Kidlitosphere Conference 2008: Day Two
I left something in Portland. My heart. Naw, I’m kidding (though a return visit is certainly in order). No I left the one little item a children’s literature blogger actually needs to function. Namely, the folder we were all given containing the names of the participants and the titles of the talks. Pfui.
That’s okay, though. Because for the most part I took pictures only when I wasn’t shooting video. The editing of said video (as you might have noticed) is taking a little longer than I’d like. Here then are the pics from that day that happened at those odd moments when I’d actually remember to pull out my camera.
The day began with a bang as I leapt over an obstruction in an intersection to make it to the Sheraton for the conference. Kirby Larson and I were carpooling (thank you again, Kirby!) but I had misdirected her by not having her turn towards the hotel entrance and instead headed her off towards the airport. She kindly let me out (I was under the impression that I was late) and I skedaddled over the mound of dirt separating me from my goal, in high heels no less. Thus began my day!
Once inside our fearless native guides welcomed us to their spectacular gathering.
That fearless native guide on the left is Laini Taylor. If you have not read her Fairies of Dreamdark: Blackbringer then there is a hole in your life waiting to be filled. Fearless Native Guide #2 is Jone MacCulloch, she of Silver Star Elementary and the blog Deo Writer. And this picture was taken much later in the day, so don’t worry too much about that glass of beer there. Please.
After the initial announcements, the first discussion of the day included a panel that included me, the Readergirlz Dia Calhoun and LorieAnn Grover (how cool is it to have the name "Grover", by the way?), Mark Blevis from Just One More Book, and Alice Pope of Children’s Writer’s and Illustrator’s Market. Of course, I was on that panel and didn’t take any pics. Which is fine because as I recall I was still a little sleepified. Fortunately I woke up enough to pay proper attention to the next duo.
Aren’t they gleeful? Gleeful and cold since the temperature was a bit nippy in the morn. They’re clutching their arms for warmth here. These gals were discussing blog tours with a bit of snark on the side. Good snark, not the cheapo kind you find at the drug store. This here was some high quality snark on display. And they specifically discussed the Blog Blast Tours organized by Colleen and done in a manner that makes a lot more sense than your average "tour".
Here’s the deal. A normal blog tour consists of the author (or their publicist) contacting five blogs. Then the five blogs send the author questions and for each day of a given week that author appears on each blog. The idea is that different blogs have different readerships and that the writer can reach a wide swath of potential readers with this method. It’s pretty much understood that no one but hardcore fans actually go to each blog each day to read the interviews (particularly since the questions too often overlap). Enter the Blog Blast Tours. When these happen (and there’s a November one scheduled, so you’ll be able to see it in action soon) about 14-15 bloggers or less interview 2-5 people apiece. Then they link to one another each day so that you know who has been interviewed where. The result is that the author’s name shows up on 15 rather than 5 blogs, they only have to answer a couple questions, and everyone’s happy. S’alright? S’alright. If you want to know the future of blog tours, this is how it stands.
Jackie explains all of this to the masses . . .
. . . then indicates how tall one must be to blog.
Colleen remains, as ever, incredulous but you simply don’t argue with facts.
Next Pam Coughlan (better known as MotherReader) spoke on the topic of How to Be a Bigger (not better) Blogger. That was fun. I don’t have a picture though so, uh… here’s Pam!
Just imagine that instead of that copy of Two Bobbies she is instead talking about blogging. She also gave me copious shout outs, for which I shall be forever grateful.
Though I would have loved to. That was eaten the night before. Those are full cloves of garlic there. Mmm. Mmm.
All right. Moving on. Laini Taylor and Jen Robinson discussed blogs, blogging, and the relationship between authors and reviewers in the online world. After them came Gregory K with his very interesting piece on how to promote your own blog effectively. Gregory K did the impossible. He convinced me to start a social networking site. So . . . I’ll soon be on Friendster and Facebook now. The "F" sites. I’ve rejected them for what feels like years, but there you go. If you’d like to "Friend" me, in a week I’ll be ready.
Then we had two simultaneous talks going on. I needed to post some videos, however, and so I had to bow out of them both. After that was done I crashed the Meet the Authors event, talked to a lot of nice people, and took a lot of nice videos (to come… someday).
I retired to the restauranty area in the hotel with these three yahoos:
Oh, your eyes do not deceive you. There was at least one publisher presence at the blogger conference and, yes, once again it was Feiwel and Friends. Readers may recall that during the ALA Conference in L.A. F&F allowed the bloggers to have their own Bloggy Meet-Up in a fancy dancy schmancy hotel with a view of Disneyland. This time around their representative Mr. Philip Lee was there, plus they gave copious amounts of swag and were generally quite nice to the Kidlitosphere Conference. They left us with a lot of goodwill, I can tell you. And books. Lots of books.
Next to Philip sits the aforementioned wonderful podcaster Mark Blevis and next to him the Fibonacci-poem loving Gregory K.
My attention, however, was riveted by this little critter:
That would be Ratha, star of some of author Clare Bell’s books like Ratha’s Courage. Ratha is, as you can see, made up entirely of pipe cleaners. And here is Clare Bell herself:
. . . who is not made of pipe cleaners. And if you haven’t read them, think of the Ratha books as Erin Hunter’s Warriors series on steroids. Big big kitties.
Eventually it was time for dinner. I sat at the same table as Matthew Holm and his lovely wife.
This was the Whooping Winners Table. If we had a name, that would be it. For some reason our raffle tickets did better than anyone else’s in the room. Then to top it all off, we were so thrilled when one of our own got a prize that we would whoop. It was probably cute at first but as we won… and kept winning… and winning… well, eventually we decided that we’d never make it out of the room alive. Here’s one pile of wins:
What I couldn’t figure was why the other tables did not whoop. Whooping clearly attracts luck, so whoop we did. Ah well
After dinner, Jaime Temairik and I finally got a chance to do that interview we’d arranged. You probably saw it earlier this week with the sock puppets and zombies. Zombie Puppet Theatre Hour couldn’t exist without the stars in question, however. Here is the full cast in repose:
For some reason Jacob was particularly amusing to me.
And last but not least, here is Jaime herself, reclining amongst her creations:
If you’d like to see other posts about the conference (and thereby determine if I am lying about any of this or not) check out the list of them here.
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About Betsy Bird
Betsy Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.
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