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Book Bloggers Converge at Javits

As the media landscape continues to fracture and “traditional” coverage of books continues to morph, publishers are increasingly embracing the Internet to get attention for the hundreds of books published each month. One segment of the online world can no longer be ignored: book bloggers. And on Friday, May 27th, a group of such bloggers will converge at the Javits Center for the Second Annual Book Blogger Convention.

The Book Blogger Convention was conceived by Trish Collins, who blogs at Hey Lady! Whatcha Readin’? and co-runs Trish has blogged about books since September 2007.

“I had wanted to organize a bloggers’ retreat,” says Trish. “It was suggested that the bloggers’ retreat take place when a bunch of bloggers would be together, and the idea morphed into the Book Blogger Convention.”

Alongside Trish, other bloggers such Natasha Maw ( and Michelle Franz ( were instrumental in getting the Book Blogger Convention off the ground.

According to Michelle:

“We started planning for the event to be at a small venue in Manhattan. Then the Executive Director of Book Expo America reached out and asked if we’d like to co-locate into the Javits. I’d say that was the single most significant shift in our vision and mission. Once we agreed to work with BEA, the Book Blogger Convention took on this larger than life status. We were able to open up to allow for more participants, we were more accessible to the publishing industry, and it certainly gave us more creditability and legitimacy than we already had.  But BEA isn’t the only organization that has been good to us.  We’ve experienced outreach from and the generosity of publishers, publicists, mainstream media, booksellers, libraries, literacy organizations, and authors.”

Rebecca Joines Schinsky, who has blogged at for almost three years, is helping Trish and Michelle again this year:

“I participated in brainstorming topics, format, and panelists, and I’m coordinating guest posts for the blog .”

Michelle feels the 2011 Convention will be even better than 2010.

“We tried really hard to take into account the feedback we received from last year’s participants to build a better event this year.  As a result we’ve got more sessions, we’ve reformatted some to fit into the workshop style as compared to lecture, and we’ve reconfigured how participants will walk away with swag.  Having said that, all of our sessions remain focused on book blogging. We still feed people, and we still encourage industry professionals to join us. We have certainly seen a difference in registration size between 2010 and 2011. We’ve doubled in size!

According to Rebecca, “Book blogging and bloggers’ relationships have come a long way in the last year, and publishers have come a long way in understanding who bloggers are and what we do. There was some reticence the first time around (probably because it was the first time around), but it’s been generally very positive this year.”

“The BBC is designed to provide panels that talk about subjects unique to book bloggers, so in that way last year’s convention and this year’s convention are similar. This year, though, we’re providing more panels for people to listen to, and we gave each panel 2 hours so they could fully explore their topics,” says Trish.

What panels can bloggers and industry professionals expect? Trish, Michelle and Rebecca have put together a lineup that includes such topics as:

  • Navigating the Grey Areas of Book Blogging
  • Ask the Publicist
  • Blogging for a Niche Market
  • Technology for Blogging
  • Practical Challenges of Blogging
  • Author Speed Dating

Sara Wendell, of Smart Bitches, Trashy Books is scheduled to be the Keynote Speaker.

Jennifer Hart, VP, Associate Publisher of Harper Perennial and Harper Paperbacks, is one industry professional who is moderating at the book Blogger Convention. Hart, who also blogs as Book Club Girl, is enthusiastic about attending her second Book Blogger Convention. “It was great to see so many enthusiastic readers and promoters in the same room [last year]. It’s exciting to see that this year they’re expanding the program to include panels to help bloggers develop their niche, work on their SEO and examine their relationships with publishers and authors. I think it’s wonderful that authors are also included even more this year: in addition to the opening cocktail party, there’s an author speed dating session and I’m really looking forward to seeing how that works.”

Hart feels that it is crucial for publishers to connect with bloggers:

“The holy grail in publishing is generating word of mouth for a book and publishers are always trying to figure out how to make that happen. There’s no one formula that makes it happen (or else we’d be hitting them out of the park each time), but we know it starts with getting our books read by people who we know will talk about them. There is no more vocal and enthusiastic group of book consumers out there than book bloggers. They read many books a week, they buy books, they visit the library and they talk to their local booksellers. And they promote every book they read to their community of readers. For that reason, it’s important for not just publicists, but marketers and editors and authors as well, to engage with and embrace the blogger community.”

Bloggers and publishers can find out more information about the Book Blogger Convention at


One Comment

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