This week on Twitter, there was quite the storm in the book blogging world. Okay, it was more like a mini-dust devil with bite. A publisher (and others) made comments which criticized the book blogging community as being unnecessary, at best. The criticism claims that book bloggers not only lack influence and don't really contribute to book sales, but are a group of individuals who simply seek free reads or a way to make themselves feel important......
This last statement made me laugh. Actually, I'm still laughing.
The rest of the book o' sphere a la Twitter was not laughing but took offense, and as this awesome community always is... immediately came to the defense of all of us book bloggers out there. Gosh, I love this community.
But offense here or there, my thoughts took on all sorts of strings.
Free books - Ready to gasp? Yes, I started book blogging for free books.
Do I hang my head in shame? No way!
I lived in Europe and was so sick of never finding any good reads in English at the library. Buying books grows expensive, especially when your reading speed puts you at a book a night...and book prices are/were controlled in Germany, making sudden deals not as easy to find. But this grand idea of free books lost its glittery sparkle fast when as a new book blogger, I wasn't able to get my hands on any 'great' books. Almost all books available to little ole' me came from the self-publishing world. Now, this statement might sound offensive, but please remember that at that time (yes, this was a few years ago), self-publishing was just gaining ground. Today, there are so many awesome reads among self-publishers and so many amazing gems to discover. Back then, too many people still didn't understand how important it was to hire an editor.
Side note: Always hire an editor...a good one.
After years of book blogging (and a much smarter and established self-publishing realm), I get amazing books and can pick and choose. And yes, I get all giddy every time our postwoman brings me another package. Mini-Christmas a few times every week!
But do I blog for free books? As said, that idea disappeared shortly after I started my blog. My bank account sure wishes that dream had worked, though! The longer I've blogged, the more and more money I've given out for books. Books are addictive.... do I have to say that? Plus, the reads I drool over I need to have in hardback for my every growing shelves. And those which suddenly catch my eye...Kindle can be so cruel with the simple tap and buy.
Lack influence on Sales - This thought is simply short-sighted in so many ways. (This publisher needs to go back to those basic business classes at college). Sure, one post won't immediately set off a dozen sales. When you see a billboard, do you immediately exit the highway and pull out that wallet? While immediate sales are generated to a certain extent (usually very small), book blogging is about wide spread informing and reinforcement. The more people who see the book the better. If no one knows a book exists, they can't consider buying it. The more a book appears in front of their eyes, the more it sticks in the mind. People see the book, remember the book and will begin to recognize the book when flipping through Amazon or at the book store or when searching for their next read.
Self-verification - Yeahhhhh. Right. Every time I think of this one, I chuckle. How can book blogging... and I mean for us small bloggers and not those with massive followings... do that? I get little to no feedback through my blog. Most comes from the publishers or authors, who I'm reviewing for. If that. Yes, I do a little happy dance when I see a snippet of my review suddenly appear somewhere. And an very occasional word comes in from a book lover out there. Oh, and I have managed to pull in a line of awards...this blows my mind every time! But if I'm doing this for self-verification, I'm going to shrivel and die at the pace those 'special' moments hit.
Sorry, there are so many better ways of getting this kick if you're the type of person who needs it.
Why do book bloggers blog?
I assume everyone has their own reasons. Love of books is a huge one. And for me...okay, outside of the ridiculous idea in the beginning that I'd get free best-sellers out of this—the one that got mega-squashed... it's simply a chance to help spread the word, especially for indie authors and those from small publishers.
I've mentioned on here before that children's books are a beast in the marketing end if an author doesn't go through a big publisher. Book blogging is my way of giving those authors/publishers a hand because there are some amazing books out there that won't be noticed otherwise. Do many people notice them because of my blog? Probably not. But without a spark, there can never be a fire...or even a smolder.
A side note:
I'm adding this to my original post because I just realized I forgot to mention it. Of course, all reviews on my blog are my honest opinion and thoughts. I don't even waste my time with reads I don't like, simply because I'm already on a tight schedule and that would be a silly waste. A book blogger who doesn't leave an honest review is only hurting themselves. Readers aren't dumb. They'll notice what's going on. Leaving good reviews to make authors and publishers happy is self-defeating for a blogger. So nope, I don't do that.
What do you think of book bloggers? Do you pay any attention to them? Have you ever bought a book you've seen on one of their sights? Do you ever read their reviews?