Daily Archives: May 30, 2010

Book Blogger Convention: May 28, 2010

**NOTE: Click on ANY photo in this post to enjoy a larger view.

Before I start talking about the Book Blogger Convention…I realized that in my rush to get yesterday’s post up before leaving for the airport, I neglected to post the afternoon photo of the books that I picked up on Thursday afternoon. So here it is:

  • The Ape House by Sara Gruen (signed)
  • The Brave, by Nicholas Evans
  • Alone, by Richard Logan and Tere Duperrault Fassbender
  • Dangerous Neighbors, by Beth Kephart (signed)

Kip and I arrived at the Javits for the first Book Blogger Convention at 8:00 AM:

We picked up our swag bags and went in to enjoy a full breakfast and some early morning chat. I am still amazed at how every day I was in NYC I met a new to me blogger (or two or three or four!) and kept adding business cards to my stack. I am eager to start checking out some of these blogs (oh no, I can already feel my Google Reader growing!!).

After breakfast, we found our seats in the conference room for the start of the panels. The keynote  speaker was Maureen Johnson and she was hilarious. She gave a 90 minute presentation which just flew by and was filled with funny stories and great information about the impact of bloggers in the book industry. Some of the key points I wanted to mention:

  • Bloggers are activists (she mentioned the recent controversy regarding diversity and cover art…ie: whitewashing covers).
  • Bloggers are voices to defend books against challenges and bans.
  • Bloggers are the new marketing and help to bring to light books which might otherwise go unnoticed.
  • Bloggers are all about community and discussion (she mentioned how an off the cuff tweet she posted about blogging every day in April ballooned into a huge event in less than a day due to the bloggers).

Maureen Johnson, YA Author

The next presentation came from Ron Hogan of Beatrice (he has also worked as an industry professional with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). Ron talked about professionalism and ethics and noted that the standard by which print reviewers (or literary critics) write are not necessarily the same  standards for bloggers. Ron referenced Linch Pin by Seth Godin for his presentation and made Godin’s principles relevant for book bloggers.  Ron  says regarding professionalism, bloggers must ask the following questions:

  1. What binds you and your readers?
  2. What makes your blog stand out? He mentioned here that bloggers have the benefit of unique creativity and the space to share it which traditional platforms often do not allow.
  3. What is your focus?
  4. Where are you pointing readers?
  5. What do your readers do next (ie: how do you inspire readers)?
  6. Do you know the territory?
  7. What perspective do you bring?

Perhaps the most interesting part of Ron’s presentation was that which centered around ethics. An excellent point (and one I completely agree with) was that bloggers should be trustworthy without having to say so. We read our favorite blogs because we have a trust in the writers of them; we don’t read our favorite blogs because we demand a written code of ethics. Two major issues brought up:

  1. Do you talk about how you get your books? This related directly to the FTC disclosure edict late last year.
  2. Do you ask people to write for your blog for free, and is this exploitation?

When the floor was opened for discussion, many other issues came up…such as are we obligated to read and review every book we receive from a publisher (Ron says “no”  if you are working in “good faith” when you accept them; and more importantly, publicists and publishers agree and do not have the expectation that every book sent will get a review). Also a member of the audience mentioned that we should not refer to review books as “free” as it makes us look like we are just trying to get swag! There was also some discussion about how publicists should go about contacting bloggers.

Ron Hogan

We broke for lunch just before noon and I have to give a nod to the people who provided the lunch – it was excellent! During lunch I was thrilled to meet several people who I have had the pleasure to work with over the last year or so: Marissa at JKS Communications, Wiley Saichek  who is the marketing director at Authors on the Web, Joy Strazza at Joan Schulhafer Publishing and Media Consulting, and Meryl Zegarek and Rachel from Meryl Zegarek Public Relations.

After lunch it was time for the panels – which were all excellent. I am not going to try to recap these..but suffice it to say that they were all informative and the panel members provided some great opinions and thoughts on a variety of topics. I was thrilled to be a part of the Blogging With Social Responsibility panel.

I.  Writing and Building Content:

(left to right) Kim at Sophisticated Dorkiness, Christina at Stacked, Rebecca at The Book Lady’s Blog (moderator), Betsy at A Fuse 8 Production, and Amanda at The Zen Leaf

II. Marketing:

(left to right) Gayle at Everyday I Write the Book, Ann at Books on the Nightstand, Heather at Age 30+ Books (Moderator), Yen at The Book Publicity Blog, and Thea at The Book Smuggler

III. Blogging With Social Responsibility:

(left to right) Zetta at Fledgling, Stephen at Band of Thebes, Marie at The Boston Bibliophile (Moderator), Me (Wendy) at Caribousmom, and Terry at The Reading Tub

IV. Impact of the Relationship Between Author and Blogger:

(left to right) Caridad Pineiro at Caridad Pineiro’s Blog, Bethanne at The Book Studio, Kristi at The Story Siren, Nicole at Linus’s Blanket (Moderator), Amy at My Friend Amy, and Beth Kephart at Beth Kephart Books

At the end of the day, I was left feeling amazed by the bloggers and industry professionals who champion books. I was also blown away by the level of organization for this first time event…many, many thanks to those who worked tirelessly to make this all happen: Trish, Michelle, Amy, Natasha, Nicole, Pam, and Rebecca. You guys ROCK!

So to wrap up this post, here are some of the goodies we all got by attending this fabulous convention:

  • Suite Scarlett, by Maureen Johnson (audiobook)
  • Summer at Tiffany, by Marjorie Hart
  • The Outside Boy, by Jeanine Cummings
  • Think of a Number, by John Verdon
  • The Secret Life of Prince Charming, by Deb Caletti
  • Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives, by Josie Brown
  • The Perfect 10 Diet, by Michael Aziz M.D.

There were also other assorted goodies such as pens, a reading light, bookmarks and also a wonderful personalized luggage tag made by JKS Communications for each attendee at the convention.

Truly…it was overwhelming in a wonderful way. And I must tell you, I will be sharing some of the books I came home with…so stay tuned for some giveaways here on my blog in the next few weeks.