Word to your mother

I was on the internet last night (I know big shocker) and I participated in YA Lit Chat, which is generally awesome. Basically it’s a chat that happens on Wednesdays at 9pm on Twitter where booksellers, publishing professionals, authors, teachers, librarians, and those darn bastard children bloggers hang out and talk about whatever topic is on the table. Last night’s topic was free stuff, does it sell books, which swiftly turned into why do bloggers get all the free stuff when teachers, and librarians sell all the books (and you do sell books I love teachers and librarians), and then turned to bloggers suck because they ask me for free shit, then to I bet bloggers don’t sell books at all, my teens don’t even know what blogs are, *cough*bullshit*cough*, the only people reading blogs are other bloggers and on and on and on.

I got a little more than disheartened. I spend a lot of time on my blog, and excuse me while I blow smoke up my own ass here but I am very successful at what I do. I run this blog on my own with no outside help. I don’t have co-bloggers, besides my blogging anniversary each year I don’t do mind boggling contests (I hate the post office). What you find here is real content. The fucking brick and mortar if you will of book blogging. So when you treat me like the bastard child of the publishing industry, tell me I am not professional, group me with the uncontrollable group of idiots who are contest and swag mongers I feel I have a right to be offended.

Good bloggers do sell books, we sell them online and off. I have at least 900 unique a day even when I have months like this one where I am slacking off big time. Yeah I threw my stats out there. I have my own URL shortening device when I throw a link out on twitter to your shit, it gets at least 75 clicks, at least! These are stats I can and would love to share with you. I can provide you with pictorial proofs. I am in my brick and mortar putting up shelf talkers, hand selling, doing spring, summer, fall, and winter book previews talking up your titles. I am at the library and in the bookstore devoting my time to teen book clubs. I am at the NCIBA the NCCBA learning and growing and trying to be a better blogger for you! To sell more books for you, because I give a fuck about the publishing industry.

Every time I turn around some publishing professional is reminding me I am the bastard child that they are happy to use but will never respect and that saddens me because I am a wealth of untapped information. I am a plethora of creativity and media savvy. I am opinionated and loud and by god whether you fucking like it or not I am going to keep selling your books and giving a damn about literacy.

April from Good Books and Good Wine chimes in.
Adele’s post from Snarky Wench which is way more eloquent than mine.

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24 Responses so far

  1. Gravatar

    I’m pretty sure our ARCs went out almost exclusively to book bloggers. I have no idea whether or not that’s going to translate into sales, but I am a big believer in internet buzz and word of mouth marketing and book bloggers OWN that. I’ll say this for sure, if our book is a success it will be almost completely attributed to the support of book bloggers like you and April. Thank you for what you do. We deeply appreciate it.

  2. Gravatar

    The only way this post could be more awesome was if you did it as a vlog.

    And I don’t know about teachers and librarians being the ones who sell all the books….as a bookseller, I do a great deal of selling books to librarians and teachers and I rely on bloggers (particularly YA bloggers) for opinions on those books I don’t have time to read. Very rarely has a teacher or librarian recc’d me a book I didn’t know anything about.

  3. Gravatar

    See, this should be your application cover letter. ;)

  4. Gravatar

    Not to mention the librarians or teachers who do not have time to read ARCs and use blogs to get ideas or opinions on books… and then buy them. Gah.

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    There are also a lot of bloggers who blog about their own books in addition to (or instead of) books that they receive for review. So, what’s their motivation, if they didn’t get the book for free? The argument just doesn’t track.

    My next three reviews are going to be books that I personally purchased and two of those books were purchased because of bloggers’ recommendations.

    I buy books. I buy a lot of books. For every book I’ve received for free, I’ve probably bought three more. In fact, very often I will buy a finished copy of an ARC that I’ve received. If I discover a new author via an ARC and love their work, I’ll buy books from their backlist.

    Bloggers are a part of the book industry. We offer up our services because we love to read, and we want people to read more. Isn’t that what everyone involved in publishing and literacy wants? Ultimately we’re on the same side, and we should all be respected for the vital parts we play.

  6. Gravatar

    So true Shanyn! I also work in two libraries and will definitely be using my unpaid work as a book blogger (and book blog reader) to help inform my collection development at both locations. In addition to work purchases, other bloggers definitely influence my personal spending habits. I have bought way more books in the past year than usual (redefining “usual”) and I’m sure that you all are at least partially to blame.

  7. Gravatar

    I am soo tired of this SHIT!
    I love to read. I love to talk about books, promote them, the authors. You name it. I have done it.
    I Blog
    I Facebook.
    I Tweet
    I Tumblr
    I Purchase Loads of books
    I attend author events
    I Donate books to my local libraries
    Recommend books to random strangers at bookstores, coffehouses, libraries, events…you name it. I have done it and yet…apparently that is not enough.
    Because of my teenage godchild I started my blog. I enjoy it for it is something that is entirely mine. I have met many wonderful people, read amazing and not so amazing books. My blog has been a source of pleasure but all this hatred towards bloggers makes me want to close up shop and call it a day. Yet, I am not going to. My feelings are brusied and battered because I am still reeling from the other kicks and punches that bloggers are constantly barraged with. Why are we always treated as bastard step children? I may never know.

    I think I am going to get me a beer and go read a book.

  8. Gravatar

    Librarians are frustrated, budget cuts, library shut downs. hell there are no librarians at the school where my kid goes! It’s all parent volunteers and thank the gods I have people to go to and ask what I should be doing and reading and recommending. The one comment from the one librarian I saw last night was mean but let’s move on, teachers like the fabulous Paul W. Hankins should be getting ARCs but this post isn’t about getting free shit people. I buy books I always have and I always will, if the ARCs dry up tomorrow save for that 5 or 6 a year I am truly excited about I wouldn’t care.

    This is about bloggers continually being disrespected used for what we are good at, word of mouth marketing and then continually dissed every time we turn around.

  9. Gravatar

    Just awesome. There’s nothing else to say. I may write about this on Monday for my weekly ramblings, lol.

  10. Gravatar

    You rock. Like, Ra Ra Riot rock. I think there’s just way too much drama out there for a group of people who all supposedly love the same thing. Good librarians and booksellers and bloggers do SO MUCH, so incredibly much, for literacy. They support it as much as they can and have full passion for it. And you, and everyone else under those categories, deserve a standing ovation for it instead of being shit on. And the fact that you DO keep doing what you do, even though you get crap for it, just shows how very wrong they are and how incredibly much you support reading. So, rock on. :)

  11. Gravatar

    Amen to this. It hurts my heart a little bit. I’m a blogger and since becoming a blogger I have bought more books than I ever have before. I’ve received some for review but I buy WAY more books than I get for free AND that doesn’t even count all the books I’ve BOUGHT WITH MY OWN money for people so that they will read. I’ve only done a few contests on my blog because I believe in growing my blog by content rather than free stuff (I digress) and ALL of them have been paid for out of my own pocket. I didn’t get them from a publisher. They came from my BROKE ASS who has only been working part time. WHY? Because I LOVE books and I love to get good books in people’s hands. I think I have asked for 4 or 5 ARCS in my 7 months of blogging. It’s not about the free books for me. I just want to share books with people whether they be bloggers, teachers, librarians or just your regular reader. I only have a few people I can talk books with in real life so I feel like blogging is a way I can share the good books I’ve read. And let’s be honest..every time I’m in a bookstore I always end up recommending books to people. I’m that annoying person who invades your browsing experience if I see you hovering over a book i loved. I’m PROUD of it. I don’t get paid yet i put in more hours than I should and I’m professional..so I, like you, get my little panties in a bunch if I hear people disregarding what bloggers do for authors and their books.

    I’ve bought a significantly more books because of a good review on a blog or on Goodreads than I ever have from a bookseller. To be honest with you, I can’t remember the last time I bought something on a recommendation of a bookseller. Typically I go in with a list with books I HAD to have from all the blogs and reviews from Goodreads.

  12. Gravatar

    If I was doing this for the free books I would have quite long ago. Yes, it’s nice, but honestly…I still buy gobs of books every month and the majority come from book blogger recommendations. From people I respect and know have similar tastes in books as myself.

    The thing for me though, is that as I looked through the transcripts I didn’t see names of people I care about. Authors that have supported my site in the past were no where to be seen, they don’t support what these people were talking about and neither do the publishers who believe in us enough to go ahead and send out the books. I do wish it was more of a “public acknowledgment”, but for now I’m satisfied with the comments and emails from readers who say they bought a book because of something I wrote, good or bad.

  13. Gravatar

    Completely agree that “Good bloggers do sell books, we sell them online and off.”

    The unfortunate situation is that good bloggers get a bad rap because of a few rotten apples.

    I’m not sure the total number of blogs out there, but I’m sure there are probably a more than a few that don’t strive for a high standard of professionalism or quality in what they do.

    But it’s unfair to be lumped into a group. It would be like saying that all journalists are lazy cheats because a few plagiarize or that all paid reviewers are corrupt because one partakes in fringe benefits.

    It is clear from your blog, which I’ve visited fairly regularly over the past few months, that you do take time and put in effort and actually like books and are definitely not in it for a few free bookmarks!

  14. Gravatar

    I buy more books than an alcoholic does drinks. Okay on to the serious.

    I am both a blogger and a teacher. Any teacher who says he/she isn’t getting free books to preview for their classes is either a liar or an idiot. Teachers have access to a wide variety of book sources that bloggers do not – specifically publishing house reps who will develop wonderful relationships with you and help you find the perfect book for your class even if it means getting you free copies of books to read. You may have to give them back, but seriously I am tired of this concept of free gifts. The idea is not to load your shelves with free books. As a blogger, the idea is to promote books you are passionate about and get people reading. As a teacher, the idea is to find books you are passionate about and get students reading.

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    I began my blog to share my love of reading. It has grown since then, but not by much and that’s fine with me.

    I applaud those like you Pam, who put soooo much energy behind something you don’t have to do. You do it because you want to. Not for status, not for material gain, nothing really tangible.

    It is the intangible that survives the test of time and why many of us do this. It is satisfaction you get when knowing that someone bought a book and loved it because of one of our reviews/recommendations.

    If it weren’t for my blogging, and the great, great, resource of blogs I follow, I wouldn’t have the job I have now…working in a bookstore.

    Having these connections sells books. Case in point: during the holidays a woman was looking to buy books for her husband and friends, but felt lost. She came to me, and thanks to my blogging friends, I was able to recommend an armful of books. She only returned to exchange one. Why? Her husband had already read it.

    More than once my supervisor has called me a “walking encyclopedia”. I attribute this to my experience with blogging.

    As a bookseller, I truly comprehend and appreciate beyond measure the book bloggers I’ve come to know and trust. Without all of you, I could not fully do my job.

    My feed reader is FULL of blogs from across the genre spectrum. In order to be the best at what I do at the store, I need to know the product, but I can’t read them all.

    And I don’t have to. I have a treasure trove of those I trust, like Pam here, to help me stay apprised of the latest and greatest in whatever genre they read and review.

    What these “publishing professionals” need to understand, is the power of the grassroots nature of the business. It cannot be overlooked or minimalized. And it sounds like they *think* they have a grasp on it, but they don’t. Especially when the success of blogs is because of this concept.

    Tired of the pendantics and elitism (perceived or actual) in the literary review world, many readers turned to a medium and to those who spoke their language. They feel that bloggers are like them, understand them, have the same concerns as them, and this connection allows many of us to become trusted sources.

    I couldn’t do what I do, and be as good as I am in doing it, if it weren’t for book bloggers. They are my source, my nourishment, my friends, a community I am proud to be a part of.

    Thank you Pam for this post. Thank you for opening the eyes (I hope) of those who would demean us because of the misperceptions of what we do and how we impact the purchasing decisions of book buyers.

    I am proud to be associated with you and everyone in this community and I am proud to be considered a compatriot and friend.

    I am proud of *you*. And you should be too.

    Well done!

  16. Gravatar

    I’m sorry I fell asleep before you posted this! But you know I agree with every single word you write.

    Also, stop, collaborate and listen.
    Ice is back with my brand new invention
    Something grabs ahold of me tightly
    flow like a harpoon daily and nightly.
    Yo, will it ever stop?
    I don’t know.

  17. Gravatar

    I guess I’m one of those less than professional bloggers. But what do I know? I don’t only get hundred of hits, but a few thousand hits a day and more than one author has told me based on my reviews, not one, not 2, but a large number of readers has bought their books and told these authors based on my reviews, both positive and negative.

    I spend hours upkeeping my blog and sacrifice my free time and not get paid for it. So if i get a few free bookes thrown my way, I feel I deserve it because essentially I’m working for free and allowing a publisher free PR when they would have to pay a lot of money elsewhere to advertise of get specific review publications to review their books.

  18. Gravatar

    [...] Bookalicious: Word to your mother – a reaction to some unflattering remarks about book bloggers in this week’s Twitter YA [...]

  19. Gravatar

    [...] “book bloggers.” You can see the list of contributors there. The blog originated with this blog post over at Bookalicious in defense of book bloggers, because God knows (rolling eyes), we need defending from the authors, publishers, teachers and [...]

  20. Gravatar

    Word! I love my library, but I’ve never had a librarian recommend a book to me. I’ve bought so many more books since I became a blogger because I’ve been exposed to so many more authors than I would have found on my own. The Twitter chat sounds like it would have really pissed me off, so glad I missed it!

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