First off – I have to say the Twitter Party last Thursday was EPIC. 1K+ tweets. I landed in twitter jail (can’t be a party without someone going to jail) and I think we all learned some valuable lessons. It has been suggested we make this a regular thing – so chime in on what would be a good time to host it (during the day) and how consecutively (every other Thursday -etc) .

Now for the Featured part… Decorum.

Some incidents have been occurring lately that made me realize we haven’t done a Manners post in awhile. This post is coming to fruition because of questions posed to me, things that have actually been done to me and things that I have inadvertently done…can’t wait for your feedback on this one.

I personally believe that the reason the world is screwed up is the fact that hardly anyone respects each other anymore. The wonderful thing about the book blogging network is the fact that most of us are very respectful, friendly and usually overly generous. Readers in general, I believe, look for the good in the world and other people because they want to believe in Happily-Ever-Afters. They might be snarky, they might be prickly at times, but as a hole, this community is one of the most welcoming and good group of people that I’ve come across.

That being said, some things are not always apparent. And might need to be pointed out…

Don’t Sell Out.
Recently there has been some reports of “paid for reviews”. (There was a Forbes article) Nothing new. This is a typical marketing technique. I don’t agree with it, but a few clients of the agency I used to work for, routinely would post their own reviews on Google Pages. You could always tell because their positive feedback matched the bullet points used in the advertising. Does wonders for your street cred via savvy shoppers (sarcasm). Yet, now it has trickled down into Amazon and book reviewers. Top reviewer Donald Mitchell (Amazon Top Five Reviewer) has made $20K with his book reviews. Combine that with the Top Amazon reviewer Harriet Klausner – who most people believe is an stooge, how does this look to the consumer? Fake – that is how it looks. How can you trust someone that gets paid for a review? That is called advertising not a review.

A Book Blogger is only as good as her/his reputation. You ruin your reputation no is going to trust your reviews anymore.

Don’t sell out – no one will trust your opinion anymore. I’m sure, no you are thinking: How does one sell out as a book reviewer?

  1. The obvious: Take money for your reviews
  2. Post a positive review just because you don’t want to anger the author 
  3. Post a positive review just because you don’t want to anger the publisher/publicist contact
  4. Post a positive review because you are on a blog tour
  5. Regurgitate the synopsis without any opinion, just because you hated the book and don’t want to anger any of the aforementioned 
  6. Only post positive reviews because you don’t want to anger anyone…
They even have step by step guides on how to sell out as a reviewer: 

I might make people grumpy with that list, but that is my opinion. You don’t want to post negative feedback – well then you aren’t giving your opinion. You agree to post that author guest post – but not post a review, because you hated the book, because you just made a contact with this particular publisher…well that my friend is called questionable reviewing aka selling out to the publisher. 

We Aren’t Competing People. 
There are plenty of authors and books to go around. This isn’t a competition people. With such a small/big community, with limited topics – we are all talking about books and authors – ideas are going to be passed around, changed up and regurgitated. There are hundreds of memes out there, there are thousands of crazy ideas, names, blog names and even blog designs that might be similar to one another, on the same topic, or do the same thing. Its how this thing works. What we are not, is two book stores that opened up right across the street from each other, fighting over the same clientele. Our clientele can shop at ALL of our blogs. So, stop with the snide comments. Yes, I know you think your blog is the best thing ever and that meme that you came up with rocks the freakin’ house or that you wrote the BEST REVIEW for The Hunger Games ever written. Yes, we get it. Be your biggest fan – that is how you should roll. But, don’t prop yourself up by trashing other people.

Just because my blog asks people to follow me in a giveaway and yours does not, doesn’t make my blog a big baddie – it is just a difference in technique. Don’t enter my contest if you don’t like it. Just because your HOP has a few more steps to do than my HOP doesn’t mean it’s a terrible HOP, it just means it might take a little longer to accomplish. Differences in technique and opinion will be out there, it’s not WRONG, it’s different. I use a five paragraph review technique and I summarize in my own words, I know that you might hate book summaries in reviews – does it make what I do wrong? No it makes it different from what you like. Just because you don’t like vanilla ice cream does not mean that it should be eradicated from the Earth. Remember that when you are going on and on about how people that participate in certain memes are just bragging, or grubbing for followers…there have been some feelings hurt and people questioning their own techniques because they think people will stop following them, or that their blog sucks. Which I think is terrible. I really hope that during these BB101s I’ve never made anyone feel insecure about their blog technique. I’m sorry if I have.

Respect other peoples opinions and ideas. It may not be congruent with your own way of thinking – but it doesn’t mean it’s bad or wrong. Snide comments hurt peoples feelings. Especially when it is directed at someone’s masterpiece – their blog. Think about how you would feel if another blogger made that statement about your blog…and remember this:
Twitter is forever. Eve
rything you tweet out can be searched on Google. Even if you BLOCK someone they can still see your feed just by going to your twitter page or searching via Google. What is said on Twitter does not stay on twitter. Keep that in mind, the next time you want to send out a ranty tweet. And I’m speaking from personal experience. I’ve had tweets misconstrued by my friends and I probably hurt their feelings. Just because I felt a snarky, ranty tweet was in order. Think before you tweet.
Forge Ahead Yourself. 
To give you a little background on myself, I’m a JUST DO IT kind of girl. If I don’t know how to do something, I GOOGLE it. Yep, great invention that Google thing. I’ve since compiled some of what I learned in tutorials and these Blogging 101 Posts. But, lately I’ve had a rash of “I’ve just started blogging can you tell me how to become huge?” or “Can I have a list of your contacts?” (Yeah that one never ends no matter how many times I say it’s uncool) or “I have this contest, can you post about it for me?” Yes, I do these Book Blogging 101 posts and yes, I seem to be a fountain of knowledge (still don’t know why you guys trust me) but I can’t just sum up everything in an email and I also can’t use my own resources to promote your blog for you. Blogging takes time, time, time and hard work and organization and networking. Myself and all these other great book blogs out there that have been at this game for awhile are not here to do it for you. We did it ourselves, I can point you in the right direction, but I’m sorry to say you are going to have to do the compiling, the writing, the networking and the promotion yourself. It is how this game works. 
Sending out mass emails to bloggers stating “I’m new to the book blogging world and I don’t know many people, you guys blogs rock and would love to have you sponsor my blog. Help with contacts, giveaways that sort of thing. Can you help me?” is a good way for bloggers NOT to help you. Also, sending out multiple tweets to high follower count bloggers saying PLZ RT this message, even though you don’t even follow these blogs is just going to get you marked as spam. Why would you do that?
Asking to have your contest featured on someone’s blog is also not going to earn you brownie points. Mass emails, tweeting someone with a link that you don’t know – and repetitive comments on multiple blogs is spamming…
Tips on how to get bloggers to promote you….without being considered spam.
  1. Offer to write a guest post for someone – have the CONTENT already lined up…”I have this idea, what do you think?” 
  2. Want a blogger to RT your message? Make twitter friends with that blogger! How hard is that? A friendly “Hey How Are You?” over a few days won’t hurt you.
  3. Ask a fellow blogger specific questions – not just generalized “How Do I Become Mega??” I’m sure they would be willing to help if they had a roadmap

All of these things can help solidify and foster good relationships with fellow bloggers instead of forming resentful opinions. People respect others that are willing to work hard for their goals – not just sit back and let others do it for them. The established blogs you see around the internet have worked months and years establishing contacts, blogger friends and generating quality content. It is not about them hoarding the information, it is there for you – just take the time, ask the right questions and be ready to put a good bit of time into the equation.

I think that is it, rant done. Also, FYI – you might have seen this around the web lately #BBAW – Book Blogger Appreciation Week. It runs from September 12 – 16. It is a Book Blogger Appreciation that happens every September (since 2008). Awards are given, community activities take place that sort of thing. Some of you might have been nominated. Some of you might not have. This is a nomination process – so you would have needed to be nominated by a friend or reader. If you didn’t get a nomination it doesn’t mean your blog isn’t Hot Stuff – it just means that the people that make a habit of nominating people didn’t nominate you. If you did get a nomination, good for you, that type of person thought of you. Good luck to everyone on the Long List. And for those that didn’t make it, be sure to poke your friends around this time next year and get them to nominate you 😉
XOXO Happy Thursday! Less Talk More Reading — or whatever it is I usually say.

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