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Guest Post: How a Book Blogger Tackles Conferences

We've been exploring the world of book, writing, and publishing conferences this week, but we thought it would be interesting to get the perspective of a reviewer. So, joining us today is Sasha K, one half of the best-friend book reviewing tandem Sash & Em, who has been to more book events and conferences than some published authors! Take it away, Sash!

Book Conferences can be one of the most intimidating events that a book lover can go to; whether you’re a writer or just a reader, but especially if you’re a book blogger. There are things that a book blogger might have to think about differently than someone else attending (how will I get people to remember my blog?!). Here are some things that I try to do to prepare, as well as general guidelines I try to remember during the conference.

Things I do to prepare:

Sasha with our own Veronica Roth
  • Talk on twitter/blogs/etc with my blogging buddies to see who else is going and where they’ll be staying! Hanging out with other bloggers is always a great way to help you explore new ideas and give (and get!) constructive criticism. 
  • When talking with my buddies, I try to see if anyone wants to room with me (especially if my blogmate isn’t going). Conferences can become EXPENSIVE with all of the travel/food/etc so if you can save by sharing a hotel room with someone, do it! 
  • Make sure I have enough business cards so that I can give them out. As a book blogger, I have to keep in mind that people aren’t going to just remember my website’s name. 
Once the conference has begun there are some general tips that I tend to follow:

Sasha with Cassandra Clare
  • I try to actually talk to the publishers! I try to take the time to speak with them about what they’ve been reading, any exciting titles that are coming up, and how they’re enjoying the conference. There might be books out there that I didn’t know about! 
  • I don’t grab every single book I see, and I don’t push people to get to a book I’ve been wanting. Not only would my shoulders hurt, but there’s no way I’d be able to read and review all of them! I take a moment and read the synopsis, and if it’s something I think I’d like, then I pick it up. It’s important to remember that as a blogger, I represent not only myself but the entire book blogging community. 
  • I make an itinerary. The conference websites have all of the events/book signings/etc listed on their site and it’s super useful to plan ahead of time. If there is a specific title or author that I’ve been pining after, I make sure to make that a must-go-to event (usually for me, author events/signings are pretty high on my to-do list). I know I can’t possibly attend every event, so prioritizing is key. This is different for every blogger, so just do what I feel like doing. Just like my blog, the conference is what I (and my blogmate!) want to do with it. 
  • As a blogger, I plan outings outside of the conference with my blogger friends and I take lots of pictures (for myself, but also for the blog!). Sure, books are great but hanging out with other bloggers is so much fun! 
  • I don’t get offended when I don’t get invited to publisher parties. I think this is key for a blogger to remember. Not everyone can be invited to everything and I’m not at all offended if I’m not invited to a brunch/cocktail party. 
Sasha with Maureen Johnson
With so many conferences these days (BEA, ALA Annual, ALA Midwinter, PLA, TLA, etc), it’s also important to pick and choose what I can go to. I try to attend BEA and both ALAs since those are the biggest but I’ve been to PLA, which is low-key and very nice to attend. It also has a lot to do with location and timing. If I can go to a conference, then I try to attend! For me, a major thing to remember when goin} to book conference is to keep an open mind about the books that I’ll be seeing there, and to remember that blogging is fun so there is no stressing allowed!

Thanks so much to Sasha for sharing her tips! 

What do you think? Do you have any other ideas for how book bloggers and reviewers can maximize their conference experience?
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  1. Great tips, Sash ! I think you summed everything I need to know up nicely. I'd love to experience a lower key conference, I think it'd be better for my nerves !

    Hope I get to see the DC mafia in full force at BEA !

  2. Thanks for sharing Sasha. It makes me nervous thinking of going to those big conferences. But you make it sound more manageable. Thanks.

  3. There's a lot that I can learn with this post. This is the right attitude to be a good book blogger.

  4. Great post! You're right, these conferences are expensive - best to go with a friend if possible.

  5. Great post. It's nice to figure out what the bloggers do as well as the publishers. So often authors are thrown into the deep end and told to swim it's nice to hear how other people manage not to drown.

  6. Thanks for this post, very helpful. I haven't been to a conference yet, but hopefully one day I will. :) have a great time at bea!

  7. Resources like the one you mentioned here will be very useful to me! I will post a link to this page on my blog. I am sure my visitors will find that very useful.

  8. hey that's really a great post and i like this and thanks for sharing it with us!I have read a few of the articles on your website now because I was looking for information aboutgames App. and I really like your style of blogging.


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