Book Blogger Confessions-Do We “Owe” Publishers

Book Blogger Confessions is a newish meme hosted by Tiger’s All Consuming Media or For What It’s Worth. On the 1st and 3rd Monday of every month they be discuss a topic that effects book bloggers and then give other bloggers a chance to vent, share their opinion or offer a solution.

If you want to participate just grab their button and include it in your post with a link to either Tiger’s All Consuming Media or For What It’s Worth. They will be providing a linky at the end of their posts so people can "hop" to see all the participants answers.

This Week’s Question: What do we owe publishers and authors? If we accept ARC’s do we “owe” anything to them or just an honest review to our followers? As book bloggers are we obligated to do more than just review books? Post covers – participate in book tours – host guest posts – promote authors?

As a blogger, I don’t feel that I “owe” publishers anything.  I run my blog for fun, and I don’t receive any compensation for all of the time that I spend on it.  I do receive review books, but I don’t believe that I am obligated to positively review them, or even review them at all.  If it is a book that I requested, then I feel that I should make my best effort to read and review it in a timely fashion.  If it is an unsolicited title, and it looks interesting, I will do my best to squeeze it into the schedule as soon as possible.  The problem with this is that time isn’t a limitless resource, and I only have so much of it to spread around.  Even when I want to read and review something, time constraints often interfere with my carefully prepared schedule.

That being said, when I agree to participate in a blog tour, I do feel obligated to post on my assigned date. Because it was starting to feel too much like work, I have cut back on “hard” post dates for reviews.  I am always open for an author interview or guest post, but the reviews are much more time consuming, and when I feel pressured to read a book, I don’t enjoy it as much. 

I post covers because I enjoy discovering new books to read, and I want to share my excitement of each new discovery.  I run giveaways as a way to recycle books that I have already read, and to promote reading.  The bottom line here is that I blog because I love books, and I need a platform to express my love for books.  Most of the people I hang out with in real life don’t read, and a few of them have even told me that they find reading a form of torture.  I just think they are reading the wrong books, but what do I know?  I find it a form of torture to NOT have time to read!

Book blogging is my hobby, not my profession.  Until it starts paying the mortgage, I don’t feel obligated to do anything.  If I ran my blog out of a sense of duty, it would quickly become tedious, and I wouldn’t want to do it anymore.  This is supposed to be fun, not work.

What do you think? Is there an obligation to publishers or authors implied when you run a book blog?

 

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Book Blogger Confessions–Review and Guest Post Requests

 

Book Blogger Confessions is a newish meme hosted by Tiger’s All Consuming Media or For What It’s Worth.   On the 1st and 3rd Monday of every month they be discuss a topic that effects book bloggers and then give other bloggers a chance to vent, share their opinion or offer a solution.

If you want to participate just grab their button and include it in your post with a link to either Tiger’s All Consuming Media or For What It’s Worth.   They will be providing a linky at the end of their posts so people can "hop" to see all the participants answers.

Question for Monday April 16th: Review/Guest post requests: Do you have a review request policy? Has it changed over time? How do you handle requests that don’t meet your criteria? 

In the past, what types of "pitches" have caught your attention? Are there any (non-specific) examples of requests that are off-putting to you as a blogger?

When I first started blogging, it never occurred to me that I would have any interaction with other bloggers, let alone authors or publishers.  After finally connecting with bloggers and publishers, I started receiving review books, which was a big milestone for me.  Eight years later, however, I have realized too much of a good thing really is too much of a good thing.  There are days that I am so stressed out because I have books literally leaking out of my ears.  I receive at least a dozen review requests a week, and I have finally had to admit that I just don’t have the time to read everything and post about everything that I would like.  There just isn’t enough time in the day to work my real job, take care of my animals, spend time with my family, and then address all of the blog issues I want to, too.

I do have a review policy, one that needs to be updated.  But then I hesitate to spend the time on that, because half of the requests that I receive do not fall under the guidelines, so it’s obvious that not everyone bothers to read them.  As I have become overwhelmed by books (that is nothing new; I have always been drowning in books!), I have gotten pickier about which books I agree to review.  After some unpleasantness with self-pubbed authors, I have drastically reduced the amount of review requests that I accept from indies and self-pubbed authors.  I am usually up to interviewing any author, though, because I genuinely enjoy learning more about them and reading their responses to my questions.  I wish I had the time to have more features highlighting authors and their books, but unfortunately, I do not.

There isn’t a specific type of pitch that catches my eye.  Either to book looks interesting enough for me to read, or it doesn’t.  If I’m on the fence at all anymore, I turn the request down.  It’s hard to turn some of them down, too!  I am a book junkie, and turning down a book is like a chain-smoker going cold turkey.  It’s painful.  What if that was my next, perfect read, and I rejected it? Ugh!

What do you do when you are inundated with review requests?  How do you handle requests that fall outside of the scope of your blog?

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Book Blogger Confessions–Big, Bad Spoilers

 

Book Blogger Confessions is a newish meme hosted by Tiger’s All Consuming Media or For What It’s Worth.   On the 1st and 3rd Monday of every month they be discuss a topic that effects book bloggers and then give other bloggers a chance to vent, share their opinion or offer a solution.

If you want to participate just grab their button and include it in your post with a link to either Tiger’s All Consuming Media or For What It’s Worth.   They will be providing a linky at the end of their posts so people can "hop" to see all the participants answers.

This Week’s Question: Spoilers in reviews: Do you read them, do you include them? How to you describe (or avoid describing) spoilery parts of a book?

Ah, the big, bad spoiler.  I confess right here that I hate spoilers.  HATE. THEM.  I go to ridiculous lengths to avoid them.  I don’t read detailed reviews before I read a book unless I am totally on the fence about it.  I stay off Twitter on big release days.  I am so spoiler adverse that half  the time, I won’t even read the synopsis on the back of a book!  This is especially true the further along in a series I progress.  And the back copy on graphic novels – never! I have had so many series spoiled because there is too much information on the back of the book!

I tag all of my reviews with spoiler warnings, but I avoid revealing any.  Because I run screaming in the opposite direction with my hands held over my ears to avoid them, I project my dislike of them on everyone.  I know many people don’t mind them, and even SEEK THEM OUT, but I am not one of them!  Some spoilers are unavoidable, but I do try to dance around all of specifics and just glance over the more meaty details.  I want readers to discover all of the delicious secrets for themselves!

How about you? Do you mind them? Write about them? Read them??

 

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Book Blogger Confessions – Where’s the Love?

 

Book Blogger Confessions is a newish meme hosted by Tiger’s All Consuming Media or For What It’s Worth.   On the 1st and 3rd Monday of every month they be discuss a topic that effects book bloggers and then give other bloggers a chance to vent, share their opinion or offer a solution.

If you want to participate just grab their button and include it in your post with a link to either Tiger’s All Consuming Media or For What It’s Worth.   They will be providing a linky at the end of their posts so people can "hop" to see all the participants answers.

This week’s question:

Everyone LOVES that book! Why don’t I? How do you handle being the one reviewer who doesn’t like a book that’s taking the blogosphere by storm? Do you write a review? Pretend you didn’t read the book?

This happens to me a lot.  Either I am feeling meh about a book that everyone else is swooning over, or I am shouting out my love for a book that everyone else seems to hate.  It’s more frustrating for me when I think I’m the one reviewer in love with a book, because then I feel like I am swimming against the current.   I have this overwhelming urge to constantly share how much I loved it in hopes of convincing someone else to read it and love it, too.  I always write reviews for books that I don’t feel are getting enough love.

For those titles that didn’t captive me, I will still write a review expressing my opinions about why it didn’t knock my socks off.  There are just some books that don’t work for me, and while I am disappointed that I wasn’t blown away by the book, I will still share my thoughts about it.  If I totally hate a book, chances are that I won’t finish reading it.  I usually restrict my thoughts on the DNF books to Goodreads – if I haven’t finished, I don’t feel that I can write a balanced review, but I can certainly share what wasn’t working for me.  There are times when I am just not in the mood for that particular book at that particular point in my life, and so it gets set aside for another day. 

One thing that I have stopped doing is reading the latest and greatest hyped title near its release date.  Odds are, there will be 100 other reviews out the week the book is released, and I would rather save it for a time when the hype has died down a little.  It doesn’t matter whether I loved it, hated it, or was indifferent to it, I would rather focus on titles that might slip under the radar, and tackle the highly marketed books a little later in their shelf lives.

How about you?  What do you do when you and the next big thing don’t hit it off?

 

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Book Blogger Confessions-Positive Results of Book Blogging

Book Blogger Confessions is a newish meme hosted by Tiger’s All Consuming Media or For What It’s Worth.   On the 1st and 3rd Monday of every month they be discuss a topic that effects book bloggers and then give other bloggers a chance to vent, share their opinion or offer a solution.

If you want to participate just grab their button and include it in your post with a link to either Tiger’s All Consuming Media or For What It’s Worth.   They will be providing a linky at the end of their posts so people can "hop" to see all the participants answers.

 Question for Monday March 5th is:

Let’s talk about the positive side of blogging! How has blogging influenced your real life in a positive way? (not related to books or reading) Have you learned to be organized or are you more social now for example?

We’ve mostly been venting about the downsides of blogging (& don’t worry we’ll be getting back to those topics) but I know blogging has influenced my "real life" in many ways.

My Answer:

Blogging has helped me learn more about HTML and the mechanics behind websites.  It has also taught me about promotion.  I work at a computer company, and most of our sales are through a website, so blogging has made me realize how important a site’s appearance is.  It has also made me aware of how important Twitter and Facebook are for getting the word out there.   If I am having a problem with a company, I will send a Tweet to their Twitter account, and it still amazes me how quickly I get a response from that, after getting no response from more traditional methods of contact (and, yes, US Bank, I am talking to you).

Blogging has also helped break down my reluctance to reach out and connect with other bloggers and authors.  I am typically an introvert, and the thought of contacting people I don’t know used to fill me with dread.  Now, I realize that the worst response I can get is a “no” to an interview request, or no reply at all.  Most of the time, I am pleasantly surprised with the results of my outreach, and have only been shot down twice.  This helps me at work, too.  It’s so much easier to send an email or call when I have questions about products or services that we are interested in purchasing.

I have learned how to better manage my time, too.  I have discovered the importance of lists and making schedules, which helps quite a bit with my RL job.  You can never plan too much, or project an activity too far in advance.  Having a plan, one that is both flexible and attainable, keeps all of my job tasks flowing smoothly.

How about you? How has blogging positively influenced your real life?

 

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Book Blogger Confessions: Social Networking with Authors

 

Book Blogger Confessions is a newish meme hosted by Tiger’s All Consuming Media or For What It’s Worth.   On the 1st and 3rd Monday of every month they be discuss a topic that effects book bloggers and then give other bloggers a chance to vent, share their opinion or offer a solution.

If you want to participate just grab their button and include it in your post with a link to either Tiger’s All Consuming Media or For What It’s Worth.   They will be providing a linky at the end of their posts so people can "hop" to see all the participants answers.

Question for Monday, February 20th:

Social networking with authors: Do you interact on Twitter/Facebook/etc with authors? Does it affect how you review their work or do you look at their books differently because you’re on friendly terms with them?

Ah, the wonders of the interwebz are indeed a double-edged sword.  While it is a blast to have an author comment on a Goodreads update or on a Tweet, sometimes the easy accessibility of authors is a little awkward.  It’s fun to get some feedback from the people whose writing I so admire, but there are times I wish that it wasn’t quite so easy.  In an effort to keep these interactions more in perspective, I try to keep communications professional.  I can’t say that I am friends with any authors, but I do enjoy an occasional Twitter chat with a few of them.

To keep things more professional and unbiased, I try to limit my interactions with them.  I will typically attempt to email a publicist if I want to interview someone, but some of the publishers make it so hard to get in contact with a live person that there are times I do have to email an author directly.  Most of them are more than willing to help me out with information about their books or provide me with an interview, but there have been a few times that things did not work out quite so well.  I believe that some of the difficulty with some of pubs and authors is the name of my blog, but because I’ve been using it for so long, I am reluctant to change it to reflect my current reading preferences. 

While friendly interaction on Twitter won’t change my opinion of a book I have read or a book that I plan to read, a conversation with an author will prompt me to look at a book I might have otherwise overlooked.  There are just so many books out there that it is impossible to keep informed about all of them, so if an author pings me on Twitter or Goodreads, or even on my blog, I will go and learn a little bit more about their book.  It won’t change how I feel when I read it, but it will at least get me to look at it in the first place.

With all of the Twitter storms and Goodreads fiascos lately, I actually took a step back and now try not to directly engage with authors.  Since I really don’t have a lot of time to hang out on social networking sites, that’s probably not a bad thing – now I just use a lot of my Twitter time to read, instead!

How about you? How do you deal with author interactions?

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Book Blogger Confessions–Managing Deadlines

 

 

Book Blogger Confessions is a newish meme hosted by Tiger’s All Consuming Media or For What It’s Worth.   On the 1st and 3rd Monday of every month they discuss a topic that effects book bloggers and then give other bloggers a chance to vent, share their opinion, or offer a solution.

If you want to participate just grab their button and include it in your post with a link to either Tiger’s All Consuming Media or For What It’s Worth.   They will be providing a linky at the end of their posts so people can "hop" to see all the participants answers.

Today’s topic is:  Deadlines for reviewing and blogging. Do you set them? How do you keep them? What do you do if you can’t meet a deadline?

This is something I struggle with all the time!  Deadlines!  They stress me out!  I find it amusing that even though I hate being under pressure and having to meet deadlines, it is such a huge part of my book hobby.  That just doesn’t seem right, now, does it?

Here’s how I deal with those deadlines, which can dangle over my head like the Sword of Damocles.  I have a daily planner just for blogging.  I have tried to keep one online with Google Calendar, but I just can’t seem to make a virtual calendar work for me.  I mark down the dates of firm deadlines, and then I keep a sheet, updated weekly on Saturday, of looming deadlines.  Interview post dates don’t stress me out like review commitments.  I love reading author responses to my interview questions, and have a lot of fun with these posts, so they are easier to deal with.

Now reading and reviewing can cause a lot of apprehension.  I try not to make many firm commitments for book reviews.  When I am feeling pressured, I don’t enjoy reading as much.  I don’t enjoy blogging as much.  I can’t find my blogging mojo, and during those times, there are fewer reviews on the site.  Maybe Real Life is intruding, and I just don’t have the time or the attention span to write that review.  That’s never a good thing, so I keep my schedule for book reviews more flexible and fluid.

My biggest piece of advice to new bloggers: don’t over commit.  Blogging will quickly become a chore, and you won’t have fun doing it.  If you don’t have fun doing it, you will quickly stop blogging altogether.  Work out a schedule that works for you.  I work long hours to pay the bills, so reviewing and blogging activities happen mainly on the weekend.  I squeeze in as much reading as I can after work during the week, but some nights I am so tired that I actually fall asleep with a book propped up in my hands.  This tends to scare to crap out of me when I drop the book I was reading when I doze off.  Oops!

Set realistic goals for yourself, too.  I tend to be to a bit overly optimistic with how many books I can read in a month, but by posting a projected reading list at the start of each month, I feel that I at least have a plan to work with, and I work better with a plan.  I don’t beat myself up when I can’t get everything read, but at least I have a goal to work toward.  So setting goals for yourself that are realistic, and not over committing will keep your blog a more enjoyable activity.  If you lose the mojo, take a break.  Step away from your blog.  Take a deep breath.  This is supposed to be fun!

How do you manage your deadlines?  Leave links and share.

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