Book Blogger Confessions

Book Blogger Confessions is a meme that posts the 1st and 3rd Monday of every month, where book bloggers “confess” and vent about topics that are unique to us. Feel free to share, vent and offer solutions.

Just keep it respectful – no bashing authors or other bloggers! If you want to participate just grab our button and include it in your post with a link to either Tiger’s All Consuming Media or For What It’s Worth. We will be providing a linky at the end of our posts so people can “hop” to see all the participants answers.

July16th: What do we owe publishers and authors? If we accept ARC’s do we “owe” anything to them or just an honest review to our followers? As book bloggers are we obligated to do more than just review books? Post covers – participate in book tours – host guest posts – promote authors?

So I’ve been following Karen at For What It’s Worth. I read her post last time about Blogger Controversy, and I decided I want to get in on this… make my own confession. Now or never, right?

So to the question. What do bloggers owe publishers and authors? The immediate answer which pops into my head is NOTHING. Bloggers don’t owe publishers or authors a damn thing. And really? Why should bloggers owe anything?

Bloggers take time out of their busy schedules for no pay and spread the word about books. It almost sounds to me like bloggers are the one doing the service… not authors and publishers. Given that… one might ask, “Do publishers and authors owe bloggers anything?”

If the question was just What do bloggers owe publishers and authors? I’d stop right there. However, the Book Blogger Confession question continues with If we accept ARC’s do we “owe” anything to them or just an honest review to our followers? Hmm… We’re stepping into new territories now.

I’d say that depends on if the ARC was given in exchange for a review or not. Sometimes bloggers just win ARCs no strings attached. However, if an ARC is given in exchange for a review, it’s another story. This is why I think it’s so important for bloggers to have review policies. Yes, authors and publishers want honest reviews. However, authors and publishers also don’t want their books to be smeared… to look online and see an awful 1-star rating. YIKES!!!

It’s nice when a blogger has a review policy which states, “I only review books I like (3 stars are above)” or “I review every book I read whether I like it or not” or even “If I don’t like a book, I’ll review it, but I’ll try to highlight the good points.” I have to admit, one of my favorite reviews is from a blogger who didn’t find one of my books her cup of tea.

Back to the question. If we accept ARC’s do we “owe” anything to them or just an honest review to our followers? Beyond the review policy (which is more of a suggestions — strong suggestion), I’d have to say if a blogger accepts an ARC for review, the blogger should at least try out the book. They don’t necessarily have to read the entire book, but a blogger shouldn’t accept an ARC she/he doesn’t intend or doesn’t have time to read. Bloggers owe authors/publishers at least that much. Other than that, bloggers should be honest to their followers.

More questions? As book bloggers are we obligated to do more than just review books? No. I’ll even go on to say, bloggers don’t even owe publishers/authors reviews. I doubt authors/publishers even want bloggers to leave an unsavory review of one of their books. But as I mentioned above, a review policy is important and only accepting books one has a real intent on reviewing. Don’t just toss the ARC on the ever growing review pile. That’s just not right.

Post covers – participate in book tours – host guest posts – promote authors? Again, no. The blogger has no obligation. Blogging isn’t a paid job with authors and publishers as bosses. For most bloggers, it’s a hobby done in free time with no compensation other than books. And trust me, spending hours upon hours reading a book then reviewing that same book is worth a lot more pay than $0.99-$20. 🙂

HOWEVER!!!!! A blogger who does agree to participate in a book tour or promotion should opt out of leaving an unsavory review during the tour. If a blogger doesn’t like the book, that’s fine. He/She can still participate in the blog tour. Tastes are subjective. A book a blogger may not like may be adored by readers.

But doing a review as part of the tour then crapping on the book is just plain tacky and EXTREMELY UNETHICAL. I’ve seen it happen (had it happen to me) and still don’t know why a blogger would be so mean. Save the unsavory reviews until AFTER the tour is over, if you as a blogger feel obligated to review the book. Or if promoting a book you don’t like goes against your policy, then PLEASE drop out of the tour. Don’t surprise the publisher/author with ugliness.

So… my opinion. For the most part, bloggers owe authors/publishers nothing. Pick and choose the books you want to review and/or promote. Be honest in your reviews… your followers depend on you. However, bloggers should still be courteous. Don’t sabotage authors and publishers you agree to promote. Don’t hoard books you don’t intend to read or lack the time to read. And if all possible, develop and post a review policy.