After Maureen Johnson's keynote speech, we heard from Ron Hogan, who writes the blog Beatrice. Unfortunately, I only have one crappy photo from his presentation and very few notes. (My notes consist of "ur work is to create art + cat chang." Um ... yeah. Your guess is as good as mine on that.) In his presentation, Ron referenced Seth Godin (love Seth) in his remarks about Professionalism and Ethics.
Then it was time for lunch, where I sat with Laura from I'm Booking It, Jennifer from Crazy-for-Books, Jenny from Take Me Away, Michelle from red headed book child, and authors Sandra Brannan and Kathy McCullough. (No pictures from lunch. I don't know what I was thinking.) Wonderful people and great conversation about - you guessed it, books and blogs. And in the middle of that, Jenny and I even discovered that we have a professional "job-that-pays-the-bills" connection!
Our afternoon was spent hearing from several bloggers on a variety of panels. I really enjoyed this part of the Convention. Again, I have very few notes. (Good thing I'm not being tested.) Honestly, I think I was a bit in awe of just being there. In New York. With all these awesome people that I spend my time reading into the wee small hours of the morning. Truly.
First was the Writing and Building Content panel. Pictured left to right: Kim from Sophisticated Dorkiness; Christina from Stacked; moderator Rebecca from The Book Lady's Blog; Betsy from Fuse #8 Production; and Amanda from The Zen Leaf (who I had the chance to talk with over breakfast).
One of the comments I did write down was Christina's. She said that every new post we write is like a first date with a new reader. I love that. So very true. I need to keep that in mind. Betsy reminded us that you can talk about a lot of things regarding a book besides just the content summary, and Rebecca said that what happens in a book is often very different than what it is about. Also very true. Rebecca did a great job moderating this panel (as did all the moderators).
Then it was onto the Marketing panel, where we heard from (pictured left to right) Gayle from Every Day I Write the Book; Ann from Books on the Nightstand; moderator Heather from Age 30+ ...A Lifetime of Books; Yen from The Book Publicity Blog; and Thea from The Book Smugglers. Gayle, Ann, and Heather were already in my Google Reader, so it was great to put faces to blogs. I also enjoyed hearing from Yen and Thea. All of the panelists had good things to say about promoting your blog (comments on other blogs, joining Facebook and Twitter) and to remember - for new people - that building an audience and a following takes time. A lot of time.
There was also discussion about stats and their importance. I see both sides of this debate (and debate might be too strong of a word). I've definitely become less obsessed about my blog stats than I used to be, because I've realized that constantly checking them makes me a little crazy and there's already enough stuff in my life to make me nuts. However, if I'm a publisher or publicist wanting to promote my author's books, it makes sense that this is going to one of the criteria, especially when they are just getting to know you and your blog.
Our third panel was on Blogging with Social Responsibility, where we heard from Zetta from Fledgling, Stephen from Band of Thebes; moderator Marie from The Boston Bibliophile (and who I had the pleasure of sitting next to during the Maureen Johnson and Ron Hogan presentations); Wendy from Caribou's Mom; and Terry from The Reading Tub. Discussion primarily focused on racism and the cover controversies of late and LGBT issues. Listening to Stephen from Band of Thebes made me realize that, given the subject matter of my novel-in-progress, I really should be reading more books with LGBT themes. Stephen's blog (which is now among those I've subscribed to, thanks to Book Blogger Con) will be a good resource for this.
Wendy has dedicated this year to Reading for a Cure for Childhood Cancer and it is not too late to join her in her efforts. There are several different ways to participate in this very worthy effort. Finally, The Reading Tub (love that name) is a great site that promotes children's literacy and reading to children.
Because I work for a nonprofit, I was especially interested in this panel. At the end, I was brave enough to make a comment about how nonprofits, in general, are just beginning to figure this whole social media world out. Chances are, if you contact a nonprofit (talk with someone in development, or perhaps PR or community relations) that is working on a cause or an issue close to your heart and offer to promote them on your blog in connection with a project, the nonprofit will love you. (Or, at least they should be willing to take the time to talk with you. The best nonprofits will embrace you as a donor and treat you as such.)
Finally, our last panel of the day, the Impact of the Author/Blogger Relationship. Pictured left to right: Author Caridad Pineiro; Bethanne from The Book Studio; Kristi from The Story Siren; moderator Nicole from Linus's Blanket; Amy from My Friend Amy; and author Beth Kephart. What I especially appreciated about this panel was the preference that it is much better to be approached for a potential review by a publicist, rather than the author. That way, it becomes less awkward for everyone if you don't like the book as much as you thought.
Also, Amy (I think it was Amy) spoke to the issue of agreeing to an author interview before reading the book. Doing so could create an awkward situation because if you don't like the book, the interview becomes ... well, awkward.
By this point, everyone seemed exhausted but still in the mood to talk and chat a bit. I was lucky that my train back home didn't leave until 7, which meant that I missed dinner afterward but that I did have a chance to catch up with some people (and take photos!) at the conclusion of the Convention.
I'll share those with you in my next (and final?) Book Blogger Convention Recap.
copyright 2010, Melissa (Betty and Boo's Mommy, The Betty and Boo Chronicles) If you are reading this on a blog or website other than The Betty and Boo Chronicles or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.