Because there was just SO MUCH, I'm going to go bullet-point stylee and hit the highlights again—and, hopefully, some of you who couldn't make it might get a taste of what went on, and benefit from my having taken copious notes (although I would have taken notes anyway, because that's how I roll).
- In the "Who Are You Online?" panel with authors Denise Jaden, Mindi Scott, Chelsea Campbell, and Karen Kincy, I learned that aggregation tools like Netvibes and iGoogle can help you streamline your social media as an author, so you can manage your Twitter and your Facebook and everything else more easily, and build a more effective, consistent, and professional online persona.
- In the "Group Blogging" presentation, which featured Elissa Cruz of From the Mixed-Up Files of Middle-Grade Authors, as well as Rosanne Parry and Katherine Schlick Noe, I got a great overview of the prerequisites, perils, and logistical concerns of setting up and managing a group blog—many of which sounded very familiar from the early days of Guys Lit Wire. The presenters emphasized the advantages of making your blog easy to share and engaging to your audience, and brought up the very important but often forgotten point that it helps every once in a while to remind everyone of the group's shared vision. AND, I found out about an amazingly and wonderfully pertinent blog for us here on FW, which is called Viva Scriva--a blog about writing critique groups and the critique process!
- Chris Singer of Book Dads talked about the various ways that you can build a better world with your book blog, whether it's by promoting the work of non-profit organizations, partnering with those organizations to improve the community, or simply by having a book blog and sending out enthusiastic messages about books and reading.
During Scott Westerfeld's keynote speech, I learned that those fabulous illustrations in the Leviathan books (and there are more than 50 per book!) helped inform the logistics and visual feel of the story, as the illustrator went back and forth with the author on sketches and drawings. I got more inspired than ever to make my current WIP an illustrated novel, which I was already planning on. And I got to see some pretty groovy Leviathan fan art.
- From Mary Ann Scheuer and Paula Willey, I got to see demos of some really luscious-looking iPad book apps, and from Holly and Shiraz Cupala, I learned that it doesn't necessitate a big publishing house with a huge publicity budget to do effective marketing for your book.
- From Jen Robinson and Carol Rasco, I learned the not-entirely-surprising fact that many people now find blog posts of interest through Twitter, and I realized that I do that more often myself these days. We can, said Jen and Carol, do more to take our blog content to other audiences via e-mail subscriptions, Twitter, and other social media.
- Last but not least, from my fellow Blogging Diversity panelists, I got some excellent resources for further study, including a book called Writing the Other and a website called Microaggressions.com. I also got the very valuable reminder from Brent Hartinger that, even if we have a responsibility to be diligent in our portrayals of characters, we're making art, not doing sociology.