Monday, June 11, 2012

Book Blogger Uncon Debrief

8The Book Blogger Uncon took place last week, and it was, on the whole, a success. Many attendees are doing recaps and wrap-ups, and I'll refer you to them for what we talked about and how it went. I'll briefly give my own thoughts about the event, and what the future of it might be, in a relatively uncollected way.


1. Going bare-bones felt great. No sponsors or swag or programs or microphones or non-bloggers. This made it feel intimate, informal, and open. 

2. We had 23 people show up, some for part of the day. This turned out to be an in-between number. Too many really for whole group discussion, and few enough that we wanted to stay as a group. From what I have heard already, next year's prospective event is unlikely to be smaller. 

3. Our conversations were relatively broad, which I think is fine, especially for an experiment like this. With more attendees and more sessions, I think we could be more specific around certain topics. For example, a small-group peer-critique of blog design could be really useful. 

4. I also think that there is no reason to limit the sessions to "book blog" topics. Discussions about publishing, writing, technology, and a range of other topics would be fascinating. 

5. The Uncon attendees on the whole were a pretty experienced bunch, and I think some discussion of more advanced/difficult issues could have been/could be beneficial: monetization, using your blog as a stepping stone to a career, collaborative blogging, video/audio, using your blog to champion specific issues, the commodification of bloggers, and others.

6. I wonder also if a "niche" timeslot would be useful--basically a session-time where we break into "YA" and "Literary Fiction" and "Non-Fiction" or what have you. Each has there own range of sub-issues and would perhaps be worth discussing in person.

7. Based on how drained I was on Friday, I can't imagine holding the Uncon after BEA, as some have suggested. Monday is clearly the best slot. Just because the BEA blogger conference is scheduled for Monday, I don't think that should be a consideration. 

8. I floated the idea of a registration fee, mainly to pay for an expert outside speaker in web publishing (probably WordPress).It could also cover in the afternoon or some other nominal expenses (nametags, etc).I think this might also firm up registration. I'm thinking 20 bucks. 

9. The Center for Fiction was a great location, with one relatively serious drawback: no wi-fi. I'm not sure that this is a deal breaker, but I definitely missed this and think others did as well. 

10. Maybe it's because I teach writing and spend a lot of time thinking about writing, but it does seem, for a community that is centered on writing and reading, that discussions of writing don't come up more often. Might a session workshopping each other's review be helpful? Do you think people could take constructive criticism without seeing it as just criticism?

I will soon post something over on the Uncon blog formally asking if we should do an Uncon again next year. That post will also ask for feedback on how to improve things and to brainstorm ideas for the next go-round. 








  2. What would you think about having authors attend as well? For at least one session in which you talk about how you'd most like interactions to go. Many of us are bloggers as well and could benefit from your other sessions too.