On Saturday 11th June I got to attend Four Brits Book Fest in place of my friend Lisa. Together, myself and H made the drive from Liverpool to Birmingham, with two trolley crates full of books.
We thought we were organised, but we weren't as organised as we thought. We had a floor plan that we highlighted with priority authors (personalisation in the books or an author I HAD to meet) and book pick ups.
We split up the books, leaving half in the car and making the priorities our first stop, however these priorities were full. I waited in a 2 hour queue just to see one author while H ran around getting a few more authors. The crates could not have held any more books without the risk of collapse, they also would have been hard to find the books we needed, because of this the authors that were quiet we didn't get chance to see the first time around. H did a great job of running around while I seemed to always end up with the long queues. But I got to see Jay Crownover, which made my day.
We had a working lunch, as did most of the authors, so we quickly took our signed books back to the car and did a quick swap, and then tag teamed the authors. We divided the books between us, putting co-authors, or authors sitting next to each other in the same crate and divided and conquered. If we finished with the authors we were queuing for and the other person still had books we would find each other and grab books. At one point H was in a queue and I had finished, so I jumped into the next queue for an author that eventually got ticketed as the queue was never ending, and grabbed the books off H who was next to me in a different queue. At one point we joined queues next to each other for co-authors, her queue moved fast so as the books got signed she passed them to me for my author to sign them.
We somehow managed to meet all the authors we had books for, and didn't get out till 5.30. I know a lot of the authors were still signing till 7pm so huge props to them for just being awesome.
The next Four Brits Book Fest will be held in Manchester, with author list still to come. If you plan on attending these events, and if I go next year, I'll definitely go more organised.
- Plan your time properly and make the most of authors sitting next to each other.
- If possible take a trolley, case, anything on wheels that can hold your books comfortably and organised to make sure you take advantage of the quiet authors.
- Take pictures, I failed at this one.
- Take snacks, water, a hand held fan to cool you down.
- Collapsible seat - I occasionally have issues with my back, and standing around for hours at a time really made it ache I wish I had thought of this beforehand.
- Friends to help tag team authors, especially if you have seen them before but need a new book signed but desperately need to see another author.
- Talk, make friends with people around you. I am usually a very shy person and would quite happily stand in a queue and not speak. But I was brave and spoke to several people in queues with me.
- HAVE FUN!!!!!!!!!!!
Even though our plan didn't work well at first we quickly got it fixed and into a good routine. I'm still deciding if I'm going again next year, it really does depend on the setting and what authors are going.
Except for the long queues and my sore back I did have fun. There were a few little niggles about the placement of authors and how crowded the queues became, sometimes it was hard to find the queue you wanted, and occasionally they were so long the had to be stopped. The organizers did a great job of putting it all together, and the authors are all just superstars.