I just got back from this year’s Book Bloggers Conference! This year was the first time the conference was fully integrated with Book Expo America, and my first time attending. Despite my exhaustion, I’m feeling totally excited to read all the new galleys I got today, and totally inspired by the amazing speakers I heard. I attended the event with my comrade-in-arms Jenn N. from the Booksellers Without Borders NY blog.
The day started off with a networking breakfast and a keynote speech by bestselling author Jennifer Weiner! Ms. Weiner shared her experiences as a blogger and an author trying to defy the stereotype of being a “chick lit” writer. She was a brilliant speaker and a perfect choice to give the conference keynote speech. Plus I was pleasantly surprised at what a dirty mouth she has! I received a copy of her book Then Came You, and having heard what an intelligent person she is, I’m excited to read it.
The morning continued with a Q&A panel entitled “Blogging Today,” and then a networking lunch featuring up-and-coming authors from several different genres. I met the corset-wearing, extremely energetic author Leanna Renee Hieber, who wrote The Twisted Tragedy of Miss Natalie Stewart and other Victorian-era inspired titles. I also chatted with Emma Koenig, author of Fuck I’m In My 20s! We talked about her book and about the hardships facing young people today. I’m looking forward to reading both these upcoming titles.
After lunch I sat in on two hour-long seminars, one on how to monetize a book blog, and another on developing a relationship between bloggers and publishers. The second seminar was the highlight of the entire conference. It featured blogger Jenn Lawrence, Lindsey Rudnickas from NetGalley, and Lucille Rettino, the director of marketing for Simon & Schuster. They offered a ton of practical advise on book blogging, from how to reach out to publishers for reviews to how to increase traffic to your blog.
The day’s final event was a closing speech by Jenny Lawson, whose book Let’s Pretend This Never Happened I received today and can’t wait to read. Ms. Lawson explained how her blog led to a book deal and shared her experience of blogging about her most personal issues. Like Jennifer Weiner, she also has a filthy mouth, and she was also a commanding speaker. Incidently, my maiden name was Lawson, so it was nice to see another member of the “clan,” especially such a successful one.
It was a day filled with information, camaraderie, a ton of humor, and one or two weirdos. It is New York after all, and when New York weirdos are weird, they are WEIRD…but mostly harmless. If you have a book blog, it’s definitely worth the trip and worth the money. So print out some business cards and look for me at the 2013 BEA Bloggers Conference. Jenn and I will be there representing our blogs and looking for some amazing new books to read!