The LA Times Festival of Books is coming up next weekend! This will be my third time going and I’m expecting to sweat a lot and have a lot of fun. Want to do the same?
LATFOB Newbie Survival Guide
Before you go: check the website for schedules of author appearances and signings. You can also get panel tickets for $1/ticket (on sale tomorrow!); this helps when you want a guaranteed seat for a big-time author, for instance.
If you live outside of LA but near a Metrolink station, you can get a weekend pass for $10. Unlimited rides from Friday evening to Sunday night! And once you get to LA Union Station there is a shuttle waiting to take you to the festival. Easy-peasy!
Note: the trains run on an abbreviated schedule on the weekends, and it takes about 20 minutes to get from Union Station to USC. This means you probably won’t be able to get to any panels before 11:30 at the earliest AND you have to plan for when you’re going home in the afternoon– don’t miss the last train!
It will be hot. Wear a hat, bring water, and prepare to shell out some $$$ for ice cream.
Wear sunscreen! Some events take place outside, where the sun will be. Protect yourself and your delicate skin cells.
Get a (free) map and mark down the locations of your panels and publishers/bookstores booths you want to visit. Cuts down on wandering around wondering where the heck you are and how you got into the cooking section.
When you have time, get to the bigger booths and pick up signing schedules— sometimes there are ones listed that aren’t in the official schedule.
If you want to go to a panel or signing for a very popular author (like John Green, for example), get there at LEAST an hour early. If you have a ticket for a panel you’ll get in so long as you arrive no later than 10 minutes before it starts, but you’ll probably get a crappy seat if you wait that long. Signings do go quickly, though, so even if you’re waiting for a while beforehand you’ll shoot through it in no time once the author gets there.
While standing in lines, make friends with people! This is easier said than done at LATFOB, because for some reason people are slightly less open to talking with strangers than at, like, BEA or ALA. But try it anyway! At least you won’t be bored.
Take pictures! Take them with authors, take them with promo characters in big fuzzy suits, take them with people you meet in lines. Make memories and then PHOTOGRAPH those memories! You won’t regret it. Much better to have a picture of you sweaty and stinky and enjoying yourself than none at all.
You can bring your own books to be signed, though obviously if you want more than, like, three signed by the same author you should probably buy at least one copy from the bookstore hosting the signing. It’s just good manners.
You will be meeting authors and so on, so dress nicer. But you don’t have to wear full on professional clothes! This is a much more laid-back event than ALA or BEA. You could even wear flip-flops if you want.
See you at the festival!