dear bloggers, untwist thy panties.


so something else has gone down that’s twisted the panties of the book blogging community.

go figure.

William Morrow (an imprint of HarperCollins) has posted a review policy for bloggers who want to review books for them.

you know, the kind of policies that we legit book bloggers have and feel are very important and demand they be respected? yeah, this publisher did that as well.

as with a vast majority of things that change on the internet, people are livid about it. bloggers are saying that they aren’t paid by the publisher and that the publisher can’t tell them when to review the book etc etc etc.

here’s my thought. if the publisher asks you to post the review within a month of the release, it’s because they want to promote the book to the best of their ability. which, by the way, is also the point of book blogging. they aren’t asking this to pull a dick move and remind you Who Is In Charge.

let us remember, these are FREE BOOKS, Y’ALL. for the love. don’t be all high and mighty about the publisher asking you to do what’s best for the release of their book.

you know those pitches you get that obviously haven’t looked at your review policy/the name of your blog/what gender you are? please imagine how many the publisher gets. you have a blog with a few hundred (or maybe thousand) followers. publishers trump you in terms of audience - they just do. so can we really be shocked/appalled/frustrated/ that they want to weed out reviewers that are all grabby hands and no professionalism? no way, bro.

this whole panty twist can be resolved in three easy steps:

1. Bloggers need to read the policy of all publishers before they request their titles. Can you abide by those rules? You can?! GREAT!  You get it, you have no concerns, you’re golden. Have a cookie and read a book! If you can’t abide by those rules, don’t ask for review copies from that publisher. Get the books from the library, a friend, or buy them. You know, like the rest of the world who isn’t off feeling huffy and entitled.

2. Bloggers need to set their own review policy. Do you already have one of these? Do you demand that the publishers read it before sending you a book? Great! Please have another cookie. They’re small cookies, it’s fine. If you don’t have a review policy, make one. It is professional and is a great way for publishers who are interested in you to learn more about what you do and how you get it done.

3. Be reasonable and professional. The fact that the publisher is putting out some form of review policy is fantastic, so be professional enough to abide by it. You don’t HAVE to take books from them. They are offering them to you in exchange for a fair and honest review within a certain time frame. That is reasonable. You are getting FREE BOOKS that YOU WANT because the publisher is choosing to share them with you. Don’t be a dick.


please tell me your thoughts! am i being absurd? do you have another viewpoint? let’s chat it out.

Lisa is a gamer, crafter, fangirl, mother, wife and unabashed nerd who is pretty ridiculous and it's best you know that up front. When she's not binge watching Netflix or crafting into the wee hours of the night, you can find her spending a lot of her time on Pinterest and Twitter.

25 comments:

  1. brilliant!!

    i heard about this and wondered your thoughts. i'll be emailing you. ;)

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  2. Amen sister!! I totally agree with you! I'm not in the "cool blogger club" so it doesn't really effect me because I mostly BUY my books (or go the library), but I completely get what you are saying!

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  3. LOL! I would love the privilege of book blogging. And to be pissy that the publisher wants you to publish your review within a month of the book being published? Hello, that's basic marketing on their part. There is a REASON they're handing you a free book, and it's not because you're just that awesome. ;) Love this.

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  4. You're absolutely right and I think the uproar (panty twist,lol) was/is just ridiculous.

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  5. Stated so much better then I ever could - but you took the words right out of my head!

    We all have policies (or not) and we all chose to follow them (or not). It's always a choice. If you think WM is out of line...don't associate with them. End of story - no need to b***h slap them around first!

    Awesome post!

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  6. A loud & resounding A-MEN!! It's like you said...I expect people to read & abide by my policy, so why wouldn't I expect to do the same? Yeah.

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  7. Best. Post. Ever. I think you said it very well!

    Yes, I post my reviews for myself and I started out with books that I bought/borrowed, which means that for those books, I can review them when I want to.

    Nowadays, I'm lucky to get books for review for FREE. It is understandable that the publisher giving me the books would expect the review out in a certain amount of time - as you've said, the intent is to promote the book, so naturally, they'll want to have that done during a certain timeframe. Makes sense to me!

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  8. Maybe this is being done because too many bloggers are just sitting on a pile of ARCs they've had for a year, and that in no way helps the publishers with marketing their books. It's like the bloggers are not holding up their end of the bargain.

    It doesn't really affect me since I'm a loser blogger, anyway, and would get rejected by this guy because I don't have a large enough platform, but I still think those people whom he would do business with should be fair and have their reviews ready before the books get old.

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  9. Ash - i can't wait!
    Somer and Cathy - you are in my cool blogger club! FOREVER.
    Jodi - exactly. it's marketing, not personal!

    i'm glad i'm not alone here! TELL IT, SISTERS.

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  10. Amazing!

    I know, I was quite shocked at the backlash about it.. at the end of the day, THEY'RE the publishers who want to market their book. They're not a freebie "book store" that's just handing out copies for anyone and everyone!

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  11. Publishers should be easily allowed to set policies for reviewing books. The point of book blogging is to HELP PROMOTE books. We're not helping the publisher, author, or the book if we don't adhere to some standards such as posting a review within a month of release date. If you can't do it, then don't sign up to review unless you clear your load off a bit.

    Great post!

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  12. This post is awesome.. I don't get arcs. I don't even bother requesting them.. I review books I buy, win, or have lent to me. I was recently part of an arc tour, that the publisher specified we wait till dec to post our reviews.. I feel that's perfectly reasonable of a request. I ended up winning a copy of that arc, but out of respect I'm still not going to post my review till this month.

    I sometimes see bloggers become so obsessed over getting this arc or that.. being denied for one.. whatever.. just buy it when it comes out. I think sometimes they forget what the purpose is.. it's not about getting free books. If I get to read one early, I feel honored. If I don't get it to read it early, that's fine too... promotion does not end with release date. Many reviews I have read afterwards, have convinced me to purchase a book.

    Again... love this post.. so well put. :oP

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  13. I was on my hiatus during this whole thing (which I'm glad about) but I can understand why publishers would want to put some reigns on all of it. I mean, honestly, I have gotten BOXES of finished copies from a certain publisher and I've read maybe one or two out of each box so far. These are unsolicited. Granted, I've requested OTHER books from this publisher but some of these are just things I'd never read ever. It's a shame. I typically send them off to other bloggers or donate them to libraries but still. I got the letter from WM and wasn't really at all offended by it....and at this point I wasn't on Twitter. I guess my only thing was the time constraint. Seems a little bit hard BUT in my head I thought..well than I'll just be very selective about their books so I CAN read them. As someone in marketing who does blogger outreaches in a different industry, it costs money and at the end of the day...sometimes you need to scale back when money is tight or if you aren't finding it to being as effective as a marketing strategy. I mean, that's the thing that's hard with marketing...you can't really translate a lot of social media marketing into dollars. Really..there's no way to really put a value on it. You just have to hope that the efforts help create buzz, drive links to your site, help brand recognition. Anywho...I don't know. I'm happy to get books from publishers but if they stop sending them...I'll happily get them from my library or by them. They really don't owe us anything. We do A LOT to help spread the word but they never made us start our blogs to do so. We started our blogs because we love books - free or not free- and wanted to share what we were reading and talk about what we love and don't love. I think the opportunity to review books is a perk. BUT I'll agree with the annoyance about time constraints..a month seemed a little tight to me...especially since it gets SO annoying to see a bajillion reviews on one book that just came out. I love seeing a review a few months out and "oh yeah..there was all that buzz. Glad to see people are still talking about it!" I'm more likely to read a review when it stands alone on a random day rather than 30 reviews on release day lol But at the end of t he day...they know what's more effective so it's not up to me..even if the time constraints might not work for me. THat's probably why I suck with getting books out from the library too :P I'm ALWAYS having late fines.

    Great post!

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  14. Holy shiz. I just published that comment and it is ENORMOUS.

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  15. Your link at the end does not work but that is okay.

    I definitely agree with you. (granted I have not been blogging long but I would have agreed with you even if I wasn't a blogger or have been blogging for years) Seriously...FREE books? Are you're going to be a jerk because they asked to review it in a certain time frame? I thought that was pretty much a given.

    So yeah I understand what your saying.

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  16. Jamie - i agree with you totally that seeing review after review for the same book is obnoxious. hopefully those bloggers who didn't get the arc will post it a couple months out to make up for it.

    Book Bunny - thank you for letting me know about the link! it is fixed. :)

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  17. Such a sensible response!

    I was a print reviewer before I was a book blogger. Actually, I still am. I review books and audiovisual materials for School Library Journal. And guess what? Every time they send me something to review, it comes with a deadline. It doesn't seem at all unreasonable that a publisher would want reviews to come out in a timely manner.

    Over on NetGalley, more and more publishers have been posting guidelines for reviewers, and those are ARCs they don't even have to pay postage to send out! :)

    The whole kerfluffle just seems a little silly. I think that if you don't like a particular publisher's policy, then don't review their books. No publisher *owes* you (and by you I mean AnyBookBlogger, not *you* in particular) a darn thing.

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  18. Did you read the letter? It actually seemed to be helping out bloggers. I have no problem with publishers telling me a date range they would like the review to be up. And for every book you review and send in the link you get a giveaway copy for your blog. How is this not a bonus?

    I missed the drama and I'm glad I did. I'm sick of bloggers blogging for free books. It's not about free books, it's about community. A community that includes publishers, authors, and readers.

    Gah!

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  19. i'm loving this conversation, and this isn't even my blog. :)

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  20. As a new book blogger I find this whole issue very interesting. Right now I'm not in the stage where I can pick and choose from a mountain of unsolicited ARCs. I'm extremely thankful to receive ANY ARC and I do my best to adhere to the publisher's request as far as when to post the review, after all, that's the whole reason why they are sending it to me. Thats just my opinion and I'm glad to see its not just newbie book bloggers like myself that think that way.

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  21. I'll be the sole voice of dissent here.

    I need more than one month to read and review a book that is sent to me. This is why publishers send me books MONTHS in advance, so that I have that time to plan for reading it. There's so many bloggers out there who schedule things months in advance and that's not realistic to expect them to drop their plans at the drop of a hat.

    I don't like being considered a marketing arm of the publisher. They leverage my blog and my audience for what, a free book? No dude. You want to access my high traffic AND put me on a deadline, pay me for it in more than just a book. It takes hours to read that book. Hours that if we put in dollars and sense time and related that back to however much the book is worth would equal out to being paid less than minimum wage. And I'm sorry but my time is worth more than that and I'm worth more respect than that.

    I don't believe in kissing a publisher's ass just for free books. And yes, I do get a ton of books for 'free' in the mail, but again, no such thing as a free lunch. I spend my precious time reading all those books, therefore I would like some respect in return for my initial time investment, rather than be treated like an afterthought.

    That stated, if the letter was worded differently and with a three month time frame, I wouldn't be upset.

    I also say this from the point of view of someone who does purchase A LOT of books and who also makes good use of the library. I'm not some entitled person or whatever and I hate that insinuation that just because I'm upset with what comes across to me as being condescending that I am overentitled.

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  22. April, thank you for putting in your thoughts! I was waiting and hoping for the other side to share.

    You make some good points. For high volume bloggers like yourself, planning reading and reviewing schedules is key. If publishers value - truly value - the time of the blogger, then flexibility and respect is due.

    Having not seen the letter, I can't speak to the tone or wording. However, I agree that 3 months is more than reasonable.

    I don't think you act entitled, and in fact make a good effort at reviewing the wide variety of books from multiple publishers. The entitlement feelings came through in the article I linked, which of course could be stacked.

    I think that as a high volume and high traffic blogger, your concerns are legit. For those of us (me) who just don't have the volume, the publisher policy is reasonable.

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  23. Thanks so much for responding Lisa!

    And I definitely agree that it's different when you do get multiple packages dropped off every day from a pub, then when maybe you aren't at that level yet. And I remember what it was like to be at that level, when I'd be lucky if I got one review copy a month. I felt the same way --- I thought hey why don't these people review their copies sooner and other sorts of things.

    So yeah, it's kind of cool being able to see both sides, because really I can see the one month side, but realize that the constraints are different for different people at different levels of blogging.

    sidebar: how many times can I use the word different lolz

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  24. Of course, April! You bring interesting perspective to the table. I like the about you. :)

    I wonder if it would make more sense for the pub to have a few levels or whatever of review policy, based on blogger volume... like HarperTeen does. I hate that HarperTeen ignores me... but I get it now (thanks to Asheley) and I repsect their requirements for arcs.

    You definitely have a different fight than most of us as a high volume blogger! Your perspective is always appreciated. :)

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