Last week, I attended the Book Blogger Conference held in conjunction with BookExpo America. I was thrilled to be able to participate this year. In previous years, the conference was held on the Friday after BEA, when all I want to do is crawl up in a ball and sleep next to all the galleys I have to read. This year, they moved it to Monday, as a perfect kick off to BEA.
Reading through the agenda and deciding whether to come was an easy choice. There were so many authors that I wanted to meet. I didn’t know how it worked, but I certainly hoped I would be able to have even a brief time to ask questions of the authors and take pictures.
The format of the conference was pretty varied. The breakfast and lunchtime sessions were at numbered tables. You picked a table and the authors went to a selected group of them. A moderator was keeping track of time, giving a 5 minute warning when it was time to move, and then the final “get going!” message when time was up.
For the morning sessions, I really wanted to meet 2 authors. First, William Joyce. He’s the crazy talented guy behind so many great stories, including George Shrinks, Santa Calls, Rolie Polie Olie, The Leaf Men and the Brave Good Bugs and A Day with Wilbur Robinson.
He was there to talk about his book, which isn’t out yet, which was spawned from the movie of the same name, The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore.
Oh, and he also showed us the app from the book.
I wasn’t familiar with the second author who rotated into our table after Mr. Joyce left. But when he showed me what books he wrote, I screamed with recognition.
This is Matthew Van Fleet. He wrote the only book that I could get IT Boy to read when he was little, DOG.
Look familiar? You’e probably seen it at the library or bookstore. You probably thought, eh, just another board book. Well, you would be wrong. There is some magic in this book, I will tell you. Great images, words that demonstrate concepts, and really fun lift-the-flap action makes it so much more. I was so excited to thank Mr. Van Fleet for writing the book that got my son excited about books. He has many more titles under his belt besides DOG so definitely think of him when you are buying any sort of gift for the under 3 set.
After Mr. Van Fleet, I got up to seek out Ally Condie. She’s a favorite of Soccer Girl, and I knew I would be in big trouble if I didn’t get a moment with her. She was kind enough to put up with me crashing her last table of the day (there were no seats, people, and I had to do what I had to do) and very kindly posed for a picture with me. If your teen/tween has not read “Matched” or “Crossed”, they are missing out.
For some reason, that table got two authors, and I also got to hear from Marie Lu. I had not heard of her before, but she was there promoting book 2 of her trilogy (“Prodigy”). I loved hearing how she was a computer game designer turned author – I know a lot of people who would want to hang out with her. She was completely adorable (as was Ally) and I happily bought “Legend” on the way home so as to avoid the wrath of Soccer Girl if I were to bring her book 2 of a trilogy without her having book 1.
The two other programming modes for the con were keynotes and breakout sessions. The first keynote was from Jennifer Weiner. I love her books and found her to be as charming and laugh out loud funny in person as she is in her writing.
The closing keynote came from Jenny Lawson, aka the Bloggess. I’m also writing a whole post about her, but in the meantime, if you don’t have a copy of “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened”, I’m not sure we can be friends.
The breakout sesssions were of varying interest to me. A lot of it was stuff I have heard at other blogger conferences, but the attendees here were not your typical BlogHer crowd so I think it worked for them. I did enjoy the “Critical Reviews” panel – I always worry about writing book reviews and this gave me a little direction and peace of mind.
Perhaps the best part of the conference was meeting the book bloggers in attendance. These people are not bloggers who blog about books. No, they were hardcore Book Bloggers (I feel the need for uppercase there) who are as serious about their craft as any writer I have ever met. It was great to discover some new ones and meet the people behind some of my favorites. I think next year it would be nice to have a reception after the keynote for even more mingling.
All in all, it was a day well spent. No restraining orders were filed, and I have some awesome new books to keep me well read way into summer.
Disclosure – I received copies of a few books mentioned in this post, and many others not mentioned. I talked about authors who interested me, and was not influenced by getting a free book or not.