JacketFlap connects you to the work of more than 200,000 authors, illustrators, publishers and other creators of books for Children and Young Adults. The site is updated daily with information about every book, author, illustrator, and publisher in the children's / young adult book industry. Members include published authors and illustrators, librarians, agents, editors, publicists, booksellers, publishers and fans. Join now (it's free).
Login or Register for free to create your own customized page of blog posts from your favorite blogs. You can also add blogs by clicking the "Add to MyJacketFlap" links next to the blog name in each post.
Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Kidlitosphere Conference, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 37
How to use this Page
You are viewing the most recent posts tagged with the words: Kidlitosphere Conference in the JacketFlap blog reader. What is a tag? Think of a tag as a keyword or category label. Tags can both help you find posts on JacketFlap.com as well as provide an easy way for you to "remember" and classify posts for later recall. Try adding a tag yourself by clicking "Add a tag" below a post's header. Scroll down through the list of Recent Posts in the left column and click on a post title that sounds interesting. You can view all posts from a specific blog by clicking the Blog name in the right column, or you can click a 'More Posts from this Blog' link in any individual post.
My standards are pretty low when it comes to conferences. Essentially if ursine consumption does not occur, I consider the day a success. Fortunately there are other ways of defining success, and though I was the organizer and therefore not wholly without my own prejudices, everything went well. Amazingly, surprisingly, some might say shockingly, well.
In truth, my personal insanity began on Friday. Monica Edinger of Educating Alice went above and beyond the call of duty by pretty much single-handedly organizing a preconference wherein interested attendees could go to the publisher previews we New Yorkers are normally privy to. Under her sure hand Simon & Schuster, Penguin, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Harper Collins, Little, Brown, Macmillan, and Holiday House all conducted previews for the lucky attendees. That left the dinner that night. Traditionally (and this is only the 6th conference so traditions are sort of flexible on this point) there is a big dinner for the attendees. Normally, when the conference is held at a hotel, this dinner is a standard hotel dinner after the con has occurred. This time around we decided to make it a Friday dinner in the swank Japanese buffet restaurant IchiUmi. Then Little, Brown and Co. gave me an offer I couldn’t refuse. Would I like a special guest? Someone like Grace Lin, one of the very few award winning authors out there who actually blogs? Um. . . . yes, please? The kicker is that she and her family came up for the SOLE REASON of speaking at our dinner. Not only that, Little, Brown sponsored everyone’s dessert. Them’s class. All I had to do was make sure there was an AV set-up.
Fun Fact: If you want to have an event with an AV set-up ALWAYS choose a location that has a private room that doubles as a karaoke spot. Seriously, it’s the way to go. The staff will know how to connect the laptop and make the microphones work. The more you know.
Ms. Lin arrived with husband, world’s most adorable baby, agent, editor, and marketing guru in tow. How good was she? Darling, I had STAFF members of the restaurant coming up to me afterwards desperate to buy her book Starry River of the Sky (which Bank Street Bookstore was kind enough to offer for sale). The manager of the restaurant herself informed me that she wanted the name of that book and author and that if I ever wanted to do another event there they’d be happy to help me out. So we made friends. We also had a good room of folks who enjoyed the company and the food, which consisted of more edibles than I’ve ever been privy to in my entire life. Buffets RULE!
That was Friday. It was, all told, the pregame before the finals that would be the conference itself.
Now when you are organizing an event that will ultimately allow some 175 people to enter your doors, tough decisions need to be made. Actually only one really tough decision is up to you: Do you feed them? And when you have made your conference free the answer is a resounding “Nope”. I wasn’t going to feed anyone. Not even cheap bagels. Not even tiny bottles of cold, clear water. So would they hate me for it? We’d see . . .
The doors opened to everyone at 10 but I was in the building by 7:30 a.m. to get everything set-up on time. Volunteers who should be praised nigh unto the high hills were present and accounted for. Programs were available (anyone who wants a PDF of the program may contact me and I’ll pass it along). Swag was spread out, notebooks stacked, pens available. Here were the awesome Chronicle bags they sent along:
Gorgeous. And Mark Steensland was seven kinds of clever when he offered free notebooks that also happened to have his middle grade novel Behind the Bookcase on their covers.
We also set up an area for promotion:
And another area for people to trade galleys they’d received. This cart was full, then looked like this, then was empty 3 seconds later. I put out a second galley cart for the folks just to make them happy. I mean, they loved these books!
Finally, every single computer in the six rooms that would be hosting the conference was set-up and prepped. That’s right, folks. I had to make sure the AV would work without a hitch in SIX friggin’ library rooms.
Small downside to being a mammoth marble structure – you are a mammoth marble structure. Say what you will about the main branch of NYPL, it is impressive. Massive and impressive. And sad to say, sometimes incredibly difficult to navigate. I had managed to get rooms on three different floors, one on the opposite side of the library in a hard-to-get-to location. That means much of my time was spent herding attendees from one area to another. Sure, they had maps in their programs, but trust me when I say that when you are standing on the second floor of a building that threatens to overwhelm you with its grandeur, teensy tiny maps don’t quite cut it.
One final problem: Here we had a blogger conference but the very auditorium, which would remain our base of operations, hadn’t any cell phone reception! As Rocco Staino tweeted so eloquently, “I will be tweeting from #KidLitCon today that is If the walls of @NYPL will let me. The building is grand but also a #Bombshelter.” Fortunately, it did have Wi-Fi and folks would definitely use it. You can tell when you go online and see all the comments under our hashtag #kidlitcon12.
At any rate, I am pleased to report that at 10:30 on the nose everything began. Our 175 attendees looked more like 150 which, let us face it, ain’t no small potatoes. I had spent the better part of the previous day arranging everyone’s schedules and printing them out for them. I was therefore eager to set them on my way. So I gave an opening speech that delved a tiny bit on our history and scope. Truth be told, they weren’t there to see me so I cut myself short, explained to them how the day was going to go, and then shooed them off to their various locations.
From 11:00-11:45 there were four parallel sessions:
#1 – In the Children’s Center on the friggin’ other end of the library (two full city blocks away) was Sheila Ruth (Wands and Worlds) presenting the talk Who’s In Charge? The description of the event described it as a presentation that, “will help anyone who is using social media for professional reasons to take charge and manage it in an effective way. Participants will learn to create a strategic plan by answering the questions what, where, when, and how, and learn about technology tools that can reduce the amount of time and effort needed for social media management.”
Sheila was in a room that had to do battle with the sounds of the Children’s Center across the wall, which she did admirably and very well. She had no mic but commanded her audience. Folks were quite pleased with the results.
#2 – In the South Court Classrooms A & B (which are easy to get to since they were directly above the auditorium) was the very Goddess of YA herself, Teri S. Lesesne. Her talk was Don’t be a Twitt! Building a PLN Using Social Networks. Said her description, “Twitter and FaceBook and Pinterest and other social networks can be the place to begin developing a Personal Learning Network (PLN). How do we begin? What are the steps in bringing disparate people and sites into a cohesive whole? These and other questions will be tackled during the session.” I sat in on Teri for a little while because I was beginning to get a bit tired and she was well and in her element. I wish I’d seen more.
#3 – The lucky people presenting in the South Court Auditorium didn’t even have to move after the opening words. Sheela Chari, Sayantani Dasgupta, and Michelle Schusterman (From the Mixed-Up Files…of Middle Grade Authors) had an ambitious program called Community-Building On and Off the Blog: Secrets, Tips, and Cautionary Tales. Essentially the three shared their success stories and cautionary tales for building and sustaining communities, based on what has worked on their blog for the past two years, including book, Skype and other giveaways, special interviews and industry spotlights, news bars, twitter chats, and real-life meet-ups. It was the Skype element that was a killer since they attempted to use it in the aforementioned bomb shelter that is the auditorium and were duly thwarted. Fortunately they were well prepared for this eventuality and sallied on, undeterred.
#4 – Finally, the scariest room of all. Room 207. Not scary for the presenters so much (though it might have been a bit daunting to find) but scary for me. This was a room straight out of a James Bond villain’s lair. I had to make the AV work and it was hugely intimidating. Therefore I would like to give copious thanks to Marcia Lerner. While I left her in that room earlier that morning, she managed to single-handedly figure out how to make all the screens and computers work using my half-assed scribbled notes. By the time Janna Morishima, Dorothy O’Brien and Alex Simmons came in to present their panel discussion Reviewing Comics and Graphic Novels for Kids (which was a HUGE hit) everything was humming along like a dream. The three experts covered all the big GN questions like, “Can they be reviewed by the same criteria as traditional novels or collections? How should a reviewer treat ongoing storylines? How important are the visual elements, and how can one fairly compare graphic vs. traditional versions of the same book?” According to my spies in the field, it was an unqualified success.
Then, from 12:00 – 12:45 you guessed it. More simultaneous panels!
#1 – The aforementioned saving-Betsy’s-butt speaker Marcia Lerner of The Diamond in the Window and her talk Inspiring Reader Response. In essence it was a presentation that aimed to give bloggers tools to strengthen conversation with their readers. One of our more popular sessions, I had to work double time to get everyone to Ms. Lerner’s room on time.
#2 – Meanwhile, back down in the South Court Auditorium we had Kelly Jensen & Nova Ren Suma (STACKED / Distraction 99) and their talk Getting Series-ous: How Blog Series Can Engage, Inspire, and Grow Your Audience. I was keen on this one since the description said that it was about developing a successful blog series and hopes to inspire others to explore series posts as a means of widening their own blog content. Said they, “The experiences of an author and a blogger will provide insight from two different sides of the kidlit blogosphere while also showcasing how authors and bloggers can work with and benefit one another through a blog series.” A smart pairing.
#3 – In Classrooms A & B Jess Ferro (Alice in Baker Street) proved to have one of the few programs I had to turn people away from, so popular it was. In Oh, You Mean the Caterpillar Guy?: Viewing Illustration as High Art and Using Visual Literacy Methods to Enhance Our Evaluation of It, Jess discussed “ways in which we can help view illustration in children’s books as high art.” Such a good idea for a talk.
#4 – Finally, in the Children’s Center where he’d have room to speak at length, Greg Pincus (GottaBook) was one of the few bloggers I reached out to and actually asked to speak at KidLitCon. He was my ringer. I’ve seen Greg do his talks before and he’s always worth watching. I was particularly taken with his discussion topic, Avoiding the Echo Chamber: Bringing the World of Children’s Literature to the World. As he said in the talk’s description, “All of us in the blogosphere (and in the business of children’s books, whether as author or illustrator or as publisher or reviewer) can work to spread the joy of children’s literature wider.” Great feedback on this talk.
At lunchtime, which happened from 1-2, I discovered that the ‘wichcraft sandwich area of the library had chocolate cupcakes. I have NEVER seen a ‘wichcraft with chocolate cupcakes before. Needless to say, that was lunch.
When everyone reconvened at 2:15 I had planned that we make everyone attend the obligatory talk How Nice is Too Nice?: Critical Book Reviewing in the Age of Twitter. It was held in the South Court Auditorium and most glorious of all, I didn’t have to moderate it. I spoke on it, but I didn’t moderate. That honor fell to pro-moderator Jennifer Hubert-Swan (Reading Rants and another ringer) who perfectly bounced the conversation between author Maureen Johnson, myself, Liz Burns (A Chair, a Fireplace and a Tea Cozy), Monica Edinger (Educating Alice), Sheila Barry (from Groundwood Books), and Marjorie Ingall (Tablet Magazine, amongst other cool things).
The conversation was hopping but I’ll rely on the attendees to say precisely why (I heard tappity tapping during our talk so someone somewhere was typing it up). Suffice to say, there were some really good points made about who reviews are for, inappropriate times authors (or their families) would contact a blog reviewer, our role, the state of blog reviewing today, and how awesome bookshelves of doom is (shout outs were made to The Book Smugglers, Pink Me, and a couple other blogs unafraid to critique fairly). It was a huge amount of fun. I wish I sat in on panels more often. We could have gone on for hours.
Then the last sessions began from 3:30 – 4:15:
#1 Also in the South Court Auditorium we had Karen Halpenny, VP of Women in Children’s Media, with what turned out to be the most highly attended session in the conference, if you don’t count the ones where there wasn’t any competition. Her topic was The Changing Relationship Between Reader and Writer and to help her with this topic she brought in the authors Gayle Forman, Michael Northrop, Alyssa Sheinmel, and Adele Griffin. It was just a really good second part to the panel discussion that had come before.
#2 – Meanwhile in Room 207 presenter and author/illustrator Melanie Hope Greenberg (Mermaids on Parade) handled our up-and-coming author/illustrators with THUMBS UP! PLUMP UP YOUR PLATFORM and MAXIMIZE YOUR MARKETING. The gist was to help folks, “Become your own best publicity director (even if you already have one).” It’s always good to cater to the author/illustrators that show up for KidLitCon and have something for them too.
#3 – Finally, in Room 219 presenter Diane Estrella (That’s What I’m Here For…) packed the room with her hugely attended The Benefits of Blogging. With this description it was perfect for many of our newbie attendees: “Whether you are a long time blogger or thinking about dipping your toe into the blogosphere for the first time, this presentation will provide advice for ways to get started along with how to grow the site you already have.”
Finally, the day ended with our Keynote Speech. I know that in a lot of conferences you begin with the Keynote but it seemed to me necessary to reward the folks who had stayed the whole day. Plus, you can kind of guarantee folks staying that way. The speech was to be delivered by the illustrious YA author Maureen Johnson. Deciding on her was a no-brainer. I’d seen her give a talk at a Book Expo blogger con a few years ago (a con that maddeningly kept referring to itself as “the first” book blogger convention, consarn it). She was witty, urbane, and it was clear as crystal that she’d fit the bill. So I hired her and Penguin, her publisher, went above and beyond the call of duty sending every attendee a paperback edition of The Name of the Star. Wow!
I stole that photo from Maureen’s Twitter feed. This one too. She tweeted that these were her notes for her program:
You understand now why I tapped her to be my speaker, yes?
Before she went on, Maureen pulled me aside. She had a crazy notion. What if her keynote was less podium talky talk and more of a conversation? Say, with fellow YA author Robin Wasserman whom she had called half an hour ago and was on her way? Suits me. Part of the reason I like KidLitCon so much is that we’re an infinitely flexible group. You want to do a conversation with a kind of devil’s advocate of a friend on a stage? Dude, go for it. So it was that Ms. Wasserman and Ms. Johnson took some seats and discussed not just blogging and reviewing but the publishing industry itself. There was a lot of backing and forthing with the audience as well. Sadly, I had to keep her time limited, and even then I gave her an extra 15 minutes when I saw how well it was going.
Due to the fact that when the library closes it CLOSES, we had our final remarks, I told everyone where to find KidLit Drink Night afterwards (one of my favorite locations for the event, The Houndstooth) and that was that!
Once I have gathered my thoughts and my brain cells into one spot, I will update the Kidlitosphere Central page to reflect all the attendees and their blogs (I’ve already started). If you blogged about the day send me the link and I’ll add it to the page.
Big thanks to everyone who attended, everyone who helped, and just everyone in general.
In the same vein as last year’s con we are expanding the conference into two days with a special “pre-conference” on Friday. Friday events will include special visits to the publishers of New York City with blogger previews of their upcoming seasons. Publishers will be assigned on a random basis to all attendees. The final list of publishers is currently being hammered out.
Registration will max out at 175 attendees.
Before September 21st:
$35 Pre-Conference without dinner
$100 Saturday Conference
$55 Pre-Conference with dinner
$50 Friday dinner (extra diner or only)
Please note that there will be no Saturday dinner. However, we are working on a Kidlit Drink Night here in town for that very evening. Information to come.
The last day to register is September 21st.
The Pre-con: Includes a dinner.
Conference Day: Lunch.
If space is still available, onsite registration will be possible for $80. Pre-con price remains the same.
Attendees looking to share hotels with other attendees may indicate this fact on the registration page. We will attempt to link you with someone who may also wish to share a room. You may find a list of Midtown Manhattan Hotels here.
The Stephen A. Schwarzman Building is located between 40th and 42nd Street, directly facing 5th Avenue. A map and directions to the library can be found here.
The fabulous Colleen Mondor and Jackie Parker-Robinson have come up with a clever notion. Kidlitcon, the yearly conference for bloggers of child and teen literature, fast approacheth and this year, things are getting a bit switched. As Colleen says on her blog, “What we decided was to shift things just a bit, both by moving away from publisher donated ARCs as raffle prizes and also toward a long term partnership with one organization. Ultimately what we came up with made sense in so many ways that in retrospect it was one of the easiest things we decided. I am delighted to announce that KidLit Con is now entering into a partnership with Reading Is Fundamental which we hope will extend for many years into the future and make a powerful difference in the lives of many.” There’s more information to be found here, including info on how to donate to RIF yourself. So far the fund has reached $1,056, which is fantastic though more is needed. And a cheer is going out to Carol Rasco for her mention of me in a recent thank you.
And now let’s raise a glass and toast my profession. Isn’t it nice to have a profession that can, without so much as a stray drop of guilt, be toasted? Lucky that. In any case, the I Love My Librarian awards are starting up again and that means you need to get out there and vote for your beloved holders of MLIS degrees. You may nominate a school, public, and academic librarian if you like. Doesn’t cost you a thing and maybe your one true library love will get the credit they so richly deserve. Stranger things have happened, no?
Speaking of honoring folks, the Eric Carle Museum Honors have been announced. Each year four categories are filled with folks who have done some good in the name of children’s literature. This year the recipients include:
Lois Ehlert ▪ Artist
Jeanne Steig ▪ Angel
Michael di Capua ▪ Mentor
Karen Nelson Hoyle ▪ Bridge
On Thursday, September 22nd the Honors will be at Guastavino’s here in town. The usual auction that takes place at that time is seeing a bit of a shake-up as well. According to the website, “Our fourth annual art auction will feature original works of art donated by some of the industry’s most celebrated artists. This year also offers the opportunity to bid on ‘experiences’ with authors and artists.” If one of those “experiences” can include a chance to go pubbing with Tomi Ungerer I am in! At last year’s event I discovered that I was pregnant mere hours before attending. This year will have to top that, right?
In 2004, a year before I started this blog, I read The Hollow Kingdom, by Clare B. Dunkle. Soon after, I sent Dunkle an email in appreciation of the book. Dunkle replied, and we shared a correspondence for a time. My daughter was not yet one year old, I was exhausted all the time, and I relied heavily upon email correspondence for grownup conversation that didn't have to do with parenting. At one point, Dunkle mentioned her book-reviewer friend Sondy Ecklund (at the time, both were living in Germany), and said that she thought we'd enjoy getting to know each other. I can't remember who wrote first, but Sondy and I started what would be a years-long correspondence.
Last weekend, Sondy and I met for the first time at the 2011 KidLitCon children's and teen literature blogging conference, held here in Seattle, Washington. It was good to meet Sondy and talk in person. In addition to book-reviewing, writing, and being a librarian, Sondy is a self-described "math nut" (see her post on her prime factorization sweater).When I asked for advice on bringing math into the home, she recommended board games, and Monopoly Jr. in particular, as it encourage multiplication. I've not yet played it, but I ordered a copy of the board game for Lucia's benefit. Sony blogs and reviews at Sonderbooks. "Sonder" is a German prefix that means "special," which is an apt description for the lively, passionate Sondy Ecklund.
At KidLitCon 2011, I got to talk with a number of bloggers, including Sarah Stevenson, co-author of the blog Finding Wonderland,, Els Kushner, who currently blogs for Tor, Pam Coughlan of MotherReader, Anne Levy of the Cybils Awards, Holly Cupala, Shiraz Cupala,, and Lee Wind. I finally got to meet Martha Brockenbrough (who also writes SPOGG). I'd been a fan of her writing for years. but only recently realized that we were also neighbors. It was a pleasure to meet "science-journalist by day/kidlit blogger by night" Lisa Song of Reads for Keeps. I ended up talking with co-conference organizer Colleen Mondor of Chasing Ray for just a few minutes (about bacon jam, of all things), but there were a number of people with whom I wished I could have gotten to know better. There's only so much time, and the day was filled with a variety of sessions. I stayed up late for the Friday meet-and-greet, but ended up leaving soon after the dinner was done. I felt wistful when I saw photos of the after-conference party, but I knew I needed sleep more.
The session highlights of the day for me were Scott Westerfeld's keynote, which was a presentation on the history of illustration in chapter-books, and the final panel on diversity in YA/Teen literature. I finally started reading Westerfeld's books this year, and have enjoyed in particular the alternative World War I steampunk historical fiction books in the Leviathan trilogy, particularly because of Keith Thompson's illustrations.
SLJ represent! Though I could not attend this year’s KidLitCon (the annual conference of children’s and YA bloggers) many others did and they have all posted links to their recaps of the event here. So while I could not be present, fellow SLJ blogger Liz Burns of Tea Cozy showed up and has a fabulous encapsulation of that which went on. Lest you label me a lazy lou, I did at least participate in a presentation on apps. Yes, doing my best Max Headroom imitation (ask you parents, kids) I joined Mary Ann Scheuer and pink haired Paula Wiley. It went, oddly enough, off without a hitch. Attendees may have noticed my gigantic floating head (we Skyped) would occasionally dip down so that I seemed to be doing my best Kilroy imitation. This was because the talk happened during my lunch and I wanted to nosh on some surreptitious grapes as it occurred. You may read Mary Ann’s recap here and Paula’s here, lest you fail to believe a single word I say.
Speaking of Penderwicks, the discussions fly fast and fierce over at Heavy Medal. To my infinite delight, both Jonathan AND Nina are Penderwick fans. Wow! For the record, I agree with their thoughts on Amelia Lost as well. That book has a better chance at something Newberyish than any other nonfiction this year. This could well be The Year of Amelias (Jenni Holm has an Amelia book of her own, after all).
Heads up, America! According to an article in The Guardian, “The debt-laden businesses behind some of the biggest names in childrens’ TV and books are selling off some of the nation’s best-loved characters.” Personally, I figure the Brits can keep their Peppa Pig. It’s Bagpuss I want. Or The Clangers. I grew up watching Pinwheel on Nickelodeon so I’ve an affection for these. Any word on the current state of King Rollo?
Aw yeah. Authors talking smack about authors. Granted it’s living authors talking about dead authors (dead authors talking about living authors is a different ballgame entirely) but it’ll stand. Two dude who write for kids break down J.M. Barrie, The Yearling, etc. and then end with unanimous praise for what I may consider the world’s most perfect children’s book. Go check ‘em out.
We are looking for 50 minute presentations, panels, and keynotes that will appeal to and edify Kidlitosphere bloggers. Our goal is to provide a balanced selection for a wide range of interests and include, but are not limited to, topics of diversity, reviewing critically, evaluating illustrations, social media, marketing, and technology, and industry relationships.
Proposals are due by August 15, 2012, so be sure to get your ideas in soon!
We’ll only be accepting proposals submitted in the form found here.
Meanwhile, if you have any questions at all you can email them to me at Fusenumber8@gmail.com.
The 6th Annual KidLitCon will be happening September 28-29, 2012 in New York, NY. Registration for the conference will open on Monday, July 30th.
So guess what? A representative from the Federal Trade Commission is coming to KidlitCon to talk to us about the new regulations for bloggers. Now do you wish you were coming?
Well, you still can. Shoot me an email so I'll know to expect you and plan on attending the Kidlitosphere Conference. only for $50. Total deal - especially if your kid's soccer game is going to be rained out anyway. Email me at MotherReader AT Gmail DOT com.
Here's the info, yet again and for the last time. The conference is open to bloggers, wannabe bloggers, and the blogger-curious, along with YA/Kidlit authors, illustrators, editors, and publishers. The meeting is at the Sheraton Crystal City Hotel, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and will cover:
The Blog Within:An Interview With Your Inner Blogger
Building a Better Blog:Best Practices, Ideas, and Tips
Split Reviewer/Author Sessions: It’s All About the Blog: Approaches for Book Reviewing Bloggers It’s Not About Your Book: Writing Ideas for Blogging Authors
I am hoping to write about KidLitCon later, but for now a nap is in order. Quickly, I can say that it was amazing, wonderful, fun, educational, and many more positive adjectives. I am looking forward to reading everyone else's posts, so I thought I'd leave this one as a place holder. As you write about KidlitCon, leave the link in the comments and I'll do a roundup later in the week
Thanks to everyone who spoke, who helped, and came. I had a great time with all of you and can't wait to do it again...
Oh, hold up! I meant that I can totally wait to do it again. In a good way.
The weather sucked. I think we can all agree on that. It didn't affect much at KidlitCon, except the scheduled Library of Congress tours where the rain made for bad traffic and delayed arrivals of our out-of-town guests. It also made some of our DC natives look outside and decide against trudging through the rain to join us at a local institution. It was a shame, because those who came for the tours were all blown away.
It did start out slow with a tour guide who preferred to give great detail on a piece of artwork rather than give us time with the original Thomas Jefferson Library. But we still enjoyed walking the halls of the Jefferson Building, peering down in the impressive reading room, and strolling past the Gutenberg Bible. The real stuff began when we went to the Children's Literature Center. There Jacqueline Coleburn showed us some rare children's books from the collection. We saw a first edition of The Wizard of Oz, original sketches of James Marshall for Fox Be Nimble, and an early primer book.
It was hard to take good pictures without the flash (which might hurt the books over time), so I didn't take many photos. I'm partial to this children's book from the 1600's, which is "A Token for Children: Being an exact account of the conversion, holy and exemplary lives and joyful deaths of several young children," by James Janeway. Joyful deaths. Yep, they don't write them like they used to. Click on the picture to enlarge if you don't believe me. (Though it should be said - and was said by our host - that such books were made to accept death since so many children didn't live to adulthood.)
We also spent time walking around the Children's Literature Center, which is a small library and research center as opposed to the holdings of every children's book ever published. However, our host was kind enough to bring over a few of the books of our KidlitCon attendees for display. Here you'll see Joan Holub along with some of her titles. Sara Lewis Holmes was excited to see her Letters from Rapunzel displayed as well.
Our group was also treated to a visit to see books from the Rosenwald collection of rare books. The curator of this collection, Daniel De Simone, had a display of several illustrated books starting from a title from the 1400's! Then using the Aesop's fable of the city mouse and the country mouse, he showed us the changes in woodblock printing and artwork over time and nationality. I believe the one in the photograph is from Italy in the 1500's. I know, I should have been writing that sort of thing down, but I was too mesmerized by these old, rare books right in front of me. I just found at least two more of the books we saw in the details of the Library of Congress exhibition. Our host was very knowledgeable about the collection and captivated us with the stories behind these rare books. We were all sorry to leave, and it's possible that one of us hid behind a bookshelf where an old Charlotte's Web was held.
After the Library of Congress tour, we went our separate ways knowing we'd meet up again at dinner along with thirty or so of our blogging friends. We had two large table at Arlington's Tortoise and Hare, quickly took over a third, and then proceeded make more room on the corners and ends as bloggers continued to arrive. People were introduced around, and where the proper names might draw polite smiles the blog names often brought gleeful squeals. Biblio File!LibrariYAn!Miss Rumphius! The conversation was lively and loud, ending only when it looked as if we would some be overtaken by a lively and loud band. The folks who weren't quite done for the night headed to the hotel bar, for what Liz Burns would soon dub by the hashtag #drunkkidlitcon. But even though the topics of funny tweets, Girl Scouts, Facebook friends, and of course, books seemed like it could go on forever, we did clear out at a reasonable hour knowing that a special KidlitCon breakfast awaited us at 7:00 a.m. and that bacon wasn't going to eat itself.
I'll continue with the day of KidlitCon tomorrow. For now, leave me a comment if you've got a post about the conference and I'll do a round-up at the end of the week.
Saturday morning, the day of the Kidlitosphere Conference, and several kind souls were stuffing folders while I greeted attendees and pushed the breakfast buffet. The buffet did not reach my goal of looking "ravaged by wolves" (btw, is a band name) nor was I able to persuade people to stuff their pockets with bacon, but it was a great start to the conference. After all, breakfast is the most important meal of the day!
I started the meeting proper off with my session The Blogger Within: An Interview with your Inner Blogger. I'm quite proud of this session which involved only six questions and two homework assignments, thus I will repeat it here. You will only need to supply the three minute pauses between questions to give yourself time to answer:
Why are you blogging?
Who do you see as your audience?
What is unique to you that you can bring to your blog?
Where would you place your blog within the larger community?
When will you schedule time to check back on your blogging mission?
How do the answers to these questions support or change what you are doing now?
Your homework: Look at the last six months of your blog and choose five posts that you like the most and five posts that represent your blog the best. What do they show you about your passions, interests, direction, and style?
Second homework: Put a date on your calendar to look at these questions again.
Good, huh? Next I worked with Michelle of Galleysmith on Building Your Blog: Best Practices, Ideas, and Tips. I talked about Purpose (which I'd already covered in that exercise above), Passion, and Professionalism. Later I came back with Participation and Perseverance, which completed my mastery of the Five P's. Passion referred to writing what you love, supplying quality content, and channeling your voice. Professionalism touched on giving credit, disclosing relationships/products, avoiding conflicts of interest, watching your online behavior, and having responsible review policies. Participation involved going outside your own blog to be involved in the community with comments, memes, links, and events. Perseverance is, you know, "steady persistence in a course of action or purpose, especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement." (Thanks Dictionary.com.)
Michelle did the heavy lifting on this session with topics of Involve/Engage Audience, SEO, Social Media, Marketing, and Design. We'll post her much fuller notes on Kidlitosphere Central soon, but for now check out Liz's summary at Tea Cozy.
The next sessions were split for book reviewers and authors. Liz also has a good write up of the book reviewers part and Sara Lewis Holmes has notes from her author session. I attended the first session and took some notes, but honestly my mind was occupied by the coming visit of the Federal Trade Commission representative.
Speaking of which, the FTC session was covered throughly at Galleysmith and Tea Cozy It was picked up by GalleyCat and Publishers Weekly, where I talked to author and conference attendee Sue Corbett about the whole FTC vs. Book Blogger Death Match. I'm going to save my final thoughts on the topic for a separate post, but I'll say now that it was amazing to have FTC representative Mary Engle talk to us and it raised the profile of the conference and our community.
The Meet the Author session came next and gave me a chance to mix and mingle with many more people. Simon Pulse provided author Elizabeth Scott with gift bags of her books, Living Dead Girl and Something, Maybe. Sharon Hancock from Candlewick Press brought ARC's of many books, though I only took the leftover copies of The Ask and the Answer and Boys, Bears, and a Serious Pair of Hiking Boots. (I later gave one copy of the first to our housekeeper, who has a teenage boy.) Joan Holub signed a copy of Shampoodle for my three year old niece and Shelena Shorts signed a copy of The Pace for, well, me. I brought my own copy of Operation YES for Sara Lewis Holmes to sign, and now it's first on my list of books to read when I have a brain again. I also grabbed Laurel Snyder to sign last year's Up and Down the Scratchy Mountains after waxing poetic about her new book - which I did not have with me - Every Which Wall. I managed to grab an ARC of Paula Chase'sFlipping the Script and received a copy of Wendie Old'sThe Halloween Book of Facts and Fun. I was excited to talk to Candice Ransom and meet Ellsworth - who has a totally weak handshake, by the way. I didn't take nearly enough pictures, but fortunately Jama Rattigan did.
Okay, this is getting really long. It was a fuller day than I thought. Oh, and that picture above was Elizabeth Scott and me. Moving on.
Greg Pincus talked to us about Social Media and connection and showed us slides on our laptops. (So, I didn't spring the $1000 for the LCD hook-up, sue me.) During the next two sessions, Authors, Publishers, Reviewers (and ARCs): A Panel Conversation and Coming Together, Giving Back: Building Community, Literacy, and the Reading Message I was distracted with some "Being in Charge of the Conference" things, so I missed big parts of both. I'll provide links to summaries as I find them. Sorry.
I was going to plow through with this post into the cocktail hour and charity raffle and dinner and drinks, but now I'll leave that for Part III. If you have a post about the conference, leave me a comment and I'll be rounding up at the end of the week. Of course, I'll continue to accept comments about KidlitCon itself or even my awesomeness.
In organizing the Kidlitosphere Conference, the one aspect that I really enjoyed working on was the charity raffle. In our previous two conferences, we had a charity component and I was excited to continue that tradition. As I talked to my teen daughter about the concept, we came up with the idea of gift baskets made up of donations from our attendees to put up for raffle. During the week, I pulled together baskets, bags, and boxes along with little "extras" for the prizes - pens, journals, candles, etc. My teen daughter crocheted decorative scarves and tiny book pillows to contribute.
On the afternoon of the conference, my husband brought in my daughters and two friends to pull the donations of the attendees into fun packages. I missed big parts of the last two sessions of the day to help, because it was a bit overwhelming. While we expected to make about ten baskets, we ended up with enough donations to make twice that much! It was tons of fun to put things together though, and we got to exercise our creative juices in the process.
Before and during the cocktail hour, attendees looked over the prizes, bought raffle tickets, and put their tickets in bags for the ones they wanted to win. This picture is a pretty good summary showing the tickets in one corner, the party bags to collect the tickets, the array of prizes, and the happy shoppers.
TeenReader was particularly fond of the Black & White Package, which featured a scarf she made, one of my homemade necklaces, bead jewelry made and donated by Maureen, and some super cool books. Her best friend and helper put her raffle tickets in this package and won, quite gleefully I might add.
I loved the Read to Me Package (even if the kid's shirt appears to say Ead to Me in the photo), which included a shirt donated by Terry, book pillows crocheted by my daughter, a tin of hot chocolate I bought at Ross, and numerous books to share with a child. I'm trying desperately to remember who won that, so please let me know. You can also see a bit of the Halloween Basket, which featured a painted basket, a stuffed black cat, a box, and Halloween picture books.
My fifth grader worked very hard on the Holiday Package, which included books from Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. It also had snowman soap, candles, and a wooden candlestick (Liz, this would be some of the "stuff from my home," as opposed to the stray socks you supposed I threw in the mix.) My daughter convinced Jen to put her raffle tickets for this prize and she did in fact win it.
With all this talk of winning, I'm getting a bit ahead of myself because before the winning there was the dinner. It was a lovely chance to celebrate the day of fun and relax with friends. My husband took pictures of every table, and I'll post them to Facebook later if anyone wants to grab them. (Unfortunately, my camera isn't great in dim light so they aren't stellar.) I will share one representative picture of lovely ladies Laura Lutz, Caroline Hickey, and Sara Lewis Holmes. Don't they look happy?
After dessert, my husband and the girls drew raffle tickets and gave away the prizes. I'd love to know more of the winners, if you'd care to leave your name in the comments. I do remember Tricia winning the Bearport Bear donated by Bearport Publishing and Greg winning the Electric Company bag donated by PBS. Many of our attendees donated books and journals and jewelry and more, which gave us an amazing raffle! We ended up collecting $550 for our two selected projects at Donors Choose! They haven't reached their goals yet, so you can still contribute to Literary is Fun-damental and It All Starts with Reading. Tell them that KidlitCon sent you!
After everything was done, we stopped for a group photo. Again, not the best camera for the job but a fun reminder of a wonderful day.
The conference weekend continued for some with an evening at the hotel bar, a Twitter-talk/post-game breakfast, or a stop at Hooray for Books! for an author signing party. For some of us, it included all three. Overall, I was glad I got to spend so much time with so many amazing people over the weekend. It was an awesome event and I'm honored to have played a part in it.
So much so, that I've signed on for another year. Not organizing in entirety this time, but as consultant, promoter, and registrar for KidlitCon10 which will be in Minneapolis and will be headed by Brian Farrey of Flux and Andrew Karre of Carolrhoda Books! Welcome to the team!
Thanks to everyone for helping, speaking, donating, supporting, and most of all coming to KidlitCon09!
(Oh, I'm still collecting posts for a Round-Up tomorrow and I'd love to know more of our raffle prize winners. Cheers!)
Here's quick round-up of bloggers who've posted about KidlitCon09. I had hoped to stop by and comment at every post, but it looks like I'm heading to help out my mom for a few days in a house without Internet. Keep me in your thoughts. Since I'm leaving Bill at home, if you post about the conference and comment here, he will update this entry. Because he's all cool like that.
With more than five hundred dollars raised with the charity raffle at KidlitCon, we gave two projects at Donors Choose a huge boost. Now with additional contributors, both DC school literacy projects have been fully funded! Here are the teachers’ notes to us:
I am most grateful for your generosity. My students will continue to develop their love of reading and curiosity with your gift. The picture dictionaries and thesauri will be a tremendous help in developing students’ vocabulary. The Washington D.C. books are going to provide additional support in teaching the third grade social studies standards whose focus is on our nation’s capitol.
Our library is in desperate need of additional books. The books will be a fantastic addition! We are looking forward to starting the new year with our book club with the Harry Potter series that you have provided.
With gratitude, Ms. S.
That project, Literacy is Fun-damental, purchased Spanish language materials for a mostly immigrant classroom population.
There are few words that I can say that would be better than THANK YOU!, but I will try. I began teaching in Brooklyn, New York, after being a loan officer for a bank for eight years. My education process was so fulfilling that I wanted every student to have the opportunity that I have had. The first thing that I learned as a classroom teacher is that “IT ALL BEGINS WITH READING!” I have taught in many classrooms and the first question that I ask is, “What are we going to read?”
I was very disheartened when I learned that my current classroom had no library provided for it by the school system. I tried to provide books on my own and it became very expensive. One of my fraternity brothers has donated 75 books to my classroom, but we are still in need of more materials.
This donation of books will allow my students to begin to have the opportunities that I want for my students. I cannot thank you enough! My students will benefit from your generosity, and gain valuable learning experiences. I am sure we will keep in touch through the program and maybe even after. On behalf of my students, and myself, THANKS A LOT!
If you are inspired to continue giving, Adam Rex is currently running a mustache... thing for Donors Choose. You can also use the search feature at the site to find a project of interest or a school near you. Maybe you could include this charity in your holiday giving this year with a book for a friend, along with a donation to buy books for a classroom. Trust me, it’s a much better present than a gift basket from Meat N’ Things.
Links to material on Amazon.com contained within this post may be affiliate links for the Amazon Associates program, for which this site may receive a referral fee.
Things that I love: Blogging. My baby girl. Seattle. Two of those three things will be coming together on September 16th and 17th. That’s when the 5th (five already?) annual Kidlitcon will occur! It’s looking like a remarkable line-up as well with special keynote speaker YA author Scott Westerfeld and great presentations, as per usual. Baby girl is keeping me from attending, which is awful. I think I’ll have missed three out of five by this point. That just means you’ll have to go in my stead. For conference information, Kidlitosphere Central has the details.
Speaking of conferences I could not attend (whip out your world’s smallest violins playing a sad sad song for me), ALA came and went. Between reading Twitter updates of awesome people having post-Caldecott/Newbery Banquet parties until 5 a.m. and knowing that there’s a whole world of ARCs out there that I have not seen, I took comfort in SLJ’s very cool shots of the outfits at the aforementioned banquet. Jim Averbeck, I await your red carpet analysis. Oh, and allow me to extend my hearty thanks to Tomie dePaola for mentioning me as well as a host of other fine librarians in his Wilder acceptance speech. Made me feel quite the top cat it did.
Artist Adam Rex discusses the “Hogwarts for Illustrators” and gives us a sneak peek at a cover of his due out this coming February.
There’s more Ungerer in the offering. Tomi Ungerer got covered by the Times the other day with an interesting Q&A. In it, at one point he happens to say, “Look, it’s a fact that the children’s books that withstand the grinding of time all come from authors who did both [writing and illustrating].” J.L. Bell takes that idea and jogs on over to my Top 100 Picture Books Poll where, rightly, he points out the #2 on was old Margaret Wise Brown. He then finds other books that have stood the test of time with authors who do not illustrate. Well played, Bell man.
Also at The New York Times, editor Pamela Paul shows off the new crop of celebrity picture books. Normally I eschew such fare, but one book in the batch is of particular interest to me. Julianne Moore has penned the third Freckleface Strawberry book called Freckleface Strawberry: Best Friends Forever. I’m rather partial to it, perhaps because of this librarian character that artist LeUyen Pham included in the story:
Suppose you’ve written a Young Adult or children’s book that is being published this fall and are looking for promotion opportunities. You may plan on doing a few signings, and are hoping people will come. You’re probably talking about the upcoming release on your blog, but you’re not sure anyone is reading it. Your publisher is sending out copies or press releases to journals, newspapers, and bloggers, but you don’t know how your book will stand out in the many books that come out each season.
What’s an author to do?
Well, if you’re an author living on the East Coast, you should be signing up for the KidLitosphere Conference on October 17th in Washington, DC. With the $100 registration fee, you’ll spend the day on Saturday learning how to improve your blog or start a blog in ways that can help your book. You’ll bring along a few copies to show off at the Meet the Author session, where you’ll tell a bunch of Kidlit/YA book bloggers about your latest title. You’ll spend the dinner (paid for with the registration) socializing with these book bloggers and other authors. Some may call it networking. Perhaps on Sunday you can go arrange a book signing, particularly if you contact the organizer, who is looking for some committed authors to do such a thing. And maybe with a signing, your publisher might pay for some or all of your expenses.
If you live in New York City, you can take the bus to save money with a round-trip bus ride on Washington Deluxe costing only $40. (I’ve taken it three times, and loved it.) Sharing a room with an author friend would put you at $110 for both nights at the Sheraton Crystal City Hotel, or come with family and make a mini-vacation. If you’re here Friday afternoon, you can join the group for a free tour of the Library of Congress, or you can visit any of the Smithsonian museums on your own, also free. Of course, if you live near Washington, DC, you don’t even have the hotel expenses.
As folks return from their vacations, it’s time for a total reminder about the KidLitosphere Conference, taking place on October 17th, 2009, in Washington, DC. The conference is open to bloggers and wannabe bloggers in children’s and young adult literature which includes YA/Kidlit authors, illustrators, editors, and publishers who blog or would like to blog.
The day starts with breakfast from 7:00 to 8:00 a.m, where you can catch up with old friends or meet new ones. The sessions go from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and will cover:
The Blog Within:An Interview With Your Inner Blogger
Building a Better Blog:Best Practices, Ideas, and Tips
Split Reviewer/Author Sessions: It’s All About the Book: Better Book Reviews It’s Not About Your Book: Writing Ideas for Blogging Authors
Split Reviewer/Author Sessions: Social Networking for Fun (and Profit?)
Coming Together, Giving Back:Building Community, Literacy, and the Reading Message (KidLitosphere Central/PBS/RIF/Literacy)
There will also be a “Meet the Author” time during the day, where writers and illustrators can share their books. A fun dinner to mix and mingle is scheduled for 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. with the continuing party moving to the hotel bar. The registration fee for all of this including the breakfast and dinner is only $100. It’s a total bargain.
We have tour of the Library of Congress scheduled for 1:00 p.m. on Friday afternoon and a tour of the children's section at 3:00. On Friday evening, we’ll gather for dinner near the hotel around 6:00 p.m. Sunday’s expedition may involve a local DC bookstore, Politics and Prose. We're still working on the details.
Rooms are currently on hold at the Sheraton Crystal City Hotel for the amazing rate of $109 a night. They will only be held until September 16th, and if our block is filled before then, that low rate may not be available.
It should be noted that the hotel is a mile from National Airport and free shuttle service is available. A Metro Station is on the same block, allowing travel to Washington in minutes. In fact, downtown DC is only two miles away. The hotel is right next to the Crystal City Shops and a few blocks from the upscale Fashion Center at Pentagon City. If you want more information about the hotel, visit the website of the Sheraton Crystal City Hotel.
The registration form is available at KidLitosphere Central. There are a limited number of spaces available, so please sign up soon. Here are some of the bloggers who will be coming to the conference:
If you're a parent, you know of The Reading Game and have probably been forced to play along. Unsure? Maybe this will ring a bell, "Well, we can't tear little Jacob away from the Harry Potter books. He's sooooo advanced. What is your child reading?" Ah, yes parental competition as practiced through one's children. At Booklights, I talk about the only way to win The Reading Game, along with ways to help your child and your child's teacher this school year. Head over and add your opinion. (And no, winning does not involve my trademark response of, "Oh, my girls are really into Balzac right now.")
My special articles at ForeWord are done, but my relationship with this wonderful review site continues as part of their blog network. I believe they are still tweaking the format, but they'll be pulling some blog posts over with a blog aggregrator and MotherReader will be among them. That is, until they realize how I really write.
We're continuing the last week push for registrations for Kidlitosphere Conference, but are keeping it fun with a meme for past conference attendees. It has started to make the rounds at Jen Robinson's Book Page and Finding Wonderland. Posts are on the schedule for Fuse#8, 7-Imp, and Lee Wind. You don't have to wait to be tagged to participate. In fact, I'd prefer that you not wait. Because while we are sure to have a flurry of posts after the conference that makes people wish they could have gone, what we need now is a flurry of posts about such conferences that makes people decide that they will go. The conference will likely be in the MidWest next year, so East Coasters especially won't want to miss this chance. Register now.
The 3rd Kidlitosphere Conference is fast approaching - it's October 17th in Washington D.C., and you can check the information about it here. The reduced hotel rate at the Sheraton ends on Wednesday, so now is really the time to make your reservations. And why should you go?
Because, if you are someone who blogs about children's literature, be you author, illustrator, editor, agent, librarian, parent, reviewer, fan, or whomever, you will be among your people - learning more than you expect, creating and cementing friendships and relationships that (at least for me) enrich life, and understanding how we collectively and individually can help ourselves and children's literature via what we do online. Plus there'll probably be cookies!
MotherReader started a meme of questions for past attendees of the two Kidlitosphere conferences to encourage enthusiasm to sign up. Today is the last day to sign up for the conference to get the hotel group rate for the third annual conference in Washington D.C. on October 17.Why did you decide to attend the KidLitosphere Conference?The initial idea for the get-together was a fantasy potluck
For authors, illustrators, editors, and publishers in the area of children's and Young Adult literature, the Kidlitosphere Conference on October 17th in Arlington, VA offers an incredible opportunity to learn more about online reviewers, blog book tours, blog writing, and social media. Participants will also talk to forty book reviewing bloggers one-on-one about their books in a Meet the Author session. The dinner gives everyone has a chance to socialize, talk, network, and collaborate. And all for a low $100 registration fee that includes breakfast and dinner.
Featured sessions for authors/illustrators include:
* It’s Not All About Your Book: Writing Ideas for Author Blogs * Social Networking for Fun (and Profit?). * Building a Better Online Presence with Blogging
And several more sessions in the 8:00-5:00 p.m day. Attending authors will have the opportunity to set up a table and show their books to bloggers and promote fall titles. The small conference size allows for more chances for interaction among attendees.
Registration has been extended, so for more information and to register visit the conference page. Discount hotel rates are also available.
Today for Nonfiction Monday, I need to mention a publisher that is providing fun, interesting, educational, and high-quality nonfiction titles to children. They are also providing this ah-dorable stuffed bear for our charity raffle at the Kidlitosphere Conference. He’s huge and cuddly, and my kids already don’t want to part with him. But someone at KidlitCon09 will win Bearport along with a few new titles from the Bearport catalog.
One title that I I will not be parting with is Miniature Horses, because, well... look at it! Horses playing soccer in the living room! How cute is that? This title is one of the new series of Peculiar Pets, which features ferrets, iguanas, and potbellied pigs.
Miniature Horses talks about the features and history of the breed, along with their needs as pets. The text is perfect for elementary school readers, and no one will be able to resist the pages of wonderful pictures of tiny horses. Like all Bearport nonfiction, the book features a glossary, bibliography, and fast facts. Now, I love minis so much that I took the whole family to the wildly overpriced yet insanely cute Land of Little Horses, so I was completely enchanted with the book. And totally not parting with it even for charity.
Hold it. Perhaps I should back up on the charity thing. At each conference, the host selects a cause and we have a raffle to raise money. The prizes are donated by authors, illustrators, publishers, and bloggers. This year I’ve turned to Donors Choose for our charity, and specifically to impoverished Washington, DC, schools. At this point I’ve selected two proposals to fund. I picked Literacy is Fun-damental because they need Spanish language books, which are hard to pick up at a discount or at a local book sale, and because the picture of the kids is soooo cute. I picked It All Starts With Reading! because they need titles for teens, and the picture of the empty bookcase is soooo sad.
If you aren’t coming to KidlitCon09 and would like to make a donation to these programs, we welcome your contribution. If you are wondering if there is any way to send books directly to these schools, I welcome you to investigate that and get back to me. If you would like to donate items for our raffle, please contact me at MotherReader AT gmail DOT com especially if you have something besides books. I’m planning on sharing some of my MotherReader original recycled paper jewelry. Yes, it’s just as delightful as it sounds.
The Cybils nominations started today, and as the organizer for the Fiction Picture Book category, I’ve already processed more than thirty titles! I haven’t made more than a few submissions myself because other people have been naming my favorite books. But that’s really fine with me, so long as we’re getting quality books in the judging. The process is so smooth this year, thanks mostly to the database design of Sheila Ruth. Now when you nominate a book, you can see immediately if it is already on the list. The nominations are contained in a nice little box, so you can scroll through them and you can see the book covers. If all this weren’t enough, the nomination form feeds right into the form for the organizers and panelists so we can keep track of the titles. Excellent!
At Booklights today, I have a recap of the National Book Festival, information about the Cybils, and some blog highlights from Banned Books Week. I already have a comment on the banned books aspect, which is making me wonder whether I should have censored my post. Oh, the irony.
KidlitCon09 is coming together quite nicely, with a list of about eighty participants, including representatives from Candlewick, Tor Books, and HarperCollins. On Friday, we have tours scheduled at the Library of Congress, the main building and the children’s center. I already have about thirty people ready to meet for dinner that evening near the hotel. Saturday, October 17th, is filled with interesting sessions, a Meet-the-Author time, a cocktail hour, a nice dinner, and a charity raffle. Sunday is looking like an informal Twitter breakfast and a field trip to the independent bookstore Hooray for Books, located in charming Old Town Alexandria, where I am working on a book reading and signing session. It’s going to be a great weekend that you should not miss.
The Federal Trade Commission has come up with its final guidelines on regulating endorsements and testimonials which will indeed affect bloggers. The first hint of the problem is in the title of the report itself which specifies endorsements and testimonials.
But book reviews are not advertising endorsements or testimonials, are they?
Ah, I answer that question with another question. Have you noticed how freely the word review has been thrown around the blogosphere, especially in the pitches by companies? Have you wondered how one "reviews" a bookshelf or swingset or Tungsten Rings?
You see, the business were very savvy about this coming development and hoped to tie the issues together by linking the word review to what are obvious endorsements being paid for in product. I've been watching this going on with the mommy bloggers and gritting my teeth, while remaining hopeful that the FTC would know the difference between a review and an endorsement. I talked about it here in July saying that "Book blogs are likely to stay under the radar because we’re not pulling in the numbers of readers and because there is a longstanding tradition of books being sent out for review in newspapers and journals."
I may have been wrong. Mostly in making the assumption that the FTC would address this issue with, um... intelligence. The eighty-one page final guidelines have only caused more questions that the FTC doesn't seem to define or understand. I saw it through my book blogger eyes, but niche groups everywhere have questions and concerns as shown in this article from Wired.
But as a book blogger, I'm very concerned that Richard Cleland of Bureau of Consumer Protections had this to say in a conversation with Ed Champion about getting books for review:
You can return it,” said Cleland. “You review it and return it. I’m not sure that type of situation would be compensation. ”If, however, you held onto the unit, then Cleland insisted that it could serve as “compensation.” You could after all sell the product on the streets."
Yeah, because we all know the street value of Find My Feet. The stupidity of this statement is mindblowing. And frightening.
Chasing Ray has a wonderful post about how this would look to the publishers. In case you're wondering, Not Good. There is no way that book bloggers would want the responsibility and expense of returning books with a receipt so they couldn't be declared as income. There is no way that the publishers would want the responsibility and expense of tracking those returned books. It's illogical that I could receive dozens of books from a publisher, but only have to declare as "income" the one that I review - because I've now endorsed it.
In fact, it's the idiocy of this concept along with the long tradition of print media receiving books for review that gives me hope. Because the guidelines as written and as they want to be applied to book bloggers are just too stupid to exist. That said, they won't disappear by us not talking about them. We do need to make some noise. Bloggers are good writers, obviously, so dash off a letter to the FTC, your congressman, the local paper. Your publisher.
Galleycat has been turning out a lot of information on this new development, but we can't let Ron Hogan and Ed Champion go this alone. And I'm not just talking about bloggers. Publishers, editors, and authors better make their case too because the FTC regulations as they are being interpreted could shut down a source of book reviews and interviews just as newspaper reviews are in a death spiral. Publishers may have thought that the FTC had nothing to do with them, evidenced by the fact that they are not noted as having submitted comments to the proposed regulation (pg 3). Big mistake because this is going to be an issue for all involved parties and we can't let it be left up to people completely ignorant of how the publishing industry works to determine how it's going to work from now on.
Now, the bright spot is how completely relevant KidlitCon09 seems right now - especially our panel about the relationship of bloggers, authors, and publishers. There's still space available. Register now and be part of the conversation.
Writing that KidlitCon09 was only ten days away just made my heart do a little jumpy thing in my chest.
I can still take a few more people for the Kidlitosphere Conference, though I can't guarantee your dinner choice. I can, however guarantee an amazing time filled with interesting people and illuminating sessions. Or maybe illuminating people and interesting sessions, either way. We'll be setting aside some time to talk about the new FTC regulations and what they may mean for book bloggers along with the greater publishing industry. Being next to Washington DC, it's not out of the question that we may get someone official to talk to us. In any case, we'll be discussing the topic and hopefully coming up with some answers or even better questions.
I'm excited to announce that we do have an author event at Hooray for Books! in Old Town Alexandria on Sunday, October 18th from 1:00-3:00 p.m. If you are in the DC area, can't attend the conference, but would love to meet some of the people - come on down! Bring the kids. Bring the neighbor's kids. Bribe a teen to join you. It's going to be a great time. We're going picture book to middle-grade first, and then tweens to teens second with:
1:00 p.m. Cynthia Cotten presents Rain Play Jacqueline Jules presents Unite or Die! Sue Corbett presents Last Newspaper Boy
2:00 p.m. Caroline Hickey presents Isabelle's Boyfriend Elizabeth Scott presents Something, Maybe Paula Chase-Hyman presents Flipping the Script
Please let people know about this wonderful chance to greet bloggers, meet authors, and buy books all while supporting an independent bookstore and the Kidlitosphere Conference. What better way to spend a Sunday afternoon?
This is about the time I usually get Conference Envy. You know what I mean, that feeling that everyone is going to this really cool event and you're missing out because you couldn't decide if you should put another activity on your schedule, but now it seems stupid that you opted to take on the dance rehearsal carpool again instead of asking your neighbor to do it so that you could do something for yourself for a change because Lord knows you DESERVE IT!
Or something like that. Perhaps instead you're an author or editor realizing that the opportunity to present your new titles to forty book-reviewing bloggers isn't something you should pass up in this dicey economy and saturated book market.
If you are experiencing Conference Envy after hearing about our Library of Congress tours, Friday night dinner, amazing conference panels, Meet the Author session, fun charity raffle, Twitter breakfast, and bookstore visit, well… I can still take a few more people for the Kidlitosphere Conference. Email me at MotherReader AT Gmail DOT com.
If you live in the area, and absolutely can't make it Saturday, let me encourage you to come out to our author event at Hooray for Books! in Old Town Alexandria on Sunday, October 18th, from 1:003:00 p.m. Bring the kids. Bring the neighbor’s kids. Bribe a teen to join you. We’re going picture book to middle-grade first, and then tweens to teens second with:
1:00 p.m. Cynthia Cotten presents Rain Play Jacqueline Jules presents Unite or Die! Sue Corbett presents Last Newspaper Boy
2:00 p.m. Caroline Hickey presents Isabelle’s Boyfriend Elizabeth Scott presents Something, Maybe Paula Chase-Hyman presents Flipping the Script
Let people know about this wonderful chance to greet bloggers, meet authors, and buy books, all while supporting an independent bookstore and the Kidlitosphere Conference.
If you're still reading because you want to be convinced to come to the KidLitosphere Conference, then I'll remind you that the conference is open to bloggers, wannabe bloggers, and the blogger-curious along with YA/Kidlit authors, illustrators, editors, and publishers.
Coming Together, Giving Back:Building Community, Literacy, and the Reading Message
There will also be a “Meet the Author” time during the day, where writers and illustrators can share their books. A fun dinner to mix and mingle is scheduled for 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. with the continuing party moving to the hotel bar. The registration fee for all of this including the breakfast and dinner is only $100. Can't make the dinner? Email about a reduced conference-only fee.