Showing posts with label bbe. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bbe. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

When is it Okay to Talk About Sequel Spoilers? | Book Blogging Etiquette (#10)

Don't you just love getting your favorite book series spoiled? 

Fortunately this hasn't happened to me in a while but I'm very much not looking forward to this happening anytime soon.

Be gentle on your readers- especially on social media.

Whenever I'm talking about a sequel I always assume that someone out there who has an eye on my social media is still planning to read the first one. Even if that book came out in, say, 2005. There is no expiration date on reading and if something isn't so popular that it's pretty much general pop culture knowledge by now (for example Darth Vader being Luke Skywalker's father), you really shouldn't ruin someone's day by talking about spoilers without labeling them. Anywhere.

The thing is, I try to be as inclusive with my blog as I possibly can. I want backlist and frontlist readers to have a great time here, I want to provide as much of a variety in terms of the books that I review and the content I provide as I can. Same goes for my social media. It's only logical then to also take into consideration that there will be readers out there who are planning on reading the first book to sequel you're talking about.

Very often I hear from people who read my blog that my review made them interested in reading a specific book. And that often happens with sequels, too. I like to think that the people who read my blog also care about my opinion on things and that I to some degree am able to influence their decision whether to read a book or not. And blatantly spoilering left and right on social media and blog, knowing that there are possible readers and fans of a series or book I've already read out there is just a no no.

You're ruining everyone's online experience by doing that. Especially when we're talking about social media where you can't mark spoilers appropriately and by default end up spoilering someone if you talk about it openly.

What about reviews?

Of course, sequel reviews are completely out of the picture here. If you're purposely clicking on a review of a sequel, that's your own fault for getting spoilered. I personally find that it's nearly impossible to write a high quality review for a sequel without spoiling anything about the first book. I'm usually still trying to keep the worst spoilers to myself if no necessary, but usually it's fair game to spoil in sequel reviews in my opinion.

(It should go without saying that unlabeled spoilers have no business in a review of a standalone or first in a series, by the way, that's why I'm not even addressing this. NEVER do this.)

So how do I prevent this whole mess?

Simple. By labeling your spoilers. Don't be a meanie and mark your spoilers.

What's the last book that somebody spoiled for you?

More Book Blogging Etiquette:

Continue Reading...

Saturday, July 23, 2016

When You Have to Write a Negative Review | Book Blogging Etiquette (#4)

Opinions are a difficult matter on the internet. Sometimes you encounter more troll and hateful comments than genuine ones. People often use the anonimity of the internet to show the worst of themselves.

Especially as a book blogger, you may find yourself in a situation where you don't like something everyone likes. 

Of course you are free to share your opinion and tell people why you don't like a popular book. The key here is to put emphasis on the why:
  • Reasons: 
Always give reasons why you don't like something. Don't just express your hate with mean gifs and insults. Be professional about it and just state in a neutral voice why you're not a fan. Never insult. Neither the fans, nor the author. Words are your friend here, show that you have an education.

  • Voice: 
Again, no insults.You're going to want to write a review that shows constructive criticism. If you can't be constructive, simply be polite.

  • Other Perspectives: 
What I like to do before I'm typing up a ranty review is to think about the people who love this book. Maybe you're not the target audience, maybe you have a history with disliking that special genre, or you're just not in the mood for this. Don't demonize a book just because you weren't feeling it.

Think long and hard before you publish a negative review that might affect other people and keep them from buying the book. Is your hate justified? Is this an offensive book or do you just not like it because it doesn't fit your taste? There's a huge difference between the two. Do your best to judge which case you're dealing with.

But what about Goodreads reviews? 

Don't take Goodreads as an example, this is the worst thing you can do as an independent blogger. Goodreads may be a critique platform in theory, but in reality it's just a way for people who hate something equally to huddle and say mean things. You'll quickly notice that the most popular and most liked reviews there are the ones involving the meanest gifs and the rudest remarks. 

The question then is - should you follow that example to gain more success more quickly? 

The short answer is me screaming no with a megaphone.

The long answer is that you always have to keep in mind that the author might be reading this. I don't understand why this is so difficult for some people to grasp, but it takes an insane amount of work to write, edit, and get a book published. That's accomplishment on its own.

We as readers just feel responsible for providing helpful feedback if we decide to share our opinion on public platforms. Imagine if the author were reading that you called them an absolute retard for writing a book that should be used as toilet paper instead (someone actually said this on Goodreads). 

I'm not saying you're not allowed to rant, to express your disappointment over a book that didn't live up to your expectations. Of course you are allowed to voice your opinion, but please, please don't write any feedback that you couldn't deal with yourself. 

Ask yourself: if someone wrote this about your book - how would you react?

How do you handle writing bad reviews? Do you publish them at all?

More Etiquette:

You might want to check out my Book Blogging Tips series:

Continue Reading...

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Book Blogging Etiquette: Making Business Connections and Talking To Industry Professionals

Communication is key when dealing with inquiries by authors, publishers, and publicists. It's very important to always stay professional when dealing with business contacts.

#1: The Encounter: Be Professional

When you meet a new business contact, it's important not to be casual. We may be bloggers, but you really have to watch you language. Always be respectful and don't make immoral offers.
Don't reach out to people that you aren't intending to work with, and decline every offer that you have no plans to purse. 

#2: Don't Rip Off & Don't Get Ripped Off 

The best tip I can give you, is to be honest when something doesn't work for you. It's not a big deal to decline and say no - everyone will appreciate it if you say no before it all gets rolling instead of backing out last minute. 

Don't be afraid to negiotiate - but don't be unrealistic. Nobody owes you anything. It's a privilege to receive review copies and the like, and you don't want to push your luck. Never ever ask for gift cards or money compensation

Never ever let someone exploit you and accept a ridiculous offer of promotion. I have encountered business contacts who just thought that it's an honor for us bloggers to be able to work with them. I was asked for regular promos for free, ad space etc. in exchange for a single review copy, which I also had to review, of course. 

While you shouldn't ask for too much, you should never sell yourself below worth. You have to find a middle way of things you're comfortable doing, After all, book blogging is business. 

That's why it's important to negotiate a middle way. Don't rip other people off, and don't let yourself get ripped off.

#3: What If the Deal Goes Wrong?

So you've found a business partner and you're happy to work with them. You've exchanged whatever you've agreed upon - but oh shock - your business partner isn't doing what they promised you to do. 

The bad example of the bakery and the food blogger (here) shows us exactly what not to do. Putting your business partner on blast online is one of the most unprofessional, childish, and unreasonable things you can do. If you're looking to ruin your reputation - go for it. 

But in all seriousness, you're doing business online. If the opposite party isn't keeping up their part of the promise, confront them maturely. If they don't react - move on. Your experiences are confidential. If you decide to blog about it, make sure to NEVER mention names and make it as anonymous as possible. 

The most important thing is to be mature. If you encounter problems, voice them to the person you're negotiating with.

Continue Reading...

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Book Blogging Etiquette: What to Do When Authors/Publishers Don't Read Your Policy

As a blogger you'll soon notice that especially self-published authors and small presses will reach out to you and ask you to review their books.

Some of them, but not all send mass emails to every blogger they can find. But are we supposed to do when we get emails like that?

Just ignore them? Here's what I do to prevent this from happening and when it's already too late.

Quick Life Savers:

1. Write a Bullet-proof Policy
You can conveniently refer to it if you get inquiries that aren't suitable for your blog.

2. Add Subject Headlines
In order to avoid getting mails that aren't relevant to your interests (aka spam mail from people who don't even read your blog), state in your policy that the subject headline has to be something specific.

3. Be Selective About Replies
The best case scenario would be to reply to each and every request you get, but mostly it's just a waste of time. I suggest you don't even open emails with multiple recipients.

If you've already received an inquiry...

You can either do it like me and just don't reply/ waste your time on people who didn't even bother to read your policy - or you prepare a generic response. I prefer to be honest and tell people when I don't think collaboration is something that I'd consider.

I have generic responses for the cases that:
  • The person clearly hasn't read my policy
  • I'm not interested in the book
  • I don't have time for another review copy
In any other case I just write up a new mail myself. I definitely suggest that you should at least reply to every serious inquiry you get, even thought it's just to say thanks, but no thanks.

I know it can get annoying to receive dozens of the same mails, I state perfectly clear in my policy that I don't read erotica and am not a fan of historical romance, still the majority of my inquiries seem to be exactly this.

If you have to say no...

  • Be objective. If you don't like something, don't say it. 
I've noticed that it isn't a very good idea to tell people that you don't think you'd like their book. Yes you are a blogger and are usually expected to give your honest opinion, but when replying to inquiries it's very easy to step on someone's toes. 
That is exactly where I know that I've made the decision to decline if someone tries to argue with me. I've actually had an author argue with me declining their book once since I have read, reviewed and liked another book that they thought was similar to theirs. 

Solution: Just say the book doesn't fit into the concept of your blog.
  • Refer to your policy
Especially when people try to argue with you. If you don't like something, add that to the list of things you don't read in your policy.

Everyone has their own takes on this, but you should never be passive-aggressive about it. I know it can get super annoying to get the same mails all the time, but always be respectful and professional.

Further Reading: 
How To Write a Review Policy
How To Decline An Inquiry by an Author or Publisher Politely

What do you do when you get offered to review books and have to decline?

More Etiquette:
(#1) Don't Steal Content and Learn to Credit

You might want to check out my Book Blogging Tips series:

See All
Continue Reading...

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Book Blogging Etiquette: Don't Steal Content and Learn to Credit!

What's "content stealing"?

In the book blogging world, content stealing simply means taking something that you didn't create and not crediting the person who did. Your intentions don't matter, whether you did this consciously or subconsciously - stealing is stealing. Just because it's online it doesn't mean that it's not illegal.

Types of content-thievery:
  • Copy Cat: Flat out copying someone's original content
  • Post Ideas: While these aren't under any copyright, it's just bad manners to take someone's unique idea and come up with your own version of it without crediting the original creator or making significant changes
  • Pictures: Rule of thumb: if you didn't take the photo personally with your own hands, or have permission from the person who took it, don't use the picture. Book covers are usually free to use if you're writing a review, but check the individual publishers before you right-click and copy.
  • Themes: Yes you can steal a theme - by removing the creator's credit you're not only being a dick, but you're also committing the most easily traceable kind-of book blogging crime. 

Wait - I've done some of these??? Help??

If you had no idea and accidentally took someone else's content, don't panic.

IMMEDIATELY remove the content. You can still fill your blog back up with other stuff later.
Consider apologizing to the person. At least that's what I would have wanted, a heart-felt apology doesn't make it better, but it's certainly better than nothing.

Make sure it never happens again. You'll get a reputation if you get caught doing this online frequently. Trust me, people will notice.

What about inspiration?

If somebody's original post inspired you to launch your own post, just add credit. It's polite and it's the respectable thing to do. Even if you're writing about something completely different, it's a nice gesture for that blogger to quickly leave a link to their site and mention that this post inspired you.

Inspiration is not stealing - as long as you're coming up with your own stuff. 

The second you're copying somebody else's words, you're already making a mistake. Variations of other things are perfectly fine, you'll hardly come up with something that has never done before. If you do, congratulations!


Aside from the legal issue, you're not going to become famous/get more traffic/whatever you seek if you're using sketchy methods. The book community is smaller than you think and people will remember you! I even know bloggers that use plagiarism software to scan the internet for copy cats. You don't want to get on those people's bad side.

Also - if you were that person, would you want somebody else to steal your masterfully taken pictures, well-thought out reviews, thousand-times-edited post?
Don't be a dick.

How do I protect myself?
  1. Don't steal. 
  2. Don't copy. 
  3. Learn to credit.
  4. Don't use content you didn't come up with
  5. Don't right-click and save pictures you didn't take or don't have permission to use. 
You may think it's only online and it's not that big of a deal- but what you do on the internet stays here forever. 

What's your opinion on crediting and stealing content? 
What do you consider stealing?

Continue Reading...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...