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My experience on the book blogger panel

June 4, 2009

When I joined the book blogging community almost three years ago, I thought I had found my new home. I had been blogging previously at a separate URL about the adoption of my youngest daughter from China for a while before switching over to a book blog. I love to read and write, so hey, this was the perfect forum for me. I decided to leave the adoption blogging community for two reasons – first, my adoption process was almost finished and I felt like there wasn’t all that much more to say on the topic and second, there were so many hurt feelings and controversies floating around that I knew it wasn’t the place for me. Take men and women (the majority who cannot conceive on their own) and tell them to wait three plus years to see their babies faces and you’ll know what kind of hurt feelings and bickering can go on. I no longer wanted any part of that.      

If you’ve read my blog with any regularity, you’ll know that I’m not the type of blogger to write about controversial topics. This may stem from the fact that I am not one who likes confrontation and would rather let someone else hash it out. This isn’t to say I don’t have an opinion and now feel the need, as a panelist at BEA, to share it with you. I’ve commented over the last two days on various blogs with regards the the whole BEA panel controversy. To imagine that there would be a BEA panel controversy shocks me. Shouldn’t we as part of the blogging social media world want to work with each other to continue to grow our community?  

There are people who didn’t feel the panel was a fair representation of the whole book blogging world. It wasn’t my intention to represent each and every one of us, because frankly that would be impossible. I went there to discuss the topic, which was strengthening relationships between bloggers and people in the publishing industry. I also felt it would be a good opportunity to connect with a lot of the bloggers who have been following me since my blog inception in 2006. Because book blogging is not only writing about books, but also developing relationships with my readers. 

Let’s all be honest with ourselves. No matter which five people would have been picked to be on the panel at BEA, there would always have been someone who wasn’t happy.

blogpanel @ BEA 2009

I do receive review copies from authors and publishers alike and was asked to speak at BEA on ways in which we can make these relationships stronger. I do not receive unsolicited books and only take the books I intend on reading. In fact, of the books I’ve read this year, more than 70% half came from my own personal library. I make it clear to the publishers, book tour companies and authors I work with that I will give a fair review of the books I read. I write from the heart.

I guess this is what happens when you take a step out of your comfort zone and try something new. I’m not a public speaker or have an advanced degree in English Literature, but I am a book blogger and proud of it. I’ve seen my fellow book blogger feel the need to defend herself on her blog and am saddened over this whole situation.

I’m proud to have been asked to speak on the panel and for the opportunity to share my thoughts with all of you. I will keep blogging about books for as long as it interests me and hope that you will continue to follow along.

23 Comments leave one →
  1. June 4, 2009 2:21 pm

    I couldn’t agree with you more. I love that you tackled this issue. I have left a few comments around but can’t seem to articulate my thoughts well enough for a post. Plus, I think you and Amy said it better than I ever could.

  2. June 4, 2009 2:23 pm

    Amen. Nicely put. I’m proud of us.

  3. June 4, 2009 2:25 pm

    I’m a Danish novelist who went to BEA and I truly enjoyed the Book Blogger panel. So what’s the problem? I thought that everybody did a good job and I got some good pointers on how to get my own blog out in the world.

    Envy is part of human nature. There is always going to be people who are pissed at you no matter what you do. THE PANEL WAS JUST FINE!!!!

  4. June 4, 2009 2:30 pm

    Well said! I think you ladies did a wonderful job of speaking about the topic you were presented with.

  5. June 4, 2009 2:35 pm

    Who was on the panel? I was looking at the faces and then realized I don’t know what anyone looks like behind their words. HA! Aside from you, that is!

  6. June 4, 2009 3:21 pm

    Nicely said! I love the conversational, approachable nature of the book bloggers I know and work with. No one should be bullied into handling their thoughts and feelings in a different way. The blogger panel was amazing! You were approached and asked to join in and that’s something to be extremely proud of! 😉

  7. June 4, 2009 3:23 pm

    You spoke very well on Saturday. I’m proud of you and ever other member of that panel.

  8. June 4, 2009 3:25 pm

    I agree wholeheartedly, and absolutely echo your last paragraph.

    po-tay-to; po-tah-toe … is there a clear definition of “lit blog” and “book blog?”

    I could pull out the Harvard diploma, refresh the critical lit courses, and write in a more high-brow style, but that’s not where I am in my life.

    Loving what I do, and pleased to be asked to sit on the panel with these other bloggers and to share MY opinion!

  9. June 4, 2009 4:03 pm

    Like I said on Amy’s blog, there will always be people who feel they weren’t represented. Was I represented? I think so, but Buddy Whatshisface might not feel the same way. How can this be remedied? I don’t think you could unless you had dozens of blogger panels and that would be a whole other convention.

  10. June 4, 2009 4:11 pm

    To me the “representation” thing is a bogus issue – it has more to do with not wanting to relinquish power and influence. But the great thing now is that with blogs and twitter, everyone who is attacked can get instant support from each other. …which proves the point so many have already made that “community” is a big part of the whole thing. Yay for all the bloggers who went to BEA and did their best on the panel and had a great time and helped build community!

  11. June 4, 2009 5:44 pm

    I’m dying to know what this “controversy” is. I can’t find it in a blog that I subscribe to. I did see a few “snide” things in one post about level 1 and level 2 bloggers… but, I don’t think that was it. Is anybody going to share what controversy? I want to read the post that hurt Amy’s feelings!


    • June 5, 2009 7:01 am

      Maybe controversy is too strong a word. The blogs who posted about our panel (and I’ve linked to them above) did so without being snide or obnoxious – they were just sharing their opinion, which I respect. Comments and tweets however have been flying around like crazy and have put a lot of people in a tizzy. I just hate this type of stuff.

  12. readingextravaganza permalink
    June 4, 2009 5:49 pm

    Hey, you’re honest and that’s what counts the most. And you are following your own heart and instincts and that counts too. I really don’t see the big deal about the panel. I think it was a great idea to give voice to book bloggers and if there are any that don’t realize that what you guys represented was your own opinions then maybe they are in the wrong place. I think of it just as I think of reviewing books: every review is a subjective opinion, some like it others don’t but overall, it brings others attention to the book in question. The same with the panel: you expressed your own subjective opinion, some might not agree with it but thanks to people like you our world of blogging gets more attention and recognition. Kudos to you (and other girls on the panel) for the sheer courage to even go, stand in front of all those people and speak up.

  13. June 4, 2009 7:32 pm

    Sorry to hear there was some controversy. Bleh. But hopefully lots of good comes from the experience of having the panel.

  14. June 5, 2009 5:42 am

    Frankly, as you said, no matter what the panel, somebody is going to be unhappy. I believe there is no point defending, people will believe what they want to. Don’t let a section of people make you believe that you weren’t good, keep up with the good work and thanks for representing us at the panel. You girls were great!!!

  15. June 5, 2009 7:29 am

    Stephanie, I’m very pleased with the panel members who represented me and all book bloggers. Thank you.

  16. June 5, 2009 12:29 pm

    This controversy is ridiculous. I am sure that next year they will pick some other bloggers so I am guessing everyone will get a turn who wants one.

  17. June 7, 2009 11:28 pm

    Very well said!

  18. June 8, 2009 8:33 pm

    I so wish I had been at BEA so I could have met you! 🙂

    I’ve fallen a bit behind on my blog reading lately because I was out of town and stuff so I sort of missed all the “controversy” but I saw Amy’s fabulous post and have heard bits here and there. It’s a shame that this happened. I say “yay” to you girls for giving us all book bloggers a voice out there!

  19. June 10, 2009 10:21 am

    Stephanie: I believe that you and the other panelists did a fine job, and the point of the panel was to discuss the pre-selected issues at hand–the relationships between bloggers, publishers, authors, and independent booksellers.

    I think that everyone addressed the issues well and to the best of their ability.

    The problem with blogging is that there will always be outsiders or those feeling on the outside who will want to raise up their arms and say what about me. Well, what about you. Do you love what you do? Do it. If you want more recognition, go get it. The Internet is the vehicle, but the effort comes from the blogger behind the keyboard. The more effort you put into it, the better your blog and you will be.

    I will jump down from the soapbox, but I think its best that we all concentrate on how we treat one another and that should be done with respect.

  20. June 11, 2009 12:11 pm

    I listened to the panel on Blog Talk Radio. It was really difficult to hear some of the questions and answers but that’s the nature of the thing from time to time. 🙂

    I think every book blogger runs his or her blog differently and writes book reviews for different reasons. I’m sure it helped some authors and publishers who haven’t embraced book blogging have a better understanding of it.

  21. June 11, 2009 7:19 pm

    Apparently, I’ve been away from my blog-hopping for too long. I’m so sorry the BEA blogger panel has turned into such a negative situation for so many. I won’t even go into my personal opinions about lit blogs vs. book blogs, ARCs and book tours, or comments and staats. Suffice it to say, if nobody ever read my blog, I’d continue posting. It brings me great pleasure to put my thoughts to words, to have a record of what I read, and to connect with others who share a similar passion. And, yet, a major reason I do enjoy having readers is that without those readers and this blog, I wouldn’t have met so many wonderful people all over the world. The friendships mean so much more to me than all the free books in the world.


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