The date has been set, the hotel has been picked, session proposals are being accepted, and it's time to register for KidLitCon 2011. If you blog about children's or young adult books, or you're thinking about starting a blog, or you write or publish children's or young adult books and you'd like to interact with bloggers, KidLitCon is for you.
This year's KidLitCon will be held at the Hotel Monaco in Seattle on September 16th and 17th. Organizers Colleen Mondor and Jackie Parker have been working hard on the venue and other logistics, and it's sure to be a fabulous time. You can find the logistical details (location, pricing, etc.) here.
Now in it's 5th year, KidLitCon was the first conference to bring book bloggers face to face. KidLitCon started on a whim in 2007, when author Robin Brande offered to host a pot-luck dinner in Chicago. Robin, who at the time hosted a Friday watercooler type of post, wanted to meet some of the friends she had made through blogging. One thing led to another, and before we quite knew what was happening, a full day of sessions was scheduled, followed by a festive dinner, and people, myself included, were winging their way to Chicago. And KidLitCon was born.
I'm proud to say that I was one of the very first people to sign up for that first KidLitCon. And I haven't missed a KidLitCon since. Not even last year, when I had a six month old, premature baby. This year I have a bit of a family conflict, but I am working things out, and will definitely be there for as much as I can of the conference. KidLitCon is one of the highlights of my year, and I would not miss it.
So what is KidLitCon exactly, you ask? This year's KidLitCon is a 1 1/2 day conference on topics related to blogging about books for children and young adults. This year's sessions are still being worked out, but past topics have included things like: adding podcasts to your blog; blogging the backlist; navigating the author/blogger relationship; staying clear of FTC regulations; participating in the Cybils; and many other aspects of blogging, reviewing, and children's literature. This year's keynote speaker is author Scott Westerfeld. There will be sessions of interest to both new and experienced bloggers.
KidLitCon also includes plenty of networking time (lunches, dinners, breaks, etc.), so that friends who only know each other via online exchanges can meet up and chat in person. I am a die-hard introvert, and I still LOVE KidLitCon. It's a fairly small conference (usually around 100 people), so it's not as overwhelming as, say, BEA or ALA. And the thing about it is that even if you've never attended it before, you still have people there that you already know. If you're reading this post, then you must know me in some way. Perhaps we follow each other Twitter, and exchange literacy news. Perhaps we're Facebook friends. Perhaps you've been reading my blog for 5 years, or I've been reading yours. The point is that when we meet at KidLitCon, we already know each other. KidLitCon just gives us a chance to put a face with a name.
The other thing that's wonderful about KidLitCon is the chance to be surrounded by kindred spirits. Those of us who are adults immersed in the world of children's literature may find that our friends and family members, even when they are supportive, don't completely "get it". They maybe find it a little odd that we were more eager than the kids for the last Hunger Games book to come out, or that we can't resist scanning their children's bookshelves, and making recommendations. But the people you meet at KidLitCon? They understand. And they feel the same way.
So, come because you're interested in the sessions, and you want to learn more about blogging platforms, or writing reviews, or interacting with publishers, or whatever the final topics turn out to be. Come because you've been commenting back and forth with MotherReader for five years now, and you'd like to finally meet her face to face. Come because you love the idea of sitting up late in a hotel lounge, drinking a glass of wine and talking about the best children's books of the year. Come because you live in Seattle, and you figure you might was well see what the fuss is about. Come for whatever reason resonates with you. But do come. I personally guarantee that you won't be disappointed.
KidLitCon 2011 is not to be missed!