This is where I played all weekend:
The Author Panel: "It's Not All About Your Book"
Kidlit Blogger Conference, DC, 2009
I had a wonderful time at the conference, and if you're thinking about going next year, you should definitely do it. I also know that I should blog every last detail, but between the revisions underway on the WIP and the Operation Yes promotional stuff, it isn't going to happen. Even these pictures I had to beg from the generous Jama at Alphabet Soup. EDITED TO ADD: And she has a full report on everything discussed, along with more pictures. Seriously, her post is jam-packed, honest and thorough. Get yourself there to read it!)
Me with Jama's cutie-pie bear, Cornelius
But . . . I do want the conversation that was started around the Author Panel to have a place to continue. You have unanswered questions; you have thoughts that didn't hit you until later; you were inspired; or you were uninspired and still want to be; you now know what to blog about and you want to tell us----whatever it is, please use the comments section here on this post to talk to each other about it.
And since there were two specific questions that were left in an earlier post about blog audience, I did want to answer those directly.
The questions were:
I will be going to the conference so I suppose I could ask this there, but just to get the discussion started I will ask a multi-layered question (because I love frosting): Who do you think of as your audience when you're blogging? Your readers or other writers? I realize they are often one in the same, but one of my worries about kidlit blogs (oh, worries isn't the right word, and I'm waiting to be set straight on this point anyway) is that it seems as if the audience is often other bloggers and writers, as opposed to that illusive child reader or the equally illusive parent of child reader. Some blogs I follow seem to be kid oriented; others seem to be writer oriented. How do you strike a balance? Who do you think about when you're blogging?
My question is very similar to Madelyn's, and I hope that if this issue is discussed at the conference that one of you will blog about it!
I see my blog as a place for my readers (kids and adults) to go and see what I am up to. I write a bit about my work, and a whole lot about things that interest me, mostly books and science and the natural world. I think I do an okay job of staying on task and I think that my blog archive is a great place to go and learn a little bit about who I am and what makes me tick. That said, almost all of my subscribers, readers, and commenters are other writers. I did not anticipate this at all when I started the blog. And while I adore those few readers I have, and appreciate their readership, comments, and encouragement, I don't quite know what to do with the unease I feel over the fact that I don't blog with them in mind!
And my answer would be two-fold:
1) You may target an audience, but you can't control who reads your blog. Your content will bring you the readers who most need that content. Don't try to be all things; instead, showcase what you do or love best, be that scientific research, punctuation lore, or the particular slant with which you view your reading/writing life. In short, be authentic, and be aware that your readers may extend beyond what you planned for.
2) I don't think it's a failing that kids don't read most of our blogs. Kids don't read blogs in general, as Greg Pincus of GottaBook pointed out in his fabulously detailed social media talk. I personally believe that kids are more likely to find your web site, as part of a class project. So keep that "static" site up-to-date, perhaps archiving some of your more relevant, kid-friendly posts there as articles. (See Laura Purdie Salas's Poetic Pursuits on her site for a perfect example.) Anyone else want to weigh in on this?
Okay, that's enough talking from me. Your turn!