September 27th, 2008

Jin Shei Cover from sgreer

Second Annual Kidlit Blogging Conference, report on

Oy vey. Talk about hitting the ground running and never stopping until, oh, a few minutes ago.

Registration and the conference prelims were set for 7:45-8 am - yes, this morning. So I got up bright and early and wandered down to get some breakfast before that, which was accomplished with very little time to spare. So, then, food, badge, coffee, more coffee, and then we were straight into the opening remarks by the conference organizers and then the first panel at 8:10 which was entitled "Bridging Books and Blogs" and was presented by some fairly big names in the Kidlit Blogosphere, including with the "Readergirlz" team. An interesting panel discussion, followed by "Making the most of the community blog tour", presented by Colleen Mondor and Jackie Parker - I have discovered a bunch of new blogs or at least ones I had not really looked at closely before on this occasion and Jackie's was one of those - I went to have a quick gander and I was delighted at the way she writes reviews. This one I'll be keeping a better eye on from here on.

Then we split up for a couple of parallel sessions - I chose the "Kick up your blog a notch" presented by Pam Coughlan, who raised some interesting points and over and above that gave a aparkling solo presentation, followed by "There's a Podcast at the end of this book" where I picked up quite a few salient facts about the mechanics and the applications of podcasting. This is something I have to ponder further.

Then we had lunch, scattered into several arbitrary groups which took over practically the entire restaurant of the hotel and kept the poor staff hopping trying to figure out who wanted the burger and who wanted the salad and didn't THIS table order the three diet cokes? Or just one diet coke and two coffees? Or was it one coffee and a diet coke and the second coke went to that table across the room from us...? (They were pretty good, actually. They even managed to sort out the multiplicity of checks and gave them out on time, which was nothing short of miraculous...)

Lunch was followed by a brilliant conversation between two subspecies of bloggers, writer and reviewer. A little bit of insight into both worlds. Followed by a presentation on how to promote one's book and one's self on Facebook, MySpace, and other social networking tools - invaluable, and much data was gained, but of course by this time my trusty laptop's batteries were kind of starting to descend into the lower-than-twenty percent mark so I wound up taking a lot of these link-intensive notes by hand instead. Figures. But I have to do some serious websurfing to get into some of these sites and their ramifications. The session was, if anything, too short - it deserved a full day for itself, almost. The final session of the day that I went to was on balancing the personal and the professional on one's blog, presented by author Sara Zarr - nothing I hadn't heard or thought of before but presented in a cogent and entertaining fashion and some of these issues kind of deserved being highlighted just in case someone DID forget to think something through all the way. Again, some interesting perspectives on several issues from the audience.

THis was followed by the "meet the authors and illustrators" hour in the main meeting room, where all of us scribblers and sketchers got to spread out our wares and discuss them with interested comers. I met some really interesting people and it is possible that several intriguing reviews might come out of this in the aftermath. I met teachers, librarians, other writers, noted bloggers in the kidlit world, and got to interact and converse with many if not nearly enough of them, and an hour of this passed like a blur - and then it was time to pack up and go wait for dinner.

I took the opportunity of checking in for my flight tomorrow and printing out my boarding pass, so I don't have to run around doing that tomorrow - and I'll go down for a leisurely breakfast tomorrow morning, come back to the room and pack, check out around 11, perhaps sit around here in the lobby for an hour (free wifi, don't knock it) and meander up to the airport around 12:30 or 1, boarding for my flight is at 2 PM, and I should be landing at my home airport around quarter to five or so.

So. That was Kidlit 08.

Didn't have much time to do anything other than race around and try and keep up with myself and assimilate a bunch of new names and faces - I did do some work on my chapter last night, and I'll probably work on it some more tomorrow while I am waiting for planes to do their thing, but I won't get it finished before I get home so that's a job for this week when I get back. Next weekend, VCon in Canada. After that, flat out work on the book until I am done. The first draft of this HAS to be in the hopper by October 10th and that's just all there is to that.

Okay. Signing off now. I might trawl around the web some to see if any of the others have blogged anything new yet, but I'm pretty much done for the night.

See you all on the other side, after I get back home...