I aware that I am woefully behind on this, and that other bloggers have posted a lot of really great posts already, but I wanted to throw in my perspective.
Cori McCarthy and Amy Rose Capetta convinced me to come along, and so I traveled with them, and that certainly made it an infinitely more enjoyable experience.
Day one, before the conference even started, was BEA Bloggers Conference. Now...I have a lot of respect for the bloggers who originally started this conference, and I am so pleased with what they did with it and all that they accomplished. Ever since the conference has been run by BEA though...I get the feeling that the organizers don't quite know what it is that bloggers do and what we want out of this conference. Maybe we're just hard to please? But...there were some good things this that came out this year, despite the few hiccups.
I missed the keynote speaker because I flew in that morning, but I got to Javits in time to listen to the YA Editors Insight Panel. This was more of a buzz panel with Cheryl Klein (Scholastic), Emily Meehan (Disney Hyperion), and Deb Noyes (Candelwick). I really enjoyed hearing about the books that they're excited about and some market trends (more on the books later!). Nothing too earth-shattering or new in this panel, though. Still, it was pleasant to listen to because we're all basically huge book nerds who just like to talk books.
The second panel I attended was the Book Blogging Pros panel with Thea from The Book Smugglers, Danielle from There's a Book, and Cindy from The Nerdy Book Club. I always find it interesting to listen to how others blog (we're all a unique bunch), and I really liked how they emphasized that consistency is key when it comes to blogging. I wholeheartedly agree, and I would add that consistency and quality are way better than quantity. I also liked how Thea touched on how the word "critical" when applied to book reviews doesn't mean "negative." My reviews are critical, but if I don't like a book, I don't waste my time reviewing it.
An Ethics Luncheon was lined up for lunchtime, but this is where BEA really failed this year. Instead of providing a boxed or catered lunch in the conference hall like in past years, we were given a meal voucher for the food court...at the other end of the convention center. The food court wasn't even completely open and they were completely unprepared for the masses of people coming from BBC. I stood in line for almost an hour and had to inhale my food (in line). So, I missed it. I will tell you my ideals when it comes to ethics in book blogging, which basically comes down to this: Tell us where you get your books to make everyone who is worried about the FTC happy, and treat your correspondence like you're talking to your mom or your boss (whichever is the more conservative) because even if you don't want to be a professional in the publishing industry, you ARE TALKING WITH PEOPLE WHO MAKE BOOKS THEIR CAREER. Okay? Okay.
After this was the panel that I spoke on, How to Take Your Online Presence Offline. I was really nervous for this because I wasn't given much direction on what to talk about...so I just ran with it. Jenn and I talked about all of the events and programs that we've been involved with in our communities, and Wanda talked about how bloggers can help independent bookstores. As an indie bookseller, I agree with this sentiment, but I have noticed that some people were a little upset or confused by this stance. Not everyone has an independent bookstore nearby, and that's okay! I blogged for a long time before I discovered my indie. Certainly independent bookstores are some of the best places for book lovers to come together, but there is so much you can do outside of them. As a blogger, you have to think about what's right for your and what YOU can do, because your blog, experiences, and community is going to be different from mine.
That being said, I really appreciate everyone who came up to me and talked to me afterwards. You were all wonderful to talk to, and I came home filled with so much energy, wanting to DO MORE. You're awesome. I actually missed the panel after this because I talked with so many people after my panel.
The Closing Keynote...oh, the closing keynote. By now it is probably legendary on Twitter. I will say this first: Randi Zuckerberg is clearly an intelligent woman, and she is one well-spoken lady. She knows a lot about social media, and not just because of who her brother is. However, it was obvious to me that she didn't seem to know where she was or who she was talking to, and therefore her keynote was ridiculous, bordering on insulting. You can go back and read my tweets about it...but know that I was very happy when happy hour came around. (Randi Zuckerberg drove me to drinking, and I'm sure I'm not the only one who experienced this.)
BEA Bloggers Conference is one of those events that I keep going back to every year with the hope that it will be better and continue to improve. I was very pleased to be a part of a panel that seemed to reach people and have a positive impact. I enjoyed meeting so many people, and that (for me) made the conference worth the trip. If you were more, I'd love to hear more about your perspective--comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you'd prefer to talk privately.
Up next tomorrow: The Books and the Events of BEA!