Personal, Reviews

BEA 2014: BloggerCon

This is my first day home from Book Expo America 2014 and it was quite the experience. Although the biggest book event of the year was mostly a success, my favorite part was meeting a few of my favorite bloggers – Shannon at River City Reading, Leah at Books Speak Volumes, and Marisa at The Daily Dosage. Shannon and Leah were my roommates for the trip and proof that people you meet online are both very normal and very sweet in real life.

I flew to New York on Tuesday, which went smoothly, until I landed. After we touched down in New York, the plane was unable to find an available gate for 90 minutes. As I was meeting Marisa at the airport, I felt really bad about the delay (though I got lucky because her plane had mechanical trouble, so she was late as well). We took the bus into the city, exited at Bryant Park, saw the New York Public Library, and prompty got lost in the 85 degree heat. It was funny – once I found the hotel room and was standing in front the air conditioner (not carrying my suitcase). Did I mention we got lost while walking downhill?

Once we finally checked in, we went to the White Horse Tavern – it has a long history of literary visitors, although it most famously known as the spot of Dylan Thomas’ last outing. My favorite former patron was, of course, Bob Dylan.

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The next day was BloggerCon, which was my least favorite day of the trip. The day started off a bit sadly, with there being absolutely nothing to drink besides coffee and hot tea, not even water. I know this is nitpicky, but it’s true nonetheless. Maureen Johnson was the keynote speaker and she (and the very adorable picture of her dog Zelda) was charming. Everything after that went downhill. The advanced design course was anything but. It talked about color palettes (don’t choose colors that clash), basic layouts (you may want to have a search bar), and using social media (you might want to check out twitter or booklikes). And don’t forget you can get a free blog on booklikes. Oh, and booklikes will display your online bookshelf. Did I mention booklikes has free themes to choose from? Was there one too many booklikes in this last paragraph? Because that was sitting in that session was like. It would’ve been more palatable if it hadn’t been advertised as an advanced design panel.

This was followed lunch and an ad network panel. This particular panel was informative and interesting, as I am a member of litbreaker ad network and the CEO was on the panel (although thankfully he wasn’t trying to sell anything). Florinda (as moderator) from The 3 R’s blog and Swampna (as panelist) from S. Krishna’s Books were there as well and were very good. Next came the worst panel of the day: How Bloggers Vloggers Have Changed the Game”. Which is…we haven’t haven’t. Vlogging is where it’s at, people don’t always want to read about books, they want to watch TV about books. Um… And it just devolved from there, people walked out, attendees were upset, and the panelists were flustered. Ultimately this particular session was both severely misrepresented and mildly insulting. And then came the BloggerCon wrap-up party. The only thing I can say about that was they promised beer. They lied!

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After that, Leah and I took the subway (it’s notable only to me who has never taken the subway in New York before) over to Housing Works Bookstore – beautiful – for the Bookrageous Bash. It was nice to meet a few more bloggers in person. Afterwards, Shannon and I headed over to the The Strand Bookstore. It’s just as amazing as everyone says it is. Naturally, we each bought books. We may have both had one-drink-too-many and gotten lost on the way back to the hotel. I’ll go with Shannon’s thought and let here take the blame! This did mean we got to hail a cab though. So it was worth it. By this time, we still hadn’t eaten, so we stopped at one of those late night corner pizza shops and each devoured a piece in under three minutes. No shame. It was delicious (I refuse to remember it as anything but).

End of day one.

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