I have reached out to a few venues to see what space availability/cost might be. That is the only organizational step I have taken since yesterday. Tomorrow, I am going post about some next steps, but today I think some explanation and clarification might be useful before proceeding. Also, I have been contacted by the BEA Blogger Convention directly and have received permission to reprint that email below to get their take on the matter.
But first, some uncollected thoughts:
1. This isn't a revolt or boycott.
Those terms suggest some moral transgression, and that's not what is happening here. Some bloggers just want to think about doing something else.
2. The main difference is structural.
This isn't about who is speaking or what they are speaking about, it is about focusing on conversation rather than presentation.
3. There are great reasons to go to the BEA blogger conference.
The BEA bloggers conference might be a really good choice for many, maybe even most bloggers. But it's not right for me at this point and others have expressed the same. For example, if you want to cultivate relationships with publishers, the BEA blogger conference is a much better fit.
4. If you choose one over the other, you are not uncool. No one here is cool.
Again, what matters most to me is that bloggers get stuff that helps them be happier with their blogging lives. If that means that 99% goes to the BEA bloggers conference because that is the right fit for them, I am totally thrilled.
Ok, I hope that was helpful. As always, please leave a comment or write on your own blog if you want to add to the above in some way.
Here is what Joseph Vella of the BEA Bloggers Conference wrote to me yesterday. In fairness to Joe, I am not going to comment on it here, but I think it is important for everyone to see what they have to say before the next steps (if they still happen) are taken:
Your recent blog was passed on to me and I wanted to reach out to chat with you directly. The BEA team respects your right to have an opinion but some of the things you have included in your post are not factual based on how we have approached this year's conference. I wanted to share with you so you could at least have all the information going forward.
BEA purchased the conference from Trish and Michele and has worked hand in hand with them every step of the way to gain their insights and direction on how to build this year's conference. They shared what worked and what didn't and have provided invaluable guidance on how to approach the organization and content this year. They vetted the entire program for us-from topics to speakers.
Along with this, we reached out to prior attendees (you probably received our emails) asking for participation in an online survey to share your feedback on the event. We had a wonderful response and gathered even more insights to ensure we were building and event that would be based on what our customers--book bloggers--wanted. Then, we reached out again to prior attendees (you may have also received this email) asking them to participate in an online focus group to help us fine tune what we had been hearing. Once again we gained a solid response and made modifications to our program based on what we heard from book bloggers.
As you can see, we did not create this year's event in a vacuum-BEA and Reed believe in working with our customers and listening to them to create events that will offer value and a memorable experience. This event has been created based on everything we heard directly from Trish, Michele and the many book bloggers who took time to share their thoughts with us.
Regarding the session topics you mentioned in your blog post that you'd like to see--well, many of the topics you mentioned are being covered in this year's program and we are currently recruiting speakers. Here’s a quick review:
* Writing Negative Reviews will be covered in our session, "Critical Reviews: Fine Tuning Your Craft"
* Dealing with Publishers will be covered in our session, "Demystifying the Book Blogger & Publisher Relationship"
* Using Statistics and Monetization will be covered in our session, "So You Want to Make Money?"
* Collaboration, Podcasting, and Social Media will be covered in our session, "Creating Community & Driving Engagement"
* Niche topics (YA, Literary Fiction, Romance, Graphic Novels, Fantasy, and so on) will be addressed in our networking luncheon, "Let's Talk Blogs"
The conference is only a day so there is only so much time for sessions. In addition, there were many other things we heard from past attendees that they wanted to see-such as networking-so we built in two opportunities for that with the Networking Continental Breakfast and the Networking Luncheon. Past attendees also told us they want access to authors so we are inviting them into these networking events. We have a jam packed day with sessions, networking, authors, and two meals! One of the attractions to having the event at BEA is that there is access to BEA which means access to well over 1,000 publishers, 700+ authors, dozens of sessions of all kinds + access to the BlogWorld exhibits and a great discount to the BlogWorld conference as well.
I hope that the information I have shared has helped to shed light on how we've been approaching this year's event and the value of BEA. Our goal is to work together with the book blogger community--and we are trying very hard to do our due diligence and do just that. We know there will be bumps along the way and we know we cannot please everyone, but I hope this will help to add some fresh perspective for you.
We would welcome your feedback to help continue to shape this year's event and the event going forward.
- Joe Vella