Wednesday At the Book Expo: Blogger Con – BEA Bloggers

BEA BUZZ, book expo, BEA, Sheila Dechantal, Book JOurney

Good morning!  As promised, there will be Book Expo recaps and this is the first one.

Last Wednesday was the Blogger Convention Day of The Book Expo.  This year they called it BEA Bloggers.  The whole point of this day, which is actually a prequel to the expo, is a chance for book bloggers to educate themselves on topics that are relevant.  Such topics this year were:

  • Design 101 Creating a Picture Perfect Blog
  • Design 201:  Taking Your Blog To The Next Level
  • Software 101:  Best Blogging Tools
  • Technology 201:  Ad Works
  • Beyond The Blog – Introduce Yourself To Vlogging and Podcasting
  • Blogging And The Law
  • The Publishing Process – How Bloggers Have Changed The Game
  • Engaging Your Readers – Taking Your Writing To The Next Level

The panels were combinations of bloggers, publishers, media….  trying to get a good mix of opinion.  The 101 sessions were designed for newer bloggers and the 201 more advanced.  I spoke at the final session of the day, Engaging Your Readers.



First off the Keynote Speaker was author and Twitter gal, Maureen Johnson.  If you are not familiar with Maureen’s work, she is a YA author who has written 13 Little Blue Envelopes, The Name Of The Star, and Scarlett Fever just to name a few.


Maureen Johnson BEA Book JOurney

Maureen as always was funny, sharing some moments about writing, and engaging readers.


I then went into the The Design 201 group with Hafsah Faizal from Icey Designs.  Apparently (new to me) this is a site that helps you design amazing blogs… and they are beautiful – I checked them out.  I did not pick up a lot from this session.

Next up I went to Technology 201:  Ad Networks.  This is a subject I have been curious about and my pal Florinda from The 3 R’s Blog was the moderator.  If you know Florinda, she is this sweet gal and I believe… is 4′ 8″.  Yup…. she is short.  🙂  Before her panel she said to me, “I wonder what I will look like behind the podium?”  I suggested we go find out before the people started coming in for the session.  We went to the front and she stood behind the podium.


Florinda 3 rs blog Sheila Book JOurney

We had a quick laugh together, and Florinda decided to moderate from the table:



Swapna from S. Krishna’s Books was also on this panel.  This panel discussed a few options out there for advertising on your blog – not that it will make you rich and you will leave your day job, but if you are considering bringing in a little money from your site.  Swapna has sold ads herself on her website and said it is a lot of work to keep up on.  Jason from Litbreaker was also on the panel (3rd one in) and he explained how Litbreaker works.  Litbreaker is the only ad I currently have here at Book Journey.  This panel did a wonderful job of answering questions and sharing insights.

I skipped out on the Vlogging session and the Blogging and The Law session.  These were at the same time and I do not see myself vlogging any time soon, and I have in on a law session before, although I did pop my head in to see if there was anything new they were discussing.


panel 3

Then, our group was up.  We had a fun panel.  Mandy Boles was our moderator, Nicole from Linus’ Blanket, myself and Jason from Mediander (which I need to look more into).  Our task was to share what other posts we wrote besides book reviews, different ways to format your posts to be more eye appealing, and how to use social media to enhance your posts.


Some of the highlights that came out of our panel was:


Have post titles that are engaging and make people want to click to see what you wrote.


Asking questions at the end of your post, or writing posts that encourage discussion will create comments


If you are looking for people to read and comment on your blog, you need to put yourself out there on social media – Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instigram, Storify, whatever works for you. Comment on other blogs. Join in on meme’s.


Make your comments on posts good. Do not say “nice review” and PLEASE do not add your links to your own posts or blog in the comment. Comments should encourage conversation. Mention your thoughts on the same book, or something you particularly found interesting about the post… if your comments are interesting people will go to your blog to check out what you are writing.


Keep your blog current – try to post at least 4 times a week.


Tag your photo’s that you use in your posts – do not leave them listed under 72.jpg, but change that to include your blog name, maybe your name, author and book title if it is a book pic… this will drive more traffic to your blog when people search images.


Write beyond the books – interesting bookish topics, book club discussions, author events, etc… If you do not know what to write about look up what people are searching for that brings them to your blog.
Break up posts with pictures – always when writing reviews add a picture of the book. Long posts should have another picture in it to break up the wording. We are a visual society.


Font matters, change it up in posts.


Posts should not be longer than 800 words. If you have a long post – consider breaking it up into a series.


Try to set up a tracking on your blog to see what is receiving the most attention.

Set your posts up to go automatically to Twitter when you write them, add them to other social media as well.


I am certain I am not recalling everything from this session this is just my recollection.  Everyone had such great input and I think we did ok. 🙂


So that was the blogger convention.  Next BEA post will be about Harper Collins… the books, the excitement… the party!  Stay tuned…. 😉

Morning Meanderings… Book Expo HaNgOvEr


Good morning from….. Minnesota!  Yes, I am back.  I landed in Minneapolis yesterday evening and had a treacherous drive home through the storms and extreme rain.  Twice I pulled over because it was raining so hard I could not see the road.  There were cars pulled over everywhere.  Talk about your EXTREME driving.

Now I sit in the comforts of my own home chilling with my COFFEE and feel up and thinking about my day of catching up on some household things but mostly…. lying low. I am wiped out but not as wiped out as I have been in the past which is nice.  My feet do not hurt from all the walking around the expo and the streets of New York however I do think my shoe of choice today will be “flip-flop”.  😀

Sheila DeChantal, Book Journey
As you can see, Sammy is not about to let me get away any time soon. 😉


Sheila DeChantal, Book Journey
My agenda at least for part of the day – coffee, planning my agenda for the week, and back into my book The Three!


Also a few books came in while I was away:

Sheila DeChantal, Book Journey

Belly Up, MOUSEHEART, and The Search For Wondla are a win from Beth Fish Reads


Here and Again by Nicole R Dickson (audio)

The Collision Battle for Darracia by Michael Phillip Cash

Andi Under Pressure by Amanda Flower

The THREE by Sarah Lotz


Throughout this next week I will be posting Book Expo recaps so stay tuned 🙂  I am also still adding posts to Armchair BEA.  This afternoon I plan to be giving Book Journey a bit of a facelift… I came up with some ideas at the expo and am excited to get started.  I am not sure all what I will be doing, but my hope is that the final look will be fresh and professional looking.  Feel free to peek 😉

Morning Meanderings: Awkward Moments At The Book Expo


Good morning from New York!  I have not dropped off the face of the earth, I have just been running from morning to night at the Book Expo in New York.

I have MANY things to share with you once I come home about the expo, the books, the people, the events…  but for now… just a funny little story and a couple of pics for Saturday Snapshot. 🙂

So… on Wednesday at the Blogger Convention, author Maureen Johnson was the keynote speaker.  At the beginning of her talk she mentions the book 50 Shades Of Gray.  Alison from Alison’s Book Marks and I have a joke about that book so I put on Twitter “20 minutes in and already a mention of 50 Shades Of Gray” and tagged Alison.  (I did not realize due to poor internet reception that this tweet did not post but went into drafts instead.)

Anyhoo…. flash forward to yesterday morning and Alison and I are at the Children’s breakfast which was AMAZING with moderator, Jason Segel. (Yes!  That Jason Segel!) I put on Twitter that I am at the Children’s Breakfast at the book expo.   Then Twitter pops up on my phone and says

“you have drafts to send would you like to send them now?”


I click yes… and before I know it, following my “I am at the Children’s Breakfast at the book Expo” tweet is…

“20 minutes in and already a mention of 50 Shades Of Gray” 





Anyhoo… today is my last day at the expo.  I am heading that way in about an hour to wrap up a few things but for my Saturday Snapshot post I thought I would send a couple of pics your way….  also, please see my posts at Armchair BEA where I have interviewed a couple of authors and publishing houses. 😀

zombie, New York, Book Expo, BookJourney, Sheila DeChantal
Outside… across form our hotel? Should I be worried? Is there where watching The Walking Dead pays off?


Harper Collins, Book Journey, Book Expo, Sheila DeChantal, Adriana Trigiani, Dorothy Benotn Frank, Stephanie Evanovich
The Harper Collins Blogger Party… from the left: Dorothy Benton Frank, me, Adriana Trigiani, and Stephanie Evanovich. Made my night!


Streets of New York


New York, Book Expo, Book Journey, Sheila DeChantal
Walking back to our hotel – with (center) Alison from Alison’s Book Marks and (right) Candace from Beth Fish Reads


Catch you back in Minnesota!

LIVE! From New York! Day 1 Travel Day Woes


Hello from NEW YORK!  Egads Tuesday was A LONG TRAVEL DAY.  I left my home in Brainerd at 4:11 am and was at the hotel in New York at 6:45 pm.  GAH.  We had a bonus two hour lay over in Chicago due to poor weather.

My dinner consisted of a chicken black bean burrito that I grabbed from Laguardia airport before I caught my cab.  I want to complain about it but it was actually good…LOL and I am in New York so the “tude” needs to go away. 🙂

Anyhoo…. this morning I am on my way to the Book Blogger Convention where I will hang out and chat it up with other BOOK LOVERS and listen to the speakers, and take noted for posts when I get home and posts for Armchair BEA…. and then, I get to speak on the last panel of the day….


Engaging Your Readers: Take Your Writing to the Next Level


This all-intensive writing workshop will discuss how to create meaningful and engaging content outside of the classic book review and will take a closer look at ways to format and edit your blog posts.


  • How to captivate your readers with clever blog posts and improve your writing style
  • New ways to format your review and best practices for editing
  • Using social media such as Storify and Instagram as source material for blog posts

Mandy Boles
Mandy Boles

Nicole Bonina
Nicole Bonina
Linus’s Blanket

Sheila DeChantal
Sheila DeChantal
Book Journey

Jason Baker
Jason Baker
Mediander LLC

Watch Twitter for updates today from myself as well as many BEA attendees at #BEA14… this is about the only time of year that I really tweet.  😀

Morning Meanderings… Go Time! BEA!

Sheila DeChantal, Book Journey

Good morning!  I am currently sitting at the Minneapolis airport with COFFEE and hanging out for the next hour before my flight leaves for Chicago… then off to New York.  Kim from Sophisticated Dorkiness will be in this same airport , leaving about 30 minutes after me this morning.

Lets recap my morning so far:

1.  up at 3:30 am.  An ungodly hour in case you have never seen it.  😀

2.  Ready and car loaded I pull out of driveway by 4:11 am

3.  Drive in hard rain most of the way to the cities which makes for TENSE driving conditions when it is pitch black out.  Listening to the audio Delicious by Ruth Reichl and that made it pleasant.  🙂

4.  Park in airport parking but have trouble at the ticket station for parking and it does not give me a ticket…. go into parking lot ticket free, hoping my credit card swipe took care of all other “things that make me go STRESS” 😉

5.  check bag.  Pretty much hitch free.

6.  Talk to people in security line, a group of them are going on a tour…. kind of cool.

7.  Find gate and look at it.

8.  Stroll to nearest Caribou Coffee and “Sheila is here”


BEA!  It seems so long ago when Candace and I were chatting back in December about going and rooming together.  I believe she said she is taking a train today.  How cool is that?

I was digging around looking at some old videos I made recently I found this one I made after returning from the book expo in 2011:

It still cracks me up and yes it is a little embarrassing that I did that… but really is sums up the excitement.  If you listen closely you can hear me pause towards the end where I am trying hard not to laugh.  I hope the neighbors didn’t think I was nuts. 😀

So today’s agenda is pretty much just get there.  I land around 4:11 pm, then I need to make my way to our hotel which if all goes well I hope to be there by 5 – 5:30.  I have no plan for tonight so I may catch dinner, a show – or I may just stay in and prep for Wednesday which is a HUGE day.

I will be making posts as I can here, but definitely watch for my posts at Armchair BEA where I will be reporting on events at the expo as well as interviews with publishers, authors, and hopefully a few bloggers.

Yesterday at Armchair BEA they kicked off with an introduction meme and I was too crazy busy to participate but let me give you a small version now:

My name is Sheila and I have been blogging here at Book Journey for 5 years on June 9th.  I love many genres of books so this blog has been a fun outlet for sharing my diverse tastes with fellow readers.  One of the BEST things about writing reviews and bookish posts is that I get to connect with ALL OF YOU.  Some of you I have had the pleasure of meeting thanks to the Book Expo.

I will be at the Expo this week, but as mentioned above I will be chatting about it here, and on Armchair BEA.  You can still register to be a part of the arm chair…. I highly recommend it 😀

Most of you know me from my pic above, but since my hair has been cut since that pic – I will give you this one I took yesterday so those attending the expo hopefully recognize me and will say hi.  Seriously, say hi – it would be awesome to meet you in person and I am really tunnel visioned while at the expo so feel free to trip me to get my attention.

Sheila DeChantal, Book Journey

See you on the BLOG!  😀

Morning Meanderings… Book Expo and Armchair BEA


Good morning!  What a week!  I have been packing up my office which is moving this weekend to a new home that I will not be working in until June 9th.  That kind of blows me away to write that.  I guess, in a way – I am already on vacation… well in a way.  I am still helping with some packing, and on Sunday I will be in that packed up office helping to direct the movers of what is going and what needs to be done…

Its exciting and exhausting and a little scary to step into this new space but I know it will be amazing.

And Tuesday… in the wee hours of the morning I will drive the 3 hours to Minneapolis to catch my plane at 9:30 am heading to New York for the Book Expo.


If you are unfamiliar with the Book Expo, here is a little taste:

BEA (Book Expo America) is authors and publishing houses and bloggers, and bookish things to do, and open houses, and invites to events, and books….

Did I mention the books?

Its a time when I step out of the reality of my life and walk into this world that is fast paced and CRAZY fun.  I will be reporting here on what is happening… and I will be reporting live for Armchair BEA.


Armchair BEA

I have chatted about this before – but I am going to mention it again.  For those who are not attending BEA, the incredible Armchair BEA awaits you.  So .. what is Armchair BEA?

Have you ever been in a simulator?  Like a car that gives you the feeling that you are on a race track?  That is what Armchair BEA is.  It gives you a chance to enjoy some of the BEA experience from the comfort of your homes… no plane, house sitter, or even luggage – required.  Shoot… you can even stay in your pajamas!

Armchair BEA is free, so make sure you register and join the HUNDREDS of other bloggers and authors who will be participating.  There are daily topics, giveaways, but dont listen to me jabber on…. please, go check it out for yourself!

There has been a hard working team behind the scenes that has been chatting and making this an incredible year for Armchair BEA.  Myself, and three others are on the on site team:



(Coordinator) Florinda (The 3’s Blog: Reading, ‘Riting, & Randomness) 
florinda AT 3rsblog DOT com 
Twitter: @Florinda_3rs 

Amber Ostheimer (Shelf Notes)
shelfnotesblog AT gmail DOT com
Twitter:  @shelfnotesblog

Sheila DeChantal (Book Journey)
journeythroughbooks AT gmail DOT com
Twitter:  @bookjourney

Sophia (Loving Lit)
Sophia AT lovinglit DOT com
Twitter:  @sophiareads

Be sure to watch for our tweets, and we will be posting at the Armchair BEA site giving you a feel of what is happening form New York!


Anyway – that’s more than a morning post…. that’ s a LOT of info for this early but I hope if you are not attending BEA you will take a look at Armchair BEA.



Morning Meanderings… Expo On My Mind


Good morning.  Or I guess afternoon, or evening.. depending on where you are and when you read this. 🙂

For me… it is blurry eyes, longing for a second cup of coffee morning.

I think…

sometimes I think too much.

It is Tuesday.  A week from today I will board a plane heading for New York to hang out with my roommate Candace (Beth Fish Reads), and see some amazing bookish friends, Alison (Alison’s Book Marks), Kathy (Bermuda Onion) and Julie (Booking Mama) – just to name a few…. there are so many more I am excited to see!  Honestly, seeing these book relationships are half the fun of the expo.


before next Tuesday I will pack up my office and prep it to move this weekend to a new office that I will come back to after the expo. 

Yup.  Life is crazy like that. 😛

SO back to the expo…

Last night I was sorting through invites and lining up and synchronizing my schedule for once I am there.  I am not that person that has it all planned out as to which publishing house I want to be at and what time… no… I kind of wish I was, but I also just like the freedom of wandering around. 

A couple of fun things happening..

I will be helping out with on site Armchair BEA – which means I will be sending in video and posts to the Armchair BEA site to go up for those participating.  I hope to have some fun things happening with that.  🙂  If you are not signed up to participate in Armchair BEA and not attending the New York BEA, I highly recommend you do sign up…. it is going to be fun… and there are prizes. 😀

Armchair BEA

I am speaking on one of the panels at the Blogger Convention on bringing your writing to the next level.  EEP.  That one will be exciting!


So anyhoo….  that’s what is happening here.  I need to pack my office…. and pack my suitcase.


is never dull.



Morning Meandering… Let Me Introduce You To Armchair BEA 2014


Good morning!  Yesterday was a pretty sweet day here in Central Minnesota…. it was warm (well 50 degrees makes me happy at this point) and looks to stay this way moving forward (*cartwheels* * back flip* *High fiving anyone and everyone*)  AND when it starts to feel like spring…

I start to think about BEA (Book Expo America).

I have been able to go every year since 2010 and I have been amazed every year.  If you are on the decision side of should I stay or should I go…. you should GO.  And over the next 7 or 8 weeks… you are probably going to see me chat about BEA a lot here…. however, before you think “Sheila, this totally does not apply to me, I will not be attending and I really do not want to hear about something I am not taking part in…”

Oh but wait my friend….

Have you heard of Armchair BEA?

Armchair BEA is a way for those who will not be attending to get the feel of the event from their very own homes.  Through this site you can participate with daily discussions, giveaways, and live videos and posts from the event itself. It will be like being there without the expense of the plane train or automobile to get there.

Armchair BEA

I a, super excited to be part of the On-Site Correspondents Team.  *SQQQUUUEEEE* What that means is that myself as well as 3 other awesome bloggers will be the eyes and ears on site for those participating from home.  We will take video of what we are seeing and doing.  We will do interviews and give you as much BEA as you handle.  I am SUPER excited to be a part of this team.

Registration will soon be open to sign up to be an Armchair BEA participant.  I do hope you will all sign up and hang out with my virtually for a week at the end of May.  I will keep you informed here when registration is open, in the mean time, please check out the site and grad the button I posted here for your side bar.

It’s going to be a good good time.



As far as books that came to my home this week… I am never short of reading material that’s for sure…


Hope your Sunday plans are something fun or relaxing or both 😀  I will be working on our book club read this afternoon and possibly going to the movie Noah with my hubby.