Take a look at my Google Reader.
It is a wonder I take the time to visit book bloggers anymore.
WTF Book Bloggers?
There is nothing but Book Blitzs, Promo Pieces, Cover Reveals and Memes in my Google Reader! And it just exploded. It wasn’t that bad a few weeks ago and now that is ALL IT IS! Is it the holidays? Is everyone stressed out, so they can’t think of anything CREATIVE to post about?
Hell, I’m sure the authors and publishers aren’t complaining. You’re not even requesting Guest Posts or Interviews anymore. Half the Book Blogger population is just regurgitating whatever they are fed to them by the authors, tour hosts and pubs. Glub glub. Vomit vomit. Do you think I would buy a subscription to a newspaper that just posted Press Release after Press Release? Nope. I would throw that crap in the trash. Do you think I’m reading your promo spots, considering there is about 10 others OF THE EXACT NATURE sitting in my Google Reader at the moment? Nope. Not going to read it.
Why is everyone doing this all of a sudden? And doing it over and over again. Day after day. There are some blogs that are nothing but promo spots and blog tour “blitz” posts. Blitz. Spotlight. Promo. That is all I’m reading. There was only one or two that had REVIEW in the title, or something that even seemed original.
THE KEY TO GETTING AND KEEPING READERS IS ORIGINAL CONTENT.
I sat on a panel that was hosted by a very large Marketing Firm that focuses on Big Ten Authors. One of their main generators of organic search market saturation was through blog tours. It was free, you generally only had to “bribe” the blog with a copy of the novel and with it you got a PING out in the internet world without having to pay for advertising. The woman stated that generally all they sent out was the book cover and synopsis and the blogger was okay with this. My inner blogger rebelled at this, but it would seem, she is probably right. Because that is all I’ve been seeing lately. Maybe now it is just filtering into my little part of the universe.
Is this all the result of numerous blog tours and end of year marketing promotions going out at the end of the year? Or is it worse? Some of these posts “smell” like paid-for-promo posts.
I LOVE XXX PUBLISHER — and then a list of all their releasing books, with click back links to the publisher site. Nothing else in the post. The first thing I think. “Advertisement“. But, it’s not labeled an advertisement. (Against FTC regulations btw) Did the blogger publish this post because the publisher asked them to, or paid them to?
I get requests all the time. I understand the pull.
“Can you please pass this on to your followers. XXX Publisher is having a super holiday sale on all it’s Young Adult titles.”
No. Why would I post that? Yes, it might be a sale, but unless I really think it’s the best, most awesome deal of the year, it is not going to tempt me to post. I might tweet it out, or RT it, but post it? Why? So, I can stay in the publishers good graces? Would a magazine or newspaper do this?
Or the more tempting. “I’m looking to increase our SEO and would like to pay you to post…”
It was tempting. I could use $100, couldn’t we all? But, my moral and good business compass says advertising stays on the sidebar. Not within the area that I write in. If readers see I’m using my words to advertise how can they trust my opinion?
So, what is the point of this rant?
FIND A BALANCE.
Balance is the key. It is okay to post a promo piece. But you should not be posting these on a daily basis. I don’t even believe you should be posting these weekly. If you have two memes and two promo pieces and maybe 1 review in there somewhere, where does that leave you? A lot of fluff.
If an author, publisher or other representative wants you to post for them, ask for an original piece. An original Guest Post or request an interview. Ask them if it has been posted anywhere else. Ask them if other bloggers will be posting on the same day. Take charge. Don’t let them bowl you over just because they dangle a giveaway or review copy over your head. Pull up your big girl pants and own your blog!
UPDATE: It has come to my attention on twitter that this piece has had some negative reaction to it. I completely understand. This was written to ruffle features. But, it is my opinion. Just like when I write a review. Think of this as a negative review of my Google Reader content at the current moment. I apologize if some of you feel insulted, take it how it is. I’m not trying to bully you into changing your blog. I’m just letting you know how I feel. I think it is ridiculous to even throw out the word bully. We don’t like it when authors call us bullies for writing a negative review, why are you throwing it back at me? I don’t think it’s bullying to empower bloggers into taking control of their own blogs. Bullying! I don’t think it is entitlement to ask for original content when you are offering promotion. You have the right to demand anything you want. Now, granted no one has to give in to those demands, right? If someone wants to promote on your blog – I always recommend asking nicely. I apologize to anyone that might be offended by this post, but again, take it for what it is, my opinion. You, should always run your blog the way YOU want to run it and no one should tell you otherwise. Not me. Not pubs. Not authors. Only you.[hr] [clearboth]
Reader Question of the Week:
I thought this question was fitting for the topic today:
If you think of star ratings as grades, 1 star being an F, 2 stars a D etc. a 3 star would be right in the middle with a nice fat C. I know when I brought home a C my parents were never happy. No, I didn’t fail, but it sure wasn’t a positive thing. So, to answer your star question, I would assume that an author would consider a 3 star review not negative, but not positive either. I would ask your tour host and think about this in the future when you agree to tour with a “positive” only review stop. Like the post above, you decide what you want to do with your own blog. If you find posting a synopsis and cover in place of a mediocre review as objectionable, you probably shouldn’t agree to doing the tours anymore. I understand that sometimes it is a “surprise” when you agree to join the tour. Just remember in the future and maybe request a Guest Post next time.[hr] [clearboth]