Straight up, there is a rant a-coming. So if you don’t like opinions, please exit my blog. Last night, I attempted to watch #yalitchat on tweetdeck but stopped because the tweets were going wayyy too fast for me to read. So, slightly bored during the afternoon, I thought I would read the chat over, as the topic was actually interesting to me: ARCs & Galleys & Swag.
You see, I saw a lot of things which shocked me as a blogger.
People honestly think bloggers don’t sell books. People seem to also think negative reviews are unprofessional.
To which I say, are you kidding me? We book bloggers may inhabit a small corner of the internet, but we sure as hell have impact. We are on twitter. We are on facebook. We are on youtube. We are on tumblr. We are at the bookstore. We are at the library. We are at the gym. We are in school. We have jobs. We have real life friends. We have family. And we have very big mouths.
We post our reviews not only on our blogs, but on goodreads, librarything, shelfari, amazon, barnes & noble, etc. Sometimes we post them in our work newsletter. Sometimes we partner for a bookstore.
I notice some tweets thought bloggers shouldn’t receive ARCs. Tweets that said instead those ARCs should go to librarians and teachers. Now, I don’t deny that librarians and teachers have great impact, because they do. However, why should there even be a fight between librarians, teachers, and bloggers? Especially when there are a plethora of excellent librarian bloggers to follow? Why is a blogger who has potential to reach thousands through combined blog, amazon, social networks, and goodreads not worthy of a book? Is it because we don’t get paid for what we do? Is it because we aren’t afraid to express a one-star opinion? Is it because we are a non-traditional form of media? I don’t understand this vitriol for book bloggers. We aren’t trying to steal books from you, I promise. In fact, I bet if you asked a local book blogger real nicely they would be pleased as punch to share their ARCs with you, or at least, I know I would.
Then, of course, there were tweets about how bloggers are only in it for the free books. I can only assume those tweeters have never taken a basic economics course. As one who has taken basic economics understands the principle of cost-benefit analysis and the idiom ‘there’s no such thing as a free lunch.’ For real, let’s do the economics on this. For every hour I spend reading a review book, that’s an hour I could use to spend time with friends, family, clean my house, walk the dog, or hey, work a second job. Let’s say I spend 20 hours a week reading, for a low estimate. Let’s say the average YA book takes me, oh, 5 hours to read. Now, let’s say instead of reading that book, I get a second job. Now, my time is semi-cheap, so let’s pretend second job pays me $8/hr. That’s $40 right there. I could have made $40 in those 5 hours of reading. But instead I give up those 5 hours to read something, that is largely monetarily valueless, as we all know selling ARCs is a no-no. Or, I suppose you could say that arc cost $20 to make, thus making my time half as valuable. So please, don’t use that free books argument, as it’s bullshit and I will know to put you on the list of people who don’t deserve my time of day.
Towards the late middle/end of the chat, the tweets were flying about negative reviews and book bashers and blah-di-blah. If ever there is a pet peeve I have, that peeve is people telling me I can’t write about something I didn’t like.
People just seemed to go on and on and on about negative reviews and bashing and such.
Is it bashing to straight-up say, Author O holds anti-gay views here are some links straight from the horse’s mouth and that colored my reading?
Is it bashing to say, the writing was subpar?
Then, of course, there’s always those Perky Peggys or Kiss-ass Kathys who say, but you can always find something POSITIVE even if you hated the book. To which I say, bullshit. What if I didn’t like anything at all about the book? Do you expect me to lie and pretend I liked something? No thank you.
And, OF COURSE we get tweets that seem to me to be completely on the fringe. I.e. ‘bloggers who bash books should be blacklisted‘ and ‘bloggers should never bash an author’s writing’? Good lord, give me a lobtomy and change my last name to Stepford, why don’t you. First off, I dare someone to blacklist me and expect me to keep my mouth shut about it, and about the books I read. Secondly, do you honestly think bloggers get all of their books for free? Dude, we purchase A LOT. We use the library A LOT. Blacklisting someone isn’t going to make them shut up. As the conclusion I often come to when I see handwringing over people ‘bashing’ on a book, is that usually the ‘bashing’ is a critique, and it’s rarely over the top. In the blogs that I follow, which is a lot, mind you, I have never actually seen bashing. Sure, I have seen plenty of negative reviews, but nothing I would call bashing. Nothing like, oh this book blows so hard it rivals Glitter, and that author, look at their fug picture. I have never in my life seen that on a book blog. Furthermore, I think it is perfectly valid to be critical as a reader, of an author’s writing. A book is a product. As a consumer who often buys books, I have a right to say I vehemently disliked this book. I have a right to explain why. Sometimes, that reason is because the writing is IMHO terrible. Am I bashing the author as a person? No way. However, some might say that’s bashing the writing to express a review that is not sunshine and puppies.
Then we have people who say it’s unprofessional to express a negative opinion. Okay, so perhaps people who aspire to be authors ought not to write negative reviews. But people who are strictly readers? Come on. Just saying that shows me ignorance. I’m going to do some name dropping:
The New York Times.
These PROFESSIONAL outlets all have posted negative reviews. Shocking, right? And a bit of a mindbender that professional/traditional media have negative reviews.
Friends, being a book blogger does not mean you live in a bubble and don’t sell books.
Book bloggers don’t ever let someone look down on you like that. As a community, we are hella strong and hella awesome.
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