A couple of months ago, I received an email inviting me to the second annual Goodreads Power User Summit. Airfare, hotel accommodations, and meals would all be covered by the good people at Goodreads.
Sounds like a scam, doesn’t it?
I would’ve thought so too, but I know people who went last year, so I was more optimistic, and good on me for that, b/c it was completely legit.
I know this b/c I spent last Friday in the Goodreads’ San Francisco office.
*throws confetti in the air* *moonwalks* *booty shakes*
But before I get to that, let me tell you about the hotel they put us up in . . . Prior to getting there, I didn’t think much of it. I was fairly confident they wouldn’t put us in a dive, but all I saw in my “final details” email was that I was staying at Hotel Rex.
Should I have looked it up beforehand? Probably. Not doing so could even be considered irresponsible, but whatever, I didn’t. *shrugs awkwardly*
So it was a complete surprise when I arrived and looked past the front desk into the LIBRARY BAR. B/c of course Goodreads would send us to a hotel with shelves and shelves of books (and alcohol). They’re classy that way. *tips hat*
And it was the perfect way to end a day of eight hours worth of flight delays. A glass of sauvignon blanc and a bowl of mac-&-cheese can fix just about anything.
Moving on . . .
I can’t tell you the specifics of what we talked about at the office, b/c I signed an NDA, but I can say that we primarily gave feedback about how we thought Goodreads could be improved.
To better facilitate this, we were split into four groups, based on our primary use of the site: librarians, moderators, reviewers, and . . . wait for it . . . AUTHORS.
This was the first year authors were invited to attend, a fact I learned when I realized I was sharing an elevator with GAIL-friggin’-CARRIGER. Who, YES, really does look that fabulous in person, FYI.
And while we spent a significant portion of the day with our individual groups, there were many opportunities to co-mingle with everyone, Goodreads employees included. Like the taco bar lunch I shared with fellow reviewers Dan and Bill and author Jason where we were joined by Otis Chandler (CO-FOUNDER of Goodreads).
Oh yeah . . . That happened.
The next time the whole gang got together, we were given personalized (Goodreads) gift bags, each including a book from our want-to-read bookshelf, signed with messages of welcome by what I can only assume was the entire staff at the San Francisco office, plus a few imports who were there for the summit, and also a mug that catered to our individual interests—books and cats for me. 😀
Then came the Happy Hour that begin with a raid of a table covered in stacks of ARCs, and progressed into many conversations with Goodreads users and employees alike, including how one of my fellow reviewers came to have a bionic ankle and how thoroughly disappointed one of our hosts was with HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD, but how riddikulously cool it was to see it live in London. I learned that I had all kinds of things in common with the other Goodreads guests: Lori from TNBBC and I both hit the same NIN/David Bowie tour when we were in high school, and Steph from SOS and I had just met two weeks ago at NOLA StoryCon.
After that they fed us again, this time in a restaurant, before ensuring we returned to the hotel safely, where librarian Melanie and I (and many other drop-ins, including the amazing Susan Ee) shut the (LIBRARY) bar down (I’ve always wanted to say that) with Gail Carriger. Who is awesome. And tells great stories. Seriously, if you ever meet her, ask her to explain tea dueling. You will roll with laughter.
Saturday most of us made our way back to our homes, so we said our goodbyes Friday night, but by midafternoon Sunday, I was Goodreads friends with all the awesome people I’d met, and I already have plans in place to keep in contact with many of them.
Basically, the entire experience was EPIC, and I’m so, so glad I had the opportunity to attend. Goodreads rocks, y’all.