Another YALLFest has come and gone, and while this is my third time going, y’all book lovers (and Charleston) never fail to charm the heck out of me. Natali, Julie (from JIMMY), and I started off the weekend with a meet-and-greet on Friday at Off Track Ice Cream, a cute ice cream shop that honestly matched our branding to the T. We had the honor of having Nandini Bajpai, Ronni Davis, Holly Black, and Derek Milman as the guest authors, where they signed their books for each of the attendees.
The next day, we had our booth over at the train museum where we did a full day of giveaways of upcoming titles and swag while our authors went off and killed it at their panels. If you’re curious, you can see our schedule here. As usual, we came back with some sore muscles, but more importantly, we learned a lot this past weekend. Here are 8 things we learned at YALLFest this year.
yes it is before 4am and we are on the way to the airport for YALLFESTTTTTTT 🤩🤩🤩
— NOVLember ☕️ (@TheNovl) November 8, 2019
1. WE ARE WILLING TO WAKE UP BEFORE 4AM TO SEE Y’ALL
Who knew I was capable of waking up at 3:30am? Apparently, the idea of being able to see y’all and be in Charleston bright and early is enough to keep Natali and me awake for the entire day. We sincerely apologize to everyone who had to deal with us running on pure adrenaline that day, but one thing is for sure: it was 100% worth it.
2. OUR AUTHORS (AND THEIR BOOKS) ARE SO PHOTOGENIC
Okay, seriously—who allowed them to write such vivid stories, have amazing personalities, AND be photogenic as heck?! Not only that, but they seem to all dress to match their books. Is this what you call On Brand?
3. NOVLERS ARE TRULY THE BEST PEOPLE TO BE AROUND
We had our second YALLFest meet-and-greet this year at Off Track Ice Cream where we got to eat delicious ice cream (they have vegan options!) and hang out with 25 NOVLers who we’re truly obsessed with. Everyone left with high spirits and a signed copy of The Darkest Part of the Forest, A Match Made in Mehendi, Swipe Right for Murder, and When the Stars Lead to You. Even though we were running on a few hours of sleep, just meeting all of you recharged our batteries and got us so excited for the next day.
4. HOLLY BLACK IS 100% THE HIGH QUEEN OF FAERIE
In the second half of the meet-and-greet, we had a special guest: Holly Black! When she walked in, I saw a tear glimmer from one of our NOVLer’s eyes. Same, girl, same—and I KNEW she was coming. She was kind enough to grace us with an exclusive reading from a never-before-seen chapter The Queen of Nothing, just for our NOVLers. And before you ask, no, that is not an ARC of QoN, it’s an international edition that Holly owns…because you know, she wrote it.
5. THE EXCITEMENT STARTS EARLY AND NEVER ENDS
There were book lovers at our booth before we even got there, and book lovers giving us moral support at the end when we were packing up! It gives us so much joy to see everyone’s excitement for our swag and books. It means a lot not only to us, but to the authors and the team back in New York as well.
6. NOVLERS REALLY DO GET YOUNGER AND YOUNGER EVERY YEAR
Ryan Graudin, Charleston local and author of Wolf by Wolf and Invictus, stopped by the booth with her daughter Sabriel to pose with the new paperback edition of Wolf by Wolf! Ryan’s got the right idea: start them young. I know that for a fact, because I wouldn’t be here without my parents’ support of my avid book-a-day reading when I was young.
7. Y’ALL MAKE US FEEL SO SPECIAL
One of our password giveaways was to name the three NOVL team members that weren’t at the festival, and Sadie booked it over to the booth to tell us that we’re missing Morgan, Savannah, and Bill. It’s true—we missed them a lot and wish that they were dancing in the booth with us, but they were definitely there in spirit.
8. DESPITE HOW TIRED WE LOOK, WE’RE READY FOR YALLWEST
Yes, our bodies hurt from lifting books all day (they’re HEAVY—y’all should know!), but we wouldn’t trade that for anything. In fact, we’re even more prepared for YALLWEST now, so we’ll see y’all on the west coast at the end of April 2020. In the meantime, let’s continue chatting online!