This Book Blogging 101 will actually be a recap of the BEA Blogger Con & BEA, for those of you that did not have the pleasure of attending.
I believe the BEA Book Blogger Convention has huge potential for greatness and I do believe that the people of BEA see this, there just needs to be a few kinks worked out. There are so many topics that can be covered, the broad spectrums of the Blogger Con, was just that broad and never reaching down and really impacting me with real targeted information. I picked up a few tidbits and I’ll convey them here, but I look forward to what this conference will become.
The Opening Keynote was done by a gentleman, Will Schwalbe, who talked about his book and the impact bloggers have on his book. It was touching at times, but it was about his book and his love of reading, which is what his book is about. He did touch on a few topics that struck home, he had actually called book bloggers and asked them a few questions, but his main knowledge drop was that book blogging means different things for different bloggers and page views really don’t matter as much as the community.
The second session, broke into two, adult and YA editor sessions, which was just editors pushing their books. I attended the adult session and when Harlequin editor, Mary-Theresa Hussey began reading an excerpt from LOST, I knew this session wasn’t really getting me as excited as I should be. Most of the titles weren’t ones I was stoked about anyway though. So, I felt this was a wasted session.
Next up was what I thought was the best session of the day (besides my own), which was the Adult Book Blogging Pros, with Jim Hines, Mandi from Smexy, Rebecca from Book Riot and Sarah from Smart Bitches. This panel was entertaining and funny, they conveyed really information about running large blogs and funny anecdotes and tips. Their biggest advice was to not take yourself too serious, to always be honest and state your opinion, get on twitter and utilize it well. I agreed with most of what they were saying, including my person mantra – that before you post you should ask yourself, is this who you want to be, when you write your post?
Rebecca did, mention that she takes the advice of never getting into drama that doesn’t “have her name on it.” I thought this was funny, since us book bloggers love to stick our nose into the drama, in fact, Sarah who was on the panel probably wrote the most resonating piece on The Story Siren’s plagiarism debacle, which still comes up on the first page of Google when you search “The Story Siren.” And she quickly interjected that she has no problem with writing a post on “drama” if she believes strongly in the subject matter — like plagiarism. I have to go with Sarah on that one. But, their biggest bit of knowledge drop I have to say was to reiterate that, you write for your readers, blog for your readers. You don’t work for publishers and authors, don’t’ blog for them or think you owe them anything.
Next up was a rush to pick up our ticketed lunch…which was a chaotic debacle. But, thank you for the free lunch.
FTC & Ethics
The next session was an Ethics Forum Luncheon which was moderated by Jane Litte, and featured Richard Newman and Professor Geanne Rosenberg from Baruch College. Richard was the FTC specialist and Geanne is a professor of media law and was there to talk about ethics. The panel was very dry, but they did deliver a lot of useful information. I know a few of you were concerned with new FTC Guidelines and Richard went over a few of these, but it really seemed like nothing new he stated that the FTC is concerned with “Fair and Deceptive Advertising.” Basically advertising disguised as editorial content. That the FTC will only step in if they receive complaints from the general public about a site that is “deceptive.” The FTC does see bloggers as endorsers though and as a general rule you should always disclose any material connection that goes along with the review. Is the author or publisher an advertiser? Have they paid you? Have they sent you a free book. You need to disclose it and you should disclose it at the top of your review. But, a big tidbit he did drop, the FTC is only concerned with positive or promotional content, negative reviews are not a concern. And a sidebar, broad sweeping disclaimer is not recommended. It should be posted on each review.
As far as ethics, professor Geanne said the disclosure is tantamount with reassuring your readers. Her general assertion was that you have to develop a trust with your readership and if they lose faith in you and believe that you are being swayed by money, advertising or freebies…you lose your weight as a trusted reviewer. Which is very true. If I believe that a blogger is just going on and on about certain books because that publisher sent her an eReader or has a sidebar advertisement…why would I trust that she actually liked the book?
The next up was my session, it ran parallel with another session about taking Blogging offline. So I can only recount my own. Charming Evie SEO recounted the pros and cons of Blogger and stated why she likes Blogger and then April (Books & Wine), Stephanie Leary (or resident WordPress expert) and myself kind of pushed everyone toward WordPress. We couldn’t help it…we were all fans of WordPress. We established that Blogger was a great starter program, but when you want to take your blog to the next level, WordPress was the ticket.
And then I went and passed out in the corner, because I was so tired. I wanted to see the next session, but yapping for ten minutes straight takes a lot out of you.
The final closing keynote was by Randy Zuckerberg, the Facebook guys sister. She had a few tips about general online ideas and fun things like that. She was entertaining, besides the wait for us to figure out how to show a presentation without a laptop. Genius! What I mainly got out of her presentation was that sometimes the most genius ideas stem from the craziest of thoughts. Which personally, I totally agree!
I hope you have the opportunity to attend the next one, I picked up a few tidbits and frankly a few tidbits of knowledge I didn’t have before is much better then what I started with. And that in my book is a success.
We’ll be back to our regularly scheduled programming next week!
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