I will start off with a compliment. Last year, BEA Bloggers Conference was a bit of a mixed bag. This year......it's still a work in progress but I think it was a vast improvement over 2012. For starters, this year's speaker, Will Schwalbe, spoke about things that were relevant to book blogging. The only problem, I had heard several of his talking points before. He was a guest speaker in one of my classes last semester, but that doesn't mean I didn't find value in his speech.
A few key quotes from his speech:
"If the book wins we all win."
"Success is not numbers."
"We all make mistakes."
"We're all in the end of your life book club. You never know what your last read will be."
Those are good tips, whether you're a book blogger or not. If you get into book blogging to become rich, you will be disappointed. Most people, myself included, do it for the love of books. If you share your thoughts with others, the book will certainly win. That last quote resonated with me the most. Regardless of your situation, every book you read could be your last. We don't know what the future holds. Will Schwalbe's last book, The End of Your Life Book Club, is a memoir of his mother's death from pancreatic cancer. Will and his mother had a deep love for books, and that's what the book is all about.
In my opinion, the breakout panels were hit-and-miss. This is the second year that Reed Exhibitions is running the blogger part of the convention, and they still haven't found the right balance. The first two panels were about the latest adult and YA books. I split my time between the two of them. Honestly, I don't think the buzz panels were necessary. There are buzz panels during BookExpo America, and I felt that was the place for them. The buzz panels felt like a marketing tool. A conference about blogging should stick to blogging-related topics. It's great to learn about upcoming books, but that information and more is available during the overall conference.
"Your opinion matters, your voice is as valid as anyone else's" -- The best quote from the Adult Book Blogging panel. I started off in the YA Book Blogging panel, but no offense to the speakers they were kind of boring. The adult speakers (Jim C. Hines, Mandi of Smexy Books, Rebecca of The Book Lady's Blog, and Sarah of Smart Bitches, Trashy Books) were far more engaging and funny. Most of them were romance book bloggers, but a lot of what they said could be applied to everyone. Be engaging on Twitter, be bold enough to try something new, and if it resonates with only one or two people that's great.
I had high hopes for the Ethics luncheon, but that was hit-and-miss, too. A lot of the panel focused on FTC regulations. The panel was very dry and bordered on a college lecture. I know that wasn't the intent, but the panel was full of lawyers. Perhaps one lawyer and two bloggers would have been better. It's good to know about FTC regulations, but I thought the panel would focus more on the moral issues that some bloggers face. Where do you draw the line with authors on social media? Is there such a thing as being too mean in your reviews?
The last two panels I attended Taking Your Presence Offline and Extending the Reach of Your Blog Online were pretty good. Lots of useful tips, like donating your unused books, partner with your local indie book store to start a book club, make use of Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Vine, and Stumble Upon. Although, it seemed like all of the panels were focused towards newbie bloggers. I skipped out on the closing keynote by Randi Zuckerberg, but from what I heard I didn't miss anything. I wanted to attend the Adult Editors buzz panel, now that panel is geared towards all attendees of BEA. I stayed for about 20 minutes because I had to make my way towards the Hearst Tower for the Cosmo Red Hot Reads party. Cosmo magazine and Harlequin are partnering in a new e-book imprint. Their launching the imprint with bestselling author Sylvia Day.
First I have to thank Sarah Burningham of Little Bird Publicity for getting me an invite to this party. Thank you, thank you Sarah. I got to mingle with other bloggers (Rachel of Parajunkee's View, Mandi of Smexy Books, and Sarah of Smart Bitches, Trashy Books) and take some pictures. I apologize in advance for the blurry photos!!
Sylvia Day, left, and Cosmo editor-in-chief Joanna Coles
Pretty gift bags!!
The view from the 44th floor!!
Pardon the glare!!