KidLitCon 2012

I am sure you have been waiting for my post about KidLitCon 2012, the New York version!

I went up the day before it all started, to meet Laura from Pinot & Prose for lunch at Fig & Olive. Best lunch ever! Oh, and the food was good, too.

I could have commuted each day from home, and enjoyed the long, long, long train ride. But where’s the fun in that? So instead, I shared a room with Kelly from Stacked (who ate scones in bed! on the plus side, they were scones from Alice’s Tea Cup and she shared) and Pam at MotherReader (who came up Friday with the most amazingly packed bag). Thursday night, Kelly and I met friends for dinner, including Leila from Bookshelves of Doom. I had never met Leila before, and meeting someone you “know” for the first time? So. much. fun. Here’s Leila!

I helped organize things with Betsy from A Fuse # 8 Production and Monica from Educating Alice. Betsy and Monica had the hard work; I mainly just helped brainstorm ideas and plans and select programs and such. KidLitCon is totally organized by individuals; very much I have a barn, let’s put on a show, without the barn. It moves from place to place each year, with different organizers, and so each year KidLitCon is a little bit different. This time around, it was New York, and what does New York have? Publishers. Monica took on the task of arranging publisher previews for people attending KidLitCon. It’s fun, and interesting, to hear about the upcoming books.

Friday night dinner was at IchiUmi. The buffet was wonderful, so much food and such a selection! One of my resolutions before KidLitCon was to not come home gaining weight from all the food. Take a peak at the desert and understand why that was a hard resolution to keep. My second resolution was to not bring home too many books. The publisher previews made that tough; it was made even worse by the guest speaker at dinner, Grace Lin (thanks to Little, Brown for that!). By the end of the dinner, I had two more books to add to my pile (thanks to the Bank Street Bookstore for being there to sell the books.)

Saturday was the conference itself. Pam had selected the hotel the three of us stayed at. In addition to have very nice size rooms (and not just “for New York” nice), and free Internet, there was a buffet breakfast which was a real breakfast, not just muffins and bananas. Things didn’t start till 10, so plenty of time to sleep in, chat, eat breakfast and then congregate on the steps of the New York Public Library, AKA the one with the lions.

Betsy gave opening remarks; one thing that distracted me, to be honest, was that this was the old reservoir! The Diamond In The Window has some terrific pictures and an explanation. (More here on New York City’s historic water system.)

The first program I went to was Don’t be a Twitt! Building a PLN Using Social Networks by Teri S. Lesesne (The Goddess of YA). It was fabulous; yes, I use social networks. Teri really helped put into words exactly why social networks like Twitter are important for professional development, complete with data. I’ll be pulling out her data and quoting her the next time someone says Twitter is just about sharing photos of food.

Next up, Kelly and Nova Ren Suma on Getting Series-ous: How Blog Series Can Engage, Inspire, and Grow Your Audience. Kelly and Nova spoke about blog series and tours that are put together by bloggers; and Nova also spoke from the point of view of the benefits of this type of promotion as an author.

Lunch was on our own, and after that, it was time for the panel I was on: KidLitCon 2012: Critical Reviewing in the Age of Twitter (from School Library Journal; photo also from SLJ). The moderator was Jen Hubert Swan of ReadingRants;  panelists were quite the assortment: Marjorie Ingall, a columnist with Tablet Magazine;  Monica Edinger of Educating Alice; Maureen Johnson; Sheila Barry of Making Books for Children and Groundwood Books; myself; and Betsy. What was particularly fun and informative about this panel was that we represented a range of viewpoints, from author to publisher, traditional book reviewer to blogger. This seems a good time to put in Leila’s photo, because her Bookshelves of Doom got a lot of love from the panel.

After, was The Changing Relationship Between Reader and Writer moderated by Karen Halpenny, VP of Children’s Media Association. Authors participating were Gayle Forman, Michael Northrop, Alyssa Sheinmel, and Adele Griffin. It was a fascinating look at public and private lives, all the more so from  having been informed by the previous programs on Twitter, blog series, and the critical reviewing discussion.

Finally, the keynote by Maureen Johnson! Keynote Speech (South Court Auditorium) delivered by the illustrious YA author Maureen Johnson! Being Maureen Johnson, she did something a bit differently. Instead of her standing and talking while we stared at her and Tweeted her words of wisdom, she brought in her friend and fellow author, Robin Wasserman, and the two had a witty, intelligent conversation. It was just like we were all stalkers hiding in her spare room as she chatted with a friend. Only, without the stalking.

Sunday, pretty much everyone had gone home. (I didn’t realize until reading Sondy’s post at SonderBooks that she was around). I went to my favorite, Alice’s Tea Cup, for breakfast; picked up cupcakes from Crumbs; indulged in a cab to save my back from all the books; and managed to catch the train that was full of football fans heading to the Meadowlands.

Here’s my final photo, and by “my” I mean that I lifted this from either Kelly or Pam’s blog. That’s Jess from Alice in Baker Street; Leila’s friend, Amanda; Leila of Bookshelves; Kelly of Stacked; Me, in a photo of myself I don’t hate but it doesn’t show to full advantage the terrific Peter Pan collar of my shirt; and Pam of MotherReader with the amazing Mary Poppins bag.

Not to be sappy, but this is what KidLitCon is really about. Connecting with old friends; meeting on line friends for the first time; and making new friends. I haven’t even mentioned how terrific it was to just sit and talk with Greg and Maureen and Sondy and Sheila and Melanie and Amy, well, you get the picture. Before this, I was all “I don’t know how I can afford to go to KidLitCon next year,” but now I wonder how I can afford not to.

Some links to posts about KidLitCon, in no particular order: Kelly at Stacked; Leila at Bookshelves of Doom; Pam at MotherReader; Betsy at A Fuse # 8 Production; Monica at Educating Alice; Melissa at The Book Nut; Maureen at Confessions of a Bibliovore; Sondy at SonderBooks; Jess from Alice in Baker Street; Lee & Low Books. And even more links at the KidLitCon webpage!

I’m sure I missed some; so please leave a link to your post in the comments.

KidlitCon 2012

It’s that time of year again; time for KidlitCon!

This is the sixth annual gathering of children’s and young adult book bloggers. First was 2007 in Chicago, 2008 Portland, 2009 DC, 2010 Minneapolis, 2011 Seattle (my five KidlitCon posts here), and now, for 2012 — it’s in New York City! A big thank you goes to Robin Brande, who organized the first one back in 2007.

The preconference is Friday, September 28th and the actual conference is Saturday, September 29th.

Jen Robinson of Jen Robinson’s Book Page has posted about the reasons to attend KidlitCon: “Get ideas for stepping up and/or revitalizing your blog; Meet people who you only know through their blogs; and Be surrounded by other people who love children’s and young adult literature as much as you do.”

Betsy at Fuse # 8 has details, including that the actual full day of conference is, wait for it, FREE.

The full price details, if payment is made by September 21:

  • $55 Full Conference, including pre-con, Friday dinner, and Saturday con
  • $35 Pre-Conference without dinner
  • $0 Saturday Conference
  • $55 Pre-Conference with dinner (special guest speaker: Grace Lin)
  • $50 Friday dinner (extra diner or only)

Monica Edinger of Educating Alice has been helping with organizing the preconference. Part of the fun of the movable feast of KidlitCon is being able to take advantage of what makes each location unique. For 2012, Monica has putting together “Friday previews with publishers . . . The participating publishers have been wonderful and attendees are going to have a wonderful time, I’m confident, visiting their offices and hearing about their new and forthcoming books.”

Don’t forget; the KidlitCon is what bloggers make it. Submit a program idea! The deadline is August 15!

KidlitCon 2012 Submissions

KidlitCon 2012 is taking place in New York City on September 28-29th. KidlitCon is the annual get together of Children’s and Young Adult Book Bloggers. This is year 6!

Proposals are being accepted for programs until Wednesday, August 15th. Here is more information at Fuse # 8; and here is a link to the proposal form.

KidlitCon is a volunteer effort, and that includes the programs that are done. It’s about real, actual, bloggers sharing their expertise and ideas.

And you know who the experts are about blogging.


So put on your thinking caps, brainstorm with your friends, and come up with that super idea! (Honestly, brainstorming on Twitter or g-chat or somesuch with friends is how I come up with ideas for things like this, tossing out an idea and someone saying “yes, I’d love a panel like that.”)

In case you haven’t submitted an idea for something like this before, here is the most important thing to know.

It doesn’t have to be perfect. Oh, don’t get me wrong: proofread, spellcheck, edit, revise, the usual stuff. But you don’t have to have the program all perfect; you just need a short description that will get people interested, that will make people think “oh, yeah, that sounds like something great/ I love talking about/ I haven’t seen before/ I haven’t seen it said that way before.” (Oh, here’s another thing: there may be something you do that you think is so typical “everyone” knows it or does it. We don’t.)

For example, let’s say you want to do a post on group blogging. Your description can be….. “how to set up and run a group blog.”

Now, eeek, you have to say “three learning outcomes.” I know, fancy talk, but that tells people what they’ll walk away with. For the example, setting up, running, and marketing a group blog — three things right there!

The proposal form also asks what will be “new” about your topic. This is a short place to pitch you and your blog –so for the group blog idea, it can be “candid insight into the highs and lows of a group project.”

Let’s see, what else on the form may be causing some questions? “Experience presenting” in other places. Yes, that can mean presenting at some local library conference, but before you let this stop you from submitting an idea, think of anytime for work or personal or the blog that you got up before a group of people and spoke about something. “Oh, that’s just the annual report at work, that’s just the local children’s writers group,” that’s just you presenting.

My last thoughts: if you are thinking at all of submitting? Submit. Take a chance. Toss that hat into the air. (Um, that one didn’t make sense, but it makes me think of Mary Tyler Moore, and the theme to her song, which always makes me smile and so I’m leaving it in.