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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Book Blog(H)ers, we need to talk...

...because we didn't get to do that at the BlogHer'09 Conference!




I mentioned in my BlogHer Bullet Points that
book blogging doesn't even begin to show up on the BlogHer conference radar, and I think this is a big mistake. I pitched a "Room of Your Own" session for book bloggers - it didn't get the votes. We couldn't even get a dedicated table at one of the "Birds of a Feather" lunches. BlogHer is a conference focused on women bloggers, and an awful lot of women are blogging about books - and influencing readers and book buyers. We're worth more notice than being lumped in with "entertainment" or "review" bloggers, although we do review (and, hopefully, we entertain). I think there's a vicious circle going on here, unfortunately - book bloggers won't come to general conferences like BlogHer if they don't feel that there's something meaningful there for them, but if they don't come to the conferences, the organizers won't consider them in program planning.
Sassymonkey, one of the very few book bloggers I met at BlogHer'09, and who also happens to be BlogHer.com's Contributing Editor for books, responded to that point:
I don't think that book bloggers aren't on BlogHer's radar. I mean, I'm saying this as someone who writes about the books blogosphere for them and has for the past three years. They are aware of the book bloggers. Absolutely. But...if we can only name four of us that were there should they really have a book blogger Room of Our Own? Books and blogs (or books to blogs) have been covered in some form at BlogHer the last few years. The only way that there will be a dedicated session on book blogging is we bring all our friends and demand it. It's what the mommybloggers did. I keep saying that book bloggers could learn a lot from mommybloggers and this is one of those areas. They showed up and stood on their chairs and said, Hey! What about us? We're here! I'm not saying we shouldn't have a Room Of Our Own session at all, I'm saying we need to bring the numbers to it.
On a related note, Sheri from A Novel Menagerie said:
You know, I really don't understand BlogHer. It would be good if you did a post explaining what it was and how it works. I know that they aren't accepting advertisers/bloggers any more (it's closed or something like that). But, it would be neat to understand this more.
Sassymonkey is right - book bloggers are on the radar of BlogHer.com, the website. But they're not a presence at the conference, and she's also right that if we want to be a factor in the programming, we need to become a presence first. If I'd realized how little a space we seem to be occupying on BlogHer.com, and how few of us were planning on going to the conference, I'd never have proposed a Book Blogger "Room of Your Own" program in the first place. The lack of book bloggers at BlogHer was one of my biggest disappointments - and if we're not there, why should they notice us? But as I said in my bullet-point item, I think that it's a mistake for both book bloggers and BlogHer not to pay attention to each other.

BlogHer.com's Blog Directory lists 1200 blogs in the "entertainment and books" category - is yours one of them? Why should it be?
"BlogHer's mission is to create opportunities for women who blog to pursue exposure, education, community and economic empowerment. Today BlogHer is the leading participatory news, entertainment and information network for women online. We invite you to join us to gain additional exposure for your blogs and your ideas -- and you can even start your first blog here with us if you like. With more than 38,000 members and 18,000 blogs on our blog list, we're all working together to create a community that is fun, informative and supportive."
If you're a woman with a blog, regardless of its focus, this is a community you really should consider joining. As a member for over two years, I've learned a lot and participated in some great online discussions, and cross-linking posts there has helped drive traffic here. It costs you nothing to join, and in order to have the chance to attend BlogHer's conferences and join its advertising/publishing network (which periodically opens to new member blogs), you have to belong to BlogHer.com.

BlogHer.com's content spans a wide spectrum of topics and interests, and its conference programming does too. Regardless of your blog's topic or focus, it's a great resource for growing and improving your blog, and also an excellent source for finding new blogs and information about almost any topic that interests you - including books.

I love it when book bloggers have the chance to participate in book-centric events like BEA, and I am eagerly anticipating taking in the L.A. Times Festival of Books with other California book bloggers again next spring. But I'm not sure we should restrict ourselves to only the bookish - it's a big blogiverse out there, with lots of opportunity. I'd love to see us playing a role in more general events like BlogHer . The food bloggers and craft bloggers and humor bloggers were there, and they were recognized - why shouldn't the book bloggers be, too? But we have to start by getting ourselves noticed - "bringing the numbers," as Sassymonkey put it. Book Blogger Appreciation Week is coming up, and that's a time when we recognize each other - I'd love to see us recognized outside of our own community as well, and participating in BlogHer is one way we can make that happen. I hope you'll join me there...and maybe we can join each other in New York City for BlogHer'10!
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19 comments:

  1. I started a really long comment on this and well, anything more than three paragraphs is a post, not a comment. I need to find time to post because (unsurprisingly) I have a lot to say about this. lol

    In short, I love the book blogging community. And I love the BlogHer community. And it would rock my socks off if the two could get together.

    Also, it was searching for blogs to link to in a BlogHer post that I found Florinda's blog.

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  2. I know that I want to become more involved with BlogHer. . .I think it's a great organization. Nice call to arms, Florinda. You're right, let's make it a point to get more book bloggers involved next year!

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  3. I submitted my blog to BlogHer a while ago but I don't see it listed. Maybe I did something wrong.

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  4. Sassymonkey - I remember that you linked to my post on the BEATwittyparty over on BlogHer.com. I was SO excited!

    And I hope everyone who reads this follows the link over to your post. Thanks!

    Amy - I really hope it'll happen. I know some people have concerns about the costs, but it's almost a year away, and hopefully that's enough time to get the funds. I had concerns about the social whirl, so I just stayed out of a lot of it - and I'd be glad to have some book bloggers to hang out and avoid parties with!

    Kathy (Bermudaonion) - I e-mailed you; you're there.

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  5. Well, I am a BlogHer member. I am a personal friend -- like invited to her wedding -- of one of the founders. And somehow I have never managed to get to one of the conferences. It's never both a time and a place I can get away. More on my love-hate relationship with BlogHer from last year. Seriously, maybe next year, or the year after that....

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  6. Bridget - I remember your post from last year, actually. And I can understand the love-hate relationship. But I hope you'll be there next year, and that we ShortWomen can meet up in person!

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  7. I can truly say I have a login for the site, but have been remiss in participating because I find the format confusing. I may have to go back and check it out again. its been too long and if BlogHer will be in NYC, I will likely be there since its close to d.c.

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  8. Serena - Navigating around BlogHer.com takes a little practice, but they're adding new features all the time. As for BlogHer'10, yes, it will be just up the road (or the train line) from you!

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  9. I saw your tweets about this (lack of book bloggers at BlogHer), and I admire that you're "walking the walk" by already signing up for the 2010 conference.

    Timely for me, I checked my BlogHer acct; I've been a member for "51 weeks, 3 days", but don't seem to have my blog listed. Hmmm, I'll have to search some more, then re-submit.

    Thanks, Florinda!

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  10. Dawn - It seemed like the right thing to do :-)...I thought I should be able to say, "Well, I'M going!" if I'm trying to encourage other book bloggers to be there too.

    And if this campaign falls flat, and/or I change my mind, I'm pretty sure someone would buy my ticket - this thing always sells out!

    And I e-mailed you about your blog listing.

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  11. Thanks for pointing me in the right direction - I've submitted the form to update my blog's categorization on Blogher (one step in the right direction!)

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  12. Dawn - Glad I could help :-). And it turns out I had to change my blog's categorization there too; I wasn't listed with "Entertainment and Books Blogs" either!

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  13. A little late to the party... BUT here's the 2c from a writer.

    I saw a LOT of the book bloggers in your comment trail go to BookExpo America this year. I wonder -- and this ought to be asked -- if given the choice between a book conference and a blogging one, which would win. Maybe it's about location. I don't know.

    I, too, have forgotten my password to BlogHer, it's been so long since I've been there. I tried, but couldn't figure out the point. This was back when I started blogging, so back in '06. Maybe it's changed; I don't know. I haven't had much incentive to return, to be honest.

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  14. Susan - I think you're right that the question needs to be asked, and it may be that my answer is different than some others' would be. I'm a blogger first, and topic-centric second, regardless of what the topic is. For some book bloggers, the emphasis may be different, and a book-related conference or trade show may have more appeal than a blogging-related one.

    Location probably is a factor, and I'm sure cost is too.

    Where this really comes from: it's about me, of course :-). I just missed seeing "my" people at BlogHer and would really like to have more of them there to hang out with next year.

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  15. Thanks for all the info Florinda! I'm trying to list my blog, but it says I have to enter something in the "Body" field. I'm not sure what to do with that. Do I just copy and paste my last blog entry or write up a description of my blog? They don't give you any direction! =Z

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  16. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  17. Dreamybee - I think they've changed the form since I listed my blog, and you're right - it is kind of vague. I'd go with some description of your blog in the "Body" field, though.

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  18. Thanks, I'll try that. I guess if it's wrong, they'll probably let me know.

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  19. Dreamybee - Chances are pretty good that they will. Good luck!

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Now it's YOUR turn - speak your piece, please! Or just let me know you were here; I always like that. But you'll have to leave a name - I've disallowed anonymous comments due to some recent spam problems. Thanks!