By Gabe Habash
Held at the Hilton in Manhattan on October 21, Penguin and BlogHer, the community and media company created in partnership with women in social media, hosted BlogHer Writers ’11, a full day of events “designed for women who want to start on their path to publishing.” The conference, which was limited to 200 attendees from blogging and writing backgrounds, featured breakout panel sessions and mentor brainstorming sessions with agents.
Barbara Marcus, strategic innovations advisor for Penguin, started the day with a welcome address to attendees about what’s happening now in publishing. “Blogs to Books,” a general session followed, with Penguin editors talking about how a blog can become a book. Neeti Madan, editor at Penguin, told how she found Jenny Lawson, blogger on TheBloggess, liked her voice, and she’s now slated to author Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir for Amy Einhorn Books. And while the panel reiterated that voice is important for turing a blog into a book, Rebecca Hunt, also an editor at Penguin, said editors are “tired of one-note gimmicks. We’re tired of funny pictures of cats,” so she stressed, as did her fellow panelists, the importance of an idea that can be quickly grasped, as well as a solid following online.
The first breakout sessions of the day were titled “Publishing 101″ and “How to Turn a Book or Two into a Writing Career,” designed to split the attendees by their publishing experience, a breakdown that Matthew Boyd, publishing and special marketing manager at Penguin, said was “about 75% beginning writers, 25% writers who already had a book or two and wanted to know what to do next.”