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What Would Entice Me to Attend BEA Bloggers Conference 2013

Following the July 30th announcement on The BEAN that feedback was mostly positive from the 2012 BEA Bloggers Conference and that the BEA folks are considering the creation of a book blogger advisory committee to oversee conference content, I’ve gone back to a list of stuff that I bounced off Anna after my first year at the Book Blogger Con (before it was sold to Reed).  I had hoped that a book blogger-wide survey would have been issued by Reed to garner more feedback than from a select few bloggers, but alas, that has not occurred.

Regardless, I’ve put together my thoughts for whatever that is worth.

I really think that although authors can make great speakers at a conference and are appreciated for their wit, they should not be keynote speakers at a book blogger conference!  A keynote should be someone from the industry the conference strives to reach — a book blogger.

I think to capture the attention of mature book bloggers and new book bloggers in the same conference, the conference should be broken down by hour or two for a particular topic and within that time period, two or more panels should be conducted on different aspects of that topic.  Each session also should allow for questions as well.

Here’s a sample with some topic offerings that may appeal to new and mature bloggers:

First 1-2 hours:

First Option — Technology Panel:

  • HTML coding basics
  • social and media use (effectiveness of Twitter, Facebook, vlogs, etc. and how to gauge it using analytics (and which ones)
  • domain names and best blogging platforms for which purposes

Second Option — Book Blogging Basics:

  • ARC Management vs. Read What You Want When You Want? (What’s your system?), including the management of e-galleys vs. paper copies
  • Reading Challenge and book blogging community participation
  • Scheduling blog posts and how to write a post
  • Finding your blogging voice or how do you change the course of your blog?

Second 1-2 hours:

Option One — Ethics Panel:

  • Positive and negative reviews (how to write them? or not?)
  • Disclosing friendships with authors and publicists
  • Disclosing affiliate links for book stores, etc.
  • What is the book blogger’s duty to readers of the blog vs. authors/publishers, etc.
  • What are the ethical issues of telling another blogger to stop harassing your readers or authors on your pages?

Option Two — Standardization

  • What is a book blogger? (how do we define ourselves?)
  • What should be included in a review (i.e. author, title, and what else?)
  • Who do you blog for? Why?
  • Do book bloggers need a professional organization?
  • Do you need advanced reader copies to be a book blogger?

Lunch break — networking with other bloggers (icebreakers and tidbits about all attending blogs on the table)

Third 1-2 hours:

Option One — Niche vs. Genre:

  • Should blogs have specialties?
  • What is the difference between having a niche and covering a genre?
  • Are there analytics to support the need for specialization?
  • Should you pass along ARCs outside your genre to another blogger that covers that area and should you let the publisher/publicist/author know?

Option Two — Stats vs. Blog Visibility

  • How do you gauge blog visibility?
  • Does it only entail blog stats?
  • Where do you find those statistics?
  • What tools are other blogging sectors using to gauge their influence and penetration into the market and how can they be adapted to book blogging?

Final 1-2 hours — Schmoozing cocktail hour with publicists, publishers, and authors

These are just some ideas that I’ve had kicking around, and in many ways, it would entail reaching beyond the book blogging community for some tech experts and possibly some others to fill in some gaps that book bloggers may be unable to address in terms of technical analytics, etc.  But I think that the conference should be about helping others grow and helping mature bloggers think and rethink about the role they play in the publishing world.

What are your thoughts?  What topics would you like to see or discussions would you like to have?

  • I really love all of your suggestions. I attended the first book blogger conference and while I enjoyed meeting everyone – I didn’t take a lot out of the actual conference. I love your suggestions. There are many of those topics that I would be interested in. I think that it is a wonderful venue to spread the word and get the conversation going on the various topics. I hope someone takes your advice.
    Heather @ The Maiden’s Court´s last blog post ..Movie Review: Wallis & Edward

  • I’ve never attended the BBC, mostly due to financial reasons, but after what I’ve heard about this year’s conference, I’d be hesitant to do so. However, the ideas you present here are interesting and relevant, and I’d take part in a conference focusing on them. Let me know if you hear back from Reed.

  • I haven’t attended the Bloggers Conference so I can’t comment on the past, but I like your suggestions. Having topics for both old and new bloggers is an excellent idea. I would expect the keynote speaker to be a book blogger.

    If I don’t get there sooner, I’m looking forward to BEA coming to Chicago in 2016. And I’m optimistic that I’ll still be reading, writing and blogging in 4 years.
    Leslie´s last blog post ..Review: Charlotte Markham and the House of Darkling by Michael Boccacino

    • I’m sure you will be doing all of those things for four more years at least!

  • Some very thoughtful insights here, you should definitely pass them onto someone at Reed. I have attended all of the Book Blogger Conferences, and I do agree that one of the biggest challenges are topics that appeal to new bloggers and veteran bloggers. I think your solution of break-out sessions for each addresses that.
    Diane (bookchickdi)´s last blog post ..No Biking in the House Without a Helmet by Melissa Fay Greene

    • Thanks, Diane. I’ve shared the link with The BEAN.

  • All interesting points Serena!

    I don’t have an issue with having an author as the keynote speaker because you want someone who will draw peoples attention to make people want to attend. To be honest, the only bloggers who would do that for me are people who I want to meet because I count them as friends!

    I do, however, think that there should be a couple of provisos around having an author speak. The first is that it would be preferable that they are a regular blogger themselves. Secondly, this should not be an opportunity for blatantly promoting their new book, or shouting how great I am (which I believe pretty much encapsulated the key note speaker this year) but rather the topic should be relevant to bloggers and maybe relationships between bloggers and authors.
    Marg´s last blog post ..Library Loot: August 1 to 6

    • Marg: I think to some extent you’re right about having certain parameters for the keynote speaker.

  • I have yet to attend a Book Blogger Conference but your ideas definitely have some merits. I would hope someone from the organizing committee would reach out to you for further discussion.
    Julie P.´s last blog post ..Review: Ten Girls to Watch

    • I’m sort of just throwing these out there. I’ve thought a lot about my first experience with a blogger convention and about the posts from the other bloggers attending the most recent one.

  • I wouldn’t be interested in any of this, but then I’m not the kind of person who wants to go to BEA or follow what anyone else does in blogging. The only attraction of BEA for me is meeting other bloggers in person, which can happen at less crowded places, for us introverts.
    Jeanne´s last blog post ..The Latest Freed Man

    • Yes, these types of events are not for introverts. I want to learn other things about blogging that I can’t learn on my own or without taking expensive courses. However, I do love meeting other bloggers in person, and I would love to do more of that at some point.

  • Great list, and I also totally agree with you about the keynote speaker!
    rhapsodyinbooks´s last blog post ..TLC Book Tour Review of “The Twilight War: The Secret History of America’s Thirty-Year Conflict with Iran” by David Crist

    • While I enjoyed the first keynote speaker, I still think it should be a book blogger.

  • I’m an author, not a book blogger (don’t think I have the skills to be a proper critic). I’m not sure why an author would be the keynote speaker at an event for book bloggers. It would seem more appropriate for a seasoned blogger to be the main speaker at such an event.
    The topics seem quite interesting, though. As an author I would like to hear how bloggers feel about paperbacks vs. e-books and ARCs vs. previously released titled. I would also, as a blog reader, be curious to learn about the art behind book blogging. I love the question about “finding your blogging voice”.

    • I think different bloggers have different takes on paperbacks vs. ebooks and ARC and back listed titles. Right now, ebooks are too tough for me given the day job is connected to a computer for a seemingly endless 8 hours.

  • All excellent points. I hope you’ll share with Reed. Joan

    • Joan, not sure where I would send these to Reed.