November 04, 2013

It's Almost Here!

KidLitCon '13, that is. I'm all a-bustle this week getting ready for the 7th (can you believe it?) annual Kidlitosphere Conference taking place in Austin, Texas this weekend. Tanita and I have been part of the organizing committee this year, helping from afar. And it's promising to be a fun time: a Friday afternoon pre-conference where local kidlit folks and attendees can mix and mingle and swap books; an evening kidlit dinner and drink night; keynote speaker Cynthia Leitich Smith on Saturday morning, and a day full of amazing breakout sessions that cater to kidlit bloggers and blogging authors/illustrators.

It is literally one of the most enjoyable conferences I've ever been to. There's nothing like meeting someone in person for the first time after "knowing" them for years online and realizing you really ARE kindred spirits in your unholy ravenous appetite for children's and YA books. If you're local to the Austin area, I highly, highly recommend it, and you can still register. The pre-con mixer on Friday afternoon is free, but the conference itself is only $65 including lunch, so it's a bargain and there's no excuse not to go. At huge conferences, I always feel like a freaked-out, people-phobic, neurotic lurker in a corner, trying to shove my bookmarks at people before I run away in mortification. At Kidlitcon, I actually connect with people.

Evangelizing aside, this year's prep has been quite a bit of work! Jen Robinson and I will be doing a breakout session on Fighting Blogger Burnout (which stemmed in part from the conversation we had in the comments of a post I did earlier this year), and I'll be moderating a panel discussion on Kidlit Blogging's Past, Present, and Future, which is another (somewhat related) topic that I've been pondering. Given the proliferation of blogs and other types of social media, and blogs that do different types of things like giveaways and contests versus those that do reviews, etc., how has the kidlitosphere changed, and where are we headed? Is blogging still relevant? These questions keep me up at night, because they are connected with that feeling of burnout--wondering whether it's worthwhile to keep doing what I'm doing. So I'm excited to get to throw the conversation out to a real, live, in-person crowd of bloggers, and also get some heavyweights to weigh in: my panelists are Lee Wind, Leila Roy, Jen Bigheart, and Sheila Ruth, people from various corners of the blogging universe with a collective crap-ton of experience.

My job is just to ask the hard questions. :) Hope to see you there!


Mary Witzl said...

This made me laugh out loud: "...a freaked-out, people-phobic, neurotic lurker in a corner..." You have channeled the inner me! Whoever wrote that is absolutely my kindred spirit! This sounds like a great conference and worth all the trouble of getting there. One day maybe I'll be able to go to one of these myself.

Sherry said...

Sarah, so good to meet you and finally have a face and a personality to go with the name and the blog. Yikes, I mean I have a face for you in my memory and your personality connected with it, and oh, you get it!

ANyway thanks for all the work that went into kidlitcon, and here's hoping we can see each other again at the next one.

Sarah Stevenson said...

Mary: You should definitely attend sometime if you can! It really is a great conference, and different every year.

Sherry: Likewise!! It was wonderful meeting you. Every Kidlitcon I meet at least one or two people whose blogs I've long been familiar with but whom I haven't yet met in person, and that's always one of my favorite aspects of the whole thing. Hope to see you again next time!