start of something big by the Filipino Book Bloggers

Posted on September 27, 2010

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The Filipino Book Bloggers (FBB) Meetup last Saturday was certainly the start of something big, to most of the participants’ surprise. FBB is a group as well as an online directory at http://filipinobookboggers.wordpress.com created by Chachic.

It was her initiative to organize the bloggers meetup. Thanks, Chachic!

When I arrived at Starbucks – Shangrila, there were already over a dozen attendees; four tables had to be commandeered to accommodate everyone. Said Jason, for a first meeting it was rather serious with all the talk about local publishing. But he did also say it was still fun to meet other book bloggers in person.

I also had fun, but I understood that concern. We went right ahead to working out an agenda instead of, rightly, getting to know each other first. I know I’d have liked to know more about the blogs of the others, why they blog, and what they do beside reading and blogging.

I think the momentum created by the Future of the Book conference, Gege’s presentation about online communities by bookish people shaking the worldview of the old-school publishers, and Honey’s insightful recap of that event was simply at work.

People were on fire, I guess.

Get Gege Sugue’s slideshow of her presentation about social media for the bookish, where she mentions what readers would want publishers to do. Gege is also islandhopper, Flips Flipping Pages founder and food and book blogger.

Read Honey Peralta’s  reflections on the future of the book, where she proposes more discourse between publishers and readers. We also know Honey as Fantaghiro23.

I was at the other end of the table with Honey, Gege, Paolo Chikiamco, Shaps Chikiamco, Kenneth Yu , and Tarie Sabido. The topic of conversation was the future of the book and how publishers can reach out to readers. There was a lot of insider information being passed around. Chachic and I were all big eyes and ears because it was fascinating to hear about the intrigues and hardheadedness going on inside our local publishing houses affecting consumers’ reading options.

The best quote I heard so far was “the books will promote themselves.” A top publishing name actually believes this, which is another sign of the great divide between local publishers and readers.

Thanks Paolo for lending these books by Filipino authors. I’m reading the collection of short stories, Waking the Dead by Yvette Tan. Very good. I wonder why I never noticed her books, and other local books, before? I’m thinking, maybe because of the covers–they look like the dreaded assigned reading copies from way back in high school and college. Here’s an interesting article about Judging a Book by the cover – http://mb.com.ph/articles/269699/judging-a-book-cover.

Kenneth gave very practical suggestions on how book bloggers can maximize their influence on the local publishing scene.

  • Centralize comments or discussion threads so publishers can easily find out reader concerns and wants. Gege said she will open a thread on the online community Shelfari.com, “What you want our publishers to know.” I can post links of related book club threads on the FBB Site, already a hub for readers who blog especially on Filipino Fridays posts.

Kenneth also requested that we post links to important Filipino book bloggers and readers groups on his site. I got the impression he was particularly surprised at how big and active the Flips Flipping Pages was.

  • Blog about Filipino books and authors once in a while. Chachic said that if bloggers send her links of Filipino book reviews she can post a roundup during Filipino Fridays.

No specific target number, as most book bloggers blog for the pleasure of blogging. I can’t speak for the others but I know having to meet a demand is a big turn-off. I trust though that if we combine our desire to read and blog about Filipino books we can create a loud enough buzz, which could influence local publishers to turn out books readers want. Honey observed that publishers and writers are caught in a circle: they write for each other, they read each other’s work.

How can Philippine publishing prosper this way? I observed silently.

from left: Tarie, Shaps, Paolo, and Chachic

Another observation that got passionately discussed was how the big names in Philippine publishing belittle the power of marketing via traditional or new media methods. If it were not impolite, the bloggers and independent publishers at the table, I imagined, would have snorted at the pinaligpasan-nang-panahon mindset.

*Hello! Twilight.*

from left: Tina, Tina’s friend, Aaron, Ace, and Rezel

The nice turnout was unexpected. Starbucks was too noisy for the group to be able to engage well as a whole, leading to compartmentalized conversations. Every now and then, I looked wistfully towards the other end of the table, wondering what other bookish talk was taking place. I look forward to reading the recap of the other bloggers.

Gege suggested Fully Booked to Chachic for the next venue. Or some other quieter place. Chachic said she’s planning another get-together this year. With the serious stuff thrashed out in this first meeting, we can just hang out with other book bloggers then.

Relaxed, and less shy, the Filipino Book Bloggers can get serious then on making something big out of book blogging in the Philippines–simply by doing what we enjoy doing: reading, blogging, talking, and eating.

The book bloggers love to eat, too, apparently.

Seen at the Filipino Book Bloggers Meetup (September 25, 2010), book bloggers to watch out for:

  1. Chachic of Chachic’s Book Nook – http://chachic.wordpress.com
  2. Ariel of I am Pinoy Peter Pan – http://pinoypeterpan.wordpress.com
  3. Aaron of Guy Gone Geek – http://guygonegeek.wordpress.com
  4. Ace of Ace of Books – http://aceofbooks.wordpress.com
  5. Tina of One Page at a Time – http://onemorepage.tinamats.com
  6. Jason of Taking a Break – http://blurredlights.wordpress.com
  7. Honey of Coffeespoons – http://www.fantaghiro23.blogspot.com
  8. Gege of I Flip Pages – http://gegeflipspages.blogspot.com
  9. Paolo & Shaps of RocketKapre – http://www.rocketkapre.com **
  10. Kenneth of Philippine Genre Stories – http://philippinegenrestories.blogspot.com **
  11. Tarie of Asia in the Heart, World on the Mind – http://asiaintheheart.blogspot.com.
  12. ArtSeblis/MayD of ArtSeblis – https://artseblis.wordpress.com
  13. Aldrin of The Pollysyllabic Spree- http://aldr.in
  14. Rezel of The Seeker – http://theseekergirl.blogspot.com
  15. Celina of  Celina’s Books and Magazines – http://booksandmagazines.multiply.com (Husband and Ipad genius baby showed up later)***
  16. Jansen  of  Walking Paradox – http://walkingparadox.tumblr.com

Dropped by:

  1. Jasper of Avalon.ph – http://www.avalon.ph ***
  2. Peter Sandico of KyusiReader – http://Kyusireader.blogspot.com
  3. Rhett de Jesus, photographer of bookish events – http://bit.ly/aMpe5Q
  4. Carljoe Javier, author of Kobayashi Maru of Love – http://lumpenculturati.wordpress.com

 

I love reading their blogs. Many of the bloggers love YA and speculative fiction. Maybe in the Philippines, YA is the way to go, to get the kids and kids at heart more interested to read books by local authors.

Other accounts of the event:

Jason of Taking a Break
Aldrin of The Polysyllabic Spree
Kenneth of Philippine Genre Stories
Chachic of Chachic’s Book Nook
Tina of One More Page
Aaron of GuyGoneGeek

Ariel of Pinoy Peter Pan

Honey of Coffeespoons

*Honey also has a Filipino Book Bloggers Directory that I believe inspired FBB. Check out the list on her site. ** Also an indie publisher***Also an online bookseller. Photos courtesy of Chachic’s Book Nook and Kenneth
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