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Well, here it is. My second attempt at establishing some form of presence in the blogosphere.  I used to have a livejournal (in the pre-friendster, pre-multiply, pre-facebook, pre-twitter, pre-tumblr days) which I filled with random book and film reviews in between the normal rants and raves about how my day went. Sometimes I still miss the simplicity of those days. But one does have to move with the times after all.

Anyway, I was nagged/bullied/pestered by Chachic of Chachic’s Book Nook to start my own book blog because I made (maybe) one long comment too many in her blog. LOL. It appears that I have a lot to say when it comes to books and genres that I love (mostly YA and speculative fiction, with the odd romance novel thrown in), though I do try to read new genres and authors as well. Thus the blog name.

So. Since I pretty much committed to start this blog after attending the 1st Filipino Reader Conference last September 14, I figured that doing a write up on my Readercon experience would be a fitting way to start.

The conference was divided into three parts – a keynote speech about the blurring lines between readers and writers, a panel discussion on book clubs, and a panel discussion on book blogging.

Carljoe Javier (whose work I haven’t read yet – something that I must rectify soon) made an interesting case in support of self-publishing and self-promoting one’s work. It’s true that these days an author isn’t just selling his work to the public, he’s selling himself as well. Good “customer relations” is definitely a plus when it comes to moving copies off the shelves, and that means reaching out to the public (who may be considered as potential fans/followers) via regularly updated author blogs, facebook/twitter/tumblr/google+ pages. With this in mind, it’s easy to see how a reader can cross the line into becoming an author by simply flexing a bit of social media muscle and doing some real-life legwork.

The panel discussion on book clubs was intriguing, although I must admit that I’m probably not the type of person who’d become active in one of those. While it’s true that book clubs (as Gege Sugue of Flips Flipping Pages said) mean that reading isn’t limited to being a solitary experience anymore, I’ve been lucky enough to have developed quite early on a small network of online and real life friends who share my reading tastes. I suppose that the regular monthly meet-ups that book clubs do might not be for me, or maybe I just don’t have the discipline to stick to an assigned monthly read.

Now, the panel on book blogging. That was what I was waiting for. Five panelists (including Chachic) with five very different approaches to blogging and capturing readers. Although I think that Charles of Bibliophile Stalker made one of the most interesting points of the day, since his approach to blogging was essentially a paraphrasing of the definitions of segmentation, targeting, and positioning from marketing parlance. The other four bloggers (Tarie, Chachic, Aldrin, and Sasha) seem to subscribe more to the – in Sasha’s words – “reading journal” school of thought.

So we essentially ended up with two different approaches to blogging – one where the blogger gave thought to what his target audience wants to read and delivered the content accordingly (hence the many author interviews Charles had in his blog), and another where the blogger wrote primarily about his personal response to the books he’d read and shared them with his readers. Both approaches have merit, but I guess it’s safe to say that this blog will follow the latter school.

The book blogging panel

Alliteration - Charles and Chachic

Look at what I won in the raffle!

At the end of the day, I joined the core group of Readercon people for some serious book hunting at the Manila International Bookfair. I have not been to an MIBF since it changed venues from Megatrade Hall to SMX! Strange that there’s no more Powerbooks or Fully Booked booths, but they probably don’t make enough at the fair to cover the booth costs. So the only big player there was National Bookstore, which did have a decent bargain books section. We must’ve looked really strange, hovering around like circling vultures while the National staff were unloading boxes of those 99 peso tartan books to display. My best buy was a copy of Neil Gaiman’s The Dangerous Alphabet from that pile, unless you count the two volumes of CLAMP’s RG Veda manga that I bought for about 35 pesos each.

We had dinner afterwards. It was nice to finally be able to put a face on people I used to know only as an online handle (waves to Celina and Chachic), meet old acquaintances (Charles and Ren) and make new ones (ummm, you guys know who you are – I’d rather not mention mention names for fear of missing some). ^_^