Thursday, May 29, 2014

LIVE FROM BEA: BEA Bloggers Conference Overview by Amber & Arianna

Hi Everyone!

Amber & Arianna from ShelfNotes here to bring you the down low from the BEA Bloggers Conference. Check out the turnout:

Everyone was welcomed with various breakfast goodies and cardboard-tasting coffee. Speaking of the coffee, Maureen Johnson (keynote speaker, YA Author) started off her speech by sharing a few jokes about the sludge.

Johnson: "By the way, I made the world's stupided Powerpoint."

I'm sad to say that neither of us have had the pleasure of reading Maureen Johnson and were pleasantly surprised by how adorable and funny she is. For those of you (like us) who aren't familiar with this Author, she has written over ten YA novels including the Little Blue Envelope series and her most recent Shades of London series. Not only was she cute and funny but you can tell she has strong convictions about many book industry-related issues going on, the most recent being a critical analysis of the 50 Shades of Grey book. If you venture over to read it, just remember to check out the reactions from others around the web. I think what endeared us to her the most was when she told us she is forced to work from the sofa because her new puppy Zelda (named after Zelda Fitzgerald & the video game) cries when she tries to sit at her desk. How cute is that!

Maureen was eminently quotable, and we jotted down some of her gems: 
  • On writing: "You create characters, make people up...and then punish them...make them suffer for being fake-alive."
  • On being asked by the parent of a reader, "Do you think you do this [write books that make people suffer, apparently] because there's something wrong with you?", she responded with: "...Probably?"
  • On blogging: "Writing a review is making something--a review is a piece of writing itself" and "Book bloggers call out the scare mongers in the traditional press."
  • This was a quote she quoted from the "50 Shades" article mentioned above: "Tell me the books you read and I'll tell you who you are; tell me you read no books and I'll tell you there is no you." --William Giraldi
  • There's so much to read out there, that Maureen says "It's a battle for eyeballs!"
  • She is convinced there will be Internet Archaeologists in the future who will be able to dig up your entire internet history, which your grand-kids can then view (scary, huh?) - she imagines Indiana Jones.  With the whip.

After the keynote speaker, everyone had the choice of going to different panels. We compiled a list of interesting take-a-way facts for everyone at home. 

Design 201 Panel (Taking Your Blog to the Next Level) with Hafsah Faizal (IceyDesigns) & Dawid Piakowski (CEO of BookLikes)

Dawid had 5 tips (in this order) for every blog to follow. 
5. Use Gifs (
4. Be Social - Share everywhere, interact with your readers.
3. Have a profile photo.
2. Show what you read. Have a bookshelf on your site. 
1. Introduce yourself - Make it personal.

Some tips from Hafsah:

She pointed out that you want to "immediately evoke emotion or feeling - the need to come back" and that you want people to want to read what you have to say.  She suggested using color schemes related to the theme of your blog (dark for fantasy, for instance) to evoke the feeling your blog wants to portray.  She recommended for some sample color schemes which the graphics giant suggests starting with.  Additionally, she underlined that a logo is very important for your blog's branding.

The next panel we went to had Armchair's own Florinda Pendley Vasquez of The 3 R's Blog. The panel was very interesting and I think we'll let her tell you about this one in an upcoming Armchair post. 

After lunch, we headed over to the Blogging & the Law Panel.

This panel was really informative, we both took away quite a few good tips and tricks. 

  • is a useful licensing tool. 
  • has a tool that will let you run your URL through a search engine to tell if your work has been used elsewhere. 
  • Bloggers' rights can be found at
  • Legal guide for bloggers:
  • Make sure you renew your domain name, but if someone takes it from you, you can check with the ACPA laws if the buyer intends to profit from the domain in bad faith.
  • Remember 4 things: 
    • Protect (your content)
    • Inform (others how you want them to use your content)
    • Police (what others are doing with your work)
    • Respect (others' copyright)
  • Generally a good rule of thumb is to ASK to use content, if you are able. 

Lastly, we also got to see Armchair's Sheila DeChantal (Book Journey) speak on the Engaging Your Readers: Take Your Writing to the Next Level Panel.

I think we'll let the expert cover this panel on her own. The discussion was really interesting and fun though. We took a ton away from it.

The night ended with popcorn, books, beer, and Tiger Beat! Check them out:

Thanks for attending with us!  Please feel free to comment and discuss any of the above with us.

Amber and Arianna of Shelf Notes


  1. Looks like a information overload, but in a good way! Glad you're having a blast. Thanks for sharing your notes and adventure.

  2. Thanks so much for sharing all these great tips & resources! Did you happen to hear the BlogHer segment?

  3. Thanks for passing on those pieces of advice re legal issues associated with blogging.

  4. While I'm grateful for the mention of my site, I don't actually have the tool. I just write about tools that do that. I think the site you're after is probably Copyscape.

  5. Seriously top notch help here. I especially appreciate the helpful links.

  6. This is great information. I'm sure you two are soaking in the word-y goodness!

  7. Great post! I really enjoyed 13 blue envelopes

    1. Hi Fiction State of Mind!
      Little special story about that book. My neighbor, (may he rest in peace now) saw my Kindle and really wanted to read a book on it shortly after I got it. He stayed up ALL NIGHT reading this book! HE LOVED IT! A 73yr young MAN LOVED it! I thought it was the sweetest thing!! He kept holding onto the Kindle saying, "Yeah, yeah, this was a neat story. I really liked it. She had to open an envelope after she did what the last one said to do. Yeah, I really liked this book! It was worth it, in the end, the last envelope, especially. Yeah, yeah, I really liked this story!"
      He was the CUTEST thing going on and on about it! I'll NEVER FORGET that!!
      Sadly, he passed away last summer after a defective implanted defibrilator (sp?) shocked his heart well over 33 times! It was SO SAD! We miss him DEARLY! His wife, Donna, is still with us, and she is quite the trooper! She is completely blind, has Parkinson's, but is able to somewhat do for herself! I remember 2 years ago she came over our house 'on her own' to let our dog outside! Completely blind! Wow! Extremely special people to us!
      I'm glad you like that book, too!
      Please keep in touch! I would love to! I don't see your blog here?
      Laurie Carlson

    2. Duh, ME! Your blog is your name! LOL!!! It's late!

  8. Thank you everyone, we can't wait to share more with you.

  9. Thanks for the advice. Very much appreciated.

  10. GREAT post! You guys did an awesome overview!