Smugglers Ponderings

Book Expo America and BEA Bloggers Conference 2012: A Recap

This week, we Smugglers Assembled! …to attend the BEA Book Blogger Conference on Monday and Book Expo America on Tuesday through Thursday. It was a hectic week full of meetings, get-togethers, parties, and book signings. And, while we are dead tired, we have decided to write out our disjointed thoughts about the highs and lows of the week (before we completely forget everything in a blur of Javits center-fueled exhaustion).

BEA Bloggers Convention

We have mixed feelings about this year’s BEA “Bloggers” Conference (on a side note, why are there quotation marks around “bloggers” in the logo for the conference? SO. WEIRD.). This is the third time we have attended the conference, but in many ways this year was a first as it was the first time that BEA officially organized and ran the con after purchasing it from the hardworking bloggers that founded and ran the show in prior years. While we were somewhat wary of this shift in ownership and organization – especially after the panel lineup was announced, seeming to focus on bloggers and how we can best blossom in their supporting roles for authors and publishers – we were cautiously optimistic and excited to attend the full-day conference. Unfortunately, our fears were not unfounded.

It all started with the author-blogger networking breakfast which set the tone for the remainder of the con. The breakfast involved authors sitting at designated tables, then rotating around after a few minutes to a new table of eager and adoring bloggers – essentially, speed dating with authors. Some of it was fine: Justin Cronin (author of The Passage, Thea’s favorite book of 2010) was gracious and hilarious and seemed to know that this was a meet and greet (and not an elevator pitch session). The other two authors that sat with us didn’t seem to know exactly what they were doing there – or perhaps they were a little uncertain as to what the conference entailed. One author seemed to be under the impression that we were all aspiring authors and actually asked about which books we had written that had resonated the most with readers… causing all of the bloggers at the table to basically stare at each other, wordless. Another author made some ill-advised comments berating reviewers for writing negative reviews! This, to a table FULL of reviewers! It felt like we had crossed over into the Twilight Zone – a feeling that was only reinforced by Jennifer Weiner’s Keynote Speech that followed the breakfast session.

2012 BEA Bloggers Keynote, or, The Trials and Tribulations of Jennifer Weiner

We have dubbed the keynote speech as “The Life and Tribulations of Jennifer Weiner” – for the speech was almost completely about her books, her life, and randomly, the history of Oprah’s Book Club (whom Weiner described as the “first book blogger”). There was very little about actual book blogging and the rest of her speech focused on the marvels of twitter (Weiner exclaimed she was born for Twitter) and how bloggers can show support to authors (we are their cheerleaders, apparently). On the heels of these revelations, Weiner also asserted that bloggers should be just like her and be vocal about the books we LOVE and not those that we hate (i.e. don’t write negative reviews, yo). There was some time for Q&A and most of the questions were about her books with the odd question about blogging. When asked about the importance of book blogging, the author mentioned ads on fashion blogs. Yeah, we are still puzzling it out too. You can read her entire speech here.

To be fair, Jennifer Weiner was a very entertaining speaker and quite funny – but the focus of her speech was not really on book blogging, or coming from a reader/critic perspective. This muddled message, plus the earlier bizzaro sales-pitchy breakfast session set the tone of the entire conference: that is, BEA Bloggers Con 2012 was not really about blogging and community, and more about authors and publishers and what we bloggers can do for them.

Following the morning sessions, we attended a panel called “Blogging Today: What You Need to Know and What’s Next.” Main questions focused (again) on the relationship between bloggers and publishers and how the nature and ethics of that relationship is changing. The biggest moment of this panel happened when panellist Erica Barmash, Senior Marketing Manager, Harper Perennial and Harper paperbacks, emphatically drew a line in the sand and said that she would not work with plagiarists – referring to the recent scandal featuring The Story Siren’s case of plagiarism. We wanted to jump out of our seats in applause. Of all the panels of the day, this was the best – even though it was cut short as Jennifer Weiner was signing books on stage and pushed back the start time of the panel. Erica Barmash and Patrick Brown (Community Manager at Goodreads) had some interesting things to say, and didn’t shy away from tough questions, and we respect that.

Next, we broke for lunch – this was supposed to be another meet and greet with authors rotating tables but based on the dismal results of the morning “networking” session, we decided to just grab our boxed lunch and sit outside with a few other fellow bloggers.

After lunch, it was time for the panel “So You Want to Make Money,” focusing on Syndication, Monetization and Affiliate Programs for your Blog – and Thea was one of the panellists. The panel discussed the different ways one might monetize one’s blog and the four panellists spoke from their own experience. Although most of it wasn’t really that useful to those who want to know HOW to monetize their blogs, we felt the panellists made interesting points. Rita Arens, Senior Editor of was very firm on stating that bloggers should know the worth of their skills as writers – a principle with which we completely agree. That said, there are other ways of valuing what we do that to not involve trying to make money out of every single thing. For example, it was brought up during the panel that bloggers could potentially bind and sell reviews at Amazon or as an app (or, heavens forbid, behind a paywall on the blog itself). Thea reacted instinctively and immediately to this by saying that she didn’t think this was a particular course of action we would be taking as Book Smugglers, EVER (why would anyone want to buy our free reviews?). This prompted one of the most bizarre moments of the entire week when, at the end of the panel, the floor opened for questions and one woman basically attacked Thea by saying that she was WRONG and that we NEED to sell our reviews because DAMMIT WE HAVE TO AND WE ARE DOING IT WRONG. It was an extremely tense, aggressive moment that did not go by unnoticed by those in the audience.

Concurrent with the monetization panel, another parallel panel on “Critical Reviews” featured a very lively discussion. One of the panellists was Mark Fowler, Attorney & Blogger, Rights of Writers, whose role was basically to scare the shit out of attendees, citing potential libel suits that could arise from negative reviews. We didn’t attend that panel (as we were mired in monetization craziness), but you can read all about it from Jane at Dear Author – if you don’t know, in addition to being one of the internets’s preeminent book bloggers, Jane also is a lawyer and provides an invaluable professional perspective. In any case, we are still dismayed at the composition of the panel itself – what good could really come from inviting a Writers’ Rights lawyer to a panel supposedly geared towards critical book bloggers?

The last panel we attended “Demystifying the Book Blogger & Publisher Relationship”, which consisted of exactly ONE book blogger. We felt that this panel was very one-sided (though Jenn, the blogger on the panel, did try to be as vocal and representative as possible as a voice for book bloggers), and focused on what sorts of things publishers could expect from bloggers. The main takeaway we had from this session was this notion (from the perspective of publicists) that book bloggers are really around to promote books. One of the panellists (from NetGalley) went as far as saying that a “mature” coverage of books is more than writing a review and liking/disliking a book. It is also posting covers, Q&As, and otherwise promoting the book as much as possible. (How the word “mature” applies to all of us bloggers is still puzzling to us.) The most useful portions of the panel, focusing on driving traffic and stats, actually came from audience questions and suggestions. We were happy to hear from Lucille Rettino, Vice President, Director of Marketing at Simon & Schuster, who said that stats, while important, are not the only barometer that should be applied to a blog.

To close out the day, we attended the closing remarks made by Jennifer Lawson who was a very interesting and heartfelt speaker (we LOVE The Bloggess!), but again, the closing remarks felt odd in this context, as her speech was more about Jenny Lawson: The Bloggess and her road to writing a successful book…and not so much about book blogging.

All Hail the Hypnotoad

This is the third year in a row we have attended the Blogger Con. And, once again, we were witness to this strange hypnotoadish focus on “how bloggers can serve the industry” as opposed to how bloggers are a vital part of the new publishing ecosystem and what tips and useful help can be offered to bloggers that are interested in becoming more informed and better book bloggers. The environment felt exploitative and slightly condescending, as opposed to a horizontal meeting of equals. We also felt that the excitement of previous years was not present (a feeling we know many shared). Will we go back next year? Absolutely. We both think that the Book Blogger Con has the potential to be a big community building tool for bloggers. We just wish that the ones running the show would understand that bloggers attend this conference not to hear about how great they are at being cheerleaders for authors and publishers. We attend because we want to meet other bloggers, because we want to listen and participate in a dialogue between bloggers and the industry, because we want to learn from other bloggers their tips and tricks of the trade, best practices, and how to become better at what we do best: write reviews and spread the word about books, both good and bad, and on our own terms.

We plan on emailing the organizers with our feedback and suggestions for next year. If you were an attendee and felt the same way, perhaps you could do the same?

Book Expo America

With the Blogger Conference out of the way, we hit the floor of the Javits Center from Tuesday to Thursday, and it was as usual a mix of super awesomeness and extreme tiredness. For those who have not attended this event before, words can not describe the soul-grinding tiredness that one feels at the end of a whole day cooped up inside Javits. That said, BEA is a dream for book lovers. We found ourselves surrounded by books and fellow book lovers, and there is really nothing like that in the world. We met some of our favourite authors (including Cat Valente and N.K. Jemisin!) as well as loads of our favourite bloggers – some of them whom we had already met from previous years, some of whom we met for the first time in person this year (and, naturally, with whom we became insta-friends).

Tons of books were available throughout the show, per usual, but we felt that this year there were fewer galleys – either that, or we were not as interested as previous years (we came away with about 30 books each, as opposed to a whopping 60+ last year). As usual, BEA trends strongly in the Middle Grade, YA and LitFic categories, with a lesser focus on Fantasy, Science Fiction and Romance. Orbit and Tor represented with a few solid books, but surprisingly the vast majority of Speculative Fiction we received was from *insert music of doom* Amazon Publishing’s 47North imprint. We had a fantastic meeting with one of their publicists, sat down to talk about their upcoming titles, and we have to report that their forthcoming list looks REALLY good. (Their childrens/YA imprint also looks pretty awesome.)

With regard to trends: we are a little bummed out to report that a LOT of the YA galleys around seemed to be the standard “dystopian” fare. That said, Thrillers and Crime seem to be on an upswing – might these be the Next Big Thing?

Are we forgetting something? Probably, but there is a bottle of wine sitting in front of us and we have The Twilight Zone queued up on Netflix.

The Book Smugglers, from BEA 2012, over and out.

For other BEA experiences, make sure to check out these write-ups:

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  • rhapsodyinbooks
    June 8, 2012 at 8:23 am

    Sounds even worse than last year, what with the “mature” comment, the what we can do for them ism, and the “expectations” by publishers. Obviously the feedback from last year resulted in blowback instead of change. Maybe more than feedback is called for….

  • Jess
    June 8, 2012 at 8:24 am

    I didn’t go to the Monetizing session but I wondered how it went.I’m not sure selling reviews is a direction I would want to take either.

  • KMont
    June 8, 2012 at 8:27 am

    Another awesome recap. It sounds like many are in consensus with feelings/impressions regarding both the Blogger Con and BEA itself. I cynically held my ground as I watched people registering, experiencing the confusion of registering for Blogger Con, that it would not be geared at all towards blogging. It does sound like some tried their best, but who’s gonna win out when the organization itself was clearly in it not for the blogging side, but the industry.

    I’d have paid money now, I realize, to be in the same room when Thea was attacked for having a dissenting opinion about monetizing blogs. I think I, who is deathly afraid of speaking to a large crowd in public, may have had something to say back. HEH.

    What I don’t like the sound of AT ALL is bloggers paying money to be told how to blog by the industry, most of whom present (the industry that is) sounded entirely clueless about how a large sector of bloggers even feel about blogging. How they display those feelings every day they blog for cripes sake.

    I do see the appeal of continuing to pay for that, though. I too want to get back there one day, but it’s not to be preached to, told how much more I need to do for authors, etc, it’s entirely to meet other bloggers and feel, again, a part of you all. Hopefully the BEA folks will wake up and realize they shafted bloggers and work a little harder next year.

  • Chris, Elfland's 2nd Cousin
    June 8, 2012 at 9:34 am

    Thanks for the awesome post (and the shout-out)! I’ve been seeing lots of people talking (and tweeting) about the uncon that took place at the Center for Fiction that same day, and honestly after reading Libereading’s write-up, I kind of regret not going to that. It seems to have been exactly what BEA Blogger Con was not.

  • Tanya Patrice
    June 8, 2012 at 9:50 am

    LOVE your recap! This was my first year attending. I could only go 2 out of the 4 days since I commuted, so I went to the blogger conference and 1 day of the Expo. Next year I will NOT be going to the blogger day and will instead go to 2 days of the Expo. I’m an eclectic reader, so the Expo was like a little piece of heaven for me. The blogger day was … let’s just say that I got 1 or 2 good things from the day (to be nice).

  • Ashleigh
    June 8, 2012 at 9:51 am

    I wasn’t attending and all I knew about it came from blog posts and tweets from people who did attend, but I was troubled by the descriptions of how the BEA Bloggers Convention was going.

    What the NetGalley person described as “mature” coverage is stuff I already do just because it seemed right to me, but trying to dictate how we blog by saying we have to do it is a bit much. The publisher puts out book trailers and such for a reason and some of my blog readers like to see that stuff, so I link to it. But being a cheerleader for the author/publisher? Sorry, but no. I support readers and their desire to find good books first and foremost.

    It really disappoints me publishers are still treating bloggers like we work for them and we need to do all we can for them. If I, as a blogger, am working for the publisher, where is my paycheck? I really want to attend next year (I would have gone this year, but we just don’t have the money to stay in New York for nearly a week), but if it will still about how bloggers can serve the publishers, that’s just sad.

    I’m glad you two had fun at BEA itself! I don’t really like the dystopian fare still being so heavily promoted (I was never a huge fan of the dystopian trend in the first place), but I would love thriller and crime novels to be the next big thing in YA.

  • Stefan (Civilian-Reader)
    June 8, 2012 at 10:26 am

    It seems strange that the Blogger conference didn’t have panels made up ENTIRELY of bloggers, or at the very least majority bloggers. As you say, people go to it to network with other bloggers, meet a FEW industry people, and get tips on how to improve their blogging.

    As for the cheerleading comment… Most bloggers do it because they are fans of reading, so sometimes they can BECOME cheerleaders for their favourite books and authors (there are plenty of authors I will frequently sing the praises of). But that is not their PURPOSE. Nor should it be.

    I didn’t attend the Blogger conference, but I did attend the BEA. It was a fun (if manic) event – it was also my first expo/con, so I didn’t really know how to go about it in the most efficient way (lots of ricocheting between booths and signing).

    A lot of frequent attendees did say there were fewer galleys, etc. – it seemed that a few publishers had decided to go with digital ARCs. This would have been fine, but given that you only had 14 days to download them, and then 60 days to read them all… It seemed a little limiting.

  • Serena
    June 8, 2012 at 11:08 am

    I didn’t go this year for two reasons: lack of funds and no interest in being told I’m the mouthpiece for publishers. I wonder if feedback will actually modify this conference in the future.

  • Bryce
    June 8, 2012 at 11:22 am

    Great article and thanks for the info. I can see how the publishers think of bloggers as just marketing outlets. They’re in it for money, I’m not, it makes sense…but to blatantly think and act like bloggers feel the same way is just ridiculous.

    Plenty of bloggers cover many different marketing-type aspects, but I don’t always think of those types of things as being “mature” and I’ve heard quite a few people actually call that out as lazy blogging because it’s not really content.

    Also, I also don’t know how there can be any claims of libel against bloggers especially given NYT v. Sullivan which says “actual malice” must be present. Anyway, don’t take that as meaning anything since I only just graduated law school. 🙂

  • Lydia Netzer
    June 8, 2012 at 11:27 am

    It seems like those in charge of organizing would realize that building a strong, interesting, multi-layered book blogger community would help publishers more in the long run than turning individual book blogs into commercials. Because ultimately, the traffic a blog gets is not based on how well the blog promotes a book but how good/fresh/complicated the content is for the reader. In other words, I hear you. 🙂

  • Alita
    June 8, 2012 at 11:34 am

    I was at the monetizing panel, and oh dear was it awkward when that woman attacked Thea during the Q&A. I turned to the girl I was with and whispered ‘So, where was her question in all of that?’ But I think that Thea did an awesome job at standing her ground while also not provoking her further.

    This was my first BEA & blogger con, and while I’m glad I attended both, I was disappointed that there wasn’t more blogger networking during the con. The whole reason I went was to meet and learn from other bloggers, and that definitely wasn’t the focus of the day. I am really glad, though, that I went to the Building Community panel. That seem to have more practical blogging tips and was one of my highlights of the day.

    I wish there had been a way to get to know bloggers other than just walking up and asking ‘Hi, do I know you from the internet?’ I’m sure that I knew more people there than I ended up talking to, but I had no idea what they look like in real life and it was hard (and a little creepy) to go around checking out names on badges. I’m not suggesting that we do cheesy get-to-know-you icebreaker games. Okay, maybe I am, because at least with those it would have been easier to put twitter names to faces.

  • Rowena
    June 8, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    Thanks for the post, it was a great recap of events for someone who didn’t attend.

    I think it’s completely crazy that Thea was attacked for not wanting to sell her reviews (which they could get for free on the site) and like KMont, I probably would have wanted to say something too.

    What an interesting keynote speech by Jennifer Weiner. The tone would probably have me sitting up a little straighter in my seat too.

  • Around the Bookish World: Week-In-Review | Book Lovers Inc.
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  • Elizabeth K. Burton
    June 8, 2012 at 2:57 pm

    Do you think this blogger-as-cheerleader results from bloggers’ not working for major newspapers and trade magazines, which in the mind of the publishers makes them “non-professionals?”

    I ask, because for the past decade or more I, as a small press utilizing digital technology, have been constantly reminded that I can’t be a “real publisher” because I have no connection to the mainstream industry and so can’t be a professional. What you’ve reported eerily parallels much of what I’ve encountered, albeit in slightly different dress.

  • Nicola O.
    June 8, 2012 at 4:03 pm

    Really interested in all of these recaps and the resulting consideration of what it really means to be a book blogger. What are our goals? What does it mean to be “successful”?

    Has me thinking, for sure. Thanks for the conscientious recap.

  • My Thoughts on the BEA Bloggers Conference, 2012 | Janicu's Book Blog
    June 8, 2012 at 4:06 pm

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  • Jenn
    June 8, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on these events. I’ve never been to either and was curious about how they would be given the recent shift in management for the Blogger side.

  • ewein
    June 9, 2012 at 4:40 am

    Thanks for this amazing recap. I don’t even know where to start.

    My last book was published in 2008 and my most recent book in 2012, and I can tell you that I am AMAZED at how the world has changed in that time – when people ask me what they think makes the difference between the meh reception the 2008 book got and the *WOW* reception the 2012 one is getting, my number one answer is the bloggers. I see the most enormous difference in what readers are doing online between 2008 and 2012 and it is blowing my mind. In 2008 I ran an online book launch and that was such a new concept that I wrote an article for the SCBWI newsletter about it. Now it’s kind of standard, I think.

    So yes – it is a changing world, and you are riding the crest of the wave. As, I feel, am I.

    I think it’s really difficult for an author NOT to feel that bloggers are “cheerleaders,” especially when we (I speak for myself here) apparently owe a tremendous amount of our success to you. The key word here is OWE. As a reader, you don’t owe me anything. As a writer, I am in your debt. Also, it is a voluntary relationship.

    The thing is, a cheerleader is more like a publicist. And that’s a paid job, and in fact you, as a reader, are a *consumer*, not an employee. If you don’t like chocolate, what’s wrong with saying so? If you like a particular brand of chocolate, won’t you go around saying, Wow, this is my favorite? You don’t get paid as a consumer for doing that, and nobody gets mad at you for voicing your opinion on chocolate.

    Your emerging role is a UNIQUE, and undefined, factor in the book industry. It’s an *independent* factor. I don’t think anyone saw it coming, which is maybe why no one quite knows how to slot it into the “industry.” The Booksmugglers in particular are at the cutting edge (witness your reviewing for Kirkus).

    I SURE didn’t see it coming, I was stuck in 2008, I didn’t know what was about to hit me when CNV started making the rounds online. The pre-publication buzz alone Blew. Me. AWAY.

    You know, the other unknown here is the author/blogger interaction. The industry tradition is that you don’t EVER respond to your reviewers, EVER – whether or not the review is positive. (I hardly even SAW reviews for my first book, published in 1993 – I have a collection of about 5, I think.) So now, all of a sudden, it’s really easy to interact with people who are reading your book, but also you know you’re not SUPPOSED to interact with them, so you get this uneasy kind of relationship going which obviously results in awkward author/blogger mixer breakfasts. And actually there’s a precedent for that presiding author/adoring fan relationship from conferences and conventions, so it’s not really surprising – though a bit disappointing – that it pans out that way.

    I really wish I’d been at BEA. Thanks for this insightful and comprehensive review. It’s such an exciting time to be writing! See, I am feeling empowered and cutting-edge myself because I DARED TO RESPOND HERE. mwhahahahaha 🙂

  • Andrea
    June 9, 2012 at 7:16 am

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts-I felt similarly except that I found the critical reviews panel to be quite helpful.

  • Lisa @ Read.Breathe.Relax.
    June 9, 2012 at 7:36 am

    I attended BEA and the BEA Bloggers conference for the first time this year – and I couldn’t agree more with your comments. Having attended a few local blogging conferences, I was surprised by the lack of practical take-aways and the blatant self-promotion.

    I can only hope next year’s conference is more informative and helpful to bloggers.

    I loved seeing you guys at the money session, and I’d love to meet you next year!

    Thanks for the great recap!

  • April Books & Wine
    June 9, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    Sigh. Just sigh.

    I feel like I made a good decision in leaving the Conference early and this post just verifies it.

    It was good see y’all briefly though.

  • Laurie C
    June 9, 2012 at 5:46 pm

    Great recap! This was first year of attending BEA and the book bloggers’ conference. I found it hard to find many bloggers that I “knew” with no unstructured time to meet new people in. Also, although my table composition changed several times throughout the day, less than half of the table were book bloggers at any given time. There were more writers, publishing people, agents, and sales reps than book bloggers from what I could tell.
    I thought the speakers were entertaining, so I didn’t mind that they weren’t book bloggers, but I did wish that there was more networking time with other book bloggers since I was there on my own with no firm plans to meet anyone. Even with those I did get to meet, there was no time for more than a quick hello or a short conversation.
    I didn’t feel the conference was a waste of time, but it could certainly be improved on!

  • Carrie at In the Hammock Blog
    June 10, 2012 at 10:06 am

    Thank you for the very informative post! It’s great for those of us who didn’t attend to be able to hear some of the info presented. Sorry to hear book blogger con wasn’t as great as past years.

  • The BEA Blogger Convention 2012: My Thoughts | Starmetal Oak Reviews
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  • Lisa (starmetal oak)
    June 10, 2012 at 2:46 pm

    Yeah, pretty much agree with much of what you said about the Blogger Con. My post is here, if you want to see my thoughts.

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  • Midnyte Reader
    June 11, 2012 at 7:01 pm

    Holy Crap! I was not in the same panels as you were. I can’t believe some of this. I had a pretty good experience at the author breakfast/lunch.

  • Redhead
    June 11, 2012 at 8:05 pm

    Wow, the whole thing just sounds bizarre.

    ok, I understand that publishers and authors have finally realized that bloggers are a legitimate voice and that by us shouting our opinions at the interwebs we end up selling books. and that is actually really flattering, that a bunch of booknerds with wordpress accounts have that kind of influence.

    Sounds like BBC was an epic fail of planning and programming. meet and greet with authors is cool, but if I’m going to a blogger con, I totally just want to chill and gossip with other bloggers!

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  • Book Expo America 2012: Why We Are The 5th Column |
    June 12, 2012 at 7:44 am

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  • BEA Bloggers: Where Were the Bloggers?
    June 12, 2012 at 10:39 am

    […] The Book Smugglers – “While we were somewhat wary of this shift in ownership and organization – especially after the panel lineup was announced, seeming to focus on bloggers and how we can best blossom in their supporting roles for authors and publishers – we were cautiously optimistic and excited to attend the full-day conference. Unfortunately, our fears were not unfounded.” […]

  • Jennygirl
    June 12, 2012 at 12:36 pm

    Well ladies I quite don’t know what to say. I appreciate this review. Now I know where I stand with the publishing community. I am a blogger so of course I should be used to promote someone else’s agenda. That’s why I am here.

    Yes, guess what? No thanks. I’ll keep on reading my library books and second hand books, because apparently my thoughts are not my own when I accept a book from one of the “big” people. It also sounds like the authors who spoke don’t have a clue about the book blogging community at large. That the majority of bloggers are not in it for money and free books.

    This is why I have become super selective about accepting books for review. It’s the personal touch and connection I have with those women that make me want to review the books they offer. Because I know they value my honest opinion.

    Sorry about the rant but this con that I didn’t attend makes me think twice about my blog, and that’s not right.

  • Stephanie Scott
    June 12, 2012 at 1:14 pm

    I found this blog linked from Forever Young Adult. I’m wondering if many of the showrunners think that the purpose of blogging is solely to support the publishers and that’s why it’s focused on. Only a blogger or an author connected to the blogging community could really vouch for the larger scope that bloggers encompass; I hope your feedback results in a better experience next year!

    I also wonder how much direction keynote speakers were given. It seems like Jennifer Weiner isn’t an expert by any means on blogging, but because she’s a well known author someone plugged her in that speaking slot. At least Jennifer Lawson’s success derived from her blog.

  • Linds @ Bibliophile Brouhaha
    June 15, 2012 at 11:20 am

    The Book Blogger Conference.. . . that sounds so incredibly disappointing. I haven’t been book blogging since Feb. I just got burned out with trying to ‘keep up’. Part of me really misses it, but then I hear things like this, and it just makes me feel awful, like I’m in a ‘what’s the point’ mindset.

    If I ever get back into it, I am going to highly consider remaining strictly independent. No review copies accepted, and I will not host a contest unless it is a book I can stand behind with a solid recommendation.

  • Kate
    June 18, 2012 at 9:55 am

    I never fail to be baffled by how many publishers, especially among the Big Six, seem to think that bloggers exist solely to be PR minions, and to endlessly and merrily shill certain books. That’s…absolutely not what it’s about. Yes, bloggers can be AMAZING partners for publishers – but they should be just that, partners. I can’t imagine publishers having taken this attitude towards print reviewers back in the day, and that’s largely the niche that bloggers are filling now.

    I was pretty disappointed with the BEA educational panels that I attended while I was there. I’m sorry to see that the blogger panels weren’t much better, from the sound of it.

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