I got a late start as I had to take out the recycling and the cat litter. I had to get my stuff together and by the time I got out the door, it was 7:30. Traffic was pretty good until I got into Secaucus. Then it was like a parking lot. I finally got to the terminal for the ferry and approached the window to purchase a 10 trip pass. When I went to pay for it, I realized I had left my check card at home. Luckily I had a credit card on me so I could actually pay for it.
The trip across the river was uneventful as was my walk to the Javits Center. I brought one of my large suitcases today as I knew I would be on the floor for at least some on BEA today. The baggage check has been right inside the door to the right and the escalator to the Blogger Con is right there. This year, however, there is only one baggage check and it is way down almost to the other end by Starbucks. So I had to hoof it all the way down to the other end, drop off my suitcase and then hoof it all the way back.
I got downstairs and approached the registration table. After standing there for a few as the woman at the table was assisting another, I tried to pick up my badge, but I was at the speaker registration. I was told the blogger registration was a little further down. So, I went to the next table which I confirmed was the right table. I had my e-ticket in hand and gave my name. They had a Smith, but it was a Cindy Smith. The asked me was I registered for Blogger Con. The asked if I was a speaker. They asked that I was a blogger. After several minutes, she finally found my badge which was mis-alphabetized.
Finally with my badge, I made it into the Continental Breakfast which was bagels, danishes and muffins, tea and coffee. I’m not sure what I was expecting but some water would have been nice. Luckily I had my own bottle of water.
The keynote speaker is a speaker panel this year and not just an individual speaking.
The panel tracks were "Building a Better Blog" and "Blogging at the Next Level". The first session for Building a Better Blog was all about WordPress. As I use Blogger, it was not going to be relevant to me, so I went the advance track. The discussion was Creative Content Opportunities with Your Blog. I guess it was interesting enough, but after attending the Blogger Con for several years, I am finding that there seems to be a lot of repeat material. A lot of it is geared towards bloggers that know what the heck they're doing. Even though I have been blogging for a few years now, I still feel like a newbie, time being the biggest issue. I work in corporate America and not to make excuses, but my job is hectic at best and can be really stressful. By the time I get home, it's usually 7pm and I have other things to take care of. I don't always have time to write the way I want to or put a lot of time into developing my blog. But I've gone off topic.
So for the first session I will admit I was only half listening. I kept checking the schedule and I was checking Twitter. The big new everyone was tweeting about was the Susan Dennard signing of Truthwitch. And I really wanted a copy of that one. The signing was at 3pm. My plan was to sit through the first two panels, get my voucher for lunch, eat real quick and head upstairs until it was time for the cocktail hour at the end of Blogger Con.
The second panel of the day, I chose the beginner track which was Safely Navigating Social Media. I walked in and there were about 10 people or so in the room. The started late waiting for more people to show up and then the speaker starting telling her story about security issues on social media sites. It seemed more like an episode of True Confessions or something like that. Yes sister, please stand up and tell us your story. It was like a testimonial. And I just completely blanked out. She was not an interesting speaker, and I am talking about her speaking skills, not her content and I just couldn't stay. So, I checked out Tactics to Create Killer Content Fast. But I kept checking Twitter and I started getting nervous about Susan Dennard's book. There was already a line forming for the book and I decided I couldn't wait anymore.
I also decided that a $10.00 lunch voucher was not enough of an enticement to stay at Blogger Con. I decided to skip lunch and jumped on line for BEA. I feel a little bad about that, but I will tell you that many people from Blogger Con were doing the same thing. I wasn't horrifically far in line. I had some good company while waiting, which was about 1 1/2 hours. I was at the farthest entrance, which is where Macmillan, Penguin, Hatchette and Disney were. As soon as I got through the door, I hightailed it to the Macmillan booth stopping at Penguin briefly to pick up a copy of Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristof. By the time I got to Macmillan, which couldn't have been more than 5 minutes, all the tickets for Susan Dennard were gone. So that hurt, but they did give me a bookmark. Of course, I later found that the bookmark got folded in half in my bag. So that stung even more.
Then I walked around for a while, hit all the major publishers, dropped off a load of books. Little Brown had a giveaway at 2 for three YA ARCs, the trouble being that you could only have one and the books were being kept behind one of the stands. I wanted a copy of Scott Westerfeld's Zeroes so I asked when the book was being dropped. The drop was at 4pm.
Since the floor didn't open until 1pm and there weren't a lot of other signings or galley drops for the day, I decided to head back to Blogger Con at 2:30 for the last panel. I again went tot he beginner level which was Working with Publishers, Authors and Promotions. This panel was not organized so well in my opinion. There was the moderator from Viking/Penguin and a blogger from a more adult audience and someone from Harlequin Teen and a vlogger with a YA audience. So the way this one worked, the Viking rep and the adult blogger took turns asking each other questions for half the panel. Then they switched half way through so the other two could do the same thing. It was like I was listening in on two private conversations. I wasn't getting a lot out of it, but about half way through, my phone rang. It was hubby wanting to know how Day 1 went not realizing Day 1 was still in progress, so I had to leave the panel to take his call because man, those rooms echo.
When I got off the call, I decided to wait in the hall for the cocktail hour to start. They were late letting us in and they had black suit-clad security type personal guarding the galleys which were under a black cloth. One of the bloggers asked if they were going to hand them out right away, but she was told 4 or 4:30. Some of us wanted to get back upstairs. The finally gave them out probably a little before 4pm and it was like feeding time in the shark tank.
They gave no direction as to where to start. They were first come, first serve and some were in very limited supply. For instance, they had the new Adi Alsaid book, which I wanted but couldn't get. So what happened is one group of people started at one end and the rest started at the other end and everyone got mashed up in the middle. I got stuck there for a good minute not able to back out, go forward or backward. It was ugly!
As soon as I got my books, I scoured the floor for what was out and ended up leaving about 4:30.
So, what didn't work? Let's start there.
- Making today a half day of BEA there was not as much scheduled, but tomorrow and Friday are really jam packed.
- Overlapping Blogger Con with BEA is a bad idea. So many of the bloggers were jumping ship and heading to the floor looking for those elusive titles.
- The panels were not as full as they should have been because bloggers were MIA.
- The panel content was not as good this year. Again, a lot of repetitive information and some of the panels just didn't really apply to me, so I picked the lesser of two evils and didn't pay close attention.
- The panels need to be organized better. The speakers should be dynamic and the discussion should be engaging.
- The Keynote speaker panel was okay, but I prefer having one speaker, like Maureen Johnson last year. She was amazing!
What did work?
It seemed like the organizers were trying to find ways to keep attendance at Blogger Con when BEA was going on.
- One way was to give out the galleys at the end of the day so people who ditched, like me, had to come back for them.
- They were also giving out raffle tickets. We got one when we signed in, two more at lunch and two more during the cocktail hour. They were raffling off I want to say $50.00 Visa GCs. So that's pretty persuasive.
- They always have the $10.00 voucher for lunch which is a nice perk because at least you know you'll get a meal and you won't pay out unless you exceed the $10.00. Like I said, not enough of a draw for me this time around, though.
So now I need to get my stuff together and get organized for tomorrow and then hit the hay. For any of you attending BEA, maybe I'll see you around!