Welcome to Book Blogging 101, a weekly feature on Parajunkee’s View that answers your questions and strives to share great book blogging tips and some helpful hints to help you on your way.

Q: I feel like the new way publishers are trying to push books is just by sending out an email that says, “here post this and you might be chosen for a contest, or maybe an author interview” without any offer of a review copy. I feel like I have to post their information or risk losing them as a contact. Am I being stupid by thinking this? Then I see the same stuff on a few other blogs around and about, so what I’m just another blog with the same stuff? I don’t know what to do. Help!  – Possible Promo Whore

Nobody wants to consciously be a promo whore, or just be the blog that has the same info as everyone else, or at least I would think they don’t. There is nothing wrong with posting press releases or books from your favorite publishers, but you have to watch that line in the metaphorical sand.

There are a few blogs out there, not naming names, but it just seems that all they post are the book titles, covers and the synopsis, over and over again. They host massive amounts of contests and maybe a review or meme every now and again and that is about it. You can get that on goodreads.com can’t you? The reason they might flock to this blog is because goodreads.com contests have over 2000+ entries with no extra points, whereas this blog has under 100. Do the math, the odds are better. Yes, they get a lot of traffic — and in the end, if that is the justification, then they have met their goals.

To each it’s own, if this blogger wants to do this, they get a lot of followers because of the contests, but are people really following this blog? Are they commenting, unless forced in a contest? I’m just assuming, because personally I don’t follow these types of blog closely. You guys tell me, do you follow blogs like this? Tell us how these types of blogs are viewed by the general populace, especially when it starts to become apparent that this blog is not about this person’s opinion on their books — but just on marketing for the publishers and giveaways.

I don’t know really where the line is though. I think it is a personal choice on how far you want to go with it. I get the same emails as everyone else, in fact I guess I sort of severed a contact because I just stopped responding to them or posting about them. At first I was getting the review copies. Then I was just getting emails for contest to host. Then I was just getting emails of — can you post this, tweet this, host this twitter convo? Which in my mind I was thinking, does this make me an employee of this certain publisher’s marketing department, now? Might as well just slap a subhead on my blog and say — Parajunkee’s View, a XXX Publisher’s Blog. But, I wasn’t even getting compensated. Sure, I might be able to host a contest and it might drive up my followers, but is it worth it? I made the decision that it wasn’t. And if you haven’t noticed, my contests have gone way down. It is always your choice to make, if emails are starting to make you feel uncomfortable and doubt yourself, then chances are something is wrong there.

Q: I would really like to interact in real-life with other bloggers.How do you find out about blogger (not Blogger) conferences before they happen? I feel like the only one who doesn’t know the secret code to get in the clubhouse! – Word Nerd

It’s not a clubhouse, there is no secret code. You just have to Google. The big ones are BEA – ALA – RT – ComicCon – and all the other fun cons out there, Dragon, Magic, Fantasy, Steampunk – you name it they have a Con. Follow your Indie bookstores in the area, they usually have the 411 on the small writer’s conferences. Follow author blogs. Follow publisher blogs. Follow other bloggers. Did you know, I just posted about attending RT?   See you would have found out about it just by following this blog. XO

Q: An author asked me to review a copy of their debut novel. I agreed because she was a friend of another author I’ve reviewed (and I love this one’s books!)… I struggled to get through this one though, and 3/4 of the way through the book still had no idea what was going on. I’d feel bad giving her a negative review, but I did tell her I would review it. Any advice?  – Not Another Negative Review

If you feel bad about the negative review, email the author and tell her that your review would not be a positive one, but would not like to spoil people’s perception on the book, so if she would like to make the decision — should you review it or not? It’s a tough one, but she might not fault you for your honesty — and some authors want negative reviews, because they know the truth, sometimes negative reviews lead to sales also.

Q: what is edelweiss ?? How is different from Net Galley ? – Julie@my5monkeys

Edelweiss, before was only an online catalog for the publishers. You could go on there and find all the publishers catalogs of their soon to be released books. It was a great resource, especially if you do the ‘coming soon’ posts that are popular but a TON of work. From what I can tell, Edelweiss has morphed into a digital galley conduit, that the pubs are using to link reviewers with eArcs.  You sign up for Edelwiess and the pubs can now locate you and send you an email that says, “you’ve been invited to view XXX book”.

So…my question form is getting boring peeps, sorry I have to say it. I just get asked how to create a drop down navigation, or install a social widget so many times that if I answered it, I would just be posting the same thing over and over again. C’mon hit me with your best questions…get controversial, you can even insult me, no biggie. As long as it keeps things interesting.

XO – Happy Thursday, Talk Less, Read More.

I can’t get to all the questions, but please ask your BB101 Questions here…bring it on.