Recently, I've come across multiple articles criticising book bloggers; which is quite ironic since teenagers are called-upon for being unproductive repeatedly in the media. But, that is a different discussion entirely. It's what is written in these articles - and what is thought offline - that I want to talk about. It may be time that some of these myths, for those of you standing on the vicinity of book blogging, are addressed.
- We are paid to write positive reviews by publishers and/or authors.
- We only discuss popular books to increase our own pageviews.
- We discriminate against self published - or 'indie' authors.
- We don't actually read all of the books we review.
- We only set up our blogs to receive free books
- All book bloggers work in publishing or the media
When I began book blogging I simply joined Blogger, and, after a few hours of deliberating over the blog name, wrote my first post. It was then, after a few weeks, that I realised I wasn't the only one posting reviews. At the time I was thirteen, with no previous writing-experience apart from short stories scrawled in my English book, and I had only read one review before. Though, I soon found that some of those blogging, who were reading my posts, had started their blogs when they were eight. Admittedly, I was slightly older, but I had never been trained or taught how to contact publishers or promote my work. Why? We are not professionals. We are not seasoned journalists. We are not even all part of the publishing industry. Instead, most of us are teenagers typing in our bedrooms with a mug of tea and cramped backs.
In other news, we do read all of the books that we review. I spend hours reading; and this seems to be a surprise for some. Online, in the blogging community, our conversations are based around the books we read; whether they are borrowed from the library or sent to us by publishers for review. Those books from publishers - referred to as ARCs are sent to us in exchange for an honest review. What we write is our unbiased opinion. You could say the book itself is our 'payment', as we don't get compensated for writing a five-star review. And, most of the time, we chose what books we want to read, based on reading preferences; meaning that reviews are positive as we read what we want to.
Book bloggers don't spend hours writing posts, taking notes for the review and then piecing it together just to receive free books. Receiving the occasional upcoming-sequel, or just-published debut, is a treat, as you still have to control what you do and don't accept. Why? Running the blog itself is time-consuming, so balancing reading and writing is a huge part of our 'job'. And, our letter-boxes are not crammed to the brim with hotly-anticipated sequels every day either. I have one neatly organised pile, waiting in the corner of my room.
My last point? We do not ignore self-published authors! We have been called upon, as mentioned briefly above, for choosing more popular authors and books to feature on our blogs for better pageviews. In review-policies, it is true that a lot of bloggers - including myself - state that they don't accept self-published books, and this is for very different reasons than what has been said lately. I love 'indie' authors but, I don't love my e-reader; and this is the same for a lot of bloggers. There are problems when it comes to reading the novel. Self-published authors very rarely - and understandably - send out paperback copies, and for those who can't access a Kindle, it makes reviewing them difficult. I do a lot of reading outside during the summer, and that means I can't accept online copies instead.
Most bloggers communicate with self-published authors online using social-media. When it comes to new-releases, these are the authors that we are going to accept books from, because we want to support those who we know. From past experience, I've learnt those writers I've spoken to before have been more understanding if I have a problem or there's schoolwork that needs to be completed before I read their book. If I have some emails from a few self-published authors, and one is from an author I've gotten to know, it's only fair that I chose them. All bloggers do.
Have you read any myths about book blogging?
Any of the above?
Tell me in the comments!