Thursday morning, Sarah and I held our blogging panel. We actually thought the panel started at 2:30 but we saw Heather Osborn, editor from Tor, in the hallway and she mentioned that she would see us soon at the panel which started at 11:30! Sarah and I owe Heather a lot of thanks for saving our bacon.
We started out the panel talking about some technical aspects of obtaining a domain name. (Sarah likes Name Secure). We encouraged authors to make their blog and website look like the author that they want to be and not the author that they are now, meaning that even if they are aspiring, try to make their site look as professional as possible.
We discussed the need for authors to limit the information that they put out online. If an author invites intimacy by sharing personal details, then readers will not know where the lines are. I talked about Laurell K Hamilton as an example of how oversharing can lead to uncomfortable speculation about personal life.
Sarah announced that authors do not need to have blogs and I agree completely. If an author does not like blogging or finds it difficult, it often shows. Instead, we believe that authors should use microblogging platforms like twitter and facebook to interact with readers and gain a following. Don’t think it can be done? Sarah has 2300 followers on Twitter. That’s 2300 people who read what she microblogs each day. How many author blogs have that kind of daily traffic?
We also talked about monitoring comments and comment philosophy. Sarah believes that comments by the original poster (called OP in some places) can suppress the conversation. I believe that in some cases, particularly in regards the opinion pieces posted in that I’ve made my position/argument in the original post and now I want to hear from you. When it comes to book discussions, though, most of the reviewers are good at interacting with the commenters which leads to more interaction. We both agreed that we did not like moderating or preapproval of comments.
After our panel, we enjoyed lunch with CL Wilson, Kristen Painter, and Roxanne St. Claire. Roxanne signed over a hundred book plates for a Australian bookstore owner. Temptation the Romance Bookstore, is beautiful. It is clean and white and bright. I wish I had a romance bookstore that looked like this. I met a wonderful reader from Taiwan as well.
That evening I attended Deidre Knight’s Gods of Midnight party. It was the first sighting I had of costumes and cover models. It was interesting. It does seem that most readers come here for the cover models and the parties. Each day there are probably 5-6 panels for writers in every time slot and one event for readers. The events for readers are primarily social mixers sponsored by authors.
The regular attendees love the conference however conference attendance is lower this year which might be due to the economy. It still seems crowded, however, and each event seems to run very smoothly.