event: the second filipino book bloggers meet-up

found at cubao expothe second filipino book bloggers meet-up had a lower turnout than the first one. but that doesn’t mean it was less fun! the bloggers who attended were: chachic, tarie, aaron, will, kenneth, blooey, michelle, peter, peter’s friend (whose name i wasn’t able to catch), and honey.

i’m actually having a little trouble remembering all that was talked about, but we had a wider scope of discussions this time around. probably because there were less people. and probably because the venue was more quiet and conducive to discussions.

the second meet-up was held at libreria, a new bookstore located at cubao expo. it has a wide variety of books (including a few hard-to-find ones that some attendees were quick to buy), has coffee and cookies, and most importantly, it has a table in the middle that became our venue for discussions.

the owner, triccie, was very cool and very accommodating. she even gave everyone bookmarks! and so was kenneth, who treated the early birds to coffee. well, those who drank coffee anyway. he also handed out free copies of the christmas issue of PHILIPPINE GENRE STORIES. thank you, triccie! thank you, kenneth!

now, onto the discussions. that i remember.

negative reviews. aaron brought up a tweet-exchange between a blogger and an author, where the blogger linked an average review to the author’s twitter account, and the author responded less than favorably. this brought up the issue of (the lack of) negative reviews online, and whether we should (or should not) link negative reviews to an author’s social media network. some of us opined that if you’ve written a less-than-warm review, maybe a blogger shouldn’t link it to the author’s account. after all, that link will be visible to many people, most of them fans of the author.

one blogger voiced out that if no one links to negative reviews, how will the author know what people don’t like about the book he/she had written. while one blogger defended that if an author wants to read negative reviewers, he or she could do a google search herself.

personally, i am siding with the “don’t link” group. recently, i’ve been writing less-than-lukewarm reviews. and i didn’t (and still wouldn’t) link it to the author’s pages. one, because i agree with the idea that if a person wants to read negative reviews, he or she can do a search him/herself. also, it’s like inviting fans to go to your blog and defend their favorite author on your blog. it’s not a win-win situation.

this led to the discussion on why there are too many positive reviews online. which sparked the discussion on why would a blogger write a review. many agreed with the notion that we blog about books because we want to promote it.

filipino book bloggersthen came the discussion on reviewing works where a friend is involved. tarie has a great system in which she promises to feature everything sent to her–but she gets to choose on how she will feature the work: which ranges from book reviewing, to interviewing the author, to hosting memes where she can just mention the book.

this, she says, also works for when she ends up not liking a book. instead of posting a negative review, she’ll just pick a different way of featuring the book.

kenneth was the one who brought up the issue of plagiarism in the philippines–which affects writers, and readers like us. but with this issue, most everyone just wanted an update on what’s currently happening with the court proceedings regarding this. everyone in attendance was against plagiarism. as we all should.

there were other discussions too, which i hope someone else remembered.but the only ones i remember now, aside from the ones i mentioned above, are: when to meet next (january, at libreria again); filipino book bloggers will now feature different bloggers to lead the filipino friday meme (kenneth will start next week); and kenneth is accepting stories for the next issue of PHILIPPINE GENRE STORIES.

this time, we also got to do a little getting-to-know you discussion. of who we are and what our blogs are about. some of us even answered the current filipino friday question, which is about how blogging affects our real lives, and vice versa.

and those are the things i remember being talked about. i should take note of what’s talked about in the next meetings.

event: filipino book bloggers, the first meeting

so finally i met my fellow filipino book bloggers.

after a false start at the launch of MOCKINGJAY, which i quietly attended, i made plans to make sure i do get to go to the filipino book bloggers meet-up yesterday, september 24, at edsa shangri-la. and what we thought was going to be a small gathering turned into an actual get-together where things were discussed.

many things of which i am not at liberty to discuss.

nah, i just can’t remember most of it. but i will be talking about some of the important things that were brought up during the get-together. namely book blogging and what this can do for the world of local publication.

but first, meeting people!

i finally met chachic, whose blog actually made me go ahead and start my own book (slash-movie-slash-tv show) blog–and who is still surprised at the fact that i have 15 books in my to-be-read pile. i have to correct that though. apparently, i only have 13 books in my to-be-read pile, including the latest book i acquired (during the meet-up), but not counting the book i’m reading right now, which is PACIFIC RIMS.

i also met tina, who shares my fixation with zombie literature. and with whom i got into a conversation regarding television shows. do try RAISING HOPE when you get the chance, tina. and who has plans for this year’s nanowrimo.

there was aaron, who got intrigued with DOCTOR WHO because of a youtube video, and who has already seen BLINK and WATERS OF MARS. i suggest you try out LOVE AND MONSTERS next, because it’s also a doctor-lite episode. and if you want to get into the wagon, go with series 5 first. that’s the series with matt smith as the eleventh doctor.

and i finally met celina, from whom i bought two diane wynne jones books that i’ve yet to read. and who will need to rent a room soon for all her books at home.

of course they weren’t the only people i’ve met. though they were the ones i had conversations with. hopefully we could set our next meeting venue in a place more conducive to conversations and discussions. and hopefully we could set it a little earlier so we’d have more time to talk, especially those who have to be somewhere (or home) by nightfall.

now, let’s talk about book-blogging and the world of local publications.

i’m bad with names, so i can’t say who brought up the book conference and the issues raised by local publishers when it comes to book-blogging. paolo, aka rocket kapre, was one of them for sure. and i only remember his name because of the inset photo, and because he gave us business cards.

business cards are very helpful for people like me who are bad with names.

going back to topic; it was brought to everyone’s attention that local publishers think of readers as an imagined public. meaning, they don’t know who their readers really are. they are not in-touch with their market.

tina actually said that she’s jealous of how american book bloggers have an open line of communication with the publishers in their area. i say, i’m not really sure the local publishers are ready for this kind of move into the technological world.

blogging is not a new thing. i’ve known about blogging since high school, and i graduated (from high school) 2002. and before that, doogie howser had already been blogging in the 90’s. so it really isn’t a new thing. but apparently, turning bloggers into a possibly ad person, or ad placement, is too innovative for some of the local publishers.

i think the general rule is: put it out, and we’ll find it. we’ll read it. and if it’s any good, we’ll like/love it, and write about it.

now, the plan is to present the filipino book bloggers as a group local publishers can approach for online marketing. in a way. i’m not a marketing person, so i might fudge up some of the details here. and i’d rather not. but the basic premise of this plan is that local publishers can send us books (in digital format or those with physical form already) and we’ll write about it, whether we like it, love it, or hate it. something along those lines. there was mention that only those interested in the genre may choose to write about it, no one is required.

that reminds me of something; a few months ago, i attended an intimate bloggers conference for sony vaio. yes, a bloggers conference. more than half of the people sony asked to invite were, apparently, known techno-bloggers. plus the handful of us who wrote for market-specific websites.

so, yes. i think the plan to present the filipino book bloggers as a viable online marketing tool is a sound plan. except, i don’t think filipino business owners, in general, are ready for this.

sony vaio’s president is japanese. from what i understand, blogging is big in japan. and while there are as many filipinos, again from what i understand, who go online for reviews and other posts concerning might-buys; i’m not sure if there are just as many filipino business owners who do believe in the power of the written word on the internet.

having spent around three years in a new media company, it’s only just now that businesses are giving the internet a chance. though, yes, the bigger companies have been embracing it for a while now — hence the number of ads that targets filipinos online have grown exponentially — but the small industries are still wary.

they’re afraid to gamble, because they’re afraid to fail.

i wasn’t able to stay for longer during the meet-up, because i had a family dinner to attend, so i don’t know what else had transpired in the local publishers-book blogging discussion. i do think though that this topic should be again discussed when we meet again. in a venue that’s more quiet than the sixth floor of a mall.

since there were so many of us, it wasn’t a surprise that smaller groups tended to break off into discussions of their own. i’m quite guilty of that. this is why i prefer a more intimate space for meetings.

then again, none of us actually thought that the whole meet-up would be taken over by the local publishers and book blogging discussion. or rather, i didn’t think it would be mostly about that.

i mean no offense, it’s just that for a first meeting it was too serious. and it reminded me too much of the beginnings of new worlds alliance. the only difference was, groups were already formed prior to new worlds alliance, and those groups were already discussing the possibility of a portal group.

this is the first meeting of individual bloggers, and we talk about setting up a portal group.

i may sound like i’m complaining, but i’m not. i just wish that we had started off the whole thing with a getting-to-know each other thing, instead of launching right into the group’s concern. because while we’ve already “conversed” online, it’s still different when we do finally meet each other in person.

the whole meet-up was a success though. i can’t wait for the next one.


"feed" by mira granti love zombie-anything. really. being of the queasy nature, i actually have no idea how i fell in love with the concept of zombies. maybe it’s the fact that you can actually kill zombies. goodness knows i’m useless when it comes to ghosts.

okay, now that we’ve established that, on to FEED:

i found out about this book through another book blog, one that held a competition to give away a copy of FEED, because the blogger enjoyed it so much. this being a book on zombies, and seeing (reading about?) someone else enjoying it so much she’s willing to give a copy away had me intrigued.

having tried the e-mail us option of FULLY BOOKED, i asked if they still have a copy of FEED locally–and where i could find it, if they did. they told me they had one last copy at their rockwell branch, and that they would be willing to transfer it the branch nearest me. so i thanked them and moved on.

i got the book last monday, and i’ve read it every chance i got. it hooked me, definitely.

the good news: we survived. the bad news: so did they.

the story is pretty straight forward. we follow three bloggers as they themselves follow the campaign trail fo a senator hoping to become the republican ticket to the presidential elections.

that in itself is interesting topic, seeing as blogging is (right now) a non-traditional media. and you can never really censor what a blogger would say about you or your campaign.

now, set the whole thing in a post-apocalyptic world, where the apocalypse was brought about by the introduction of zombies.

suddenly, the game is different. on top of the probably intrigues that will crop up, there is now also thrills and danger, and the inevitable deaths that will come as soon as the zombies arrive on the scene.

FEED is an adventure set in a political background with tinges of espionage. it’s a page-turner, and it definitely kept me reading way into the night, even when i’m to have an early morning the next day.

so do i recommend this book? hell, yes.