Sunday, March 25, 2012

To go or not to go that is the question?

What is my dilemma? What am I conflicted about? I started blogging in April of 2010 and by May I was searching for some direction with my blog. How do I make it better? How long/short should I make my posts? How can I get a publisher's attention? I started doing internet research on the subject. Eventually I came across the web site for the Book Blogger Convention. I thought, "Great! I can get a little help." As soon as I had the money, I signed up. Imagine my surprise when I learned my registration fee also included a pass to attend BookExpo America. I was only able to attend one day of BEA, but it was great.

Attending both conventions was a bit of sensory overload, but it was very eye-opening and educational. When the time came to register for the 2011 convention, I jumped at the opportunity. This time I submitted my request for vacation in January even though the convention wasn't until May. I wanted the full experience this time.

Now, what about this year? 2012 is different for me in many ways. I am currently unemployed. A lot of the money I have set aside is for graduate school and a planned vacation in the summer. Does it make sense for me to register for a convention I might not be able to attend? What if I get job? That also might derail my vacation later this year (but I'll cross that bridge if I get to it). I'm planning to go to Africa this summer, and that's an opportunity I can't pass up.

But back to the conference. A couple of days ago I decided to register for the Book Blogger Convention. Imagine my surprise when I found out the name had been changed. It is now the BEA Bloggers Conference. When did that happen? Reed Exhibitions purchased the convention from Trish Collins of Hey Lady! Whatcha  Readin? and Michelle Franz of Galleysmith. I know a lot of work goes into planning a convention like this. It can be overwhelming and perhaps that was the motivation in selling the convention.

I have a few gripes about this change. Branding it the "BEA Bloggers Conference," makes it more about BEA than about us. I believe the original intent for the convention was a way for bloggers to unite and gain knowledge from each other. Now it seems like we're being branded. Is the new conference marketing us or are they marketing to us?

The list of panels is up on the web site, but the panelists themselves aren't bloggers!! Of the panelists that are listed, most of them are authors. Now that's not a bad thing. It's great to be able to interact with authors. The keynote speaker is author Jennifer Weiner, and I am a big fan of hers. Follow her on Twitter, trust me you will laugh. She's one of the main reasons I'm on the fence about attending. I would like to hear what she has to say, plus I wonder if she would sign my books. As great as the interaction would be, more bloggers should be included on the panels. After all is the conference about us or them?

Also the cost to attend both conventions has gone up. To attend the "Bloggers Conference" alone is relatively cheap at $79. But if you want to attend the "Bloggers Conference" and all three days of BEA it's $235. That's nearly double what it cost to attend last year. I live in New York, so I don't have the extra costs that out of town bloggers have. Now, I am speaking only for myself but that's more than I can afford. If I do go it will probably be just for the "Bloggers Conference" and one day of BEA.

The changes are all the buzz in the blogosphere. Jeff at The Reading Ape is proposing A Book Blogger Unconference. Basically, a cheaper option that is just for bloggers. It sounds intriguing. I'm unsure of which way to go. If you want to learn how to cultivate relationships with publishers and authors, I think the "BEA Bloggers Conference" is for you. If want you want camaraderie amongst your peers, the Unconference is for you. What is right for me? I don't know yet. Whatever I choose I'm sure it will be a good experience. Anything that involves a love for books can't be bad!!

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