The world is full of magnificent wild creatures like emperor penguins, jaguars, and book bloggers.
Most people know how to approach emperor penguins (you dance I guess, I’ve seen Happy Feet) and jaguars (you put herbs in your hair and other seasonings and pre-prepare yourself because you’re about to get eaten, mate). But book bloggers??? People get SO CONFUSED about how to treat us. It’s not that hard. But yet you rarely come across a book blogger who doesn’t have a frustrated story of being treated badly.
Therefore it’s time for a handy guide.
Before we go on though, a little FAQ about book bloggers in general:
✧ Do book bloggers bite? Yes.
✧ Can you poke them with a stick and survive? No they will bite the stick and then bite you.
✧ What happens if you put them in direct sunlight? This is actually ok. They will take book photos.
✧ Can I tap the glass? No. What’s wrong with you.
✧ What do they eat? You can throw small delicious cakes at them. No lettuce. If not vegan, they may eat the hearts of those who mock YA books.
✧ Do they have odd habits? They sometimes tunnel under piles of books and rest there indefinitely.
✧ Do they make good friends/companions/pets? Yes, they actually do, they are very intelligent and loyal and kind, and also: if you leave your pantry open they will eat all your cereal
1. WHEN YOU SEE ONE IN THE WILD, REMEMBER (A) THEY HAVE A NAME, AND (B) THEY ARE A PERSON.
This means that, no, we are not a faceless platform or company. We are a very smol person behind a phone or laptop, probably covered in toast crumbs, most likely typing frantically 2 seconds before we meant to post. And we have feelings. A lot of them. That is why we blog.
It’s also not hard to find a blogger’s name! Most of us will have an “About Page”. Or at the bottom of a post there will be a signature. Or check our social medias! It makes a 10000% difference to be talked to BY NAME. It means you actually care who you’re talking to.
UNFUN FACT: Just saying “Hello” (with no name following) if you’re randomly emailing a blogger is a HUGE red flag. It says you’ve never so much as looked at our blog. At all. When I get emails like this and I’m already saying “byyyyyyyeeeee”.
2. NEVER TELL A BLOGGER WHAT THEY “SHOULD” BE DOING.
Because the fact of the day is (a) we aren’t paid, (b) we do this FOR FUN which means we can do what we want, and (c) look if someone tells me to do something, my interest in doing it goes down by 87%.
3. SERIOUSLY THO…WE AREN’T PAID.
That means our time is absolutely golden and valuable and RARE. We squeeze blogging in amongst our dayjobs or school or other things we want to do in free time.
And no, getting free books isn’t payment. I mean (very roughly) you might spend 3-4 hours reading, then 1 hour writing a post, then 1 hour formatting the post and finding gifs and taking photos and making graphics and emailing publicists and promoting the post…dude, that was just 6 HOURS WORK FOR A BOOK MAYBE WORTH $15. If you get given a product (like a book) to advertise, then that’s what you’re doing! Advertising a free product! It’s not paid!
(Also this DOESN’T MEAN we are ever ungrateful to receive free books! I’m just simply talking about payment.)
UNFUN FACT: I have had publicists (freelance? IDK) inquire if I’d promote a book for them. I’ve had to say no because the book didn’t interest me or I’m too busy etc etc. And then they’ve gone on and asked me to round up other book bloggers to do the promotions. This makes me SO MAD. I am BUSY. That is YOUR JOB THAT YOU ARE LITERALLY HIRED FOR. Unless you want to pay me to suddenly be a publicist for a day?! DO NOT DO THIS.
4. WE DO THIS BECAUSE WE LOVE IT. WE SERIOUSLY DON’T OWE ANYONE ANYTHING.
This is freeing. Be freed by this, you little sprite. Any part of blogging you don’t like? DON’T DO IT. Any part you do like? DO IT AS MUCH AS YOU WANT.
Personally? I don’t like blog tours (unless I really know/like the author already)! I also don’t like organising blog events because it stresses me out. And I LOVE tags and memes, no matter if others say they’re cliche!! So I just go ahead and live my life my way. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
FUN FACT: This means we don’t owe people reviews or promo posts if it doesn’t work for us. This is our platform that we built????? I do not see the part where I OWE it to random people to now use my hard-worked-for-platform to promote them unless I want to.
5. SUPPORT BLOGGERS!! AS MUCH AS YOU CAN!!
This is what we THRIVE on ok. All of us! Big or small, it means a lot to us to have our readers’ love and support. Here are some examples:
✧ interact with us by leaving a comment or tweeting!
✧ don’t be shy shhh seriously we love talking to you
✧ share their posts
✧ feed them pie
✧ comment on each other’s work (something I try to do! If you comment here –> I always try to visit you back!)
✧ don’t be scared to congratulate each other for milestones (a little “hey congrats on your blogversary!” is lovely for anyone!)
✧ you’re not annoying or “too small” to talk to
6. DON’T GET MAD AT THEM ABOUT GIVEAWAYS!
This peeves me SO MUCH when people roll out their: “OH BLOGGERS DON’T CARE ABOUT INTERNATIONAL READERS. THEY’RE SO SELFISH.”
Dude, we are so not rich!?
I would love to giveaway more books or send my friends an ARC I don’t want. I cannot freaking afford it. (I can only afford books because I freelance blog for a bookstore and get review-copies from publishers!!!) So no, I haven’t forgotten INT readers. I feel constantly guilty for not being inclusive…but bloggers are not being mean when they do this!! This is all out of pocket.
7. BE RESPECTFUL OF BLOGGERS’ SPACE.
This one I’m struggling with because I am an author now. And I feel like I should get the heck out of the blogger world in case I see negative reviews of my book or people feel stifled reading my work because I’M LURKING. I don’t mean to lurk!! But I love blogging! I am in the midst of a messy divorce with myself apparently!!
But seriously, censorship? Can we not. Authors shouldn’t tell bloggers what to think/say about their book.
Bloggers shouldn’t do this to EACH OTHER too. I have had people message me completely randomly to say: (1) I am trash for owning a book they didn’t like, (2) I should rearrange my opinion about a book because I’m wrong, (3) I am problematic for not having read a certain diverse book yet.
I wish I was jokinggggg but I’m not.
8. DON’T ASSUME YOU KNOW A BLOGGER!
We don’t HAVE to be super personal on our blogs. And I chaff at this because there’s a lot of identity and diversity policing that goes on. This genuinely happens to me:
Me: This book has problematic autism rep.
Other Blogger: Well you’re wrong!! mY COUSIN is autistic and I loved this book!!
Me: Well...I am autistic…and this is problematic rep. And having an autistic cousin doesn’t make you an expert on what autistics feel.
Other Blogger: [blocks me]
I’M SO TIRED SOMETIMES. I shouldn’t have to list my credentials to avoid getting attacked. ALSO this goes for all bloggers! We don’t need to state our finances. Or ages. Or how much time we do/don’t read. Don’t assume a blogger is/isn’t part of a minority. Don’t assume anyone has an easy or perfect life either!!
So simple!! Yet so forgotten sometimes!!
If you want to work with bloggers, TREAT US LIKE PEOPLE. And don’t make friendships just to get something out of it. Make friends with bloggers because we’re awesome and passionate and have a fun hobby absolutely dedicated to sharing books. Which is pretty epic!!
ok tell me your blogger “horror stories”!? annoying emails you’ve been sent? trolls you’ve had to deal with?? do you get enough cake?? have you had people assume things about you? let us rant therapeutically.
PS. My blog is no longer sending out emails…wHIcH is a technically difficulty that is breaking my hEART. (Bloglovin’ subscriptions are still working though!) So if you happen to be subscribed through email, can you let me know if you are/are not getting emailed my posts like normal?? (I always post Saturday/Monday/Tuesday.)