Personal, Reviews

BEA 2014: BloggerCon

This is my first day home from Book Expo America 2014 and it was quite the experience. Although the biggest book event of the year was mostly a success, my favorite part was meeting a few of my favorite bloggers – Shannon at River City Reading, Leah at Books Speak Volumes, and Marisa at The Daily Dosage. Shannon and Leah were my roommates for the trip and proof that people you meet online are both very normal and very sweet in real life.

I flew to New York on Tuesday, which went smoothly, until I landed. After we touched down in New York, the plane was unable to find an available gate for 90 minutes. As I was meeting Marisa at the airport, I felt really bad about the delay (though I got lucky because her plane had mechanical trouble, so she was late as well). We took the bus into the city, exited at Bryant Park, saw the New York Public Library, and prompty got lost in the 85 degree heat. It was funny – once I found the hotel room and was standing in front the air conditioner (not carrying my suitcase). Did I mention we got lost while walking downhill?

Once we finally checked in, we went to the White Horse Tavern – it has a long history of literary visitors, although it most famously known as the spot of Dylan Thomas’ last outing. My favorite former patron was, of course, Bob Dylan.


The next day was BloggerCon, which was my least favorite day of the trip. The day started off a bit sadly, with there being absolutely nothing to drink besides coffee and hot tea, not even water. I know this is nitpicky, but it’s true nonetheless. Maureen Johnson was the keynote speaker and she (and the very adorable picture of her dog Zelda) was charming. Everything after that went downhill. The advanced design course was anything but. It talked about color palettes (don’t choose colors that clash), basic layouts (you may want to have a search bar), and using social media (you might want to check out twitter or booklikes). And don’t forget you can get a free blog on booklikes. Oh, and booklikes will display your online bookshelf. Did I mention booklikes has free themes to choose from? Was there one too many booklikes in this last paragraph? Because that was sitting in that session was like. It would’ve been more palatable if it hadn’t been advertised as an advanced design panel.

This was followed lunch and an ad network panel. This particular panel was informative and interesting, as I am a member of litbreaker ad network and the CEO was on the panel (although thankfully he wasn’t trying to sell anything). Florinda (as moderator) from The 3 R’s blog and Swampna (as panelist) from S. Krishna’s Books were there as well and were very good. Next came the worst panel of the day: How Bloggers Vloggers Have Changed the Game”. Which is…we haven’t haven’t. Vlogging is where it’s at, people don’t always want to read about books, they want to watch TV about books. Um… And it just devolved from there, people walked out, attendees were upset, and the panelists were flustered. Ultimately this particular session was both severely misrepresented and mildly insulting. And then came the BloggerCon wrap-up party. The only thing I can say about that was they promised beer. They lied!


After that, Leah and I took the subway (it’s notable only to me who has never taken the subway in New York before) over to Housing Works Bookstore – beautiful – for the Bookrageous Bash. It was nice to meet a few more bloggers in person. Afterwards, Shannon and I headed over to the The Strand Bookstore. It’s just as amazing as everyone says it is. Naturally, we each bought books. We may have both had one-drink-too-many and gotten lost on the way back to the hotel. I’ll go with Shannon’s thought and let here take the blame! This did mean we got to hail a cab though. So it was worth it. By this time, we still hadn’t eaten, so we stopped at one of those late night corner pizza shops and each devoured a piece in under three minutes. No shame. It was delicious (I refuse to remember it as anything but).

End of day one.

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  • Nish

    Sounds like the parties were more fun than the actual bloggers convention ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Rory

      Yes, definitely! BEA was pretty good, but the blogger portion was sub-par.

  • Bonnie @ For the Love of Words

    I’ve heard a lot about that Vlogger panel. What a load of crap. Sorry your first day wasn’t the best, hopefully the following days were better. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Rory

      The night was good, although I was disappointed that the advertised beer wasn’t there. You can’t subject people to a day like that and not provide drinks.

  • Monika @ Lovely Bookshelf

    So much of that is just appalling. The vlogger thing, Booklikes, the complete ignorance as to what “advanced” would entail. And taking back a promise of beer?! Gag! ๐Ÿ™ Sorry it was so disappointing.

    • Rory

      It was still enjoyable to meet other bloggers, but the content was a let down.

  • tanya (52 books or bust)

    Everyone sounds so disappointed in BloggerCon. Maybe staying home wasn’t such a bad thing after all. I’m closer to both the London Book Fair and Frankfurt Book Fair, but wanted to go to BEA because they actually acknowledge bloggers. Leah’s put forth the idea of an UnCon for next year, but i think it should be held in London!

    • Leah @ Books Speak Volumes

      We’ve talked a little bit about planning regional UnCon’s for people who don’t go to BEA. There could totally be a London UnCon if someone local wants to organize it!

    • Rory

      I could go for London!

  • Shannon @ River City Reading

    I got a little bit panicked reading the Booklikes Panel…I mean the Advanced Panel paragraph again because it was like going back there again.

    • Rory

      Did you know you can sign up with booklikes? You’ll have a bookshelf and everything!

  • Pingback: BEA 2014 Wrap-Up - New York City and BloggerCon()

  • Andi (Estella’s Revenge)

    Geez, BloggerCon. Why the hell can’t they get it right? There’s only 8 gazillion bloggers out here who would gladly give feedback (or who already have!).

    • Rory

      Vlogging. Blogging. Same exact thing.

  • Jennine G.

    Whoever was involved in that one panel about bloggers is lucky they didn’t have a mob form! What crap! Rest of it sounds amazing! Can’t wait to hear more.

    • Rory

      It was a lot of fun. I was amazed at how frustrated and vocal people got and several walked out. It was insulting.

  • Kerry M

    Such a bummer that the Blogger Conference was so disappointing… but at least the parties were fun (and you got to see the Strand, which, let’s face it, is pretty amazing).

    So nice to meet you!

    • Rory

      It was nice to meet you too!

  • Marisa @ The Daily Dosage

    Yes, the Blog Con was disappointing but meeting you and the whole BEA experience was worth it! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Rory

      Definitely! I would go to BEA again, but maybe skip the blogger thing.

  • Words for Worms

    Uh, I would have been pretty cranky about people trying to sell me BookLikes and telling me that vlogging is better than blogging. I can be very unpleasant when cranky. I’m glad the pizza was good though. Pizza makes everything better.

    • Rory

      Pizza is practically the stuff of like, especially if you are in NY.

  • Charleen

    I suppose I might be considered biased since I am a blogger after all, but I never watch vlogs, unless a blogger I follow has put one up (and even then I usually skip it if it’s longer than a couple minutes). I just don’t have the patience to watch videos… which I find really funny, since vlogging is supposed to be more popular than blogging because most people can’t be bothered to read these days.

    I feel like I was hearing mostly terrible things about last year’s BloggerCon too. Maybe BEA should just give up and not pretend they know anything about blogging.

    • Rory

      The vlogger seemed friendly enough, but I could never watch her vlogs. She drove me crazy just sitting up there. Not my style.

      If people are reading book blogs, they are probably reading. Just a thought…

  • alice-jane

    What a bummer that day one was a little disappointing but at least you went to the Strand! I think BEA needs to do a better job of planning the panels as well as some of the other events since the BEA on Saturday was poorly planned as well.

    • Rory

      The Strand was pretty wonderful – so many books!

      I didn’t even want to get near the convention on Saturday. Insanity.

  • Acid Free Pulp

    I love love love Housing Works. It’s one of the best book stores in the city and I can’t resist when I go in there. I also know someone who rented out the space for their wedding. I’ve even blogged about the store:

    Around the corner from the Strand, is a tiny bookstore called Alabaster Bookshop, which is really fantastic and often overshadowed by the giant that is The Strand. There used to be a lot more bookshops in that area, but not so much anymore. Glad you were able to hit up the Strand and Housing Works.

    • Rory

      I would love to attend/have a wedding there. It was beautiful.

      The Strand was fun in that it was so huge (and unlike what we have in Denver, generally), but I can see where a smaller bookshop would be more fun.

  • Kate @ booksaremyfavouriteandbest

    Geez I hate it when things don’t do what they say they do on the packet.

    • Rory

      They need to do a content comparison before presenting. Seriously. Don’t ask people to pay for something and not remotely deliver it. And don’t try to sell people on anything.

  • Leah @ Books Speak Volumes

    Ugh, reading your post is making me feel ragey all over again. But at least we finally got our beer at the Bookrageous Bash! That part of the day was good ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Rory

      Free beer (and wine)…I’ll never complain. Plus, it was gorgeous in there!

  • Pingback: Dispatches from Book Expo America (Part 1)()

  • Care

    So glad you could attend! I know that the very best thing about BEA is the meeting up with fantastic bloggin friends and being able to talk books/books/books 24-7. ๐Ÿ˜€

  • Allison @ The Book Wheel

    Hereโ€™s the thing: If youโ€™re reading books, then youโ€™re probably okay with reading book reviews.

  • Sheila (Book Journey)

    Its interesting reading the posts about the Blog Con. I was there too and on the last panel of the day. I did not attend the vlogging or law session, but enjoyed the Ad one Florinda narrated.

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