After two full days of BEA I was THRILLED BEYOND WORDS to be able to sit down for most of the day at the Book Blogger Convention on Friday. Breakfast was provided, and I wandered around meeting people after I ate.
Confession time: I spend a LOT of time on Twitter during the first half of the BBC, following tweets from other people in the room. Crazy, I know, but it was really fun. I loved seeing what people were taking away from the talks! Of course, this meant that I wasn't paying as much attention to the speakers as I should have been, nor was I taking any photos ...
The first session of the day was the keynote presentation by YA author Maureen Johnson. Here is where I admit I'd never heard of her prior to this. But here is where I also admit that she is HILARIOUS. And one of the goodies in our swag bags for BBC was her audio book SUITE SCARLETT; as an audio book fan, you can bet I'll be checking that out soon!
The next talk was on Professionalism and Ethics in blogging, by Ron Hogan (of Beatrice.com fame). Coming on the heels of Maureen's talk, Ron came off as a bit dry and rambly but he also said a lot of good things. One in particular really resonated with me: "You don't need to SAY you are trustworthy, you just need to BE trustworthy." Do you remember a while back when there was a trend in the book blogosphere to declare that you would "blog with integrity"? If I recall, there was even a place to sign up to show your support of this. I chose not to sign up or make a statement about it at all because I believe that a statement like that doesn't really prove anything. My blog is an honest representation of my opinions, and my readers learn that fact over time as they read my posts. It was nice to hear Ron backing me up on this.
During our lunch break I chatted with bloggers and publicists and reviewed my notes for my panel, which was coming up very soon.
The first panel of the afternoon was on Writing and Building Content, moderated by Rebecca @ The Book Lady’s Blog and with the following panelists: Kim @ Sophisticated Dorkiness, Christina @ Stacked, Betsy @ A Fuse 8 Production, and Amanda @ The Zen Leaf. There's a great post at Stacked that gets into some of the topics discussed during the panel. These ladies had a lot of great advice but I felt that the panelists all did things in a very similar way (lots of prescheduled posts, long posts, etc.); I'd have loved to see more variety up there.
Then it was time for Marketing, the panel moderated by me and including Gayle @ Everyday I Write the Book, Ann @ Books on the Nightstand, Yen @ The Book Publicity Blog, and Thea @ The Book Smugglers. Just before the panel I got incredibly nervous (even though I truly LOVE doing stuff like this - seriously!) and proceeded to stumble over my own words when introducing the panelists. You'll have to see what other bloggers are saying about this panel, since I feel rather odd judging it myself. Ana @ The Book Smugglers summarized it - do you know of anyone else who did? I'd love to hear some honest feedback ...
Blogging with Social Responsibility came next. It was moderated by Marie @ The Boston Bibliophile and featured Zetta @ Fledgling, Stephen @ Band of Thebes, Wendy @ Caribousmom, and Terry @ The Reading Tub. The two topics that got the most attention here were issues of race and sexual orientation being misrepresented or underrepresented in books. These topics generated a huge debate, and I felt bad that the panelists who focused on raising money for pediatric cancer research and children's literacy didn't get much attention. Still, a very interesting panel.
The final panel of the day was Impact of the Relationship Between Author and Blogger, moderated by Nicole @ Linus’s Blanket. Panelists included Caridad Pineiro @ Caridad Pineiro’s Blog, Bethanne @ The Book Studio, Kristi @ The Story Siren, Amy @ My Friend Amy, and Beth Kephart @ Beth Kephart Books. I was really looking forward to this panel because it is a topic I've been thinking a lot about lately. One of my favorite points brought up during the discussion was that bloggers - and many authors! - prefer to be contacted by a publicist requesting a review rather than by the author directly. I was so glad to hear it and I hope (vainly?) that it will eventually cut down on the emails I receive directly from authors. (They are awkward for me, especially when it comes time to email the author the link to my less-than-glowing review ...). Unfortunately I didn't get much else out of this panel; the conversation seemed to wander a great deal and I found few things that impacted me directly.
The End of BBC
And then it was over. :( This was a great experience for me and I'm so glad I was able to attend. The BBC organizers did an amazing job and they deserve a huge thank you.
Trish @ Hey Lady!, Michelle @ Galleysmith, Amy @ My Friend Amy, Natasha @ Maw Books, Nicole @ Linus's Blanket, Pam @ Mother Reader, and Rebecca @ The Book Lady's Blog - THANK YOU!
But it wasn't quite time to leave New York, so