Hey, literary blogging types! BEA is coming up, love it or leave it alone, and with it comes the annual Book Blogger Convention—or, as it’s called now, the BEA Bloggers Conference. (Should that have a little ™ after? It sounds that way.) The original Book Blogger Con in 2010 was the brainchild of a bunch of literary bloggers—I’m going to call out Trish of Hey Lady! Whatcha Readin’? and Michelle of Galleysmith, although I think there were a few more planners in the mix. I went, and I had a good time, but I think my biggest takeaway was that there are in fact a whole bunch of literary blogging communities, and I’m not really sure if I belong to any of them. No offense to anyone—I’m just a bit of a lone wolf, that’s all.
This year the conference has been acquired by Reed Exhibitions, the organizing force behind Book Expo America, and they’re in charge of the proceedings. As for me, the more corporate things get the more inclined I am to edge toward the fringes of the crowd. But this year there’s also going to be an alternative: Jeff Neal, proprietor of The Reading Ape and one of the founders of Book Riot, proposed a book blogger unconference, loosely based on the recent Book Camp. The idea of an unconference—a kind of participant-driven, horizontally-organized symposium that’s been popular in the coding world for a while—appeals to my scruffy anarchist soul very much indeed, and I’m happy to see that the idea has taken hold. The first annual Book Blog Uncon is scheduled for Monday, June 4, in midtown Manhattan, and it should be interesting.
A Book Blog UNCON site has coalesced, and is taking registrations and looking for volunteers and session proposals. I’ll definitely help with some grunt work, and I’ve been tossing around an idea for a panel about strategies for blogging on a tight time tether—since last September I’ve been in grad school and part-timing and freelancing, instead of my former easygoing 9-5, and while it’s all good it’s messed with my extracurricular writing energies in a big way. I’m hugely interested in brainstorming on some good strategies for getting around work-for-hire/term paper burnout. As the Uncon site points out,
The beauty of an unconference lies in its flexibility. The event is what it needs to be on that day. We will decide, as a group, what we talk about and who leads those discussions on the day of the UNCON. We will all have some idea going in what we want those topics to be and (likely) who will be leading those sessions, but we are not going to set a strict schedule that must be followed.
They also note that participants are limited to book bloggers only, and there’s a cutoff after the first 100 participants. So if you’re interested, get over to the site and sign up. The Center for Fiction is generously hosting, there will be lunch, and going by the blogroll they have so far, there should be an good crowd. Hey, I’ll be there. And I might bring cookies.