Just had to point anyone who hasn’t seen it yet to the discussion over at Mrs. Giggles’s blog on Do bloggers need that much love and attention from authors? She makes some wonderful points. The line has been blurred a lot between book blogging & reviewing. In a lot of ways this is great—you get front-line readers’ takes on books you might enjoy. However, it means that in addition to the folks with a very “professional” attitude toward things like taking review copies, giving unbiased reviews, and doing their best to inform readers, you’ve also got some folks whose attitude seems to boil down to, “ooh, I can get free books by saying nice things about authors online!”
The latter can make it hard to distinguish between an honest review and a shill. Especially because some of those people go into things with the best of intentions, but simply allow their enthusiasm for being “a part of things” to carry them away.
The only thing I don’t really agree with her about is the attempt to monetize a blog (obviously, as I have Google ads and Amazon links). I have health problems that keep me from holding a regular job, and I’m not too proud too use the means at my disposal to make a few dollars off of what I’m good at. That said, I’m not going to slant my reviews and compromise my integrity in order to get a free book. Sure I enjoy getting review copies, but it wouldn’t be the end of the world if I didn’t any more.
Actually, that reminds me. I wrote an article on how to be a professional reviewer more than four years ago—yes, so long ago that it’s archived in the static content of the site, because it’s from back before I had a blog! Mrs. Giggles notes that some folks now just put up a blog and expect review copies to come to them; as I note in that article,
I didn’t start requesting review copies of items and books from companies until I’d been reviewing for more than five years (and had more than 350 reviews on the internet), although some publishers approached me themselves a couple of years earlier than that.
Of course, some parts of that article are out of date now; I haven’t had to send actual physical mail requesting a review copy in a couple of years now!
While I’m posting, here are the links for the latest Errant Dreams Reviews posts:
- The Black Ship, Diana Pharaoh Francis
- Tails of Love, Foster & Cameron
- A musing on description
- Atlantis Unleashed, Alyssa Day
- Beyond the Rain, Jess Granger
Hi Heather, this is an interesting post. I’m glad and grateful that some authors are now sending their books for me to read and review. I don’t think I’d go for advertising on my blog, though.
Hi Alice! Yeah, that’s a very individual decision. Some folks aren’t comfortable with it or it wouldn’t fit into their blogs, and I think that’s great. If money weren’t a concern for me I wouldn’t put ads in, and for years I resisted the temptation. But especially considering there are options like Firefox with Adblock Plus, I wouldn’t think less of someone for putting ads on their blog unless either they were objectionable ads (in content, or method—things like videos that auto-play and the like) or they were plastered all over the blog. At least there are ways now, with Google ads and Amazon, for the ads (in theory at least) to match the content, so they aren’t quite so intrusive.