Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Top 7 Lessons I Learned About Blogging Children's and Teen Literature From #KidLitCon13

Cute cat reading photo from here.

1. What's up with the cat above? And the numbered list? Turns out animal photos and top this-many-number lists are gold in terms of getting traffic to your blog/website. This was one of the asides from Cynthia Leitich Smith's amazing Keynote. As she put it, "Posts topped with animal photos get the most click-throughs." (We'll see how this post does!)

2. "This is your audience. This is your blog. Your audience probably likes you." - Jen Robinson, on how you can reach out to your blog audience to be supportive, during her and Sarah Stevenson's "Blogger Burnout: Suggestions For Getting Your Groove Back" session.

3. "Every kid is a different target audience." A brilliant comment by Charlotte Taylor that is still resonating with me.

4. It would be a great project to explore Girly covers hiding books boys might like, and Boyish covers hiding books girls might like. (This came out of the "Blogging the Middle Grade Books" panel discussion.)

5. 'You don't always know what the connections you make are doing. If I've met an author (and liked them) I'm more likely to put their book face out on the shelf.' - A librarian attendee.

6. If you want to see more diversity in children's literature, and the book you're reviewing isn't inclusive of diverse characters, you can point that out in your review. Sheila Ruth did just that in a recent review at Wands and Worlds, saying, "Unfortunately, I didn't really see much diversity in this future." And if a book you're covering does include diverse characters, share that!

7. In my session, "Diversity In Kid Lit: Nurture More, Blog More, Get More," I was listing the main categories of things we bloggers of children's and teen literature do:

We aggregate content (like lists, links, and featuring what others have put out there)
We create content (like reviews, articles and interviews) and
We communicate (start discussions, comment threads, guest posts, twitter, facebook, etc...)

and then one attendee raised her hand. I called on her, and she said I'd missed the most important thing of all that we book bloggers do:

We Read.

And she was right.

KidLitCon is the annual gathering of bloggers, librarians, authors and illustrators who share a passion for children's and teen literature. It was held in Austin, Texas Nov 8 and 9, 2013, and it was my honor to present and attend. 

My thanks to the organizing committee members: Pam Coughlan, Tanita Davis, Kimberly Francisco, Kelly Jensen, Jackie Parker, Jen Robinson, Leila Roy and Sarah Stevenson!

You can find out more about the kidlitosphere and all our events at Kidlitosphere Central.


Jen Robinson said...

I feel so famous, being quoted in your 7 lessons, Lee! I really like 5 - I missed that one during the conference. And, of course, there's always room to work on #6 and #7. Thanks for sharing these! So great seeing you.

Unknown said...

Great post, and the book-reading kitty is adorable. Charlotte's comment is still resonating with me, too, as is your comment that all of us are the other. I learned so much at Kidlitcon and I feel like it really altered my thinking. It was great to see you again. I miss everyone already!

Charlotte said...

It was so lovely meeting you in person! And I am still thinking hard about your session on diversity--thanks for that!

Melissa said...

#3 and #4 are the ones that have stuck with me the most. But you're right: the fact that we read is a big thing.

It was great seeing you!

Unknown said...

Great post, Lee. Now I have to figure out how to get my dog, Mango to learn how to read when I can barely get him to fetch. Dang.

Resh said...

I am so in tune with Sheila's comment on diversity! Its a great lesson for bloggers to not to shy away from really making this change happen through our reviews! Excellent post Lee. Thanks for sharing :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for this list. I was so disappointed that I wasn't able to attend KidLitCon13. Now I feel as if I've benefitted from it even though I wasn't there. Thanks again!

Carmela Martino said...

This makes me wish ever more that I could have been there. Thanks, Lee.