Before we get to the adventures, I need to let zibilee know that she is the new owner of The Outside Boy. Yay! It’s looking forward to adding a little red juice to the peach juice. If you’ll email me with your address, I’ll pop the book in the mail!
It’s BEA, baby!
I spent all day Wednesday, May 26th and Thursday, May 27th at Book Expo America, aka BEA. While I didn’t attend any of the author breakfasts and I didn’t get up early for tickets to author signings, I did spend the days wandering up and down the aisles, checking out all of the publishers and their books, running into bloggers, and feeling a bit squished at times. I read that there were over 20,000 attendees. Can you believe it? Check out these pictures of the show floor and the registration area from the BEA site:
And I’m really not going to go into much more detail. BEA has to be experienced…it’s overwhelming and wonderful and like nothing else I’ve ever been to. If you love books, than this is the place to be, surrounded by like-minded people. And over the next month or two I will occasionally be highlighting some of the books I met at BEA, so stay tuned for that.
Friday was the Book Blogger Convention, also at Javits. I can’t say enough good things about this event…the organizers did a fabulous job, and the day flew by. It was over too soon!
So what did we do at the BBC, you ask? Well, this was the agenda:
Maureen Johnson - Maureen is a YA author I had never heard of (although later I realized she has a story in a book with John Green (Let It Snow), and I do know of that book, although I have yet to read it). I’ll admit I was wondering what she could possible do for an hour and a half to entertain us, but I needn’t have. She was hilarious. Here are a few comments from her talk (unfortunately, they don’t reflect the stand-up comedienne quality of her performance):
- You need to ask yourself regularly “Why did I start doing this in the first place.”
- “Writing is something you do by yourself, but not because you want to be alone.”
- She sees book bloggers as activists (an example is the recent controversy over misrepresentative book covers) as we point out when things are unbalanced. We help to fight book challenges, which are usually local things.
- She sees tweeting and blogging as a forum to slam post-it notes (her thoughts) at people.
- Bloggers who post everyday are superhuman.
- Taking an interest in what others write is just as important as taking an interest in your own writing.
- “A review is just somebody’s opinion.” She doesn’t pay much attention to whether someone thinks her book is good or bad.
We received an audio of one of her books in our swag bag, and I’m looking forward to listening to it!
Professionalism and Ethics in Blogging
Ron Hogan – And okay, so I didn’t know who he was, either. I’m such a rube. But his talk was both relevant and thought-provoking. He spoke on professionalism in blogging, and he had some interesting things to say:
- “The war between book critics and bloggers is over. The bloggers won.” He practically got a standing ovation for that comment.
- Bloggers shouldn’t be judged by the same standards as critics as that’s not what we do. There are many ways to talk about a book. Bloggers show enthusiasm and reflection. This was perhaps one of my favorite remarks of the day, because he (and others) was clearly enthused about the enthusiasm of bloggers.
- He referred to Seth Godin’s book Linchpin, which describes seven qualities (unique interface, delivering unique creativity, what is your focus?, where are you pointing readers?, what are you inspiring readers to do next?, do you know the territory?, and what perspective do you bring?) that make a person indispensable. Ron adapted this to blogging and said these are things you might want to think about to inform your actions when blogging:
- Then he spoke to a few issues in blogging, particularly: Do you talk about how you got your books? You don’t have to do this (per the latest from the FTC) but you should if you want to be transparent. But you do have to disclose relationships, such as Amazon Associates.
- Other items of note from his talk and the question and answer portion: When working with publishers you should be specific on what you want and what you can do for them. If you can’t read a book, pass it on. Try to create a buzz. And make a good faith effort to write about as many of the books you have received from publishers as you can. If you can’t, at least keep them up to date about what you are doing.
- And finally, Ann Kingman encouraged us to get away from the phrase “free books.” Because they are not free. You are doing a service for the publisher by providing a review.
In the afternoon, there were four panels:
- Heather of Age 30+ Books – moderator
- Gayle of Everyday I Write the Book
- Yen of The Book Publicity Blog
- Ann of Books on the Nightstand
- Thea of The Book Smugglers
They chatted about how to increase your blog stats, branding and getting your name out there. The one thing I wrote down was a comment from Yen, who said if you don’t have a distinct niche, you should at least mention in your review policy what you don’t like.
Writing and Building Content
- Rebecca of Book Lady’s Blog – moderator
- Amanda of The Zen Leaf
- Kim of Sophisticated Dorkiness
- Betsy Bird of A Fuse 8 Production
- Christina of Stacked
They spoke on such topics as tips and tricks on writing good book reviews, voice, their review formats, and planning a good feature/series.
Blogging With Social Responsibility
- Marie of The Boston Bibliophile – moderator
- Zetta Elliott of Fledgling
- Terry of The Reading Tub
- Wendy of Caribousmom
- Stephen Bottum of Band of Thebes
I’m afraid I zoned out a bit here and didn’t take any notes.
Impact of the Relationship Between Author and Blogger
- Nicole of Linus’s Blanket – moderator
- Amy of My Friend Amy
- Bethanne of The Book Studio
- Kristi of The Story Siren
- Beth Kephart of Beth Kephart Books
- Caridad Pineiro of Caridad Pineiro’s Blog
A few notes from this panel include Beth Kephart’s comment about negative reviews (she is always aware of how hard it was to write the book and what the book means to the author) and the idea that if you have a review policy, you might want to include your policy on self-published authors (do you accept review copies from them, or not).
I also met more wonderful bloggers than I could keep track of. And Billy did, too. He’ll be posting about the fun he had tomorrow.