#RandomRambling

Authors, do you know what book bloggers actually do?

I’m a book blogger and I love it.

I’ve been welcomed into the world of all things bookish with open arms by my fellow bloggers, authors, publishers, PR people, and readers over the last three years. It’s a fantastic community and I’ve made some great friends along the way.

But there’s been some awful reports of book bloggers recently … lots of blogger bashing going on for different reasons and it’s sad to see.

One opinion that upsets me more than others is that bloggers only blog for free books. Urgh. This really upsets me. Yes, I receive the occasional free book, perhaps an ARC a publisher/author asks me to read so that I can write an early review for the book to help them generate publicity on or around publication day … the majority of the books I read and review are books I’ve bought. And if I do get an ARC, I will go on to buy the book anyway – because I’m in this to support authors!

Along this train of thought, it seems that some people don’t understand what goes into a book review and therefore think that sending a blogger a free £8.00 book isn’t worth it so I thought I’d update this post from when I started blogging.

What does a blogger actually do?

Well, one thing we don’t do is sit around reading and typing all day! Can you hear the collective sighs of “if only!” … That’s every book blogger in the world – wishful thinking at its best!

Most of the bloggers I know either have full or part-time jobs, they have children, husbands, wives, cats, dogs, families, friends, social lives, illnesses, medical conditions, school runs, caring responsibilities, house work, and somewhere, in between doing and/or dealing with ALL this, we find the time to read a book and review it.

But that’s not as simple as it seems.

Once we have managed to read the book, we have to write the actual review. A typical post will include the links to buy the book, the author’s picture and bio, the book blurb and cover image. Then comes the formatting of the post to our personal style, font, layout, colour scheme. Then it’s time to proofread, make sure everything is perfect, and then post or schedule it. Phew! I’m shattered just thinking about all the things that go into a blog post!

But it doesn’t end there … Oh no …

We then share that post, yes there are ways to share posts automatically on some social media platforms, but not to others, for example, Amazon, Net Galley, and Good Reads, which are the most important sites to authors and publishers. We copy and paste the review into each of these sites.

Still not finished …

We want to get the book as much exposure as possible, so we share the review in to each and every book related Facebook group we are in. I’m part of over twenty bookish groups. TWENTY. That’s twenty different posts with a link to the blog post that I manually insert into each group. Whilst doing this you’re trying to remember the rules for each group (some don’t allow review posts, some will only allow them if you have been “actively talking to other members during the previous two weeks”, some will only let you post blog links on particular pinned posts – the rules of each group are so different and if you break the rules, you could be removed from the group!) This isn’t a slight on group rules, by the way. I admin on a large book club on Facebook and the rules are so important, I’m just pointing out that we have to remember the rules for all these groups so we can spread the love of a book as far as possible.

Then there’s the interaction afterwards, responding to comments and discussing the book with others who make contact … on each post … in each group.

Not finished yet!

If we are contacted or make contact with an author/publisher to review a particular book that we want to read – typically before publication day – then we have lots more to contend with!

Dates – can we commit to the dates they need? What other stuff have we have going in our lives in the run up to that blog tour (if the review will be posted as part of one), how many other books are teetering on the ever growing TBR pile in the corner? Do we have time to send a content/Q & A request? Will the author have time to write something for you? What about other books you want to read that are out around that time?

How much notice has the author/publisher given ? Are we in a position where we don’t physically have the time to read and review the book, but don’t want to miss out on a tour date and supporting a favourite author/publisher?

Anyway, once all this is done, there is the emotional side too. What if someone hates the review? What if there’s a huge mistake in the post? What if, what if, what if! But we get over that and publish the post on our blog … Leaving ourselves exposed to the whole world.

So, there you have it … how a post goes from being a book request to a published blog post – start to finish. I know I’ve missed some steps out, and I know people will use different sites to host their blogs so there may be different set up features but essentially, that’s how a blog post is created.

But, the most important thing to remember is, the majority of book bloggers will not charge you for a review, but if you ask them to read your book, respect the fact that your book is a justified gift for the 8-12 hours it will take them to read and publicise your book.

If you’re worried about sending out freebies to everyone, which isn’t a good idea, obviously, look at the blogger, be selective about who you approach, and how you approach them. I wrote a post about this over on my editing website and you can read it here. This gives you the best advice on how to find and approach bloggers to read and review your work.

If you’ve had a bad experience with a blogger, please, please, please don’t tar us all with the same brush.

The vast majority of bloggers do it for the love of books, you’ve just gotta find the right ones.

Have a wonderful hump day, Bookworms!

6 thoughts on “Authors, do you know what book bloggers actually do?

  1. Here! Here! You are correct and appreciated for standing up for us! I think what you are seeing is that there are those that do take advantage of the system and/or use it to discredit other books/authors without having read the actual book. The fear is publishers will put a halt to arcs altogether if it continues so bloggers who specifically know of and have first hand proof those that do it, trying to stop them. It isn’t to be a dramatic but to save the system for the rest of us. This is JUST MY OPINION and just what I’ve observed and I could be completely wrong. But as for what we do…you are completely right. It is a lot of work with little to no fanfare and certainly no pay.

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  2. I have the utmost respect for bloggers! Sincerely, I cherish the work that you guys do in getting our books out to the wider world. A lot of people seem to forget that you do this voluntarily, and your only reward is the ebook on your device and a thank you from the author (hopefully). I enjoy reading several blogs, and I never forget that you are the indie authors’ new gatekeepers; a lot rests on your interpretation of the book and your assessment of it. People do listen to you because you have a vast experience of genre fiction. So, your words count. And I thank you for them.

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  3. I’m in awe of the efficiency and dedication of all the bloggers who’ve helped me find books to read as well as spread the word about my own books. I know it’s hard work but it’s so appreciated!

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  4. Thank-you, Thank-you, Thank-you for expressing yourself exactly as I would have done. It does take hours and hours of ‘work’. Reading is often around six hours then writing the review, sharing the review, promoting the link… another couple hours. Even if they get the book ‘free’ – the book blogger would be getting the equivalent of only around 40% of the minimum wage.
    For that reason book blogging HAS to be a labour of love. ♥♥♥

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  5. I think I know what may have prompted this blog, Emma, and it’s such a shame the odd bad apple can tar the reputation of so many genuine, book loving bloggers. On behalf of authors (and readers), a big shout-out thank you to everyone who gives up their time and energy for those of us who rely on your unpaid services. 😀

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