April 07, 2015

Are Bloggers Getting the Respect They Deserve?

Hi my darlings!
I have this small - or not so small - thing I must get out of my system. And I wonder what those of you who blog about books (or any other product, really) have to say about it.
Before I start my rant exposition, please keep in mind that I'm still rather new to the whole blogging thing (despite my two years and a half of posting), and I'm only doing now what the vast majority of you have probably done a thousand times over in a far shorter span of time - that is, requesting books or interacting with publishers. So, I suppose some of my reactions might sound naive. Anyway, please bear with me :).

Angry. Frustrated. Angry. Frustrated. Angry. Frustrated. You get the picture.
Premise: I run a very small blog, compared to many others I've seen around. And even when I try and ask for a review copy, I state it very clearly that I don't expect a physical copy, but a PDF at most (besides, I'm aware that no one would ever send a physical copy all the way to Italy). Having said so, I don't really expect publishers to send me anything - though I had the occasional ARC or review copy mailed from indie authors or very small presses. BUT. I recently asked for a review copy of a book that shall remain unnamed, from one of those (self-proclaimed) small presses, and the publishers replied with an email that, in their eyes, was surely meant to be kind - except it contained the following statement:

"Bloggers and their sites associated with professional media sources or libraries will receive first priority."

Pardon my French, but the first words that formed in my head upon reading this were, WTF?!?! WHOM should I be associated with, I don't really understand. But the main thing I don't friggin' understand is - WHY?
This attitude takes away any value from the work we "mere" bloggers do every single day. We're not deemed worthy. Of course, there are different degrees of "professional" even among those who blog for a hobby. Some reviews are, let’s admit it, more of an incoherent fangirling or rant than actual reviews. I can see why some publishers might not be interested in them. But what about all the rest?

I think most of us are very down to earth and set reasonable expectations when it comes to receiving books, regardless of our age and potentially fangirling attitude. Most of us work hard on our reviews, without being compensated in any way - except with the occasional review copy - just for the sake of it. Most of us are pretty talented writers, better than some supposed professionals are - and, lo and behold, we're even doing it without the help of a proof reader. But all this counts for nothing in the eyes of some folks, because we're not "associated" with more (supposedly) reliable - or simply bureaucratic - establishments.
Most of all, we are FREE. (Or we should be. Of course, when you're sent a book directly from the author, or are accepted for a blog tour, you get to compromise just a tiny bit...but this will be material for a future rant discussion post). This guarantees our honesty when it comes to review a book. I suppose this is the real reason why someone wants to put us under guardianship like minors who lost their parents. Thank you, geniuses - we're all grown up. Teen or adults, we don't need your crutch. You know what - we're going to buy our own books and speak our own friggin' mind. Good luck with your "professional media sources".

Also, my darling publishers...you don't support us, we don't support you (as in, buy your books). It's so simple, really. Sorry for your authors, but seriously.

What do you think? Has this happened to you too? Can you take a guess at what those "professional media sources" are supposed to be? Do you know of any blogger who's working with them? And at the end of the day - do you think we bloggers are getting the respect we deserve?

Note: for all the images thanks to Giphy!


  1. *GASP* I totally agree with you. Bloggers work really hard on their posts, and even though not all of them might be "professional". This is a community, where readers find new books, and we make sure they do. We aren't literature critics; we are just normal readers, who love to talk about books. This isn't New York Times!

    1. I understand publishers' concern about the audience they can get when committing to a particular book blog, but other than that, I thought we were more worthy than some of them give us the credit to...

  2. yeah, I think there is definitely some 'snobbery' with the type of bloggers some publishers want to be associated with. But at the end of the day I try not to sweat it too much. It's a business for them and a hobby for most of us. Yes it's a hobby that requires a lot of hard work, but at the end of the day we don't tend to make money from it and publishers do so . . . IDK. I just tend to shrug it off and associate myself with publishers who are more appreciative.

    1. I suppose it's the right way to go :). It's just that, I understand publishers who want their books reviewed on a popular blog, but when they require it to be "validated" by someone else (which, I reckon, amounts to be "controlled" too), it goes to my head...

  3. Other than through NetGalley, I've never really directly contacted a publisher. Partly because I too have a small blog, and mostly because I have a million unread books and I don't like feeling like I HAVE to read a book. If I didn't go to BEA each year or participate in blog tours (where other, more popular bloggers share their arcs) then I probably would be more proactive.

    In this particular case, I would guess they meant they want bloggers for large sites- like Huffington Post or Mashable, something on a higher tier than book blogger.

    I am impressed that you contacted the publisher directly- that's take initiative! But don't take the request denial to heart, think how many of your favorite authors have gotten shot down by dozens of publishers when they first started out too!

    1. Impressed? Thanks :) - though it was a silly move of course LOL. I didn't really expect to get the books...just flexing my muscles, in a way. The thing that hurt me wasn't the actual request denial - for that, I was prepared - as much as the snobbery. Anyway, yes, you have a point about the authors. *thumb up*

      I see what they meant now that you've mentioned the HP. High-brow bloggers. Nothing to do with us...

  4. I don't really know who the "professional media sources" are or how one associates themselves with them lol

    I'm guessing they mean the larger sites. I know a lot of publishes (Hyperion) to name one only work with librarians now.

    I don't know if this is the case her (& it seems weird with a small press) but there are so many bloggers and review sites now that they want the biggest bang for their buck (page views - reach) so they're more discriminating with arc's.

    The publishers with random or unspecified requirements are the ones that bother me. I would rather have it be clear cut so I know what they are looking for and whether I meet their needs.

    It's sad how much the relationship between bloggers and publishers/authors has deteriorated. I see it a lot at BEA.

    1. I understand the pageview issue of course...it's the association thing that I don't get. And it's sad what you said about relationships between bloggers and publishers/authors. I only hope it's not a consequence of the latter demanding an automatic positive response to their books...

  5. Definitely sucks. Our little blog is by no means a high traffic blog like the ones catering to our niche audience. So we definitely feel it, the lack of validation at times.

    I think publishers are so set in their ways, if they can't make money off of bloggers, who are out there doing what we like for free, we're not seen as worthy.

    Bloggers do have a power that publishers haven't realized though.

    Reviews through "reputable" sources don't automatically garner sales, but our word of mouth can. But again, they're too stuck in the old ways of doing things. They just haven't caught up.

    1. There's hope they will...or maybe not, but luckily, there are many others who are happy to work with us. We're not greedy beasts who just aim at a free book. I'm sure most of us are genuinely interested in matching the right book with the right audience.
      Great comment!


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