KidLitCon 2010 Review Part 1

Popped up to Minneapolis for the fourth KidLitCon.  It’s an interesting blend of authors, librarians, teachers, mommies–all people who feel passionately about and who blog about children’s literature.

I feel a bit in the minority. I have a decent sized blog audience I think and I’m happy to write for you all but some of the sizes I’m hearing about make my head spin.  No, definitely not getting 700 unique hits per day. I think I’d have to suggest that all libraries close and torch all the books or something really extreme like that (or become Walt Crawford overnight–hi Walt) for that to happen.

Anyway, so far it’s been a pretty good day.  Maggie Stiefvater was our morning keynote speaker.  I read her book Shiver for the local Adults-Who-Read-Teen-Lit Bookclub.  I enjoyed the book, though it wasn’t in my usual taste. I really liked Maggie’s presentation. She was charming and amusing at 8 a.m. and we all had a good chuckle and got to see her great boots.  Maggie spoke about lessons of blogging and how she’s evolved as a blogger over four years (which is really 28–because with many blogs dying after 3 months, each year is like a dog year.)  One of the things she spoke about was how people will find out things about you–lots of things–and how that can seem strange.  I’ve had strangers who recognized who I am because of my blog and that, in the small world of libraries, still surprises me.

My first session was Blogging the Backlist and that was very interesting. There’s so much pressure on book bloggers to talk about what’s current, what’s how, what’s NOW and–if at all possible–what you can scoop.  Can you beat the big names to it? Does it matter?  But the idea of getting to go back and share books and series that I really enjoy that aren’t on the front of the NYT etc is really appealing.  I promise, it won’t all be romance. 😉

Blogging in Learning Communities could have easily been a 4 hour session and I think it might have been better in that format.  30 minutes once you took off intro time and trying to leave a couple minutes for questions just wasn’t enough.  It was also geared more towards teachers who are getting students to blog–less towards librarians (who made up a lot more of the audience).  Still, I’d like to grab some of the links and I’m hoping she’ll make the presentation available through the conference website.

When Professional Blogging started it finally slammed into my head WHY I recognized Liz Burns:  the notorious SLJ cover! She and Andrew Karr and Jen talked about differences between blogging on your own platform to going to PBS Parents and SLJ and how there are differences.  If anything I think it reinforced that for now–I’m happy with keeping my blog without sponsorship.  Blogging without a deadline can become work, blogging with one definitely seems to be.

Lunch was an interesting conversation with an author, a girl trying to break into publishing, a publicist….truly there are a lot of people here. And I felt comfortable, that I had my feet under me and could speak intelligently as a librarian who knew what might work in my building, what I use, what I do.  Being an expert can creep up on you and feeling like I could hold my own here in this space was reaffirming.

After lunch there was a super hot discussion between publishers/publicists and bloggers, breaking open some of the issues, concerns, and problems. It got rather emotional as the bloggers said “dude, we’re not getting paid, we’re not on your timeline” and the publishers are (nicely) focused on selling books and such. And I totally understood both sides. We need blog posts before hand so we know about the books to order and later, so we remember why we wanted to hand it to kids and to whom we wanted to hand it. Another session that could have easily gone another couple of hours–though perhaps it was better that it didn’t.

I took a break then to sit out in the lobby and start typing this up (stole the HP mini from work again).  I just wasn’t in the mood for the next session and a head cold is starting to render me stupid so a break to sit and not be actively participating was in order.  I’ll still have another three hours of things to listen to–two presentations and then wrap up.

In the interim….my sinuses are screaming and I’m going to go in search of somewhere that I can attempt to blow my nose 15 times. The “not-Sudafed” I picked up last night isn’t cutting the congestion.

P.S. Sorry for no links…I”ll try to get them in this week.

P.P.S.  What do you think about backlist blogging?

4 Comments

  1. Comment by Abby:

    Ahhh, the first recap! I’m attending the con vicariously from my couch, so thank you for posting!! I have not done a lot of backlist blogging, but that panel might be just the thing to encourage me to go back and fill in those gaps in my kidlit knowledge. I like to go back and revisit old favorites as audiobooks, so that’s one way to blog backlist (and still something new-to-you, too).

    I’m interested in the publicity discussion, too. As librarians, we need to know about titles in advance so we can get the books on the shelves in a timely manner, but I can see that typical people buying books need to be able to get their hands on the books. I definitely try to post reviews on a timeline that works for the publisher, but I just can’t always make it work! Day job and all…

    I’m new to your blog & found you through the #kidlitcon tweets, so thanks for tweeting and posting about the conference! 😀

  2. Comment by Swati Avasthi:

    Thanks for this post! I didn’t attend any of the same session as you did in the morning and so it’s great to hear what was going on in the other room!

  3. Comment by Abigail:

    You’re welcome! Glad it was helpful. I’ll have to check your blog for updates on the author-focused sessions. It was great to have such a variety of people there and to meet people coming at this from very different perspectives (including the publishers 😉 )

  4. Comment by Abigail:

    Hi Abby! Sorry for the delay in posting–I was without internet for the rest of the weekend. Welcome from the kidlit tweets and glad I could help you find out a bit more. I’m home and back fully online so after a restorative nap I’ll post in more detail. This head cold…*sigh* 🙂