interests. Plus, the lines go quicker if you make friends.
Us with Jennifer Niven in 2017. She was the absolute sweetest!
Us when we met Aminah Mae Safi in 2018! She was also super sweet!

If you have any specific questions that we have not covered here, please leave your questions in the comments or DM us on Instagram! Hope to see you there!

xoxo, Bree & Tree

9 thoughts on “GUIDE TO: Yallwest”

    1. Oooh that’s such a good idea! The really big event are usually spread out across the year though. You could definitely hit a lot of smaller events. One time we did a 24hr road trip for an author event at a bookstore in Arizona. That was really fun but completely exhausting. 🙂

      xx, bree

      Liked by 1 person

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