(The League of Robots’ slogan is, “Kill all humans.” As far as I know, there is no League of Evil Book Bloggers, and thus no slogan of, “Destroy all authors’ careers.” Image via The Infosphere.)
Some people’s comments have made me realise how little knowledge non-book-bloggers have regarding book bloggers. There’ve been claims of “group-think” or “hive-mind”, as if book bloggers (or at least the ones participating in or supporting the Blogger Blackout) have regular meetings to decide, “Which author’s career shall we destroy next, and how shall we do it?”
I can only speak of my personal experience, so that of other book bloggers may vary:
WHY & HOW I BLOG
I have thoughts/opinions/information regarding specific books, and books in general. Writing things helps me remember them, so basically blogging is a way of archiving my thoughts before I can forget them. If my posts benefit someone else, that is simply a bonus.
I began reviewing, but as my reading and reviewing slowed I still wanted to do my bit to promote books. So I started monthly release compilations, sharing information (author, title, series, publisher, purchase links, cover, and summary) for books released in the USA, the UK, Canada, and Australia. In more recent years, I’ve added daily release compilations – but they’re usually only once a week, generally on a Tuesday (that’s when books in the USA tend to be published).
Also, I do cover art posts. I used to be really quick in my former years, but now I generally wait until I have about four covers to post, and I share them in batches. Along with the covers, I include the authors’ website links, the sources for where I found each cover, and pre-order links if available.
So nowadays my posts are mainly promotional, with the occasional opinion piece.
But as always, when I finish reading a book I give it a star-rating on Goodreads. Many of the books I’ve listed there as read and rated are without reviews, because I just don’t review everything I read. So if you see a rating with no accompanying review, this is why. And these review-free books have various star ratings (from two up to five – I don’t think I’ve ever rated a book one star), so it’s not just the lower-rated tomes.
THE SWAG (or lack thereof)
If book bloggers take a temporary break from reviewing or promoting, we’re supposedly taking advantage of the industry’s “goodwill” towards us. Does that mean we’re just taking swag and giving nothing in return? I addressed this on Twitter today, so the rest of this blog post may seem familiar to my Followers. Here are the things that book bloggers supposedly receive:
–Interviews: I stopped doing them years ago. (It’s hard to come up with questions that you haven’t already seen the particular author answer.)
–Giveaways: I don’t want to pay postage, so I only rarely host giveaways. (And in that case, I pass the contact information onto the company involved, and they ship out the prizes.)
–Invitations: I’ve only been invited to the same stuff that other members of the public were invited to, such as Penguin Teen Australia’s live events. And those were less like invitations and more like “we’re hosting this thing – RSVP if you want to attend”. I was invited to a Harlequin summit, but that was interstate so I couldn’t attend.
–Competitions: If there are competitions that only book bloggers can enter, I haven’t been invited to partake. Also, a lot of contests are geo-restricted, so I probably couldn’t enter, anyway.
–“Free passes to festivals”: Dude, I wish. Melbourne Writers’ Festival does a handful of free sessions for the public (I attended one featuring Alissa Nutting and Jessie Cole this year), but otherwise I pay for sessions just like everyone else.
–ARCs: I’m a member of NetGalley and Edelweiss, so when publishers put up their catalogues, I can request to download review copies. But this does not guarantee access, and I’m often rejected (which could be due to my location, or because I’m not a librarian, etc). Sometimes publishers email me their lists, but I don’t request unless a book already on my wishlist is on their offering list. And sometimes Australian publishers post me books that I don’t ask for and don’t plan to read. (Publishers, please don’t do that – always ask to see if I’m interested first, otherwise you’re just wasting a review copy on someone who’s not going to read it.)
But really the main perk of book blogging is making friends along the way. And no, not necessarily those in the industry – for the most part just fellow readers, though some are also bloggers. And some don’t have a blog as such, but keep Goodreads and Booklikes updated. So it’s not like I’m BFFs with authors and publishers, though we are acquaintances and Facebook Friends.
Also, I make no money from blogging. Some bloggers sell ad space to pay for web hosting, et al. And any credit acquired via affiliate links goes directly to buying more books (but mostly towards international postage for those books).
So no world domination, no career destroying, and no monetary gain. This is the book blogger life.
So if there is a League of Evil Book Bloggers, I don’t know about it. Possibly because I’m not evil enough to warrant an invite. I’ve never set out to harm anyone’s career, and I don’t have the power or influence to make a difference, anyway.
And yet those participating in or supporting the Blogger Blackout have been labelled “cyberbullies”, “terrorists”, and “book reviewer Taliban” (all by the same person, of course). No, I can’t figure out why, either. We’re a peaceful bunch, and nowhere near as evil as some claim.