Thursday, March 25, 2010

A Run Down of the Conference by Sarah of She Never Slept

This weekend was the first annual Book Bloggers and Publishers Online Conference. Organized by Terry Kate, of Romance in the Backseat (with assistance from Phoebe Jordon, of Talk About my Favorite Authors), this event was three days of panels on subjects like: Building Online Community, the Business of Blogging, Ask the Agent or Editor, and so much more. All of the panels were live on Blog Talk Radio, with the opportunity for people to call in and ask questions. There was also a forum set-up on Ning for discussion, as well as an online chat room. I am not sure what the official head-count was, but I know there were over a hundred bloggers, authors and publishers in attendance. From amateur to professional, the bibliophiles were out in force!
I had never been to an “Online Conference” before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. The thought of networking in my pajamas was mighty appealing and the topics were interesting, so I went into it with an open mind. Just like every conference or convention I have been too, there was just no way to make every single panel (but luckily with this conference I have two weeks to go back and listen to the ones I missed!). So, today I am just going to talk about the panels that I moderated, was on, or listened to.
Day One
The first panel I listened to was “Publicity Departments and What They Do”. Terry Kate was the moderator and Director of Publicity from Tor & Forge Books Patty Garcia – along with Digital Concierge of NetGalley, Lindsey Rudnickas were the panelists. This was a very interesting panel for me because most of the books we get at SNS are sent directly from the author. I learned a good deal about what it is publicists are looking for, so it was a terrorific way to start the day.
“Wordpress Friday” was the second panel I attended. This was a pre-recorded panel modertated by Terry Kate with Peter Ferguson from iCrackerJack as the panelist. Though the information in the panel was pretty basic, it was informative and Peter was around in the chatroom for Q&A afterwords.
The first panel She Never Slept participated in was called “What Bloggers Want”. It was moderated by Terry Kate and the other panelists were Doug aka SciFi Guy and Alyssa from Teens Read and Write. Most of us don’t make money with our blogs/review sites. We work full-time jobs or go to school. So for us, this is a labor of love. We discussed what publishers (and authors) could do to make it easier on us as bloggers/reviewers. It was a very interesting panel. Doug, the SciFi Guy was hysterical and very knowledgeable. And Alyssa, though young and new to reviewing, had some wonderful insights on the topic. I was glad to be on a panel with two such interesting folks. Now if only some publishers would give it a listen… *laughs*
Next up on my agenda was “Business of Blogging”. I moderated this panel and Rachel, from Bitten by Books and Terry Kate, of Romance in the Backseat were the panelists. This panel was of great interest to me so I was happy to be the moderator. Rachel and Terry both spoke on different ways to monetize your blog/review site, so that (at the least) you are not loosing money. Rachel was very clear that it should always be about the content and I whole-heartedly agree. (Though I am not opposed to accepting advertisers or donations!*wink wink* *nudge nudge*) But if you are looking for ways to support your site (getting to conventions, hosting upkeep, etc.), there are some interesting options out there. I found this panel very informative.
The last panel I attended on Friday was called The Legal Side of Blogging. Once again moderated by Terry Kate with Mr. Bruce C. Cohen, Attorney at Law as the panelist, this panel was setup to discuss FTC regulations and bloggers/reviewers rights. It was chocked full of great and vital information. Mr. Cohen patiently answered all of our questions and I learned a lot.
Day Two
Becuase the conference was EST and there was a last minute scheduling change, I was a little late on Saturday. (Thankfully there was noone to comment on my slippers, bed-head or morning breath. *chuckles*)”Building Online Community” was the first panel of the day. I was the (slightly tardy) moderator of the panel with Molly from The Bumbles Blog and Mary from Pajamas and Coffee as the panelists. Though both Mary and Molly have more generalized blogs with occasional reviews as opposed to being strictly review sites – they had great ideas on how to build, grow and substain your “audience” or “community”. Really, as with many of the panels, it all boils down to content, content, content!
The next panel I attended was the “Independent Press Panel”. Terry Kate moderated this panel with Renee Rocco of Lyrical Press and Tina Burns from Liquid Silver as the panelists. This panel was setup to demonstrate what is different about Independent Presses and how we, as bloggers/reviewers, can work with them. It was an interesting panel with a lot of great Q&A. (Quick SNS PSA to fellow reviewers: Support Indie Press! They need us!)
The last panel I attended on Saturday was called “Standardizing Review Practices” and was again moderated by Terry Kate with Lisa Dawn of Wild Rose Press and Sabrina from Cheeky Reads as the panelists. Sabrina was a little late getting in and I think that the direction of the panel seemed to meander a bit. Some of the conference goers were confused by this. But towards the end, when the questions and comments started rolling in, the subject came back around to the main topic. I learned some new things, and really that’s what I want in a panel.
Day Three
I didn’t attend many live panels on Sunday because I was getting tattooed. But I did get some networking done… and because of the killer way these ladies set this conference up… I was able to call in and ask questions on two panels from the bus. The first panel I called in on was “Ask the Editor or Agent” moderated by Phoebe Jordon featuring Laurie M. Rauch, Executive Editor from Samhain Publishing and Agent Lori Perkins from Ravenous Romance. The second was “Authors and Publishers Work Together”, due to scheduling issues it was only moderator Terry Kate and panelist Kylie Brant. I listened to both panels when I got back home in the evening and found them to be well rounded and interesting.
Wrap Up
This conference was a great experience. It was well worth the $20 entrance fee. I learned a lot and met quite a few interesting folks. If you are a blogger/reviewer, publisher, author or industry pro and you are interested in listening to the panels, they will remain up for the next two weeks. It’s not too late, you can still obtain a membership and hear what we all had to say this weeked. After the two weeks are up, they will be opening up the Ning to the general public (minus the audio panels)… so if you are interested in helping to plan next year’s event or want to talk about what we did this year – be sure to stop by next month. I am glad I was able to participate and would like to thank Terry and Phoebe for inviting SNS to be on panels and moderate. We would be happy to come back next year, and perhaps I will even drag some minions along! Mwahahaha!

She did such a great job why not utilize it?
Read Sarah's Blog - She Never Slept here -


Lizzie said...

Sorry I missed it, but had too much going on. Sounds like a good one.

Becky said...

You're so right. It was a great, informative experience. I can't wait for the next one.

Charmaine Clancy said...

Wow that sounds GREAT