I have to confess, up front, that I did not utilize my camera as much as in years past. Which really makes me kind of sad. Maybe I ought to think about getting one of those smartphones with a camera on it…
So. The conference. And my thoughts.
- I should have done the pre-con. I heard the publishers previews were cool and that Grace Lin was a good dinner speaker. But, I went to NYC not only for KidlitCon, but to see a very dear friend whom I haven’t spent any time with in years, and she took precedence.
- I happen to really like trains/subways, so the hour and a half from my friend’s house into and out of the city was quite wonderful. I also like walking around big cities, so getting mildly misplaced with Charlotte and Sondra was quite enjoyable.
- I went to the Graphic Novels panel, and enjoyed it immensely. I don’t know if I got what I needed — to know HOW to write about the art; I may need an art class for that — out of it, but I thoroughly enjoyed the discussion about the relevance of GNs (comics!) and the rising acceptance of it. I especially appreciated the list of must-read graphic novels at the end.
- My second panel was about talking outside the echo chamber, and while it wasn’t anything I hadn’t heard before, it was actually a great refresher. The biggest thing I need to do? USE HASHTAGS on Twitter. (And that hashtags are searchable? Didn’t know that!) I have also come to realize that posting the same review on several sites (which I do out of laziness) is basically shooting myself in the foot. Must. Take. The. Time. To. Write. Different. Reviews. #notime
- It’s a good thing I wasn’t really craving burgers, because I ended up being 0 for 2 over the weekend. Shake Shack sounded good, too! That said, I really enjoyed having lunch with the group of people I ended up with. I can’t remember all their names (I know Cecelia was one of them, but hers is the only one I remember. Help?) but I loved sitting in Bryant park chatting with them.
- Speaking of people: Betsy Bird talks exactly like she writes, which I think is quite awesome. And it was really cool to meet Leila, though I did wonder if she got kind of embarrassed being the belle of the ball…we all gushed and oohed and worshiped her (me included). Though, admittedly, it’s gotta be just a bit cool to have Maureen Johnson say your blog is one of the ones she takes the time to read…
- After lunch was my favorite session, the one on “nice” reviews vs. critical reviews vs. negative reviews. There’s a lovely recap of it over at the School Library Journal. Props to Liz B. for saying what was on my mind, at least: “Critical” does NOT mean “negative”. My least favorite phrase in a review? “I love, love, loved it!” Ugh.
- The last panel was the one that I got the least out of, unfortunately. It was on the relationship between the author and reader in the age of social media, and I wanted… something. Not quite sure what. I did sit next to a nice publishing rep from Toronto, however (man I was bad at names this time around!) and I chatted with Alysa (we sat next to each other in the GN panel, just to confuse the presenters. :-D) for a while as well, so that’s good.
- Maureen Johnson is a hoot, even if she did just phone it in. No presentation, just opting for a Q&A discussion with her and Robin Wasserman (need to read something by her now). It was intriguing, though maybe I would have rather had something grand and thoughtful (like last year), but MJ is funny enough, smart enough, and interesting enough to make a casual thing work just fine. Besides, some of us hung around after (I’d made a goal to talk to her and not sound like a crazy Twitter stalker woman, though I wouldn’t have without Maureen‘s prodding), and managed to get a picture with MJ and Robin. Cool.
(That’s my sole picture.)
- The one downside, while I’m thinking about it, to having this in a library (aside from not having munchies in the back of the room), is that I felt like it lacked the chattiness and community that the other ones I’ve been to had. Granted, this may have been my choice: I chose this trip to be as much about being with my friend, and so I didn’t stay with anyone, or even in the city. Maybe that sense was there, and I just missed it.
- The drink night was fun. I talked to Pam for a long time (missed you Jen!) as well as a few others before heading out.
Overall: a great time! Seriously. And next year, there’s rumors that it’ll be in my neck of the woods, which makes me happy. Then again, this conference always makes me happy. Oh! And you can find all the recaps here, if you’re interested.