Kidlit Con 2010
After being so inspired to improve Lyndale Press after Kidlit Con last weekend, a whole week has gone by without a post… but, better late than never, right?
I’ve been to a couple other conferences before, but this one immediately struck me by the sense of community. Everyone was so friendly and welcoming, eager to catch up with friends from the “kidlitosphere,” put faces with names, meet new people, learn from the experts, and talk about books! Three Twin Cities editors, Andrew Karre (Carolrhoda), Ben Barnhart (Milkweed Editions), and Brian Farry (Flux) deserve huge accolades for putting on such a great event.
(I kind of forgot to take any photos, so this city scene will have to do.)
The conference day kicked off with a funny and useful keynote by author Maggie Stiefvater who talked about 8 blogging “best practices” (words to remember: “The world doesn’t need another blog” • “Never blog tired, sick, or drunk” • “The online Maggie is only 10% Maggie”… or something to that effect), the ways her blog and online presence has connected her with readers, and how blogging is all about the conversation.
All of the following sessions were interesting, but as a blogger who receives ARCs and a former public relations professional whose job included “blogger outreach,” my favorite was the publicity panel with representation from Flux, Learner, and HaperCollins that discussed blogger-publisher relations and how we can all work best together. While there is still no easy way to determine ROI and whether Blog Post A made X number of people go out and buy a book, I believe that bloggers and online book reviewing communities such as the kidlitosphere are truly changing publishing. The conversation got a bit lively when we started getting into reader stats and comments (getting back to the same ROI questions from a publicity standpoint – how many readers make up an influential blog? What about loyal readers vs. unique page views? How do you measure engagement?) and while the audience was disappointed not to have hard and fast answers from the publishing pros, it was an interesting discussion that I think everyone learned from.
Following the conference was a wonderful author reading (more on that later) and dinner, full of lively conversation with Ben, Brian, Loft intern Gretchen of Young Writers @ the Loft, Catherine at Writer Tamago, and Laura of HarperCollins and Pinot and Prose .
So, Kidlit Con 2011 is slated for Seattle and 2012 for New York (!), and if you are at all involved with children’s/YA books, whether through teaching, the library, blogging, publishing, or just reading, the conference is worth every penny. There are tons of other, better recaps out there, so check them out for another perspective. And if you attended and we didn’t get a chance to meet, say hello!