Your Ultimate Guide to YAK Fest

Your Ultimate Guide to YAK Fest

Meleah York, Staff Writer

Are you a book nerd? Do you enjoy the wonder and excitement of books or enjoy telling stories through writing? Then YAK Fest, the Keller Young-Adult Book Festival, is just for you. Even though it has already passed for this year, this is your guide to how you can fully take advantage of YAK Fest next year, provided by yours truly.

This year was my first year to go to YAK Fest (I dragged my little brother along as well), and I can say that I was pleasantly surprised with my experience. Here are some tidbits I picked up:

  1. Plan to go early and stay for the entire thing. My brother and I are lazy so we didn’t go until one in the afternoon (it started at 9 a.m.), but as soon as I got there I immediately regretted not being there earlier. Many of the books I wanted to buy were sold out at the end of the day.
  2. Make a plan for your schedule because rooms get filled quickly. Make sure you know where each room is so you can get a chair to sit in and not have stand for forty-five minutes. Be flexible as well; it’s okay to change your mind on where you want to go.
  3. Bring a blank notebook and a pencil. They can be used in the poetry and writing workshops, but also for writing down book recommendations and getting author autographs.
  4. Most of the workshops will be full of students that need extra credit to pass their English class, which is why you should chose times where the rooms aren’t that full in order to experience workshops with people actually passionate about writing and poetry. Not that some people getting extra credit aren’t passionate about the workshop, but you know what I mean.
  5. Go to as many panels as you can, even ones you aren’t that interested in. The authors are really nice and funny people who are happy to answer questions about the publishing process, writing techniques, and even their favorite books. They’re easy to talk to and are overall just really geeky book lovers.
  6. Buy books earlier. I waited until the last opportunity, but you should set aside lunch time to go buy the books you want because they sell out quickly.
  7. Go to both of the general keynotes! Jeff Zentner had an excellent one when I went (also check out his book, The Serpent King) and I am so glad that I didn’t miss his keynote speech. It was all about how young readers are the next generation, and it was incredibly uplifting with encouragement to stand up for minorities. Don’t miss the keynotes. No other panels or workshops will be going on during those general sessions.
  8. Author autographs happen at the end of the day or directly after a panel ends. Make sure you have them sign their book because it’s honestly just really cool to have a personalized book signed by the real life actual person that wrote it.
  9. Say hi to your English teachers. They will love that you came and think of you very highly after that!! (It’ll help in the long run, I promise).

Make sure that you attend next year’s YAK Fest because it was honestly so much fun. I really enjoyed myself being surrounded by book nerds and awesome authors. Listen to your English teachers and come to YAK Fest next year!!!