Colleen Mondor of ChasingRay blog fame has organized the Summer Blog Blast Tour (SBBT) beginning next week. Unless you are part of the kidlitosphere, you may not have heard of the SBBT, but you will definitely want to make time to visit each of the 16 blogs listed in the schedule to read each interview. Through 7imp’s help and many emails back and forth, Colleen provided some background as to what this very exciting venture is. I hope you enjoy reading the arguments that paved way for this tour.
In Colleen’s words:
The SBBT came about after the recent conflict between print reviewers and lit bloggers began to make its way across the lit blogosphere. You can read some of my thoughts on that here and here, as posted at my site at the time. I really straddle multiple words – reviewing in print for Booklist, while also having the YA column at Bookslut and writing and reviewing adult titles at Bookslut, Eclectica Magazine and Voices of NOLA (where it’s pretty much all New Orleans all the time!) What struck me as I got sucked into this debate is that what print reviewers think lit bloggers do (particularly as discussed at the NBCC’s Critical Mass blog) and what we actually do accomplish are two very different things.
Basically there are a lot of misconceptions out there (from Richard Ford’s annoying "Terre Haute basement" line to the very recent "bloggers with 18 cats" column at the Library Journal). I think the bloggers in the kidlitosphere in particular provide a service to parents/librarians/booksellers and kids that is available nowhere else. Collectively we write about a crazy amount of books on a weekly basis and can get the word out on the undersung and overlooked titles very quickly and effectively. Further, we include an amazing amount of very educated and very experienced people when it comes to literary matters.
Bottomline – we aren’t a bunch of idiots and I don’t appreciate being dismissed as such.
So I wanted to make a bit of a statement and show just what this one particular segment of the lit blogosphere could do. I decided to organize a large virtual tour of author interviews as quite frankly it is the most obvious thing that could not be done in a similar manner in print – we have sixteen sites that have confirmed interviews to run next week with 28 authors – several of them providing multiple interviews. There will be over 50 interviews total, starting with Gene Yang running on Sunday, June 17th and Justina Chen Headley running on Saturday, June 22. On most days we have ten interviews running at multiple sites and every site involved will run the daily schedule along with links to the interviews.
What I hope to provide here is a look at the diversity within children’s book publishing as well as across the kidlitosphere itself. We get to champion a lot of authors we admire and we get to show that we can do something unique for readers.
It’s a win/win situation.
The authors were chosen for specific reasons – I contacted bloggers I knew and was familiar with and once we had a list of bloggers we all nominated authors. I wanted to include authors who wrote books that would appeal to girls and boys – and not get too gender specific heavy either way. I also wanted books for GLBT readers and titles that had characters of various ethnicities. From there I wanted to cross genres: Sci Fi, Fantasy, Mystery, Romance, Drama, Coming-of-age, Adventure and on and on. Finally, I wanted to be sure to include graphic novelists and we also got Svetalana Chmakova, a manga novelist. The group is still not as all encompassing as I hoped, but it is damn close and I know we will only get better at this in the future.
In the end I hope that we bring some authors and their titles some new attention and also shake things up a bit in the larger literary world. I work in print and I have a lot of respect for people who work in print but this is not about that world – the SBBT is about showing what the internet is capable of and I think we have done that quite effectively with this project.