Daily Thoughts 5/28/2010 (Book Bloggers Convention at Book Expo America)
I am going to the Book Bloggers Convention in a little while. I don't think I'll make the breakfast, but I will get to the other parts of the convention.
I slept in a little bit and got the Book Bloggers Convention at 9:00 a.m.. The keynote speaker was Maureen Johnson who writes young adult novels. I had never read her blog, but she was quite entertaining to hear speak. In the goody bags which came with the blogs, Brilliance Audio included a cd audiobook of Sweet Scarlett her new novel.
She had some interesting things to say. She blogs every single day, ending up with about 2,000 words. She also encourages people to comment on her blog. She also reminds us to blog about what we like. Sometimes, I am not quite sure what I like, so I just write about what I am experiencing.
Maureen Johnson talked about how she liked an unnamed blogger and reminded us that there are really no ground rules for twitter or blogger, you can do whatever you want. It is up to us to decide how much privacy we want. I won't go into every detail of what she said, but I can say she smiled a lot and made us laugh and was an original speaker.
The next person to speak was Ron Hogan. I remember when he wrote for Galleycat of Media Bistro. He hasn't been doing this for a while. I didn't even know he left. He outlined some of his ideas from Seth Godin's book, Linchpin Are You Indispensable. I liked Purple Cow a lot also by Seth Godin. The speech inspired me to read Seth Godin's books more than anything else.
The question about how do you get your books puzzled me a little bit. I get them from the library where I work, because I or my colleagues have ordered the book. We haven't specifically been requesting galleys or review copies lately. We could do this, but I am not really sure about this. One of my colleagues orders forthcoming titles. If I can't get what I want immediately, I may turn to Netgalley, but have not been reading many galleys. Galleys are not supposed to be added to libraries, they are not the complete corrected copies. We can't sell them in the book sale. The library county I work at is a cooperative so each library has its own budget and we share resources. There is no central ordering, so galleys often don't make sense for us because we are not doing large scale ordering of multiple copies. Galleys make sense for individual reviewers.
In this blog, I have relationships with Amazon Associates unlike Ron Hogan who has relationships with Powells for his blog. I don't think about it a huge amount because there is not a lot of money involved. I do it mainly for the little pictures of the books.
I asked Ron Hogan about getting comped as a journalist. On the badge issued to the Book Bloggers Convention, there is the word Press. I used it to sit down in the press room on the convention floor on Thursday and write a bit on this blog. Also, when I was on the floor of the convention, when I was at one of the booths, I was asked if I was a reviewer, only a reviewer could have the galley I wanted. I would have had to contact the publicist.
The goodie bag which came with the convention was excellent. I was surprised at the number of gifts, a book light, a secret decoder pen, a notebook from Harper One, a little mirror, a t-shirt, a stamp which said fail, a button whch said Zombies vs. Unicorns, a pen with the words Book Blogger Convention and various bookmarks. It was nice swag, better than the swag on the convention floor.
The books were also nice. They were mainly aimed at women. A few of the titles were The Perfect 10 Diet by Michael Aziz, M.D., Summer at Tiffany A Memoir by Marjorie Hart (this book included review questions for book clubs), Deb Caletti, The Nature of Jade which was a teen romance novel, and Jill Dawson, The Great Lover which was recommended by one of the attendees as an excellent book. Jill Dawson is a British writer.
We had lunch which was rather tasty, a wrap, chips, and soda. I talked with two people at one table, John Grace from Brilliance Audio who worked with science fiction and fantasy audiobooks, and Joy Strazza who was a publicist for Joan Schulhafer Publishing and Media Consulting. This is the first time I have spent time around publicists. Most of my experience has been around writers, booksellers, librarians, and editors so talking to publicists and book marketers was a new experience for me. Netgalley which makes egalleys was talked about briefly, http://www.netgalley.com/
After the main presenters, there were several panels. I had trouble remembering who was who because there were so many presenters at once. Each presenter had their own blog. It was a bit confusing. Maybe, I was just a bit tired from first going to Day of Dialog, then walking the floor, then doing more panels on Thursday.
Like so many panels, I find it easier if I pick only a few things to think about when I am listening to a panel. Paying attention to everything is a little too diffuse. I am mainly going to comment on one or two people from each panel.
There were a few blogs and people which caught my attention. I rather liked the idea of the Book Publicity Blog http://yodiwan.wordpress.com/ , it has a different layout and feel to it than many other blogs I have looked at. Again, I am not that familiar with book publicity.
I was surprised at the number of bloggers who were librarians. I was thinking, Vampire Librarian, that is kind of interesting for a blog, http://vampirelibrarian.com/ . Also, there were some interesting comments about the difference between reviewing for Kirkus Reviews and reviewing on a blog.
When you have not seen the blog before someone comes to speak, it makes it hard to picture what people were talking about. I really should have looked at each blog individually so I could place what the speakers were talking about. Because I had previously seen, The Booksmuggler Blog http://thebooksmugglers.com/ I could understand what Thea was talking about when she talked about statistics and traffic. I had recognized the blog from http://bookblogs.ning.com/
Also, because of the reception, I got a sense of Stacked, so I could understand what Christina was talking about. Christina had talked about blogging Space Camp at the reception before she spoke on the podium about it. Her pitch and message were very clear.
I wish the reception was a little bit earlier. I was looking to see if there were any book bloggers when I came in on Tuesday morning for the Library Journal Day of Dialog at Book Expo America. I asked at the check in desk. The only blogger I directly recognized was Ellen Datlow on the floor, who has a live journal page and was at the Horror Writers of America booth.
Some of the panels were quite interesting. I am used to hearing about technology around books. I read Joe Wikert's Publishing 2020 Blog. You might call it a kind of book blog. I also recognized Maw Books who has an excellent book blog.
I had never really thought that much about social responsibility when they did the panel on Blogging With Social Responsibility. It was interesting hearing about whitewashing in book covers from Zetta of the Fledgling blog, also it was interesting hearing about blogging gay books from Stephen Bottum of Band of Thebes.
The talk on the Impact of the Relationship between Author and Blogger felt like it was from the perspective of a publicist or marketer, not an editor. I find it fairly easy to talk to editors and writers. I often don't think of interviewing writers, because it somehow crosses into territory which limits how much you can review a book. When talking to editors there seems to be less worry about whether or not you should correct someone; it is their job to criticize works. When you talk to a reviewer or marketer, it seems to be much less acceptable to be critical, there is more of an emphasis on selling the book.
I liked how Amy of the blog, My Friend Amy talked about her relationship with authors. I also liked the decision which was made by Bethanne of the Book Studio to insist on either interviewing an author or writing a book review on their book, but not both.
I like messaging authors on Facebook, but not really interviewing them. Interviewing requires you to review things being said if they are written down, to make sure your writing did not misinterpret something. I'm probably not following the reminder to not talk about yourself too much in a blog, but focus on your interests. Hopefully, what I am writing is correct. Let me know if it is not.
I am not sure that I have the same kind of relationship with authors. It has been such a long time since I have gone to author events. I am not sure that author events are really like blog interviews. Most of the authors which I message are on Facebook; Tobias Buckell, John Ordover, and Ellen Datlow mainly. Occassionally, Jeff Vandermeer.
The event was very well done. I felt a little out of place, but people were very nice. They also made sure that people got a chance to ask questions to the panelists. This was the first time The Book Blogger Convention was held. It was very well executed and well attended for a first time event. I think there were over 200 people in attendance. I don't have the full statistics. It will be something worth attending again. The price for admission was included in attendance to Book Expo America.
I liked talking to Kelly Leonard, Executive Director of Marketing for Online Marketing for Hachette. Hachette has a very large presence on the Ning Book Bloggers Network. It was very gracious.
To get a sense of the attendees. This is a list of blogs with the first name next to them. http://bookbloggerconvention.com/attendees/ In addition to the regular attendees, there were a number of publicists, marketers, and people from publishing companies like Hachette, Random House, Harper Collins, Orbit, Brilliance Audio, and others.
I am thinking about some things about followers. I currently have 77 Google Followers, 109 RSS (Realtime Simple Syndication) Feed Followers, and about 60 hits a day. This is not a lot of hits. However, something I have noticed is that people who visit usually don't come every day. They may come once a week and read for several minutes go to a link, then come back.
There are other indicators than the main site about who is reading my writing. I also post on Ning Bookblogs. Ning is going to start charging for this service. It would be a nice to see a sponsor to keep the section going. http://bookblogs.ning.com/forum .
I also have 2435 twitter followers http://twitter.com/bookcalendar. I guess this indicates I am good at making short, pithy statements in 140 characters or less. In addition, most of these followers are focused into the book, librarian, and publishing world, hopefully.
I am running a thread on Blogcatalog called What are you reading now? It is up to the 507th post. Sometimes, it is an interesting to try and create long running threads. http://www.blogcatalog.com/group/book-readers/discuss/entry/which-book-are-you-reading-right-now
There are other indicators which are not about reading. I have been in the top spot for books on Fuelmyblog on many occassions. http://www.fuelmyblog.com/index.jsp?f=25. I am on the front page of the books section in Blogcatalog http://www.blogcatalog.com/directory/entertainment/books/
I also have a Goldview Award from the View From Here Magazine http://www.viewfromheremagazine-aboutus.com/
Maybe, I am self promoting too much. I still do not get a huge amount of traffic. Traffic is not everything.