Wednesday, January 7, 2009

A Proposal for Book Bloggers

So I had this wild idea for a Book Blogger Convention. I mean, why not? Trekkies (or Trekkers?) have conventions annually, and with the success of John's link-up-meme, which even inspired a song, I realized that there is probably enough of us out there to merit a small convention. I think it would be fun to meet a bunch of you. Maybe we can even lure in some New York publishing professionals.

This post is to gauge interest.

The number of blogs that John currently has listed is around 150. I don't see a lot of romance blogs on the list, so there's a bunch more. Plus mystery bloggers. And thriller, and horror and YA bloggers. And general fiction bloggers and other genres that I didn't think of. The number could run well over a thousand serious bloggers. Assuming that a quarter might attend (optimistic, I know) is that enough for a convention? I figure some publicists and authors might want to attend as well. Maybe we can even expand it to include movie and game reviewers.

I ran a number of search terms through Google to see if something like this already exists. There are several general blogger conventions, but none that appear to be specifically about book reviews. I also ran "book blogger convention", "review blogger convention", and reviewer convention" through the search engine, all without any interesting results. Do you know of any book blogger conventions?

Here's what I've thought of so far:

Where? Either Atlanta, Columbia (SC), Jacksonville, Orlando or Tampa. Why one of those places? Because it was my idea, and I need it within driving distance. Pretty please. I have to be able to bring the husband and kid. My daughter is disabled and cannot be separated from me for frivolous reasons. (And yes, this counts as frivolous, at least as far as my daughter is concerned.)

When? Any off-peak convention weekend. We're not going to be able to afford on-peak convention room charges our first year. So this probably means the fall at the earliest, because we'll need time to plan.

Why? To meet each other, to swap ideas, to critique each other's blogs, to listen to New York publishing professionals opinions, etc. And just because it will be fun.

Do you like the idea? If so, please do one the following:

  • If you like the idea and might consider attending, please leave a comment. If you think I'm nuts, go ahead and leave a comment as well. I might need someone to talk me out of this.
  • If you like the idea and want to be involved in the organizing effort (if we move forward), please send me an email at tia dot nevitt at gmail dot com with the word "Convention" in the subject line.
  • If you like the idea and want to spread the word, please blog about it and link here. I don't usually ask for links, but I'm asking now. Please Twitter it, Digg it, FaceBook it, MySpace it and whatever-else it. Mention it on bulletin boards that you frequent. Approach Big Name Bloggers of all genres. Spread the word far and wide.
If you'd rather not comment here, go ahead and email me at tia dot nevitt at gmail.com. If we go forward with this, we'll set up some chat sessions to work out the preliminary details.

57 comments:

Neth said...

I like the idea, but I wouldn't be able to attend. I wouldn't be able to justify missing time with the family and possibly time from work for something like this. Plus the cost of a cross-country trip is prohibitive for a hobby that already takes up too much time.

In a few years when the kid is older and I (presumably) have some more income...maybe

Aidan Moher said...

I'll echo Neth's comments. The idea is grand and I'd love to get to finally meet all the internet celebs, but being on the west coast of Canada makes a convention in that area of the continent just too far away!

~Aidan

Tez Miller said...

Am in Oz, and can't afford to go overseas...or even interstate ;-)

Have a lovely day! :-)

Raven said...

I'm with the other two. A convention sounds like fun and I could totally imagine having a blast there, but I wouldn't be able to afford to attend. I hope some other people will, though, because it's something I would love to go to later on, when (if?) I have more time and disposable income.

Raven said...

Other three... Tez sneaked in while I was writing my post!

Not sure if I qualify as a book blogger exactly anyway... I'll put myself in the reviewer category. :)

Tia Nevitt said...

Categories, schmategories.

Nashville is a bit of a long drive but maybe? It's an awfully big country.

Any east coasters?

TK42ONE said...

First, I love the idea.

Second, I'm with everyone else so far. Although I'm on the east coast, getting too far from home is a chore for me.

Third, and most important, don't let the second point get you down. I see a lot of interest already. And even though people may not be there in person (or at least the first six of thousands), I think at the very least we can do something together. Some sort of concerted effort, concerted review, who knows what.

Finally, I realize I just lumped myself in the reviewers. Maybe that will help me push for more Library Dad content.

Kristen said...

I love this idea! Sadly, I wouldn't be able to make it, though. I am on the east coast, but I'm in Maine, so it's still not very close to any of those places. I couldn't get the amount of time necessary off from work, nor could I afford the cost of a trip that far away right now.

S.M.D. said...

Tia,
I'm in. And yes, a convention of, say, 100ish people is plenty. You could host it at a hotel, since it's small. There are plenty of niche conventions with very small numbers. Depending your numbers you could even have publishers come out to sell some new books or some such *shrugs* Even some authors might be interested in stopping by.

Feel free to send me an email or something if you want to talk more about it off-blog or twitter me, or whatever! This is a fantastic idea!

Amy said...

Trish of Hey Lady! is working on organizing a book blogger's retreat...but we're planning West Coast.

I'd be up for whatever ends up working out. I'm more of a general fiction blogger. :)

Jayden said...

I'd love the idea.

But seeing as I'm not a blogger (sadly, though I'm thinking about it. hard. ;) ), plus I'm in Europe, makes the whole point a bit problematic.

But I wish you well with this. I'd love to read about how it turns out.

LoopdiLou said...

I would love to attend a Convention, particularly since I'm a former gaming convention junkie.. haven't been to one in years though. Seriously, though, if I have money in the fall, and time.. I'm there!

Cheryl said...

Interesting idea, and there is of course a lot of convention-running expertise around that you could call on. However, I already go to a lot of conventions where I can talk about books (Worldcon, World Fantasy, WisCon, ICFA, Readercon, Potlatch, Foolscap etc.) At some of those I can also talk about blogging. Why would I want to go to a separate book-blogging convention?

ediFanoB said...

Apart from that I'm not a blogger I like your idea.
I would describe myself as a missing link between blogger and lurker.

I read a lot of blogs and for me itm seems that there is a lot communication between bloggers.

Dark Wolf said...

This is a very nice idea and one that it should be considered. Unfortunately due to my location I will not be able to attend it :)
Still it will be nice to have a blogger convention ;)

Tia Nevitt said...

Wolf, I thought of you when I wrote this post. Maybe we can work out something online, if there is enough interest. I'm thinking we'd have to have AT LEAST a convention blog.

As for why, a separate book-blogging convention at a hotel would probably be less expensive and shorter in duration than the big cons. I'm considering going to the Romantic Times Booklover's Convention because it's in Orlando. However, the $450 price tag really puts me off.

Plus, there really is a sense of community among book bloggers--we'd love to meet each other!

Graeme Flory said...

This is a great idea but as a UK blogger (and someone who has to save for a trip to New Zealand next year...) there's just no way that I could afford to make it this time. I hope it works out though as I would love to go to a future convention :o)

Grasping for the Wind said...

If it could be pulled together, I absolutely would come.

Grasping for the Wind said...

Oh yea, and I am an east coaster, formerly ATL, now Raleigh, NC.

Ana said...

This is an AWESOME idea and I would make a serious effort to attend even if I live in the UK. But it would depend on dates and the where – East Coast is cheaper and quicker obviously.

Angela/SciFiChick said...

Great idea and sounds like fun.
But I probably wouldn't be able to make it unless it was in the MidWest.
Comic Con is my big one for the year. It's hard to justify spending money for another big trip.

T.D. Newton said...

Hmm. Only if you let people like me attend so I can solicit to get my self-published book reviewed. Plus, you're right, it would be fun to meet people interested in the same subject matter.

And, frankly, any excuse to travel is a good one (if you can afford it).

Daya said...

I love this idea! I live in the Midwest, but any reason to travel (especially FL) would be nice
Even though I'm short on funds I have to echo John--if it's doable I would definitely attend!

Jennifer Estep said...

I think this is a really cool idea. I would definitely attend if I could, and I'm sure there are lots of other book folks out there (authors, readers, etc.) who would too.

Maria said...

Maybe what you could do is get it added to an existing conference--a panel or a meeting that takes place in one of the conventions already organized. That would help because you wouldn't have to do all the organizing, but you could help plan panels, meetings, topics, etc. I would think any of the numerous book conferences might be interested--there's mystery conventions and fantasy ones too.

You wouldn't have to worry about participation either. PLUS writers and publishing people would have more incentive to go and a lot of us fit in many of the categories...

Maybe instead of trying to organize it yourself, find a conference in one of those places and see how difficult it would be to get onboard!!!

K.C. Shaw said...

I think it's a great idea! I'll come if it's close enough to me--I'm in East Tennessee. I wish you'd hold it in Knoxville. :)

I prefer smaller conventions held in an inexpensive hotel (or on the campus of a smaller college if you schedule it during a semester break like end of May or early August). There's more chance to network and talk to people who share your interests. You could probably attract some smaller publishers too. Free/cheap books for the book bloggers? You bet!

And yeah, technically I'm not even a book blogger, but I do seem to blog about other people's books more than mine. So, um, I could come too, right?

SQT said...

Like a lot of other people, I like the idea but doubt I could attend an East Coast event. I'm in California and it's very unlikely I could afford to go across country.

SciFiGuy said...

It's a great idea Tia but the travel and expense is a big obstacle. I like the idea of a massive online convention. Alternatively, piggy-backing on an existing convention such as a major regional convention (SF/Fantasy) might be an option. Perhaps it is a bit ambitious to try and accomplish this this year. With more time to prepare and get the word out some momentum might be gained. In any case I will offer to do what I can from an online point of view to support whatever initiative you come up with.

Tia Nevitt said...

I can't imagine that the conference would have any "entrance requirement" other than a desire to attend and a willingness to pay the fee. So yes, authors, both self published and otherwise, would certainly be welcome.

Interesting idea about piggybacking onto another conference. That's definitely an option.

Cheryl said...

WisCon and Worldcon are both open to programming suggestions. You can find their suggestions forms here and here.

I'm pretty sure that both cons have had panels about book-blogging before. Indeed I was a blogging panel at WisCon a few years back. Both conventions also have traditions of fan-run parties, which is a good way for small groups to get together within a bigger event.

S.M.D. said...

Well, would a good option be to perhaps have east cost meetups and west coast meetups (either at an existence convention, or as our own, or whatever), and then see where that goes. If it works out, perhaps do a merged convention somewhere in the middle. We could call it the Meeting in the Middle: The International Convention of Blogging Book Reviewers.

Dark Wolf said...

The idea of an online convetion is great too. This way a lot of people can participate and who otherwise couldn't. Also I believe that authors and publishers can attend one as well.
And it will be very interesting to make some awards to go with the convention. Maybe we can begin an annual award for the best book on genres, best author, best artist and others such as this. It will be symbolic, but interesting nonetheless.

Aaron M. Wilson said...

Wow. This is a good idea. I'll help get the word out some time soon.

But, I don't think that I could make it. Depends if I'm teaching, adjuncts don't get paid time off and can't miss class.

Good luck!

jumpdrives said...

The online option is appealing... I certainly wouldn't be able to make it very far away from where I am due to life circumstances. And unfortunately, to get anywhere major from Winnipeg is a lengthy drive, with the possible exception of Minneapolis/St. Paul :)

Maria said...

From reading the comments, maybe it should start as an online thing and I love the idea of awards. Spinetingler does some awards in various categories and it really gives some unknown names a chance to be recognized. With all the bloggers blogging about books, you'd get some interesting nominations and just that idea alone would be easier to start with and fun for everyone.

Tia Nevitt said...

I think the awards idea is great, and I like the idea of an online event, either standalone or simultaneous to a live event.

Web developers, please stand up!

Mark Chitty said...

It's a great idea, but like so many it would be just so far out of my price range :( Still, if anything online came about I'd be more than up for something like that!

Tia Nevitt said...

I'll work on this some more over the weekend, contacting some other bloggers and seeing if there is any interest in other genres.

Unfortunately, if you have linked to this article, I'm going to have a hard time noticing because Blogger's backlinks are so messed up. Technorati will help, but Technorati lets a lot of blogs slip through the cracks.

So if you link here and I don't notice, that's the reason why. Please email or comment so I can thank you!

Tia Nevitt said...

I put up a convention blog so we don't have to have all this convention talk on Fantasy Debut. It is here:

BookBloggerCon

Feel free to continue the discussion over there.

Carolyn Jean said...

I am SO into this!! I would definitely try to come.

Brie said...

This is a great idea. I do live in Hawaii but I have no problem making it to the mainland for something like this.

WriteBlack said...

I love the idea -- and since I live in Florida, would likely be able to attend if it's in any of the cities you mentioned.

Wendy said...

I'm with the Tampa setting! And depending on what day it would be - which I would need to know weeks in advance - if I could call off work and hopefully not have any classes then I'm in!

Tia Nevitt said...

Thanks for all the support, guys!

Liz said...

This is an awesome idea, it really is. I would love to attend and depending on the cost from the UK it may be possible, with enough advance warning.

Good thinking bat-girl!

Liz x

Chris said...

Sounds like fun but I don't think I could do it. Good luck!

Katiebabs a.k.a KB said...

This sounds like a great idea, but the question is where and when?

Benjamin said...

I like the idea.

Money is a little tight right now so I might not be able to make it to anything this year. I'm also not too crazy about having it Florida but I might relent since it was your idea. :)

Tia Nevitt said...

I'm so glad this idea is still drawing so much interest! I still need to get with the Big Name Bloggers, but I hope to be able to start sending emails tonight.

superwench83 said...

Well, I'm not really a book blogger, but as a future published author (yes, I'm feeling optimistic today!), I think it's a good idea for book bloggers to have a networking opportunity like this. Book bloggers have become so beneficial in getting word out to readers about authors' books, and something like this might generate even more interest in book blogs, which means more readers would learn about these authors' books....Well, I can't seem to get the gist of what I want to say from my head to my keyboard. I guess what I'm trying to say is that anything that's good for book bloggers is bound to be good for authors, too.

So I'll spread the word. Since I'm not a book blogger, I'm not sure I could be of any help to you in planning this thing, but if there is something I can do, let me know!

Tia Nevitt said...

Thank you, Katie! You have a pretty good blog following, so that helps! Readers are welcome to the convention blog, btw.

Barbara Martin said...

I came via Dark Wolf's Fantasy Reviews to say I would love to attend, but due to medical reasons would be unable to.

However, I do write reviews on other genres from fantasy/sci-fi: crime, YA, romance, historical suspense and non-fiction.

Callista said...

Trish was thinking of a Book Blogger's Retreat, not sure if that's the same thing: http://heylady.net/2008/10/31/book-blogger-retreat/

The BBAW Directory has whole bunch of book blogs and i know there are MANY more than that: http://www.greencritter.com/bbaw/

I couldn't attend, I'm too poor to go to the states.

Teddy Rose said...

Great idea. Someone out here in the west was trying to organize one as well. She had a poll and it was looking like Portland. That a doable drive for me. The east is out for me.

debnance said...

Yes. It sounds possible.

Natasha @ Maw Books said...

Interesting. The kidlit bloggers already have done this twice with great success. Trish at Hey Lady has also expressed interest in putting together a conference on the western coast and is currently pulling something together. I recently had a gathering with all of the book bloggers in Utah and it was fantastic! I think it's a great idea.

Tricia said...

This would be so fun. I like all of your locations, but Columbia and Atlanta are best for me!