So this happened, and up until now I am in shock. Haha. I can’t believe I was a part of it and was seated next to these amazing ladies who really know their craft. It was such an honor to talk alongside these beautiful women. National Bookstore held The Philippine Readers and Writers Festival 2016 at Raffles Makati last August 26 to 28. It was filled with panel talks from respected Filipino and foreign authors, workshops and book signings. It was indeed the festivity that everyone should be a part of. (And as early as now, I am looking forward to the next year’s festival).
It was my first time to meet these ladies, I was kind of nervous since they all know each other from before, but then they were all nice and welcomed me to their group. I have gained new friends, that’s the most awesome take away out of all this.
I have been cyber friends with Kate for quite some time, and was too happy that I finally have met her! #RektahanGirls HAHA. And again thank you Kate, if it weren’t for you I wouldn’t be a part of this panel. Kahit binigla mo ko, hahah lakas mo saken eh!
With Kai 🙂
With Hazel and Ly 🙂
Look how fancy and “legit” this is! Hahah.
Before our panel talk, we were all worried about the number of attendees, but upon entering Namayan, we were so happy to see that it’s almost full. We were delighted to see each and everyone of you there, of how much effort you put to attend the talk and for that I am eternally grateful.
Excuse my face, hahah it looks like I am in the middle of an argument HAHA
Here are the key points of our discussion:
Platform: Blogger and WordPress are two of the most popular blogging sites. We were divided when it came to this. Kate, Kai and Ly were all #TeamBlogger and Hazel and I are #TeamWordpress. It was fun to have that cute debate as to which one is better. Know that I stand by WordPress! Haha. I guess it is just a matter of where you are comfortable. Blog away, and take it from there. See what suits you and just have fun with it.
Bookstagram: This is where I let people in on my secret haha. Which I will not be divulging here since it was exclusive to the attendees. But of course I’ll tell you something else. The key to a great photo is natural lighting. Almost everything is beautiful when it is taken using a natural light, I think we can all agree to that.
Oh a disclaimer, I am not a professional photographer, not by any stretch of imagination. I’m just a girl who takes 20 shots of photo using my ever trusty Samsung fone, use photo editing apps and VSCO for filter (what filter you ask, that’s a secret), and just have fun. I’ve said that another tip is to find an inspiration and recreate the same, but make sure you will put your own twist to it.
About props, Daiso and Thrift Stores will be your best friend. You don’t need expensive stuff, work with what you have. It is all in your creativity. (I want to say more, but I guess I would just have to make a separate post about it. Hehe).
Book Reviews: The advice I gave was “Don’t bite off more than you can chew.” Only request/accept request of books you are genuinely interested about. You will have negative connotation if you cannot deliver at the time given.
Also it is very important to note that there is a fine line between reviewing the book and reviewing the author. We go for the former, we review THE BOOK, not THE AUTHOR. Don’t make unnecessary comments about the personality of the author, stick to what the book is about, how it made you feel, your over-all rating, its impact on you or how you perceived it. It is best to be honest when doing reviews and never ever bad mouth an author.
Genre: Should you focus on one, or try a little bit of everything? It’s always up to you. There are advantages and disadvantages for both. Choose what works for you and know who your intended audience are.
Time Management: We all agreed that you should do it at your own pace. Never force yourself to do something you don’t want to do. As Kate pointed out, if you force yourself it will show on your review or the content of your blog. If you don’t feel like blogging, it’s totally fine. Never think blogging is a burden or a job you just want to get over with rather think it as a job that you really love to do. Put your heart in it, and everything else will follow.
Blog Design: Our dear Hazel is the master of it. I practically just listened because I cannot for the life of me understand CSS codes and all that tweaking to make a nice blog. I guess it all boils down to how you would want your blog to look, it is how you are remembered. So make it a point that your blog speak for itself, make a blog you want people to see.
Advanced Reader Copies: It is important to be aware of the territorial rights of publishers, that way whenever you try to request a book you would know which ones have the rights here in Philippines and which ones who do not have.
Also, don’t be disheartened if your request has been denied, we’ve all been there. The key is request again, show them the statistics of your blog and your social media presence, show them that they ought to choose you or it’s their loss haha! Kidding aside, you have to be patient. In the end everything will work out fine.
I specifically enjoyed the Q&A part. I saw how driven and eager all the people there. How they would want to grow as a blogger. I think my heart just doubled in size when the attendees valued what we said. It was indeed one of the best experiences ever!
The cherry on top of it all was when Sir Bienvenido Lumbera, a National Artist and a Ramon Magsaysay awardee, a poet, a writer – a force to be reckoned with, graced us with his presence. He pointed out that in the barangay levels, there is a dire need to teach the youth of literature, to open up their minds to the state of our government. He noticed that youth of today were just all dictated by what the government and society told them to do. He wanted us bloggers to use blogging to reach and influence other youths. I loved that our panel talk ended in that note. It was truly something we, not only us bloggers, are responsible for – to be the voice of the millennials, and be something out of the box, to think for ourselves without any reservations and be able to express ourselves to further better the society we live in.
The whole panel talk was about our passion. We wouldn’t be there speaking in front of people, if it weren’t for our passion. It’s our common denominator. Book blogging is hard work, you don’t make it right the first time, it happens to the best of us. What is important is you keep trying, learn from your mistakes and be able to adapt to the ever changing times. It is always nice to offer something fresh. It’s nice to put yourself out there and inspire others.
Here’s what went down after. I met amazing bunch of people!!! From Upper Left to Lower Right – Vitto, who was so bubbly; Yssa – who I immediately hugged the moment I saw her; Kat, my new found BFF who will be a lawyer soon!! I’m counting on you! hihihi; with Arnie Mejia, who has a new memoir coming out, let’s support him!; I wasn’t able to get her name but she’s super nice too!; with Jenni – I love how enthusiastic she was; with Allie Im happy to have finally met you I really hope to see you again; with JM – thank you so much for the support, it meant alot!; lastly with Kams another amazing person, hope to see you again too!
With my dear friend Kat. Thanks for the support, you owe me lots of chika! HAHA
With Ursula Uriarte, who was super awesome and stayed the whole panel talk. She is amazing.
Yayyyy with Anna Todd, it was so nice to meet her.
This is what I call our Familia Zaragosa Shot #FIERCE
And of course we couldn’t hold our straight faces a second longer.
It was indeed a day to remember. I would like to extend my gratitude to National Book Store for making everything possible! I really enjoyed the panel talk and the whole experience.
Who amongst you attended the event? Did you have fun? Hope to see you all again soon! 🙂