The Art Of Pointing Fingers At Book Bloggers

ATTENTION

It is advised to leave all pitch forks at the doorstep of this blog. Thank you.

 

Maybe the title of this blog post should be “The Art Of Calling People Out On Their Shit” because it truly suits the purpose of this post much better. Or perhaps I should turn this post into a ” How To Start A Bookish Witch Hunt” guide…. Not sure.

Either way- I saw something ( again ) that caught my interest.

I know, I know. Wasn´t it just a few weeks ago when I spotted the last bookish faux pas? It was and it pains me to point out the latest ( and loudest ) tactless acts in this oh so love – sharing book community done by certain online personalities.

 

 

So many people believe us book loving folks are harmless introverts who mind our own business because our noses are constantly stuck in book cracks. We´re all clones of 1970´s librarians. The reality, though, is that we´re just as human as non readers are, and therefore behave like normal everyday people ( unless we´re reading. Then I can´t guarantee what us book people are capable of ). Some of us are genuine and nice and others are just mean shits with too much time on their hands.

 

So, the other day I spotted quite a few posts on how people didn´t quite approve of  Instagrammers “fake coffee”.

 

 

Instagrammers creating fake coffee for pics? Does this mean someone´s trying to sell us all an lie? You mean to tell me, ME, that there ain´t no coffee in those wonderful mug pics I see all the time?

 

 

Well, no, Bitch…. I´m not shook. Not in the slightest. It´s no secret that most Instagram coffee shots don´t have actual coffee in them. Seeing recent posts from quite a few book – people bitch over this matter wasn´t earth shattering. Just simple complaints over the fact that the world is sneaky and corrupt. I can live with that.

But here´s where it gets interesting:

The more complaints I saw the more every complaint sounded like they came from frustrated people. Some even went as far and virtually pointed fingers at certain book bloggers who openly discussed their bookstagram / coffee voodoo. And the more I investigated the more I spotted  hurt people ratting out other people by adding blog links.

 

 

Really? Is this what we´ve reduced ourselves to? ( not including myself here ) Complaining about fake coffee and trying to put others on the spot for doing so?

 

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Soph Is Blogging published a blog post on Bookstagrammers And Their Fake Coffee and even cared enough to reveal her own secrets on how to create great coffee dupes for the ever unforgiving Instagram ( I am mentioning Soph because a link to her blog was posted by one of the many complainants ).

You can tell her post was created to act as a little guide on how to do the fake coffee trick. I don´t know about you but I find this extremely interesting, even as a non coffee drinker. In no way is this a terrible thing. Soph is welcoming others to do the same.

I was always aware of the fact that something wasn´t 100% right with those Insta- coffee pics but I also never cared enough to dig deeper into matter. Because I´m not passionate enough about it but I still find it really cool to find out how coffee dupes are made.

Here´s the thing- Fake coffee is nothing different from the beautiful pimped burgers in Tv commercials. Am I sad about it? No, not really. Soph is more or less offering her pics to her fans / followers, presenting them with something that looks stunning. It´s her creation and she´s spending time getting something up that´s perfect for her.

Now, this doesn´t mean I´m a fan of fake coffee pics. This just means I don´t care enough about them.

I, too, fake some of my Instagram pics and like Soph… I´m not making a secret out of it. Because it should go without saying that most Instagram shots don´t resemble reality. I certainly don´t always have a mug near me when I´m reading. And I sure as hell don´t set my book down and keep it in that position when I´m reading. I don´t even read near the window because my window sills ( as lovely as they are ) don´t allow comfortable seating. My bones would protest after 30 minutes! But my window sill does work wonders for Bookstagram pics. So does the forest in my back yard, and trust me on this one… I do NOT go there for random chapter reads ( mainly due to ticks, boars, foxes, and random creeps. What can I say? I´m careful and shit). Safety is high on my life list so whatever I do with books for Instagram- It´s not what I usually do.

For example: I don´t have chilled walks in the middle of a normally busy road with a book in hand.

 

And this Disney moment here…..

 

 

The butterflies are….wait. We have to brace ourselves for this one…

Okay. Ready? The butterflies are fake.

 

 

My point is- Bookstagram pictures are often staged shots. And that´s okay. Because that´s what Instagram has become- A place to show off creativity. It is not a place where “shallow”  people ( as one complainant kindly stated ) play.

Which brings me to my next point ( and this will not be a popular opinion ) :

I´m for naming this child by its name: People who complain about fake coffee are envious. Or (!!!) they feel like they´ve been cheated on by society. Because I´m positive these complaints don´t come from a place of awe and appreciation.

It´s the same thing with children during art class. There´s always one special booger who will call out on the one artsy kid who dared to cheat the system by taking their wet paint brush and letting it glide over the colored pencil drawing to create a watercolor effect instead of using normal watercolors.

Yes, sometimes bookstagrammers can make other bookstagrammers feel inadequate. But that´s entirely up to the bookstagrammer to see the difference between reality and a lie. Once a person whines about something being “unfair” and “makes their lives difficult” then it´s no one elses problem but theirs. These people have no right to complain over peanuts.

I create “fake” ( although, I´m still having troubles seeing the fake aspect of all this ) because I want to challenge myself. Can I be as creative as…. ? Can I do that too? What if I recreated that Christmas book tree? And I even publish my failures and include the tutorial that led to the failure.

For someone to point their finger at a book blogger  for wanting to be helpful and even share a link to publicly put said book blogger on display ( also hoping to find sympathizers afterwards ) is not the way to go about things in this book community.

No one likes a tattletale, especially when it´s done on the internet. Because that shit can backfire.

 

If you feel I´ve addressed you in particular then I´m sorry I won´t be able to help you. This is a beautiful yet tough love community. Pull those big girl panties up and move on because there are larger issues to tackle in this neck of the woods ( such as self published authors and their sky high book prices ).

 

ATTENTION… again

Hurt bookstagrammers, offended book people and the literary sheriffs are able to collect their pitch forks again. Make sure to direct yourselves in the direction of your usually prefered hangouts to discuss this matter in private. Thank you.  

 

Should you be like me and feel utterly annoyed by this issue ( tbh- it´s bugging the shit out of me ) then feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below. Imma dying to see what your thoughts on fake coffee are and if you think it´s okay to point fingers at others publicly.

And and and * waves hands enthusiastically * IF you´re against fake coffee, and you´re willing to have a civilized conversation about it, then please give us annoyed foot folk some insight on what exactly annoys you about the subject. Any info is greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance.

With that being said…. I bid you all a farewell, my dear bookish Padawans. May the literary force be with you.

Much love,

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Thank The Books It´s Friday

Well, what do ya know… It´s our favorite day of the week- FRIDAY! A good enough reason to unleash the Friday squirrel.

squirrel fuck

With desperate squirrel out of the way I´d say it´s time to talk about what´s happened this week.


 

tula

 

  1.   I discovered that fantasy author Sherrilyn Kenyon suspects her husband poisoned her. Well, this news popped up around mid January but I just found out. That´s some creepy shit right there, if you ask me. Looks like her hubby is a real piece of work. The article here states that he´s done it for financial gain and to ruin her career.  I guess hubby´s not that clever. If he wants financial gain then he shouldn´t want to ruin her career. What an eejit. Give her chocolate then divorce her. And to think her husband´s a lawyer. * snorts *

 

2.   Authors bribing fans to leave reviews on Amazon with Kindles. This is old as fuck. The only difference between the review begging from then and now is that it´s NOW happening publicly, whereas back in the day authors would offer Kindles and stuff within closed social media groups. I really don´t know how to feel about this. I´m torn between wanting to applaud authors for having the guts to bribe and wanting to flat out tell them you can´t buy reviews ( well, technically… you can but that´s not the point ). Oh, and to also exclude book bloggers from said bribery. Da fuq?

 

3.   My apocalyptic BookTube project is launching Monday, 11. Feb. 2019. YAY!

 

4.   More Netgalley approvals came through.

Not sure when I´ll be able to read all the Netgalley gems but Imma hoping it´ll happen this year. Just the thought of it is giving me heartburn.

 

5. My youngest daughter ( 7 ) finished reading her first book. 50 pages! It took her some time but she made it. Her final thoughts ( and I quote ): “The book was stupid.

 

6. Unsuccessful book hunt. Seems like authors are either extremely busy writing or they´re having a creative break at the moment. Aside from Netgalley. That place is buzzing with life.

 

7. I received an early birthday gift from my mother. A biography called

`Going Gray: What I Learned About Beauty, Sex, Work, Motherhood, Authenticity, And Everything Else That Really Matters`. Lord, is that title a mouthful.

Going Grey

At first I thought she had bought the book for herself- I was wrong. She actually believes I´m counting my days. Not funny, Mom. But ( !!! ) Two can play this game and I so happen to be good at it. Soon my mom will be the new and proud owner of `Nursing Home Ninjas`

Nursing Home Ninjas

 

That´s it for the week. For next week I´m expecting a few days with a little more adventure or excitement. Fingers crossed.


 

How was your week? What plans do you have for the weekend? Let´s chat!


 

I hope you all have a safe weekend and enjoy whatever you have planned. ❤

See you all on Mug Monday!

Much love,

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When You Think You´ve Seen It All ( incl. screenshot show )

Just when you think you´ve seen it all some questionable person comes along and proves you wrong. And boy, was I proven wrong. What I witnessed just takes the cake. No. It takes the cake to a new level of “You kidding me?!“.

I´m going to skip the formalities and ditch any kind of etiquette for this post because what I´ll show you just shows how much respect us book bloggers are given when it comes to wanting to read ARCs ( Advanced Reader´s Copy).

If you don´t approve or accept profanity then I kindly suggest you ignore certain words or just… leave my blog. It´s up to you. I don´t feel like wasting my time trying to come up with a replacement for the word “fuck”.

You all know ( or probably not ) that I´m not new to the book blog world. I´ve been in this business for close to a decade. I was there when the big book blog boom happened. I saw the births of many book blogs and also watched these either grow or collapse.

Trust me when I say: I´ve been there. I´ve done that. I bought way too many shirts.

This is by no means me being an arrogant little turd. This just means I´ve witnessed a lot and lived through 9 years worth of book blogging stuff. Especially when it comes to the Indie – Self publishing community. Nothing should surprise me anymore.

Right now, I´m living the easy going book blog dream. I´m having as much fun as possible. I buy books, I accept ARCs and I request ARCs. Then I review.

For those of you who aren´t familiar with requesting ARCs:

You can do this by using a popular platform that offers ARCs ( Netgalley ) or you can request ARCs directly from the publisher OR (!!) you´ll see an ad somewhere on social media from an author / PA, specifically looking for book bloggers who are willing to read said book.

From all 3 options, I´d say Netgalley and publishers are the easiest route when wanting an ARC. There´s no hassle. You request a book and you either get approved or you don´t. Indie / self published writers seem to make more of a fuss over the whole I´m – looking – for – readers – who´ll – review issue. There´s never a guarantee a book blogger will receive a requested ARC of a book they´re interested in… but it´s always worth a go. You never know if you don´t try, right?

And I fully understand WHY Indie / self published authors go the extra mile with their ARCs. Some of these folks have no clue about marketing. They have no idea how to spread their work and gain footing in the writing business. So, they´ll use whatever worked out for a befriended writer or they´ll copy whatever they´ve seen. TOTALLY FINE.

A few years back I lived for social media ARC ads. Those were simple and easy to manage ( Not easier. Just easy. ) Author X was new and needed exposure and reviews. So, what happened was:

  • Authors/ uber cheerleaders of the author would create a google document ( a sign up form ) for book bloggers interested in ARCs to fill out. This was / is done to keep track of book bloggers and their reviews but also to have a clear overview on how often / far a book would travel. A standard process.
  • A Blog Tour would take place within a certain timeframe and during this time signed up book bloggers would upload their reviews for said book / author. This is also standard. The only problem with this was ( and still is ): Some people aren´t reliable. Life gets in everyone´s way at some point and because of that reviews have often been forgotten or were uploaded late.

And in the end… everyone´s happy. A book blogger was able to read a not yet released book and an author received reviews. A win win situation. All you had to do was fill out a simple google doc. Insert your name, your blog name, blog URL, social media URL and click the box saying you won´t forward the ARC.

Sometime after this authors / PAs / book promotion sites began including little informative guidelines for ARC reviewers.

“If you are unable to rate this book with 3 or more stars then we will assign you to do another post.”

Meaning: If the ARC I so badly wanted to read turns out to be a 2 star rated book then I´m not allowed to participate in the blog tour with my review. I´ll be given something else to post, e.g. cover reveal, excerpt, author interview.

To be honest – This pissed me off. Authors asking for good reviews only? Nice try. Not going to happen, hombres. I eventually quit the social media ARC ads. Almost every author wanted the same thing and none of them were ashamed to ask for it.

Some of my reviews were never included in the book promo tours because of this issue.

The bottom line here is: I believe no author is in the position to demand good reviews only. This marketing strategy makes these authors look desperate. It´s a turn off. I don´t care how bad or good the book or future books will be… I will refuse to support people who take these steps.

I was pretty damn successful in ignoring Social Media ARC ads. Until I saw something on Instagram.

So, authors were using Instagram to look for potential reviewers? Okay. That made me smile. Instagram- out of all social media sites….. Seriously? But hey- I´m not here to complain. So much time has passed. Maybe indie / self publishing authors turned back to being humble and…. excited that anyone wanted to read their books.

And with my luck, the ARC ad I spotted was for a book that actually interested me!

Wonderful!

All I needed to do was comment, take a screenshot of the ad and post it on my Insta feed. Yuck! Why? Why post it on my feed? ( don´t answer that. Lol. I know WHY.) Why force someone to show how MUCH they want the arc? Aren´t PMs and google docs enough? Apparently not. Okay, fine. I was game. As I´ve said- It´s been years since when I requested my last ARC. Shit, I was excited.

This is where I knew I made the biggest mistake in my book blogging career.

Beware! This is a full on screenshot show ( from my own phone ) of the google sign up form from the ARC I requested. Names and book titles will not be revealed because I´m not a complete asshole. This is to show you to what lengths people will go to for exposure.

  1. Ooookay. This is actually a standard opening. Although- the line about not being interested in first time reviewers does leave a bad taste behind. Shut down before having a chance. Outch.salt

2. So far so good…. No. Forget that. They require my age? Since when is this important to review an ARC? Why? What will my age tell them? I´m not afraid to say I´m 36, but… this is weird and in no circumstances appropriate. Who the fuck cares? If you don´t truly need my age then why ask for it?

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3. * SCREECHING TO A HALT * Excuse me? Why I did click on the google doc link in the first place? Because I was interested. And YOU determine ( after making me read a sample of your book ) by my response if the book and I are a good match? HAHAHA. I´ll be the judge of that one.. right after I read the book. At this point I wasn´t even interested in reading the damn book anymore. Such arrogance.

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4. Please DO NOT ask me to post a link from a different book to one of my reviews on Amazon. To a review that has NOTHING to do with the ARC I´m requesting. For fuck´s sake! What is wrong with these people? This is not only disrespectful towards me but also towards the authors who´re already struggling with Amazon reviews. I see what this question for what it is and I find this a pathetic attempt to spread the word. And I don´t care if there´ve been difficulties with Amazon. You want to see if I´m able to post reviews on Amazon? Try going there and finding mine. Or, take my word for it.

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5. Hahahaha. You sleazy….. To which Goodreads review shall I add the link? To the one review I did for a NYT Bestselling author or are you okay with me adding the link to a self published author who only has 5 fans? I will not do this for ANY author. But I will give my Instagram and blog URL.

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6. First I will steal one of my daughter´s color books and color out a picture of a squirrel. Then I will add your name and frame it. Then I plan to remove all my clothes and make a beeline towards the huge trampoline outside and hop on to that and jump the soul out of my body, while holding the picture frame and screaming your name from the top of my lungs. If that doesn´t attrack enough attention I can try roller skating ( naked, of course ) down at the football club and scream and shout. That´s my fan art promo. And if that doesn´t do the trick I could do cartwheels… even with one hand… I might break a few bones because of my AGE… but hey, I´m trying to be creative and shit. If my enthusiasm doesn´t excite you then I might have to sell my body.., all for the sake of promoting the book. WHAT DO THEY THINK A BOOK BLOGGER DOES WITH BOOK PROMO? IS WHAT WE DO NOT GOOD ENOUGH? I find this questionable beyond words. I will promote your book but I won´t bend over backwards for you without being paid. Since I´m positive you´re not willing to pay I´d say you warm up to the idea of me being naked on your behalf.

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7. Am I okay with a PDF file? * sigh * I actually prefer PDF files, yes. But after all this I´m being offered a PDF file? I was sure, after such a questionnaire, they´d give out hardcovers that have been dipped twice in gold. My soul and undivided attention is worth more than a PDF file, ladies. To the how many reviews I write in a year – You have my blog URL. Go and check out the review repertoire if you´re really interested. Stop being lazy demanding shits. Back in the day we worked our asses off for others and other returned the favor. And the read / review pace – You afraid I won´t upload quick enough?

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8. I don´t want to be apart of a super cool super secret FB page. Why? Because your group / street team probably has super many guidelines and outrageous rules. Who knows, you might want to know what my morning routine looks like or how I hold my book when reading.

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So, that was the google doc sign up form. Surprised? Shocked? Or are you not surprised because this is the new normal? Well, it shouldn´t be if it is. This is appalling. I wasn´t applying for a job at some top notch firm. I requested an ARC.

And the worst thing about this is: There are people who will oversee the wrong side of this approach. It´s wrong on so many levels. We´re not at a circus event.

Oh, and if you´re wondering why I haven´t exposed the author – I don´t want to be that person. I´m not out to destroy someone´s career because they made a huge mistake. It´s not my choice to crush someone´s dreams. I´m fully relying on karma.

A google doc sign up form for book bloggers should NOT look like the above. It is NOT right to be picky and exclude first time reviewers. They are willing readers and will do the job just as an experienced book blogger would. Authors have no right to be picky. How dare they?

There is no reason for someone to include their age. I´m not sensitive when it comes to this but I also see no logic behind the request. I´m older. Now what? Will I be sifted out because I don´t fit some pattern?

If the author and people behind the google doc want to see if there´s a match with the book and the reader before hand… then there shouldn´t be any sort of exchange happening. If you are willing to give out advanced reader´s copies then you just have to trust. Because it IS a huge risk. You and I are aware of that. But I have to be the one to lay out all my cards just so you can sleep better at night? You simply cannot cover all bases and think you´ll come out safe by demanding information that shouldn´t be asked.

About the posting “the link” to my Amazon reviews. This should be forbidden. I despise this tactic. It tells me that the author is ready to cross all lines just for the sake of “getting out there”. Every other excuse doesn´t make sense.

Let´s tackle #6. This is ridiculous. Book bloggers are marketing experts. We KNOW what to do. We don´t need to give you a list of things we do to promote books. That ARC ( just as any other ARC ) is never a top priority in life. This sounds harsh, I know. But we´re keeping it real here. I love to book blog and take ARCs seriously. Don´t ask me what I´m willing to do and THEN decide if I´m good enough to promote the ARC. You´d be better off asking straight off the bat for what you´re exactly looking for.

I´m not in any way offended by this. I´m appalled. Because some authors have become picky. I get that ARCs are risky business but this takes the biscuit. I also don´t think the creators of this google doc meant any harm. For them, this was the best option to keep an author from being hurt. But they didn´t think of how this doc would be perceived. Authors usually want to keep things light and fun, just as book bloggers do. But this really isn´t acceptable. Doing something like this shines a bad light on the author. It makes authors look desperate, lazy and entitled.

If you are not ready to accept the fact that you have to work hard for your dreams then you´re not ready to approach them.

I would appreciate if authors wouldn´t take this approach. It´s just too bizarre.
I would appreciate if book bloggers would use their heads and not fall for this.

But above all- I would like for people in the book blog community to know about this. To maybe learn from this mistake and take a different route- A much more blogger friendly one.

Because an author wants something from a book blogger. And a book blogger is ( most of the time ) willing to provide that something for the author.

PS: I wasn´t lucky enough to get my hands on that ARC. Lol. I´m betting that my answers weren´t acceptable.

Now you know what a book blogger goes through sometimes.

I would like to know: Have you had a similar experience with a google sign up doc for an ARC/Blog Tour? I would love to chat about this.

I hope you found this slightly informative or even helpful.

Dear bookish Padawans…. I wish you a wonderful day. ❤ Don´t forget to share the book love. ❤

Take care and be kind.

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How To Annoy A Book Blogger: Do A U.S. Only Giveaway

Yes, I´m looking at you, European, Asian, Australian book bloggers… basically any book blogger NOT living in North America. The United States of America.

Or as I like to call them ( including myself )…

The unfortunate suckers who don´t live in the land of endless book possibilities.

 

Do you see where I´m going with this? You don´t?  Let me help you out because I´m DYING to get this out there.

Everyone is aware of this but it´s not been bitched about enough ( or, loud enough ). Hardly anyone has taken a stand and spoken up to the injustice that´s been done to us common foot folk outside the U.S.

Bookish GIVEAWAYS for U.S. Only.

Maybe you need a little more help understanding what exactly the problem here is.

Authors and publishers and whoever else belongs to the upper book industry tend to offer wonderful book – ish gifts to win…. and immediately reject millions of bloggers / readers by adding a nice little line at the end of each published GIVEAWAY post.

 

“This GIVEAWAY is only open for the U.S.”

“U.S.A only.”

“Not international.”

 

What this means is: Authors ( mostly self published ) like to give away printed copies of their books or book related swag to someone who participates in a social media post. Just like that! Just add a gif / say how your day´s been going / post a pic from your pet / say how much you love the author and BAM! You have a pretty good chance at winning a signed copy.

How nice. Actually, that´s very generous of these people. I mean.. We ( the people who read and blog about those books ) are truly grateful for authors who like to show their appreciation by letting someone win a signed copy of their book.

And guess what? There are quite a few of us book people. Hundreds, even thousands of book people ( fans and book bloggers alike ) are spread across the world living on different continents…

So you can guess how many people get excited when they spot a GIVEAWAY on social media? Many.

 

But still…. 90% of us bookish people get rejected right away, before even having the chance to win ANYTHING because we don´t live in the U.S.

That´s cute. It´s almost the same as dangling a carrot  in front of a donkey just to get it to react.

And, react, we do! 

I must say, though.. this isn´t a case of racism. It´s a financial matter ( or so I´ve been told ). I´ve also been told that not all authors like the drive to the post office ( which hardly makes sense ). For whatever reasons authors keep their book GIVEAWAYS within their own country.

Let´s do a recap on how international book bloggers / fans / readers feel after seeing a non – international GIVEAWAY.

Readers / Book Bloggers / Fans Feelings

 

  • Sad
  • Hurt
  • Frustrated
  • Indifferent ( which should be a good thing for the author )
  • Pissed off
  • Annoyed
( not all GIVEAWAY participants react the same. But they all feel the same )

 

And everyone just sits back and either sighs, throws a fit within their own 4 walls or contacts fellow bloggers who don´t live in the U.S and complain. Hardly anyone complains out loud. Maybe if someone would speak up and say something… Maybe things would change for us international people?


Or, maybe not. The chances of an author sitting at home / work reconsidering their whole GIVEAWAY system probably won´t happen. Ever.

Because most american authors are starving artists, right? They want to earn money and not spend  extra on someone living outside their own country. They´re not alone. U.K. authors ( incl. every other author in the world ) are starving artists, too. Guess what? Readers are poor little boogers, as well. So are book bloggers.

Quit gasping in shock! I haven´t mentioned anything that isn´t the truth.

Authors, HOLD YOUR BREATH! I´m not finished. Don´t get that pitch fork just yet because I´m going to lay out some shocking truths that might leave a few of you stunned beyond means. Don´t worry. I´m not going to do a PowerPoint presentation ( although I´ve been known to give killer presentations ). No. I´m just going to dish out some facts that might have you rethinking your whole U.S. ONLY giveaway strategy.

 

In case you´ve forgotten- North America is the 4th largest continent located in the Western Hemisphere. ( excluding Canada, here, because most authors don´t include a country within their own continent into their GIVEAWAYS)

North America is 1 of 7 continents and, therefore, does not take up even close to half of the world´s population ( in country, continent nor in population size if you take away Canada).

world-map

Ergo: There are more people outside the U.S than in the United States of America. There may be many american book bloggers but there are just as many ( if not more ) book bloggers world-wide.

So, why do many american self-published authors post U.S. ONLY GIVEAWAYS when it comes to gifting bookish material and printed books? Could it be because the american market is much greater than any other in the world? Are the american book bloggers / fans / readers more worthy? Or, no… wait. My bad. It´s because shipping is expensive.

Yes. I understand. Shipping costs can be a bitch. So, I guess the matter is settled then. Case closed. I will never question the U.S. ONLY vs. International ever again.

NOTHING IS SETTLED!

 

Time for simple math:

1 author publishes 5 books. 1 book costs around 10 euros / USD / British Pound ( just to name a few ).

5 x 10 = 50 euros / USD / BP

1 fan / book blogger spends 50 smackers for someone´s work ( and that work has usually been edited by the friendly internet neighbor )

Multiply that by 3.000 ( random number of readers ) and the author has made “some” money. Maybe not enough to retire from but enough to purchase whatever they´ve been wanting for some time.

 (Not going into specifics there because I truly do not know how authors handle their earnings. Certainly not by doing international giveaways, though )

 

So, where is the problem, again? Aah, yes. I forgot. Some self-published american authors can´t open their GIVEAWAYS internationally because of brutal, life crippling shipping costs.

But they don´t say a word about us world-wide readers / fans / book bloggers who spend all their hard-earned money on some of those authors books. Yeah, that makes sense. Not.

It doesn´t make sense. None. Null. Nil. Zero.

If you think about it… the whole U.S. ONLY thing doesn´t make any sense. Why exclude others? For what reason?

Would it also be wrong of me to mention that quite a few big book blogs with a rather large following are from Europe? Even the smaller blogs with little following are worth the time of day because they have fans / followers others don´t. Isn´t the whole point of a giveaway to make someone happy and possibly have that happy person spread the book word?

 

 

Hey, pssst! Guess what? Global means more people. Global means that books can travel far. Maybe a book blogger from some long forgotten village in France has an uncanny marketing skill and can spread the word like no other?

Once upon a time I was a member of a really well-known fan page from a well – known author ( this is a true story. Listen carefully. Or, read carefully )

I was in this group. Guidelines were for shit ( basically, no one was allowed to do anything besides gush over the awesome author ) and only a selected few were allowed to run the same page. Anyway….

Every Friday, the group had a GIVEAWAY theme going where authors / fans were able to give away books and what – not. And naturally, ebook giveaways were international and signed print copies…weren´t ( shipping, remember? ). Every Friday I watched the same people get excited or frustrated… Until I had enough.
I couldn´t take the misery anymore. “U.S. Only. Not international…” So, I posted my own giveaway on the page.

“I´m giving away 3 new printed copies from X author. Winner will be randomly picked. OPEN INTERNATIONALLY.”

I even added that I find it a crying shame that most fans were purposefully excluded. I was contacted by the group admins ( not the author herself. She was obviously too busy being fabulous ) and was asked NOT to do something like that again as it was disrespectful towards the other authors who were doing U.S. Only giveaways.

 

Good God. Really? Seriously? Where was I disrespectful? Because I gave away books to the unfortunate majority outside the U.S?

Hey! I could have said “Europe Only“. But I didn´t. What I did was-

I picked someone from Canada ( Canadians liked to be left out, as well ), from the Netherlands and from Thailand.

I spent money… All in the name of making someone happy. A once in a lifetime thing for me.

And before you think: “Oh look at her. Bla bla bla…” No. Stop pointing fingers at me.

I had a moment. I was pissed because I would have liked to have had the opportunity to take part in one of those U.S. Only giveaways. But because I live in Europe and shipping puts major holes american author´s wallets… I was forced watch others win book swag, printed copies, etc.

So, I´ve made it my mission to pick a social media group and give away 3 paperbacks once a year.

For me, authors use that excuse and us readers are expected to accept that without another thought.

Me? I would accept the excuse if I didn´t know better.

So, again…. WHY U.S. Only giveaways?

Have authors forgotten that in order to gain something you have to invest? Because that´s a thing. A real thing. It´s all about give and take. It´s about sharing and caring. It´s not about me me me and my country because shipping is outrageous. That´s just selfish on so many levels. Might as well change your name to Gollum.

 

 

We´re all in this business to make people happy ( ok. some of you are in the business to make money. That´s okay. I´m not judging ).

I´m not here to tell people what they need to do or how they could improve themselves. Everyone should be able to know for themselves what´s right and wrong.

It just saddens me to no end that people are being purposefully left out for the sake of saving a buck or 5.

 

Because readers and book bloggers are loyal fans. It´s rewarding when an author receives positive feedback from readers just as it is rewarding for us readers when we discover a great book. It´s a hippy – dippy world with rainbows and glitter until some author does a U.S. Only giveaway.

And for me ( and probably for others as well ) it´s double painful when we ( international readers / book bloggers ) bust our asses off with promos and mentions, shares and likes, etc and THEN read that we can´t participate in a signed copy giveaway because the author doesn´t agree with shipping costs.

( and don´t get me started with publishers!)

It´s unfair. It´s mean. It´s just shitty. But above all…. this needs to change! Not just for me but for the rest of the bookiverse.


NOTE: I have nothing against american authors, american book bloggers, or americans in general. I´m one myself living abroad. ALSO, I did NOT point my finger at anyone specifically nor did I mention any names. If you´re an author and you feel guilty then it´s up to you to make some changes. I also made a point of using words like ” some, many, most ” to not offend every american self published author. I´m fully aware that not all american writers do U.S. Only giveaways.


 

What are your thoughts on the subject? Have you tried entering author giveaways before? Have you given up on author giveaways? Let´s chat!


 

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Religion In Romance Novels

This is a topic I´m not all too happy to write about because… Well, there are topics you just don´t discuss. Sadly though, I feel the need to get this off my chest.

Back in the day my first boss gave me some valuable piece of advice:

Never talk about religion, politics or money with a customer. Later in life I added the “raising kids” topic to that list because that´s also something people can easily argue over. A simple fact. I´ve lived by the “Never Discuss….” rule ever since.

After a happy shopping spree on Amazon I spotted a beautiful book cover with a great book title. When I saw the author´s name my excitement grew. Mia Sheridan.

more than words

One of my favorite romance authors published a new book! `More Than Words` was published June 12th! WOOP!

I didn´t hesitate with reading a few Amazon reviews. This one was what sealed the deal for me.

Wow. First off, I think the review was well constructed and perfectly written. The reviewer, despite her non religious beliefs, rated the book with 4.5 stars, whereas I….

… I wouldn´t have been so generous.

Some may see the review as a spoiler. I see the review as helpful.

I´m an atheist. A happy one, at that. I, too, respect and accept other people´s beliefs and would never judge them publicly for what they think exists or not just as I would never want people to judge me openly for not believing in God.

The reviewer is right: Some people think love and religion go hand in hand. I believe religion should stay far away from love and from romance novels. Unless you´re an author writing epic stories about badass vampires and demons who reveal just how twisted and corrupted the religious world is ( Read Hedoschism by Lindsey Clarke on Wattpad )… you shouldn´t really include religion in a romantic story.

Of course, there are many subjects readers avoid, such as: adultery, erotica in general, rape, M/M, F/F, M/M/F, fetish, etc. But none are as controversial as religion.

I´m fully aware that authors will never reach everyone´s hearts with their writing, no matter what they write about or what topic they include. Opinions vary. Why shouldn´t authors be allowed to include religion in their romance novels, right?

Exactly.

But for me, the happy atheist who wants to read a new Mia Sheridan romance novel, it´s disappointing to find out there´s religion included. I won´t buy the book.

Yes. One single review had the ability to influence my book purchase. GOOD! That´s what reviews are for.

I´m actually grateful for the reviewer´s insight because if I had bought the book without knowing about the “issue” that bothered the reviewer I would have been a very unhappy book blogger.

Because I don´t believe in God. Because religion doesn´t make sense to me. Never has and never will.

Now, you´re probably asking what happens when I accidentally stumble upon a romance novel that has religion included.

Due to my lack of interest on the subject I immediately DNF a romance novel that has religious characters in it.

And I also bet you´re asking why I accept religion in paranormal / fantasy novels and not with romance novels?

The answer is simple: Fantasy or paranormal stories are basically modern-day fairy tales drawn out to extreme levels. There´s creativity in world building, character forming and storytelling. For me, God and the Bible fit perfectly in that niche. It´s make – believe. It´s not real.

Whereas romance novels are set in realistic worlds and characters deal with realistic issues. God and the Bible do not fit in a world I can relate with.

I struggle to believe God and contemporary romance novels could ever go hand in hand.

I´ve probably offended many people with my opinion on the subject, even though I´ve tried my best not to discriminate religion or people who believe in God.

But just as religious people have the right to openly love and praise their God ( and those who do praise God do it rather loudly ), I am also allowed to do the unthinkable and state my opinion on how I think religion is nothing more than a waste of time. Seeing religion in romance novels does not sit well with me.

What are your thoughts on the subject? Are you bothered by religion in romance novels? Do you even care if religion is included in any story? Are you delighted to see authors including religion in romance novels?

Do not hesitate to leave a comment. I´m ( thankfully ) one of those people who agree to disagree.

NOTE FOR OVERLY RELIGIOUS MEMBERS OF SOCIETY: I´m happy. Please do not tag me in any religious posts on social media and do not pray for me. If you feel the need to block / unfollow / unfriend me due to our religious differences then I will not stop you.