Recently I had the chance to attend yet another wonderful book conference, this one being ALA’s (American Library Association) Midwinter conference. This is my 5th time attending a book conference and while most of the people I met and interacted with were wonderful, I was kind of ashamed to be associated with some of the book bloggers that attended. I know that there is always a chance of ALA being cut off to bloggers in the future and I sincerely hope that doesn’t happen. If bloggers continue to act embarassing, I do see it happening. I truly don’t mean to be mean but these are my etiquette tips for bloggers attending ANY conference.
Only take 1 copy of a book!
You would think this would be common sense. Really, you would. Nobody needs more than one copy of a book. If you get a book at the conference and then later receive another copy from the publisher, that’s a different story. However, grabbing multiple copies of books at a conference for giveaways or friends is not okay. I understand you feel bad that a friend can’t attend a conference but it happens a lot. If they are a book blogger they are perfectly capable of emailing the publisher and asking for a copy. Or, novel approach, they can wait for the book to come out. There is no reason someone at a conference shouldn’t get a copy of a book because someone grabbed a copy for someone who couldn’t attend. They paid to be there so they should be the ones getting the books, not your friends. As for giveaways, that is beyond bad behavior. Nobody should ever have ALA/BEA/etc. giveaways (unless you have read the books). The books you get are for you, not to giveaway on your blog to increase your stats and followers. That’s not okay.
Only take books that you actually want!
Truly this is harder said than done because sometimes the publishers don’t really give you a choice and just shove books in your hand. I’ve had this happen. However, there’s an easy way to remedy this. I always take the time to go through the books I got and if I ended up with ones I didn’t want or multiple copies of one, I take them back to the exhibit hall and I set them on a table or chair somewhere. People always take them and I don’t have to feel guilty about getting books that I won’t read.
Don’t post pictures, videos, etc. of your haul!
I get that you want to share info about all the books with other bloggers and readers but in this case it doesn’t really reflect well upon you. (I know I’ve done this in the past but I learned my lesson!) If you want to share pictures with your close friends, email the pictures to them. If you want to share with all your blog readers, maybe pick your top ten or something like that. Conference hauls are a huge reason for jealousy in the blogging community and I know none of us want to add to that. You really don’t even need to post numbers. Never say something like “I got this many books!” It just doesn’t go over well with anyone.
It sucks when your whole body hurts from carrying books and walking but it’s only for a little while and the pain will go away. Work through it and dress nicely. Go ahead and wear tennis shoes or Toms or whatever but try and look at least a little professional. You don’t have to go all out in dresses and stuff but at least wear nice jeans and something other than a t-shirt. Remember that you are representing your blog. Think about that when you plan your wardrobe.
Walk, don’t run!
Really, people? You are supposed to be professional at these conferences! Running when you hear that a publisher has put out a book is not professional at all. I get that publishers run out of books but it happens very rarely. They tend to always have extras held back and if you miss the drop, you can ask for the book and they will usually give it to you. It’s not only ridiculous to be running in a conference, but it’s also dangerous. Be smart, be professional, and be safe. If you don’t get the book, like I said earlier, you can email the publisher or just wait a few months for the release.
Do not shove!
Sometimes the publisher booths get really crowded and you can’t reach the books. Do not shove people out of your way to get to them. Ask someone at the front to hand you a copy. Everyone is super nice and I highly doubt they will tell you no. Once again, don’t risk injury (yours or someone elses) just for a book.
Say please and thank you!
By the end of the conference you can really tell that the publishers are tired. It only takes a couple extra seconds to say please when you ask for a book and to tell them thank you for being there and being so awesome. It goes a long way.
These tips really are just common sense to most people. I know a lot of people get caught up in the excitement and madness of conferences but just behave yourselves. Always keep in mind that you are representing your blog and just think before you act.
Also, if you have any tips of your own, feel free to leave them in the comments!
Edit: Since so many people have commented about the book hauls point, I want to clarify. For BEA, I see no reason not to post book hauls. Bloggers are industry professionals at BEA and we are very welcome there. However, for ALA it’s different. The purpose of ALA isn’t for bloggers to get new books to read and review. ALA is for librarians and us bloggers are lucky enough to get to go. I feel that in the case of ALA, it’s better to showcase the books in some other way rather than a haul video or post. Maybe this is just me but after the drama of last year’s ALA, I don’t want to see any more of that between bloggers and librarians. If that means having to change the way I do things (because I did do an ALA haul in the past), then I’m willing to do that. In this one case, I just recommend using your best judgement.