This week is the annual BookExpo America in New York City. I’m thrilled to be taking part in Armchair BEA which is a virtual conference for book bloggers who can’t attend the actual event.
Armchair BEA is a lot of fun with daily posts, twitter parties, giveaways and other things going on.
The official Armchair BEA site suggest for today’s post:
“to share your positive experiences of using your blog to get involved in your community. This can involve partnerships with the local literary scene, attending author events and signings, or getting together with bloggers in your area. We want to hear it all!”
I’ve been blogging for a little under 7 weeks. It’s not a whole lot of time and I don’t have a whole lot to share with regards to this topic.
However – there are a few things I’d like to say.
1. Find local bloggers to interact with.
I love goodreads and I find myself on there a lot. I’ve been a member there since September 2010 and since then I’ve joined a few groups and gotten to know a few people. One of the best groups I’ve joined on there is the Aussie Readers group. I know that most people reading this aren’t Australian and this group would have no interest to them but the point I’m trying to make is that joining a local group – either online or off – will expose you to local content. I love reading Australian novels but prior to joining this group I didn’t know many Aussie authors who are out there.
There’s also a lot of great people to chat with. Knowledge Lost who is a blogger himself started up the Aussie Book Bloggers group on goodreads. I may not contribute a lot but reading the posts and seeing how generous the other members are with their feedback and comments has been fantastic. It’s there that I found out a little more about how to use Twitter to interact with other bloggers, authors and publishers. And some of the main differences between blogger and WordPress.
2. Libraries – like a bookstore but better!
I’ve mentioned before that I’m currently studying to become a librarian so it’s probably not a surprise that I’m a huge supporter of my local libraries. I think they’re a resource that a lot of people don’t take advantage of for whatever reason.
Libraries are fantastic places for learning – about books, about authors and all sorts of other things. My local has free classes for people in a whole variety of areas. I convinced my grandfather to go along to a class for basic word processing skills.
Most libraries also host a whole range of events – from author signings to book chats and clubs. And the staff are generally interested in the public and have a wealth of knowledge. I love bookstores but generally the people who work there aren’t the most helpful when it comes to answering my questions. When I’ve had questions for librarians they either know the answers or they’ll actually go and try to find out what I want to know.
3. Book Events
It’s not just big book conferences or expos when you can interact with book-ish people. I’m a huge fan of second-hand book sales and I’ve met some great people whilst rifling thought the tables of pre-loved novels.
I’m generally a rather shy person but the shared love of books is a great conversation starter. I met a woman at a sale and after I saw she had a few books that I’d read and loved in her basket I struck up a conversation with her. It turned out that we had a lot of books in common and then we grabbed a coffee and kept talking. We exchanged email addresses and we still chat online every few days. There are bookish people everywhere.
I am rather new to twitter. I had an account years ago but never really saw the appeal… there was only so many Ashton Kutcher tweets I could read before I started to feel like there was something better I could be doing with my time. But as a networking tool? I think it’s fantastic. I love letting people know about my favourite books and sharing my reviews to a wider audience. And I’ll admit it – I still get a bit of a thrill when authors tweet me back.
I’ve found a lot of other bloggers on twitter too. I participated in a twitter chat last week regarding love triangles in YA fiction( hosted by Tiffany @ Escaping One Book at a Time). I wasn’t expecting to have so much fun! Lots of book talk and other chatting went on.
I think the key is when networking about books – online or off – is just to go in with an open mind. For me, talking about books is supposed to be fun and enjoyable and I think a lot of people are from the same school of thought.