Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Blogging Age

A while back, an author called for the teenage bloggers on Twitter to speak up because she wondered if there was any. Do they exist? Are they good? It started a rain of questions for me, but not if they exist. I know they do. I'm one of them and I know quite a few others. Fast forward a couple weeks and there I am, researching BEA. For those of you who don't know, BEA is an event in NYC, which has many perks, but one of which is many bloggers go and meet authors and snag a boatload of ARCs.

I found something strange. On the registering prices, it says that you have to be 18 years or older to sign up. Most things require that to be the minimum age limit, but I was still surprised considering that a large portion of BEA was young adult fiction. Fiction that has protagonists usually at ages 15-18 years old. Fiction that is usually geared towards readers the same age as said protagonists. Fiction that is placed in the TEEN section of libraries and stores. Do they not realize that readers make up bloggers so therefore, there are teen bloggers out there who might want to attend BEA? I think I might have accepted that disgruntling fact if not for this next part.

"Anyone under the age of 18 (minors and infants) will only be permitted to register to attend if accompanied by a registered industry professional and will have to pay the industry professional rate to receive a badge."

Industry professionals are consultants, manufacturers, book packagers, wholesalers, and venture capital/investment bankers. The BEA 4-day pass, early bird registration, is $349, almost triple the amount of what a regular blogger would pay at $119. Does anyone know an industry professional? I sure don't. I doubt that if I did, they would go and/or let me register with them since it's likely that they won't be a family member. So not only am I dependent on someone else, but I am also restricted to who I sign up with (that means I cannot register with my 23 year old blogging sister) and I have to pay a ridiculous price for someone I am not. I'd have to pay the industry professional price because I'm forced to register with an industry professional, but I'm a blogger.

I'm just a 17 year old girl so I doubted that no one really cared what I thought, but I like to know the whys of everything. Why can't I do this? Why did this happen? Why did you say that? WHY? So true to my nature, I emailed BEA and asked why. 

The kind lady told me that it doesn't matter if I'm a few months away from my 18th birthday or a few years, it's about liability since I'm a minor. I quickly waved that off and said I absolutely understood. Like I said, most things operate for people 18 years old or older. I made my questioning more specific: why am I restricted to registering with an industry professional adult instead of, say, another blogger? 

She told me she'd have to talk to her manager/supervisor.

During that time, I tried to deal with my annoyance towards BEA and the frustration that started bubbling up inside a few weeks prior. YA books center around teenagers and are geared toward teenage readers, yet adult bloggers are the ones that have the head-start because they're over 18. This coming summer, I will be 18 and and in a few years, I'll be one of those adult bloggers and YA-reading adults. I love all those adult bloggers (remember, one of them is my sister) in their twenties to thirties (or to whatever age, I don't judge). But sometimes in this community, I feel as if the preference and "fun stuff" is geared towards the adults. BEA and ARCs are just two things that I think adult bloggers have in their favor. A lot of blogging duties or perks also rely on money and while I save, I don't have much money as a teenager and that's not because I spend. It's because I'm not allowed to have a job because I'm in school and am involved with extracurriculars. Of course, most twenty to thirty-somethings do have jobs so they do have a wallet to dip into to make their blog more successful. All the more power to them...which is kind of the point. 

I'll interrupt my musings to let you know that the BEA lady emailed me back and told me that I can register by myself and pay the blogger fee with a link she provided me and that I wouldn't have a problem getting in underage there because they would give me permission. Victory! Right? Well, I showered her with thanks, but still wondered at the numerous teenage bloggers who won't have the same outcome or won't know to email. And what about my whys? She answered why I have to be 18, but not why the rule was to register with an industry professional.

So here's what this whole post boils down to: why do the preferences seem to be given to adult bloggers in YA rather than actual teenage bloggers? Note the key word: seem. This is purely my pondering and my question. It seems like the most "successful" blogs are the YA ones run by adult bloggers because, yes, they tend to have more mature and better writing, more resources, and I bet publishing contacts like to connect with people their own age more (although I've talked with amazing publicists myself). However, I know there are teenagers running a more "successful" blogs than other blogs run by adults, but it's not the "most successful" if that makes sense. Why does BEA have a rule about who a minor can register with? Why do teenage bloggers have to pay a higher price just because that's who they're forced to register with? Why does it seem like there aren't nearly enough teenage bloggers out there blogging about YA books?

Many of the blogs I read are by twenty-something bloggers who are witty, personable, insightful, and friendly. I like their writing, style, and content. So I know that sometimes, age doesn't factor in with how much someone likes a blog. I guess I wonder why it's this great thing to find another YA blogger under the age of 18 (yes, 18 is still a teen, but considered an adult in most areas and out of high school) when most YA books are centered around under-18 year olds. I do know teenage bloggers and that's great, but why is adults blogging about YA the norm?

Can anyone answer my never-ending whys? I want to hear what YOU think about all of this in the comments below!

Edit: Your comments are awesome, but I realized I caused some confusion. I am now ALLOWED to attend BEA and while I made a big deal out of this, I still might not be able to go because of MY side of things now. Fingers crossed, but it's a very low percentage. But thank you and keep commenting your thoughts! If anyone is possibly interested in rooming together, contact me!


  1. I actually haven't thought about this. Most of the people whose blog I visit daily are 20-30 or a little over 30. Some, like Melanie, are younger and I'm actually baffled by the fact that she wouldn't get to go to BEA because of her young age even though her content is superb and she has a way with words and is a very successful blogger. It's weird. I'm so glad that you got this problem solved and I can't wait to see all the fun recaps :) Btw, isn't it funny that children, teens and elderly people usually have discounts and in this case where a lot of the content is meant for teenagers isn't pro-teenagers at all when it comes to age limits? LOL. I agree though that most of the successful bloggers aren't teenagers themselves and while it's not something I have found myself thinking about, I am aware of it. You made some great points about same-aged contacts and great content with a way of words. I wonder if any other people have this kind of discussions on their blogs, I'd love to know what others think of it. I guess I'll just have to stalk your comments section lol. Great post, Summer!

    1. Thanks so much, Siiri! Yes! It's ridiculous that in this case, it's not really pro-teenagers when it should be in this instance. I actually tried looking around to see if anybody had similar discussions as well so definitely stalk the comments on this ;)

  2. I thought I was the odd shoe out when I started my own blog, since I'm far beyond my YA years. Then I discovered that there were lots of adult bloggers out there (though not many of them past the 40 mark). Sometimes I feel a little guilty, since I'm reviewing books that are not aimed at my age group. Having said this, I do like YA novels (just not all of them), try to choose them accurately with my age in mind, and honestly try to be fair in my review even when I happen to read a book that sounds more juvenile than I thought...Also, I'd hate to steal something from my younger mates - whether an ARC or a place in a convention. (Of course, being in Italy, I'm not in the position to do that, but you know what I mean). Many of these youngsters are talented, dedicated bloggers (like you Summer - or Ruby @ Feed Me Books Now), and they deserve to be encouraged, rewarded and treated like princesses (or princes, if there are any!). Also, the rule you were told about? Makes. No. Sense. I guess the market is OK with bleeding teen readers white a book at a time (or preferably, many books at a time!), while simultaneously its Powers-That-Be dismiss said teens as a valueless resource when it comes to spread the word about those same books. I guess that being "accompanied by a registered industry professional" is a trick in order to ensure that you're not there just to fangirl (or fanboy) about books...but why not let you be accompanied by an adult whatsoever? Not to mention the price issue...just crazy.
    Anyway, it's great that you're so determined and resourceful, and I'm glad you will be able to attend BEA in the end. I'm looking forward to your witty chronicles! :)

    1. Roberta, you are so nice! I mean, I already knew that, but this just proved it. I honestly don't look down on adult bloggers who go all grabby at ARCs or review them because I know I will be them in a few years. It's absolutely okay for you to like them and if you ever ARE in a convention like that, GO ROBERTA GO. But I think it's incredibly sweet that you think like you do (and thanks for the compliment). I'm sputtering with agreement because I'm so AH. I think people either patronize teenage bloggers by acting like they don't know what the heck they're doing (which they might not, granted) or that they don't really matter and that THEIR input doesn't matter...which is baffling since it's geared towards their peers! I can be okay with that reasoning on being with an adult, but I still think it's crazy that they tell me WHO exactly. It completely restricts them because who knows an industry professional? I sure don't!
      Thank you :) I tend to be pretty stubborn in these kind of situations...which may be good or bad, ha! I am able to and it sounds ridiculous since I made a fuss about it, but I might not go. Still quite a few details I'd have to work out on MY part now. Those witty chronicles will happen someday though!

  3. First of all, I'm so jealous that you may actually be going! When I started my blog a year ago, I had no idea what BEA was until AFTER BEA was already happening. If I had known in the early days of blogging, I totally would've wrangled up some money somehow and gone. But this year, when I do have an actual job and am actually making money, I can't go because I start physical therapy school a week beforehand. I don't think my new teachers would appreciate that, especially since there is only going to be 40 students total. (Read: they'd know if I was missing).

    I had no idea that there was an age limit to the bloggers conference. Considering, like you said, that the majority of BEA books/publishers are there for YA, you'd think that they'd encourage teenage bloggers to go. I do, though, completely see why they have this age limit. A. General nationwide rule that people under 18 can't go or do certain things without an adult. B. I think it's a major safety concern. Thousands of people attend this conference and if a minor is hurt or even worse, kidnapped, it would be a major liability. If you had to go to the hospital, you'd need an adult to fill out forms, etc. But if you go by yourself to BEA, you wouldn't have that. Also, your parents could sue BEA and that would be a big ordeal. Also, this event takes place in NYC, one of the biggest cities in the country. Most hotels won't allow a minor to check in without an adult, and since this conference tends to bring hordes of out-of-towners, BEA is probably thinking that if you can't get a hotel room without an adult, you wouldn't be able to come anyway.

    Now, the part I sooo don't agree with is making a teenage book blogger pay for the entire conference and have to be with an industry professional. THAT makes absolutely no sense. (Unless they are thinking that a publisher will invite you to come). You should be allowed to go to just the blogger portion with any adult over the age of 21 or whatever the rule is. I don't see why that would be a problem. Just say hey, you're under 18, but bring an adult, and you're good to go! Simple.

    I'm so glad you got to talk to someone who helps run the conference and was able to waive the rules a bit for you. Yay for nice people, right?! Now that you've brought it to their attention, maybe they'll think about rewording the rules? Again, if you actually go, I'm going to be insanely jealous!

    1. Don't be! I'm not sure if it'll work out thanks to hotel fees. I researched because I wanted to know what the costs would be and that's when I ran across this. I knew there was a chance it would be for nothing, but I still wanted justice (and I'm just stubborn and the fairness police). PT school, that's exciting! Well, maybe next year you'll be able to go? And then maybe I'll go and WE CAN MEET!

      I didn't even look at the blogger's conference, just BEA in general (since I decided I would NOT have enough for the conference as well, I'd rather sightsee). THANK YOU, YES. See, I agreed with the lady about liability and the fact that under 18 would cause issues. Sure, why not, they have to cover their butts. That's how the world works. But to FORCE me to pay a ridiculous price for a label I'm NOT and to say WHO exactly I'm supposed to go with...that's just wrong. No way would I find an industry professional. I knew that I'd be a high school graduate in May so my parents would let me go by myself, but my 18th birthday isn't until July so I understand the BEA rule. But I couldn't even go with my ADULT sister? Seriously?

      Yes! She was very nice. I was glad that she took the time to talk to her manager instead of waving me off and saying, "That's the rules, kid." I hope so. Maybe if enough people brought it to their attention? IF I do go, I'll bring get you ARCs :)

  4. I'm sorry I don't have a lot to say in response or to add to the discussion, because this is an EXCELLENT post, very thought-provoking and well-written. All the points you make are good, and I found myself agreeing through most of this.

    1. Psh, I love input, but compliments such as "excellence" is ABSOLUTELY acceptable ;) I might have puffed like a peacock (or whatever the verb is that peacocks do).

  5. Wow, that sounds like such an ordeal. I never had to think about it before, but I think that's really ironic. I get why they do it, but like you pointed out, teen bloggers make up a percentage of bloggers and YA is geared towards teens, so it's kind of ridiculous that it's such an event to get them registered. So many hoops to jump through. Honestly though, I would've just lied about my age. They never check for IDs (at least not to my knowledge). I just provide them with my confirmation at registration and they give me my pass.

    Aly @ My Heart Hearts Books

    1. I never thought about that. I guess, one, I'm kinda honest to a fault. Sometimes, TOO honest, it's pretty sad since as a teenager, aren't I supposed to be a lying rebel? Ha, oh well. But yeah, when she fixed it, she said they won't make me give an ID so who knows. I just think they should fix it (at least let me register with ANY kind of adult) so that I don't have to lie, you know?

  6. It's a shame your question about the industry professionals wasn't actually answered. Now I'm wondering why they'd make that a rule but not explain it! I have to admit, I've never really paid much attention to how old most of the bloggers I follow are. Though now that I think about it, I'd say the majority are people in their early twenties, and about a who are teens. A much smaller amount who are over 30. But I guess when you look at the blogging community as a whole, there are a lot of adult bloggers. I wonder if it's just easier to run a blog when you're not still at school or still studying? Especially as that's the sort of age where there a lot of other things are going on too. Anyway, I think good content is good content, regardless of how old a blogger might be. Interesting topic to think about though! I'm glad the BEA situations was sorted in the end. It's great that you get to go! :)

    1. Oops. That should say 'about a third who are teens'!

    2. I debated on whether or not I should ask why again, but I didn't want to push my luck! It's possible. Adult bloggers have jobs and sometimes kids, but at least IMO, it's a bit more manageable than school, studying, extracurriculars, chores, family obligations, AND possibly a part-time job. Also, I don't think teens really know about this outlet all the time. A friend of mine mentioned a blog and wondered why people have a blog as an online journal and I was surprised. HELLO, there are book blogs, and she honestly didn't know there was such a thing. Ditto. I love finding new blogs, especially teen ones, but I won't keep reading if it's not good content. Thanks, Sam! I doubt I can, but it's great to know that I CAN.

  7. Wait, what? I had no idea that rule existed, and it sounds ridiculous. I understand requiring minors to register with an adult, but why can't that adult be a parent or an older sibling? I'm glad you got it sorted out, at least, but like you said, what about everyone else?

    And that's just one example that supports the fantastic point you are making - it DOES seem like adult bloggers have an advantage in many ways. It seems to me that this edge comes from money, independence, and friendships with publishing people. One of my favorite bloggers is Jamie from The Perpetual Page Turner, whose blog is HUGE, and I frequently notice her talking on twitter with various publicists. She seems to have personal friendships with a few of them, which must be so beneficial for her blog when publishers are sending out ARCs, looking for blog tour hosts, etc.

    At Lit Up Review, we've kind of made it our project to support teen bloggers, and I'm trying to think of more ways to do so. I would like to see more blogs written by teenagers, because they ARE the people to whom YA is marketed.

    Oh, and does this mean going to BEA is a probable plan for you? :D

    1. I really wanted to request them changing it so that the teenagers don't have to be restricted to a specific adult, but I didn't want to press my luck at the time. Now I feel slightly guilty because it's good with me, who might not even be going and will be 18 next May, but what about everyone else?

      Great example! LOVE Jamie and I admire her so much, but I am kinda jealous when I see her with such established connections and I wonder if it would be easier if I was older. (Not saying that age is the only factor since personality and such are HUGE things, but if I was a 30 year old publicist, it's very possible that I'd rather talk to a twenty-something instead of a high schooler.)

      And here's another thing/person I love: THAT, your 2nd blog and what it does. I loved seeing how you all promote teen bloggers because we MATTER. Our reviews are sometimes tossed aside, but we are the protagonists, you know? And adult bloggers might say that something is juvenile, which it very well may be sometimes (goodness knows that I think quite a few things are juvenile), but I think it needs to be known that this is targeted to TEENS who aren't as mature sometimes. Although, not all adults are as mature (oh man, it's ridiculous of how many "adults" I'm more mature than).

      Er, definitely more probable since this is figured out, but because of MY side of things, it doesn't seem likely, which is heartbreaking.

    2. Hiiii. I saw my name here *blushes* Thank you for the kind words! It's also very interesting to see someone else's perception of your blog/what you do haha. So if I may respond?

      I talked pretty candidly below about money in my embarrassingly large comment so I won't address that but I totally agree that independence and publicists who are also adults definitely does HELP. I think, for me, I never talked to publicists for quite some time. I think it just has come as a result of, being their peers YES, but also being at this for almost 4 years. I've been able to work with them for a long time and talk with them outside of blogging stuff. So I definitely think you are right in does help that they are my peers. But it's definitely taken time for me to develop those relationships via email and things like BEA. I think, and I discussed this a little below, that we do have a little edge with the networking thing. It come easier for me probably to talk to someone who is my peer than it is for teen bloggers maybe because it's what I have to do in a professional capacity? I've always focused a lot on networking and actually talking to the publicists like people so I think that's why I have those relationships that I do because, to be honest, I don't know that I've ever asked a single one of them for any books...they have just become friends or "colleagues" in a way. ( Outside of the designated person who I've always worked with just like everyone else to get ARCs). So, I think at least for me and I can only speak to that experience, my networking has helped me probably get on their lists but I don't think it's given me an advantage of getting ARCs in general -- maybe on occasion they've been like OH you would like this but that's also a result of them knowing my taste after this long. I had already developed that blogging relationship before I become "friends" with them if that makes sense? I do that that my relationships have probably helped get some opportunities maybe but I think that's also a result of how long I've been doing this and publicists know what to expect when they work for me...and anyone who has been at this a while. For example, there was a sensitive thing for a tour that couldn't be leaked and having a good relationship with the publicist and them KNOWING how I conduct my blog/myself, was a reason why perhaps I was chosen over others? So, I totally get how it might seem but I personally do believe, at least for me, my friendships with these people came AFTER I had already established myself a bit/was already getting ARCs and on their radar. I mostly just, at this point, talk to them about other things haha. But I totally do think there is an element of them being my peers and it being easier to maintain those sorts of relationships than maybe it is for a teen. Very interesting and thought-provoking comment and thoughts!

    3. Just know that everyone loves you, Jamie, and you're [insert positive, flowery adjective here].

      VERY insightful and helpful comment! This, and the comments below, are really thought-provoking and just...insightful. I keep saying it, but it is. Having them as peers definitely helps and I think the natural connection (which I think you also touched on below) helps too. But you also handled yourself with the publicists/publishers/etc in a way that would benefit everyone if everyone did the same: you treated them as collegues (which is easier for adults, I think) and friends (again, peers) and built trust. Established connections. Networked. It's something that I've seen you do on Twitter and I think you do a great job at. You're personable and likable. Really, everything you've said has made me think so much more about this.

  8. Gah, Summer, you're making me feel really old with this post. ;) I can understand the 18+ rule and the liability issue, but the second part of that and what that requirement entails is just insane. And I agree that YA books are targeted at teens *under* the age of 18, but I think the problem is that the conference *isn't*, ya know? It didn't start out as a blogger thing and was aimed at industry professionals who are over the age of 18. And maybe they just haven't updated their rules since it became such a big hit with bloggers? I don't know...I'm not trying to defend their stance or just seems like maybe it's an issue that hasn't been reviewed by them in awhile.

    Also, and please don't take this the wrong way, but it's no easier running a blog as an adult with a family, a job, and other obligations, than I imagine it is as a teenager with school, a part-time job, and extracurriculars. I think even if I could be a stay-at-home mom, it would still be difficult to juggle everything. It's all about finding a balance. I don't know why there are fewer teenage bloggers, though. Except that when I was that age, I loved to read but I didn't feel that urgent need to discuss a book with someone that I do now. If I had, I might have turned to blogging a lot sooner, had I known all about this book blogging thing back then. :)

    I guys matter. I appreciate a thoughtful review from a teenager as much as an older blogger...maybe even more so because I know that the book was geared toward you and your providing your opinion as the targeted audience. I try to keep that in mind when I'm doing my own reviews and not comment on something as being juvenile because I *was* juvenile at that age. But I also don't like when people comment that a YA character's dialogue is too pretentious just because they use SAT vocab words. I was one of those nerdy, verbose types, even back then.

    And now I've gotten off track. Sorry. All I really wanted to say was that I'm glad you brought this to someone's attention, that BEA is trying to rectify the situation for you, and that there's even a small chance you might get to attend. :) Very insightful post, Summer.

    1. I do have to agree with Jen though. Bloggers being invited to BEA is soooo new and BEA has always been an industry thing so they probably didn't see a problem with that. Now that BEA runs the blogger con hopefully they will be able to start thinking about these things knowing that there ARE bloggers that are under 18. Just guys are paving the way :P

      Also, totally agree with Jen that it's no easier for us. I think our time is just as crazy but in different areas. I had a hard time blogging when I was working 40+ hours a week AND planning a wedding (I posted WAY less). My sister has kids and I don't know how she could ever run a blog much less read one book a month haha. ALso, with that, priorities and shifting things around and making time. I think it's true of teens, college students and adults.

    2. Since I still feel so new to the blogging world, I didn't even know bloggers being invited to BEA is so new!

      I definitely do NOT take that the wrong way. I really love seeing your and Jamie's opinion on this. I've been thinking about it more after these comments and my post and realized that having time is really depended on the person. My mom? She reads blogs, but I doubt she has time to write a paragraph a day because while she's a stay-at-home mom, she's the most hardworking woman I know. But then there are other people who have a career and find plenty of time. Same goes for teens. So I hope I didn't come across as "teens have the hard life wah wah wah" because I know we don't. Or at least, it's wrong to use generalities and clump everyone together in a category as who's the busiest.

      That's another thing! Juvenile vs pretentious. I'm still the age as YA characters, but I wonder if I think things are more juvenile than my peers because of situations and circumstances. Also, when I read a review, I realize that just like other opinions, people will have varying thoughts on what's "realistic" in the ways of being juvenile or "too" smart. My sister was VERY wordy (still is) and I think adults (and teens) sometimes forget that people are different. It's like authors writing a stereotypical high school.

      I like the track you took, Jen, no worries :) I feel like my brain is a big mess and I'm not making any sense. But yours (and Jamie's) input is really interesting!

      And paving the way...I feel like I should be strutting or something.

  9. What a very interesting and insightful post! As an adult, I have always been surprised at how very few teen bloggers there are comparatively. To be honest, when I first started I assumed a lot of people were teens who were not haha. I was like 24 when I started and now I'm 28 so I've always been on the "adult" side but I found myself definitely more gravitating to the other twenty-somethings. I was afraid I wouldn't be able to connect with the teen bloggers but as I've been around I've found, sure, there are totally some teen bloggers I can't REALLY connect with on a level more than "hey I liked that book too" but there are some, like yourself and many others, that I'm like OMG I wish I had been like them when I was a teen because they are so awesome/insightful/write more articulate things than me. And I connect really well with them. Anyways, I've always wondered WHY they're aren't more teen bloggers. Is it that teens are super busy? Is it a community they aren't able to find their niche of other teen bloggers in this sea of adults?

    I'm confused about the BEA thing though because a few years ago I definitely was somebody's way to admittance for BEA. I was their adult haha.

    Re: the adults having more advantage I think yes and no. It's interesting that, like with BEA, that I've been to blogger parties that are held at bars and the under 21 crowd had to be with a parent or something. I never really thought about that until now but it IS interesting because it kind of does isolate the teen bloggers.


      Re: the money thing. I think that is true to some degree but also not true. I do think YES obviously teens don't have control over their money always and it might be harder to pay for these I totally agree with that it's hard for teen bloggers to finance some of this stuff. However, If I showed you the financials for how much I've actually spent on my'd probably be surprised. I barely spend anything on it. I rarely do giveaways. I design my own things now and before that I had an ugly design that I tried on a whim when I first started. Basically when I started my blog I was underemployed because I was working an internship so I had no money to spend on it. Then I finally got a full time job but after a while started planning and saving for my wedding so I didn't have extra money to spend on blog stuff (outside of saving up for like BEA and hosting fees). Then, as you probably know, I got laid off a week before my wedding so I have literally had NO money to spend on the blog. I just can't justify it. I just started nannying recently because I'm still waiting back on jobs I interviewed for but basically...long story an adult I've rarely had the resources others have. So I totally DO agree with you that adults totally do have the financial backing that teens might but you TOTALLY do not have to spend money to build a blog. Sure, it sucks that sometimes I can't do giveaways like everyone else but I don't think it's hurt me too much. So I just wanted to give that an adult who has barely spent anything on their blog....even though I DO agree with and understand your point. Adults have a bit of advantage with money a lot of the times and more freedom in some of the things that come with blogging.

      I think another thing, at least with publisher relations and such, is that so many of us work in a professional setting. My background is in marketing and social media. I think as you get older you get better at networking and writing pitches and managing your blog like a business/household. I'm not saying that teen bloggers cannot do those things (because obviously y'all do it) but I think maybe it just becomes more natural for some of us adult bloggers because we are expected to do those in our jobs? I don't know. You've brought some interesting food for thought to the table here and I'm just babbling things I think maybe could be part of it? I could be totally off but that was the first thing that struck me when I was reading.

    2. OMG PART 3 --- how embarrassing!

      I really am surprised that more publishers don't really reach out to teen bloggers more. I mean you ARE their demographic. Sure, the number of adults reading YA is huge right now but teen readers are out there. You guys are the pulse to that demographic. You know what teens are reading and WHY teens don't read and what they think is cool or not. I also wonder, as a side note, does it embarrass teens when their mom's are reading their YA? I always wonder that. I'm able to connect with my teen niece about the YA we read but I always wonder if she thinks it's cool or weird haha. The other thing is that, and I've talked about this with teacher and librarian friends, that a lot of times that the books the ADULTS reading YA are liking are not always the same thing that teens are into. Some books I think are great do NOT do well in the classrooms or in the YA section of the library. It's interesting. And I think you guys are so valuable to the publishers to be able to really get a sense for what teens are thinking. A shame they don't cater to you guys more often.

      In closing, after my huge comment, I really loved this discussion and I think it was one of the most thought provoking posts I've read on a blog in a while. I would LOVE to see more teen bloggers out there. I wish there was a way to connect you all! See how many are really out there. I also am curious if maybe lots of teens are doing the tumblr/Youtube thing and not the blogging thing anymore? So maybe all your YA loving teens are scattered!

    3. WARNING: I doubt I'll be able to acceptably comment on all of this so I wanted to let you know now that I may start sounding nonsensical. Also, I LOVE THIS SO MUCH. Your comments just blew me away.

      Why there aren't more teens is such a BIG thing for me. I've been noticing it more and more. I've actually never noticed age too much until I realized how many people are close to my sister's age. Then how few teenagers there are. I've found great insightful, personable, well-written blogs by teenagers, but there are a lot that FEEL juvenile as well so maybe that's why (and I felt horrible just writing that). I think a big reason is they don't even know. They think blog = online diary. Or maybe they're too shy. Or feel lost just trying to start one.

      OH! And as for the connecting with bloggers, I understand. Age or no, you just can't connect with some people. Then you do factor in age, and you find differences from situations to humor to experience to whatever.

      Really?! Now that's weird.

      Well, I love that perspective. LOVE. The only money I've spent on mine is for giveaways and I guess that's what my first thought goes out to. I see many people do shipping or do gift cards and I wonder how they can afford to do so much. BUT like you said, there's a lot of people like yourself who don't do that. They spend basically nothing on the blog and that's GREAT and they still do great themselves. Same with designing. I guess I feel a little helpless in the knowledge and resources it would take to design something (button, header, etc.) myself and think that it would be easier as an adult with an income and whatnot, but I think I look at it unrealistically. If I really had a passion to design, I'd fork some money over for a program and do it. And woo! Congrats on the nannying and interviews, I've been hoping that you'd get something since I saw you've had employment issues.

      Haha! No, that really makes sense. I said earlier how I think I look at things unrealistically (bordering on the helpless me woes) and I've had thoughts of things being more natural for others (like, for adults). Maybe that's how it is. No matter if I've had adult friends or mature experiences or started college early, I am NOT an adult nor am I in a professional setting. I don't have my own house, I don't have a job, and I'm horrible at science, but I'm pretty sure my brain isn't as mature as a 20-something's. I hope I make sense now.

      You're making me smile big time.

      Now I wonder that too. Not the first part because I've always wondered that, but about the moms. My mom doesn't read YA (or any "secular" book for that matter), but I know there are plenty of YA-reading moms (they all came out during Twilight, methinks) so are their teens embarrassed or cool with having someone to share opinions with? I think she would think it's cool. You're the cool aunt, Jamie! Can I cut your comment out and send it to publishers? hahaha, if only.

      Okay, wait, let me cut out THIS last part of your comment That's huge. It's a huge compliment, but you're kind of the queen of blogging (at least to me...and I think most people) so WHOA.

      I never thought about them expressing their readerly emotions via tumblr/youtube. That's a big possibility.

      Thanks for this awesome commenting chain!

    4. Psssst I use Picmonkey for everything I do. There's a free option and a paid one that is like a couple bucks a month (I do the paid one). One day I'll save up for Photoshop or something but for now I've just been resourceful! ALSO if you don't feel like learning...this girl has some great pre-made ones for pretty cheap and I bought one that is on TBTB right now and Ginger (greadsbooks) also has that on her blog and it's really great looking!

    5. I've looked at Picmonkey! But I felt frustrated because it seems like it's only editing even though I clicked on Design...but may be just me? Oooooh, thanks for the links!

  10. As a teen blogger I obviously had to comment on this. :)
    I think you brought up an interesting point about BEA. But since it's not just a YA book convention and has books for all ages, I wonder if it's just their standard procedure, like how a few YA book giveaways still say that you have to be 18 and over to enter (which irks me).
    As for the money topic you brought up...I designed my own blog because I didn't have any money to spend on it. My family definitely doesn't have money to fly to BEA and pay for tickets/a hotel room (since my family isn't going to let me, still being a teen, fly to a new city on her own). So I can sympathize with that...but I also think a lot of twenty/thirty year olds have got to have that problem too since they still have to support themselves and pay for rent, electricity, etc. Still, at least they’re not minors. ;)

    I do think that publishers would rather deal with adults...but at the same time I think I've built my own connections and found my own way, so I think it just takes time to build up your blogging reputation and we can all get there if we work hard. I really love Jamie’s comment about this!!!

    I actually did some research a month or so ago and found some really interesting articles about how it's the adults who are moving the YA market...and that the publishing companies know this and are now catering book launch parties/selling YA books to adults. I've been sent "Why You (Adults) Should Read YA" letters from publishing companies (which I think is hilarious since I'm a teen) and seen some articles on how agents are saying they know they're selling to adults so they're selling darker/more mature books.

    Obviously, I'd love to see teens get some more recognition in the teen book world, though. :)

    Interesting post!

    Alice @ Alice in Readerland

    1. I considered that. But I wonder about the restricting to what adult you can register with. What kind of reasoning is in place for that? Those giveaways, they aggravate me too.

      I agree. I mentioned it in another comment of how I think I was wrong in making it seem like adults have the easy street for them. They have lots of expenses. But at least, like you said, they're not a minor. They don't feel as "stuck" as most teens, I would think. I wasn't allowed to go to BEA last year because I was 16, but even though I'll only be 17 this year, I'll be a high school graduate so I'm allowed. Unfortunately, it goes back to money.

      SAME. And I love your input on this!

      Wow, really?! Huh.

      Thanks and thank you for your input, Alice!

  11. Blogger ate my comment! >.< lol But basically I agree with what a lot of others have said. You are the demographic, you should be able to get the benefits adults get as well. I'm so glad that lady got BEA worked out for you. (OMG SO JEALOUS! I WANT TO GOOOOOOOOOO!)

    1. Oh no! Power to the people! Or at least, that's how I felt when reading your comment, especially about the demographic.

  12. Your post is really interesting, Summer! It really made me think about the sheer amount of teen readers there are out there, and the teen readers who also happen to be excellent, creative bloggers. I don't believe age is a factor when it comes to creating great content at all, as there are multiple teen bloggers who have definitely shown they're good at what they do (and heck, sometimes, I think they're even more creative than me!).

    I'm sorry to hear about the BEA thing! I'm glad you were able to sort it out though, and I SERIOUSLY hope I get the opportunity to see you there this year. It's interesting that they wouldn't make it easier for teen readers ages 15 and up to sign up (and by this, I'm referring to the "industry professionals" thing) and come. That's definitely something they ought to reconsider, and I hope that you reaching out is going to jumpstart that!

    I do think that, as a 20-something blogger, it's easier for me to connect with these publicists. We're around the same age, and going through a lot of similar things in life, so there's that. BUT I do think my relationships with them took time to form! I've been blogging for nearly 3 years, but have only recently really been able to solidify the relationships I have with those publicists recently. It's definitely going to take some time, and effort! I do really think they need to consider teen readers and reaching out to them as well, as that's a big part of the reader base they are trying to reach anyway.

    Thanks for being so open and honest in this post! It definitely made me think.

    1. Thanks, Alexa! That's great. I think that's been one of the most encouraging things as I read all these comments: that age doesn't stop people from reading good content. Hey, if it's good, it's good. If it's bad, then yeah, don't read.

      I WANT TO. Man, do I want to. Are you definitely going? I hope that even in a small way, this will make BEA reflect on how they're doing registration and see how restricting it is.

      You worded it perfectly and I agree with all of that. I think there's a more natural ease to connecting for bloggers the same age as publicists, but that doesn't mean you're instantly handed a golden ticket. It requires time and effort and even compatibility.


  13. Summer, this is a really great discussion; it is both thought-provoking and necessary. I come to your blog and I find at least one bookish discussion per week, and here I am not able to even think of one for the blog. This is proof that your voice is engaging, fresh, and sharp. Your creative and thoughtful. Your voice matters, and the fact that you're a teenager with input on all things YA shouldn't mean your content is worth less; in my eyes, it is equally valuable, if not more!

    I'm still new to the blogging world, but even before I joined, and I was just a frequent reader of book blogs, I did notice that a lot of bloggers were older than the target audience in YA fiction. To me, this was eye-opening. I felt I could connect with others who were a little like me --older but with young hearts. Teenage book bloggers are out there though, but I think the reason why we see less of them is because they might have other priorities, in and outside of school; they may not know how to find a balance, like you mentioned. But I also agree with Jen, book loving teens might not feel compelled to talk up books to others. I know I didn't. I read for myself and discussed with a friend or two, and I was perfectly content. Now that I'm older, I just love the idea of reading and writing my thoughts about the books I read so that I never forget, and connecting with more than just one or two people is much more liberating and enjoyable. I also didn't know book blogs existed until a couple of years ago, so there's also that. (Yup, I was living under a rock, apparently)!

    Anyway, I'm so happy you're allowed to attend BEA. I hope you can make it out there this year, and I hope I can too someday. If you ever find out why a minor needs to be accompanied by an industry professional to BEA, I think we'd all love to know the answer. It makes much more sense to me that a teenage book blogger is accompanied by a parent or guardian to this event, but I know less than anyone here, so what do I know? :P

    Marlene @ The Flyleaf Review

    1. This is so sweet, Marlene, thank you! Oh man, believe me, I barely did any discussions last year, especially from summer to the end. But your comment was a total self-confidence booster so THANK YOU.

      Good point! I know there are many fanatical teenage book lovers out there, but I also think that a lot of teens reading books don't care that much to actually start a blog. Maybe care isn't the right word. Like you said, priorities. Balance is key and sometimes people can't reach it, although that could be said for both teen and adult. Then there's that. I think adults ARE able to reach a balance more because they've had more experience. Most of them have gone through college and gotten jobs and started families. *high fives* I didn't know either!

      I will ABSOLUTELY let everyone know the reason if I ever find out. And I hope that if anyone else finds out, they'll share as well. Ha, no, I think a parent or guardian is reasonable. Or even just anyone above the age of 18 is acceptable. If you look at cruises even, a minor can be on a cruise with anyone above 18 (random, yet I think it pertains, right?;)

      Great input, Marlene, thank you!

  14. Wow, Summer... you've left me pretty speechless. On one hand I feel so terrible about what you had to go through. Definitely insulting. On the other, man, I'm OLD! LOL! I hope you make it to BEA this year! I was hoping to go too, but I'm not sure that it's in the cards for me this year. I was out of work sick for a few months, using up all of my sick time... so I'm not sure that I'll be able to get away from "life" for the few days to attend. I really hope you'll make it there! :)