Dear Book Bloggers, It´s okay…

This blog post is dedicated to all the book bloggers out there who feel insecure, unnoticed, misunderstood or wronged by the book blog community. For all the people who just started out and to those who´ve been around for some time… I hope you know that

its okay

 

  • It´s okay to feel frustrated or disappointed when something doesn´t work out. Whether it´s because you were denied the ARC you requested on NetGalley or your name wasn´t picked in a GIVEAWAY you participated in- It´s okay.

 

  • It´s okay if you don´t have a private library or a reading nook. You can still consider yourself a passionate book person and that´s all that counts.

 

  • It´s okay if you don´t have a massive book collection. You´re not any less of a reader if you only own 20 books.

 

  • It´s okay if your reviews aren´t professional. You don´t need an academic degree in order to type up your opinion on a book. Nor do you need any qualifications to be a book blogger.

 

  • It´s okay if you make mistakes. We all mess up once in a while. It doesn´t matter if you have typos/misspellings in your posts or if you accidentally collected incorrect info for your blog posts… It´s not the end of the world.

 

  • It´s okay if you´re not like others. You don´t need to be a carbon copy of someone else. The best you can ever be is yourself. If you copy another blogger you´ll be a shadow- One among many. You are not one of many. You are you.

 

  • It´s okay if your Bookstagram pic can´t compete with other Bookstagram features. Be proud of the content you upload.

 

  • It´s okay if your blog isn´t doing as well as you hoped it would. Growing your book blog can be a tiresome process. Just hang in there. Everything takes time, a little effort and love to grow- So does your blog and online presence.

 

  • It´s okay if you don´t belong to the book clique. Book blogging isn´t high school. You´re doing this for yourself and your following.

 

  • It´s okay if someone doesn´t like your content. You can´t make everyone happy. Besides, that´s not your job.

 

  • It´s okay if you´ve never been to a book signing event. As a book blogger and as a dedicated fan of an author, you´re still relevant.

 

  • It´s okay if you haven´t read any classic literature. You aren´t worthless if you haven´t added Austen to your reading repertoire. You´re a reader with or without the old hams.

 

My dear Book Bloggers,

Always remember- It´s okay. There´s no wrong way to go about book blogging. There are no rules set in stone.

Everything has its advantages and disadvantages. A private library takes up space. If you don´t have a spare room then that´s the way it is. Your reading space is your private comfort zone. Does it matter if your pillows match your cat? No. I don´t give a hoot if your socks are a shade lighter than your drapes and that the book you have wedged between your new fluffy socks matches the bedsheets… So, there´s that.

If you weren´t approved to read an ARC then see that as a blessing rather than a curse. This might mean you can´t have immediate access but it also means you have more time to browse for other books. GIVEAWAYS are often a hopeless case. Believe me when I say that you and hundreds of others are going through the same ordeal.

Many things in the book blogging community are unnecessary and overrated. Find out what works for you and what doesn´t. The important thing is- As long as whatever you do makes you happy then you´re doing something right. If you want to try something new out then go for it. Succeed or fail. Learn from your achievements and mistakes. Read books that make you happy instead of reading what you think others will approve of. Include profanity in your blog posts if you feel the need to or keep things as clean as a whistle if that´s what makes you happy. Don´t let other book bloggers tell you what´s wrong or right. Don´t let them make you feel insecure because they think they have a picture-perfect online presence and you don´t. You don´t need it.

So, it´s okay if your book blogger life has some crooked edges. You´re doing just fine.

Much love,

Morgana

 

 

 

It´s Time For A Book Blog Change

 

Here are a few questions I´ve been asking myself about my blog.

  • Why am I not feeling my blog?
  • Should I change my blog´s theme? 
  • Should I just keep my theme and give my blog a decorative make-over?
  • What about my weekly themes?

 

Was I asking myself these questions because I was slowly getting bored with blogging? No. That´s impossible. Or, maybe it´s not such a far fetched thought. Maybe, deep down, I don´t like my blog. I needed answers. I needed some opinions.

Over the past months, I´ve spoken with a few people about this little first-world problem of mine. People whose opinions I highly value. Some are book bloggers, some are internet gurus who´re basically married to their MacBooks. I wanted to know if they were able to see why I wasn´t feeling my own creations. I asked for each to take a look at my blog and point out what they think needed to be tossed. I asked for them to not hold back with their opinions on my design, my graphics, my layout, and even my weekly themes.

 

I was ready for critique. I wasn´t ready for a full-on bash parade. 

 

What everyone agreed on was the header.  “That´s gotta go.” Of course, I was butt hurt after having heard their critique. “You´re running a book blog. I don´t see any books.”, a few said. I immediately went into defense mode:

“The books are in the content. I have the word `book´ in my blog name.” 

Which brings us to the next critique point. One that had me wishing for a bucket of Ben & Jerry´s chocolate fudge brownie ice-cream.  My blog name.

” Morgana´s Book Box is long. It´s not easy to remember.”, three people kindly pointed out. Okay, fine. I saw their point. Not saying I liked what they said but I got the picture.

“What´s with the bitmoji images?”, a few asked while they took my blog apart. Well, that´s just a smoother version of myself. You know, sans wrinkles, dark circles under my eyes, pimples, skin discoloration, scars… Need I go on? Photoshop is my second worst enemy so… Why not use bitmoji, right?

Needless to say- There was a long list of get-rid-of´s. But why? All I asked for was for them to help me figure out why I wasn´t feeling my blog´s makeup. I took their opinions to heart. My ego was bruised. I bought myself a pint of cookies & cream from Häagen Dasz because I had an emotional emergency. I thought I´d never recover from their honesty. Be honest but don´t fucking slay me.

Six out of six people told me my concept was outdated. Copied, chewed up and dull.

“You´re basically doing what everyone else is doing.” * nod * So is everyone else. Which isn´t a terrible thing. You can only do so much with a book blog.

In hindsight- they were all right.

  • Weekly blog themes work but they don´t work for everyone.
  • Animated selfies are not the real deal.
  • Blogs are personal.

 

The worst part, for me, was when all said they wouldn´t follow my blog if we weren´t close. Which says a lot, if you ask me. They all agreed that my content was decent but that everything else needed more life.

Yes, I´ve been doing this concept for years. It´s a system that´s always worked. Why shouldn´t it continue to work, you know? They had an answer for that, too. One I don´t want to repeat or else I might feel the need to get another pint of ice-cream.

I asked for opinions and that´s exactly what I got. Now, I had two options:

  • Ignore the critique and suggestions on how to improve my blog
  • Think about everything and maybe make a few adjustments

I decided on giving the suggestions that were given to me a try. Some of my friends had great ideas I´d love to try out. Maybe the harsh critique was necessary.

Maybe I have been stuck in an endless book blogging loop. Maybe I need a break. Or a drink. Ice-cream would be good right now.

So, with all that being said, I guess you´ll see some crazy blog changes in the future. It´s definitely worth a try. I´ll probably remove some themes, change my reviews, add some new features… Who knows. Maybe I´ll start feeling my blog again. What I do know is that I won´t be changing my blog name.


 

Let´s chat: Do you think your blog needs a make-over? Have you ever asked for someone´s opinion regarding your blog? Let me know in the comments below. I´d love to discuss this. ❤


 

As always, thank you for taking the time to read my blog post. I hope you enjoyed.

Have a wonderful day and don´t forget to share the book – love.

Morgana

 

 

The Art Of `Live And Let Live` ( In The Book Blog Community)

” But the world is getting worse and I blame the beginning of it´s demise on social media.”

– Ricky Gervais

 

I bet you saw this one coming, didn’t ya? The Art Of `Live And Let live`. Folks, this is exactly what it is. A post about living and leaving others alone.

This is not a click bait.. For the record: I’m not a click bait book blogger so there will be none of that here.

Normally, I´d go ahead and give you a generalized post on my thoughts regarding the topic at hand. I´d throw in some pros and cons and provide some real examples and include my personal opinion. Not this time. I´ve something else in mind.

Stay factual. Stay realistic. Stay diplomatic. Try to stay neutral. That´s what I try to aim for when typing up my posts. For most of the time I reach my own standards.   I don´t blog about books and book related topics to unleash hell onto others for the sake of personal pleasure. Why am I even telling you all this?

Well, something happened today. Something that had shocked me. I spotted a tweet on Twitter that hit close to home.  And the weird part? It was about my blog post and what it did for other people.

Initially, I had not planned on publishing a post over the weekend. Now I feel like one has to go up. For many of you, this might sound so petty. So annoying.  Trust me- I´m just as annoyed. Please bear with me, dear annoyed non participants. My fingers are crossed that this´ll find an end sooner than later. I have just as much important shit to do.

There has been talk regarding my blog posts. Mind you- this isn´t the first time someone disagreed with one of my posts. But it´s the first time I´m seeing a complaint done behind my back.

My life motto is

`Live and let live.`

 

Unfortunately, this concept is totally alien for many people, It´s easy to live and let live. It´s apparently more fun not to. This also applies for book blogging. Most of the time the things I see happening in the book community are fairly harmless ( by harmless I mean things that don´t have people sobbing in the fetus position at night ). A little bitching here, and a lot of nagging there. Most of the time I find this really great. Opinions are what get conversations rolling. You have an opinion on a topic and share it, even welcome other opinions? I´m in! What I don´t like is when things become personal.

By `live and let live`I´m saying accept what others do and move on. Respect a book bloggers opinion and continue with life as it was.

 

`Live and let live.`

 

Yeah. The offended book committee doesn´t share my life philosophy. They say they do but they don´t.  Instead, these people make it their mission to keep my name within their radars. Because they were offended by one of my posts.
Which posts, you ask? What could be so awful that have people feeling all sorts of uncomfortable? Even feeling personally attacked?

 

The Art Of Pointing Fingers At Book Bloggers

Excuse me for not being a friend of finger pointing at book bloggers. You don´t post links from a book blogger and bash them in a group because you´re fucking unhappy. Have you no common sense?

A post about how unnecessary I feel it is to feel offended by the fakeness of Instagram. My personal opinion on this subject aside- I was told my post offended people. No one cared about my opinion. And it was a positive opinion. I was pro `live and let live`.

Here´s what happened: I was a new member of a Facebook book group and shared a post of mine. Keep in mind that I had been a member for only a short period of time before I shared a link to one of my blog posts. The first comment I received was from the admin.

Anne Carter
Enter a caption

anna2

 
” Just read some fucking books.” A sad response from someone I had only exchanged a few words with in a previous post ( she was moody there as well ). Practically a stranger. So, this is how we speak with group members now? I´m appalled by this attitude and behavior.  We´re a book blog community. You can dislike my post but you are not allowed to be uncivilized. My post was clean. I had an opinion. Take it or leave it. Don´t tell me my post was offensive when in reality, you just didn´t like it. There´s a difference. See the difference.

I will not lie- this has been my top 2019 post so far. I´ve had dream worthy views ( and still counting ). I´m pretty sure the majority of the views on this post had been from the offended committee. Because, how dare I talk about a subject and publish my link in a group for book bloggers! Shame on me for trying to be a part of a group.

After that I left the group. Because I´m not stupid. Once an attitude, twice an attitude.. I´m not sticking around for round 3. So, I left. I dusted my hands off and moved on. Best decision I had in a long shot. Unfortunately for me, one group member followed me to my blog and thought it would be wise to continue what I ended in the group  underneath one of my blog posts. One person hunted me down to give me a piece of her mind. Keep in mind- That pilgrim had her little moment in the group I posted my link in. She wasn´t done, though.

 

 

Turns out, I have no empathy because I don´t care about the feelings of others. My post was “harmful”. No, it wasn´t. This discussion was long done for me before the loyal book pilgrim followed me to my blog.

 

 

So, people who are offended by posts are allowed to post about their feelings and I am supposed to sit back and accept wordlessly? No. That´s wrong on so many levels.

 

Then there´s this gem of mine that has caused more than just a stir. This time more people were involved. This is the Twitter post I spotted. The post about my post. A fellow book blogger defended me on her Twitter page and ended up being blocked. Why? Because I published a post about

Why I Don´t Join Book Blog Tours Anymore

The title says exactly what´s in this post. I reveal the reasons why I don´t participate in book blog tours anymore. How can this be misunderstood for anything else? And this had the bush drums going in a book blogger group. Not sure if I should laugh, cry, feel flattered, be shocked…

The reasons have stemmed from my personal experiences. Things that have occurred in the span of my 10 year book blogging career. I have not, and will not reveal the names of these book tour organizers because they´ve retired 2 – 5  years ago.

Why has this post about my not participating in blog tours been written? What was my motive? Do I need one? No. But I´ll amuse everyone anyway. It felt right to share my experiences. I wanted to share my stuff and maybe help others even if it´s by showing them that they aren´t alone with this. What´s wrong with that? Should I have not posted about why blog tours don´t work for ME anymore? Should I have worded the whole thing differently just to have the approval of the offended party? No can do. That would go against my book blog religion.

 

“Some people just don´t care.”

Here´s something to think about:

What would happen ( after having read an experience post of mine ) if the offended person just sat down and asked themselves how this could have happened to a book blogger? The post is open for discussion. Why not get in touch and ask for details. Ask about specifics instead of feeling offended. Because that´s how it looks like from my end of the stick. “I´m offended. I feel attacked.” When it reality my post was never about others. Just me. What is there to feel offended about? Unless these people felt offended on my behalf. Which I highly doubt.

My experiences are my personal facts. You can have your opinion on my opinion but you can´t feel offended by something I´ve dealt with. That´s ridiculous. Unless you´re offended on my behalf. I still doubt that.

 

To sum this whole thing up:

Believe it or not- I wouldn´t publish anything I don´t like. Should someone feel offended by whatever banal post I deem worthy of publishing then there´s always the option of ignoring me.

It´s simple. If you´re not convinced then try it out for yourselves. It works wonders for me.

People, if you are not able to live and let live then at least try! Try for the sake of peace. You can have a good rant. Make a post out of the topic you want to rant about. Ranting is healthy. The behavior I´ve been unofficially subjected to ( because, technically, I haven´t seen the post in the actual Facebook group. Just saw the tweet and was informed by a blogger friend )  is a low form of confrontation. Behind my back. A questionable act against someone who can´t defend themselves because they´re not in the group anymore.

Here´s another thing to consider:

It was clear the person and I weren´t able to meet eye to eye from the start ( although I tried ). The most logical thing to do would be if both went on our merry ways. I did that. The other person didn´t. The fact that this person has been checking on my posts tells me the person is just waiting for something to feel offended about.

The person who targeted my post stated she had planned  to comment on my post at first. She didn´t. I´m now grateful she decided against it. God knows how many more gray hairs I would have gained after a chitchat.

I am not interested in a discussion with this person anymore. Not now, not ever. Should this person reach out to me for whatever reason I will not react. I´ve reacted enough already. The offended parade is officially over. It´s time to move on.

Here´s a kind reminder for the future book blog community: Stop being fucking dicks.

And start working on social skills. Learn how to agree to disagree. Learn how to respect opinions. Learn to live and let live.

 

On a side note:

I´d like to give a huge hug to the person who posted that tweet. She didn´t tag me and I will not tag her because she has been through enough already by defending my blog post and herself.  And of course a Thank You to the person who sent me the screenshot via DM. Thank you. This is what book blogging should be about. Helping each other and standing up for one another. Because what hurts one of us can hurt another book blogger if we keep silent. Thank you, both.

 

On another side note: 

No book blogger should ever stay silent when they feel they´ve been wronged. Speak up. And if you´re not the type then get in touch with a fellow blogger. We don´t just write reviews. We´re a community.

This has been a long post. Much longer than I wanted it to be. My first thought was to dismiss this whole idea of standing up for myself. But I couldn´t. I could be helping others. I want to help others.

What I don´t want it to approach this subject ever again. It´s done. The joke is around the corner. It´s time to read and review and do other fun shit.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. If you belong to the people who were offended by my posts then do yourselves a favor- Don´t bother commenting. I don´t appreciate wasting my time discussing my crystal clear posts with you. I am not interested.

If you´ve been through the same situation or know someone who has dealt with something similar.. Feel free to share. I´d be more than happy to chat. ❤

 

Much love and don´t forget to share the book love,

Banner name

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 a 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?

 

20

 

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 my Disney moment in the woods? Yeah. It´s 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,

Banner name

 

 

 

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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