BBAW 2010 Closing Thoughts and Announcements

First of all, a huge thank you to everyone for helping to make this the best BBAW yet.  Your joy and enthusiasm have been absolutely contagious and have proven again why this is such a vibrant, interesting, diverse, and wonderful community to be a part of.  I have a few announcements to make but first I want to thank some of the hard workers who helped make BBAW possible.  I hope you’ll tell them thank you as you see them around on Twitter and the blogs.  They did all of this for the love of book bloggers.

Candace and Ann Kingman designed and wrote the new awards program, tweaking the old system and making it stronger than ever by more clearly defining their purpose and combing certain elements to make them more successful.

Nicole Bonia staffed the judging panels and collected all your scores as well as filling in a hundred other little details.

Jennifer Connor coordinated all the giveaways and wrote all of the giveaway posts.  I can’t thank her enough for this huge and tedious task!  She was always so full of joy to do it for you, too!

Melissa went through every registration post to make sure they were done accurately and contacted bloggers for clarification.  A huge task that she did complaint-free!

Danielle served on the content development team as well as doing different tasks here and there including the bulk of emailing interview partners!

Bella designed our awards button and our themed button…and she was quick and helpful!

Monica designed our header and nominations buttons as well as doing some update technical work on the blog.

And of course I must thank all of the judges, the content development team, the guest bloggers, and YOU! This was truly a community driven event and such a blast!

A FEW ANNOUNCEMENTS

Want to keep up on all of the latest BBAW news and be the first to hear the details of next year?  Want to be kept informed of the fun happenings around the book blogosphere?  Then sign up for the BBAW newsletter!  We promise not to flood your inbox with emails.

Want to be a part of a Book Blog Search Engine?  Fyrefly hosts a book blog search engine which means you can look for content JUST on book blogs.  Find out all the details here!

Finally, wind down BBAW tonight with a glass of wine and a special edition of That’s How I Blog.  It will be on 9 PM EST and 6 PM PST.  We’ll recap the week and talk all things book blogging!  Don’t miss out!

The giveaways mister linky will remain open until Sunday at midnight PST. 

Thanks again all for a fabulous week of BBAW!  See you next year!  (hint September 12-16)

 

 

On Reviewing GLBTQ Books by Renay

Hello, citizens of the internet! It’s (the end of) Book Blogger Appreciation Week! Currently, the sky is blue, birds are chirping, the last few BBAW memes have ensured that my to read list is never going anywhere, my Google Reader will probably always say +1000 because there are so many awesome book blogs to read, and I am here to talk to you about GLBTQ blogging.

I started book blogging in 2007. I looked and looked and looked for book bloggers covering GLBTQ novels and short story collections and speculative fiction, and shook Google like a recalcitrant piggy bank that refused to cough up the coins I knew would buy me a delicious snack. This was early 2007. I remember ranting to Dewey (for all those among us who remember her, she was always such a awesome listener, bless,) asking her how could it be possible that out of all the book blogs there were, no one was reading about people like me? Boy, girl, boy, girl, boy, girl, like the most unintentionally malicious, erasure filled game of duck duck goose ever without all the geese.

Take a gander: we were mostly invisible.

It’s true, now most of us are reading more widely and deliberately, reaching out to diversify our choices. It’s still not easy. In the mainstream, it’s still mostly about the ladies and the dudes making out. And hey, I appreciate some sexy heterosexual hijinks and adventures, I’ve written it and read it and I will do both again. For publishers to risk more on publishing GLBTQ stories, people have to want to read them. When we don’t read them, for whatever reason, publishers go, “Oh well, no one cares!” and the become niche titles in niche markets. It’s almost impossible to reach critical mass. How long until it’s just as normal to pick up a book from the shelf and not know what that couple is going to be? M/F? M/M? F/F? How long until it’s normal to feature transgender characters, or hey, even asexual characters? For that to happen, we have to read, and we have to share, and we have to be deliberate about it so in the future, it’s second nature.

I often quote Aja’s post “i know you care for him as much as i do.” — eventually she’ll probably come charge me for quoting her all the time — because things she wrote resonated with me so much, and I’ve never been able to let it go.

I want those main characters to fall in love and make out because it means that fans of their characters will have to come to terms with their gayness, exactly like they would have to do in real life. It’s one thing to start out a book, like Swordpoint and Havemercy did, introducing your main characters as gay from the start. Because from the outset the reader knows, the reader can choose whether they approve, or tolerate, or whatever. They can put that book down and walk away.

But reality doesn’t let you choose. Reality is when your best friend turns to you and says, “the thing is, I’m gay,” and your entire world turns upside down.

I know where I want us to end up. I want the same world that’s spun out in the above quote. We’re not there yet, but I have hope.

This week is all about appreciating book bloggers and looking at the book blogging community now, as a person who was here in 2007, I am overcome. People like me want the same books I do, are finding them and reading them and posting about them. Bloggers who self-identify as straight read GLBTQ books, and like them, and share their love with other people who self-identify as straight. I think of the dead ends I found when searching for GLBTQ blogs in 2007, or mainstream bloggers that reviewing GLBTQ books. This time, I had so many blogs I wanted to recommend for this post I had to take the time to read them and decide on just a few, instead of the multitudes that now exist.

That’s progress. That’s love.

I’m Here. I’m Queer. What the Hell do I Read?: Lee’s posts are always insightful and relevant. I’ve followed him from the beginning, and if its GLBTQ YA you want, well, his lists are excellent and he welcomes recommendations. I love what he’s doing and the resource he’s building. He’s one of our treasures and a great place to start if you’re interested in diving into GLBTQ YA.

QueerYA: This is my go-to blog for reviews and thoughts on obscure titles I might not hear about through my own searches, from a librarian’s perspective. The reviews are both subjective and reflect the culture around them, as well, which I really appreciate.

The Naughty Book Kitties: I love Brent just for existing. We have never exchanged a word, but it’s been pretty fascinating to watch him own his space in the community.

Dreaming in Books: I first learned of John through this post, which kind of made my cold, jaded cynical heart melt a little.

Stuff As Dreams Are Made On: Here’s someone who everyone probably already knows. Chris doesn’t just post about GLBTQ literature, but issues that impact the GLBTQ community, of course, when he’s not posting about growing stuff. wink I have learned a lot from Chris just reading his thoughts on books he wants to read and following him on Google Reader.

This is not even all the blogs covering GLBTQ literature, and is mostly YA. I am sure there are blogs out there covering other marketing categories and genres that I don’t even know about. That’s the beauty of this week: feel free to appreciate the GLBTQ book bloggers you read. Leave the links in the comments. Spread the love.

I am so very thankful for these blogs, and hey, that’s what this week is for, getting all sentimental and blubbery over blogs and their writers on this crazy series of tubes. Now excuse me, I have to get some tissue.

Renay blogs at the deus ex machina complex (and other theories)

Why Book Bloggers are Important to the Launch of a Book by Christine Lemmon

When Sand in My Eyes released nationally in July 2010, I went on a virtual book tour and book bloggers played a significant role in the launching of my book. In addition to providing me a convenient and effective way to let thousands of readers know about my newest release, book bloggers helped me expand my community of friends. As a result, visitors to my website increased significantly, as did online sales.

Book bloggers are incredibly important to the launch of a book. They have established and loyal members and these members make up a community. When a book blogger does a Q&A with me as an author, reviews my book, or invites me to post a guest blog on their site, it is as if they are introducing me personally to every member of their community. It is beneficial to become a part of book-loving communities, or those that are relevant to the topics/themes of your books.

I viewed the relationship between me as author and the book bloggers as mutually beneficial in that they introduced me to hundreds, and sometimes thousands of potential book readers/buyers while at the same time, I did my best to write something interesting and unique for them. I would first visit the book blog site, see its style and personality, and who its followers are, then write a blog specifically tailored to what I thought they might enjoy. If book bloggers are introducing me to their precious community of loyal and established members, I am going to give them something good—not just blab about the plots, themes and characters in my book, but rather disclose the intimacies of writing novels early in the morning or late at night while my three children sleep, and so on.

During the launch of Sand in My Eyes, I also gave talks and did signings at numerous bookstores and that was very successful as well, but being a mother of three and an author, it is often difficult and costly to fly here and there whereas book bloggers would email me their interview questions, or give me a deadline by which I had to submit my guest blog and I was free to work on it all from my home late at night when time allowed.
Then, I went on a family vacation and while away, my Q&A and guest blogs started appearing everywhere and in multiple places at once all over the Internet. I was amazed to see how it improved my rankings in the search engines!

Book bloggers are vital to the launch of a book and I am incredibly grateful to them for inviting me into their unique and established communities!

On Being a New Book Blogger by Ryan Jacobson

Are you consumed by the question “What will I write about next”? Do you frequently scour your shelves for just the right book? Will you be off to check your comments immediately after reading this post? If so, then you must be a newbie book blogger.

Believe me, I’m feeling you. I began my book blog 28 days ago, and I too wonder how I’ll ever grow my readership. Yet at the same time, don’t you just love the challenge of meeting deadlines, of writing posts that are interesting and relevant—and is there anything better than that first comment from someone who isn’t related to you?

For me, book blogging began as a marketing tool. I’m an author, and just like bloggers, I want my readership to grow. I spoke with a few publicists, and all agreed that an author blog tour was a wise investment of resources. At the same time, I was also advised to start my own blog. Thus, Author vs. Monster was born.

The blog began as a job, something to be worked on and then crossed off my “to do” list. But somewhere along the way, it morphed into a hobby. It became fun. Now I spend every Sunday preparing my posts for the upcoming week, and I set aside an hour every morning to catch up on the 35 blogs to which I currently subscribe.

Admittedly, as a part-time author with a full-time job—not to mention two boys under the age of five—it can be a challenge to find enough hours in the day. There are moments when I look at a week’s worth of posts (with zero comments) and think, “Man, I could’ve written two more chapters for my book.”

But I, for one, am glad I started. I’ve “met” a few people, learned a little bit about book marketing and am having a lot of fun in the process. I hope all the rest of you newbie book bloggers are enjoying yourselves too.

Ryan is the author of ten’s children’s books.  He blogs regularly at Author vs. Monster.

Why I Love Manga by Julie at Manga Maniac Cafe

My love for comics, or manga, as they are called in Japanese, happened later in life.  Sure, I read Archie Comics when I was a kid, but the short, colorfully illustrated pamphlets didn’t do much to engage my imagination like a prose novel did.  Still, they were good for a short escape, when I didn’t have time to sit down and read a book.

It’s when I hit college that comics opened up a whole new world for me.  I was working and trying to put myself through school, and just didn’t have time to read.  That was torture; I have always been a reader, and not having the energy or the time to read the latest fantasy novel was killing me.

Comics were the perfect reading material.  I needed something short and easy to digest between my dry, dreadfully boring accounting texts. I started with Ranma 1/2 by Rumiko Takahashi, which was about all that was being published back then, and worked my way (backwards), to American super hero comics. These were the days when Image Comics was publishing the cream of the crop, and everywhere you turned in the comic store your eyes were assaulted by ridiculously proportioned humans packed into skin tight latex. I soon became discouraged with the world of superhero comics, and turned my back on it. Where were the comics that called out to me, a female reader? I wanted romance and angsty relationships; instead, I had undead, maggot riddled heroes like Spawn, or the constantly changing creative talent revolving through the X-Men titles.

Not long after, TOKYOPOP emerged on the scene with their manga revolution.  They started publishing series in collected volumes, each of them clocking in at around 200 pages. They starting releasing some incredible stuff: Peach Girl, Mars, Card Captor Sakura.  Here were stories about young women, and they were written for young women. I became obsessed with them.  There were dozens and dozens of new titles, in the span of a year, for me to devour.  I started to love the longer series, with their epic story lines and likable characters.  Red River by Chie Shinohara, about a modern teen sucked back in time to ancient Anatolia, was a favorite.  Sure, the plot was occasionally repetitive, but Yuri was such an exciting heroine!  She even rode a black horse, fearlessly leading her troops to battle! I ate that one up.

A lot of people are confused by manga and comics in general. They aren’t just for little kids, and, in fact, there are many graphic novels in my collection that are strictly for an older age bracket.  Characters experience love, betrayal, jealousy, even the loss of loved ones.  The books suck me in, and some of them, the special ones, even move me to tears.  I await the next volume a favorite series with barely contained impatience.  There are series to fit every taste – whether you like romance, adventure, fantasy, or historicals, there is a book for you.  There is even a series about a board game (Hikaru no Go), and it is one of the most suspenseful titles on the market!  Go figure!

It’s hard to convey in the word count allotted to this post just how magical manga can be.  With illustrations and dialog working together to form a cohesive, emotional whole, the possibility for a compelling, gripping read is endless.  Since I discovered manga, the world, and my wallet, will never be the same. If you are interested in exploring this magical world, hit your local library, or drop me a line at julie(at)mangamaniaccafe(dot)com, and I would be happy to recommend titles that will appeal your reading tastes.  Trust me – you’ll never feel the same way about comic books again!

Julie blogs regularly at Manga Mania Cafe

Book Bloggers by Jennifer of the Literate Housewife Review

I’ve been a book blogger now for close to 4 years and, believe it or not, this is my third BBAW.  During that time I have learned a few things about book bloggers.  We are:

Beautiful
Open
Optimistic
Knowledgeable

Blessed
Loyal
Opinionated
Genuine
Gifted
Eclectic
Ravenous
Sassy

I wish there was a W or an F in book bloggers.  If there were, I could have also mentioned that we are well beyond Wonderful and, quite frankly, Fantastic.

Here’s to another year celebrating who we are, what we love, and how we’ve come together.  Cheers!

Jennifer from The Literate Housewife Review

On Blogging About Romance by Katiebabs

When I think of the word “romance”, I can’t help but smile. Romance to me means love, which is unselfish, unbiased and welcoming. It should come as no surprise that my favorite genre to read is romance. My romance roots go way back twenty years when I read my first romance novel, which was Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. Gone with the Wind opened my mind to the wonders of reading as well as opening up the lines of communication with others.

I find nothing more exciting than being able to discuss a book with a person.

And because of that my love of blogging came to be.

Blogging for me is my outlet, a way to express myself and proudly admit that I read romance novels. I can’t even think of a world without blogs, especially blogs that promote all that is good and well in the romance genre.

I started my own blog back in 2008, and just celebrated my two year anniversary this week. Before I even felt the need to stand up on my soapbox, so to speak, I lurked and visited others who some would say were the visionaries of the romance blogging world. These special women wanted to be heard, and heard they were. They paved the way where there are now hundreds of romance novel centric blogs all over the internet.

I applaud these visionaries of the romance blogging world for opening a world of possibility and for myself to not shy away from opinion or be ashamed by what I read.

The three bloggers nominated for Best Romance Blog this year gives you a good indication what the world of romance blogging is all about. Fiction Vixen, Gossamer Obsessions and Smexy Books are each unique in their own way. Their personalities, wit, charm and love of romance novels shines through every which way possible. Their arms are wide open in acceptance for those who may feel the need to hide what they read because the public at large may not approve.

Blogging is a way to stand up and cheer for yourself and your willingness to show the world that YES people do read and are not ashamed to admit it. The romance genre may get the bum wrap from time to time, but this billion dollar making industry refuses to be pushed aside or ignored. The same goes for those who are romance book bloggers

For those who blog, and those who are thinking of blogging, be loud, be proud and hold your head up high. Show those critics and naysayers how much you love to read regardless of what genre you prefer. The authors, publishers and fellow readers will thank you for it in ways you can’t even imagine.

I’m a proud romance reader and blogger and I’m not ashamed to admit it.

Katiebabs

Book Bloggers and Podcasting by Ann Kingman

Welcome! I hereby call to order the first meeting of the Book Blogger Podcasting Society. NO! WAIT! Don’t click off! You are not in the wrong place. OK, I admit it: I’m sharing a dream. There’s no such society (yet). But there is a growing community of book bloggers who are producing internet radio shows about books.  And we’d like you to join us, either by listening or by creating your own show.

If the term “podcast” makes you run the other way, scratch your head in confusion, or sounds to you like an untranslated Croatian novel, you’re not alone. And I’d like to fix that. If you know what podcasting is, but aren’t sure how it relates to Book Blogger Appreciation Week, stick around: there’s much fun ahead. And if you are a book blogger/podcaster, come on in, and bring a friend or two.

Let’s get the ugly stuff out of the way. “Podcast” is a scary word. It makes people think that they need an iPod. It’s not true. Some people have tried renaming it to “webcast” or “internet radio show.” Regardless, all of those terms mean roughly the same thing: audio content that lives on the internet, to which people can subscribe through RSS or other means. Most podcasts can be streamed directly from a website or blog, with no need to download a file. Some people download podcasts and burn them to CD to listen in the car. Portable MP3 players gave podcasts their first boost in popularity, but now there are even online services like Stitcher that can stream podcasts to Smartphones. Think of book podcasts as the auditory equivalent of book blogs.

Lately it seems that many new book podcasts have been popping up, and I am celebrating. My colleague Michael and I started Books on the Nightstand 2 ½ years ago primarily because we couldn’t find enough book-related content to fill our own iPods.
What’s was missing were the “nonprofessional” voices – shows that capture the personal flavor and passion of the book blogs that we all love. But in the last few months, we’ve seen the debut of some great new podcasts, most created by people who’ve been blogging about books for awhile.

  • Guys Can Read – Kevin and Luke talk about books, from the male perspective
  • Underground Literary Society – BBAW founder Amy Riley and Nicole Bonia’s new podcast celebrates the freedom to read and talk books.
  • Do Nothing But Read – Amanda and Brandon talk about all things bookish.
  • Reading and Writing Podcast –Jeff Rutherford interviews authors about their writing and reading pleasures.
  • Bookrageous – A revolving cast of booksellers and book bloggers give us a fun and sometimes outrageous podcast about books.
  • Enthusiasticast – Canadians Mark and Jon talk about books, comics, movies and pop culture.
  • Books and Blogging – Amanda from Australia has just started her book podcast, but I loved it and hope she does many more.

There may be others; if you know of book podcasts I’ve missed, please leave them in the comments.
I hope you will take some time this week to check out a book podcast or two. You may find yourself addicted, or even inspired to start your own.