This last weekend, I was lucky enough to attend KidLitCon 2011, held right here in Seattle. The conference is put on by Kidlitosphere Central, which is a community of bloggers, librarians, teachers, reviewers, authors, parents and others who are passionate about children’s literature. What a great resource for me, I thought, as I make forays into the world of reviewing children’s literature in a more deliberate manner. I’ve always documented and opined what I’ve been reading on websites like Goodreads, and more recently in 140 characters or less on Twitter, but I’m ready to step it up by bringing more thorough reviews to my blog. This conference was a great resource as I’m getting my head around my vision, the best way to execute that emerging vision, and all the while being helpful and thoughtful about what I’m sharing. Two days later, I can’t say with confidence I know what I’m doing, but I know I’ve got a passion for it, and I’m going to pursue it.
Below are some thoughts and reflections on my weekend of meeting new people, learning lots, and realizing just how much more I have to learn. Thank goodness for a community of people so willing to share their wisdom!
- Carpooling with a new blogging friend to the conference was way more fun than commuting in by myself. Thanks We Be Reading!
- I need business cards. Duh. Kinda of hard to have people check out your blog, if you can’t handily give them that information.
- Saturday’s highlight included a great keynote address by best-selling young adult author Scott Westerfeld. Never read his books before, but sure want to now. Leviathan is on my bedside table. A bit star struck that he sat down right across from me at lunch that day. A group of us had an interesting discussion about publishing and promotion.
- And related to Scott, I learned a new word: steampunk. Guess, I’ve been in the land of girlish picture books and middle grade reads for too long.
- Author Kirby Larson is lovely. My kids were beside themselves about a signed copy of Two Bobbies. I am anxious to dive into The Friendship Doll soon.
- After hearing discussions on critical reviews, I think it’s okay to share them. While often it’s tempting to just give the rosy, happy reviews, it might actually be helpful to someone to know what didn’t work for you. As I do that, I might find a way to recommend it to someone who might actually connect with the book.
- Mid-conference technology discovery: TweetChat. Can you tell I’ve been on Twitter for less than six months? This interface was easy to use and really helpful for following all the interesting live conference chatter.
- Technology I want to check out: Net Vibes (for my desktop; I’ll never leave the Flipboard app on iPad), TweetDeck (I use HootSuite occassionally now, but most I heard from prefer this), and FeedBurner or FeedBlitz. Anyone had any luck with either of those feed consolidator widgets that works with WordPress.com? I’d like to be able to send a bi-weekly update, rather than daily, or weekly. Such a fussy site for widgets.
- The weekend made me realize I need to reflect on my blog audience. Am I writing for me? Friends? The great big world? I loved a quote from Melissa, a blogger at Booknut: “I blog for me, and you can come to my party if you want.” Join the party, people.
- I need to be more confident about self-promotion. Somebody might actually want to hear what I have to say, but they’ll never know I’m shouting about it, unless I tell them when and where I’m shouting.
- I want to re-organize my blog to make it easier for others to find what they’re looking for, be it books, reviews, or recipes . . . not sure how, but willing to barter home cooked food in exchange for web design guidance! Until that hungry web designer comes forward, bear with me.
- Things to ponder: How much money do I want to invest in something that really isn’t going to make a dime? Web design? Domain name registration?
- And on the money front, I spend too much money on books. And now, I need to spend some on more bookcases.
- It was a great weekend. Thanks to all who shared, and to new people I met, I hope we’ll keep in touch via the Twittersphere and elsewhere. It is so lovely that there are so many people passionate about children’s literature. It was really powerful to be in a room full of people charged up about a love we share. Thanks to our funny and talented event organizers Colleen Mondor and Jackie Parker.