Concerts, sporting events, and festivals of all shapes and sizes have been cancelled while COVID-19 ravages around the globe. Book festivals such as YALLWest and Book Con are among the countless events cancelled in 2020. The ripple effect of these closures are yet to be seen, but these events are among the only way for readers (who aren’t reviewers/content creators) to engage with authors and publishers. Book events like these and book tour stops are a vital way for authors to connect with readers and promote their upcoming work.
I was actually registered to attend both BookCon in NYC (with Kate @ Your Tita Kate) and YALLWest (with Dev @ Read by Dev). I’m not gonna lie, I am a bit sad to not be able to hang out with bookish friends but I am really happy that some events are being shifted into online models for 2020!
The YALLSTAYHOME schedule is here! Register for panels, enter a new giveaway everyday, join your favorite authors for Instagram Lives and more- all from the comfort of your own home. Just like YALLWEST, the festival is free and open to all. 💙💛 https://t.co/10lNOsIKm1 pic.twitter.com/bplyhRb2xh
— YALLWEST (@YALLWEST) April 13, 2020
YALLWest Sessions I’m Attending
The organizers have put together an AMAZING two-days of panels and discussions, all free, that can be accessed anywhere!
Timezones mean that not all of the sessions may not be an option for everyone (Jay Kristoff’s moderating a panel at 4 a.m. Australia time!), but I am pleased at the fully digital options they pulled together in less than a month and hope this will be the start of digital conventions as an option moving forward. (And that recordings will be made available after the fact!)
Saturday, April 25th Panels
Panel descriptions are from the Yallwest Schedule found on their website.
Marg and Mel open the festival and talk all things Little Women with guests to be announced!
Moderated by Melissa de la Cruz & Margaret Stohl
Modern Magic Worldbuilding @ 12:00 p.m. Pacific
n 2020, where do you begin and what do you steal from the real world, especially when the real world is a garbage fire?
Moderated by Ransom Riggs
Featuring Melissa Albert, Adalyn Grace, Francesca Flores, Frances Hardinge, Margaret Rogerson, and Tracy Wolff
Truth Talking in Tough Times @ 2:00 p.m. Pacific
Whether pulled from political headlines or history books these writers grapple with big issues that define our times.
Moderated by Nic Stone
Featuring Becky Albertalli, Cecil Castellucci, Traci Chee, Romina Garber, and Sarah Watson
Facing the Enemy: Hope, War & Revolution @ 3:00 p.m. Pacific
How do you resist when the world is at war? How do these characters start revolutions or stop them? How can we be inspired in 2020, as we face an unseen enemy of our own?
Moderated by Victoria Aveyard
Featuring Hafsah Faizal, Isabel Ibañez, Jordan Ifueko, Victoria Lee, and Danielle Paige
Join hosts Angie Thomas and Nic Stone for the first ever virtual Smackdown!
Sunday, April 26th Panels
Suckage is Part of Writing @ 11:00 a.m. Pacific
Authors vent about their biggest writing frustrations– and how to overcome them!
Moderated by Jay Kristoff
Featuring Janella Angeles, Marisa Kanter, Amie Kaufman, Alex London, Tara Sim, and Maggie Tokuda-Hall
What is the mystery of mysteries? What’s thrilling about thrillers? What are the tricks of writing them? Ask these masters of the craft.
Moderated by Karen McManus
Featuring Mintie Das, Stephanie Garber, Stuart Gibbs, Rory Power, and Liliam Rivera
How do you do the research to write historical fiction, and when do you have to let the history books go and start your own world building?
Moderated by Roshani Chokshi
Featuring Renée Ahdieh, Gwenda Bond, Jennifer Donnelly, Marie Lu, and Bethany C. Morrow
There are so many more events and activities – some happening earlier in the week leading up to the festival! – so be sure to check out the full YALLWEST schedule and register for the sessions you’re interested in! (Be sure to scroll to the bottom to see all the giveaways going on leading up to next weekend!)
Is this a Watershed Moment for Change?
The publishing industry has been slow to adapt to the ever-changing market and technological advances. While I am saddened for the circumstances, I am happy to see the industry adapting to the moment to do the best they can for their authors, the readers, and the industry at large.
It often takes an external push of necessity for change to happen. We now know that digital panels and events can be done and that there is interest. Conventions can be made accessible for disabled and international fans, and I hope this will lead to a more inclusive future of marketing plans.
If you’re able, I encourage you to register to attend to show there is overwhelming interest to continue some online options in future years!
Are you planning on attending any of the YALLWest Online Sessions? If so, which ones? Do you think that this may lead to more virtual options for events moving forward? Let’s chat all things bookish events in the comments!
Let’s go on another adventure together!