Paneling in NYC

Ny library Okay, so paneling is not exactly a verb in a way that means "a group of kidlit obsessives who natter on to an audience of strangers."

But paneling we did. Betsy Bird of Fuse #8 fame moderated a discussion on kidlit blogging and the Cybils awards at the NY Public Library on Saturday. The one with the lions, though the whole building's under wraps for renovation. So, no lions.

Participants: Betsy, me, Pam, Susan, Liz B.

Some highlights:

  • The audience wanted to see all of the nominated titles include links to reviews by our panelists. That's up, according to Sheila. Thanks for getting on it so fast!

  • I made a pitch for ideas for funding. I got several, but I'll ask readers too. Ideas and links for grants, sponsorships, financial backing? Send 'em my way or comment below. I wouldn't partner with, say, a publishing house for the obvious conflict of interest, but there's a whole lot of organizations that would be thrilled to have quality content with a devoted, target audience with a history of buying stuff. I just have no idea who they are.

  • We discussed the growing power of the bloggers to bloody a publisher's nose. Pam related how bloggers reacted to the proposed cover of "Liars," which depicted the African-American protagonist as white. She summed up the firestorm it caused and the publisher's decision to change the cover image in time for publication. 

  • Ethics and stuff — we decided this was very important. I gave my famous spiel about transparency, quality, etc. I kept watching this one woman nod off and briefly panicked until I realized she was a vagrant and probably just looking for a warm place to snooze.

  • In particular, we discussed getting free stuff from publishers and what you owe them in return, the new FTC rule about aforementioned free stuff, and whether a negative review is a punch in the stomach to your new sugar daddies in the publishing world. Though not in such colorful language.

We had so much fun, we're thinking of repeating this another time. I'm looking into whether BEA will put up with us.

More later,

Anne Levy, Cybils Yakker-in-Chief

P.S. Here's another, less flattering take on the discussion from an audience member. You can't please everybody.