WordPress defines a certain type of blog that centers around books, but only does book tours, as Book Tour Blogs and they are considered in violation of WordPress’ terms of service.
I received this tweet yesterday, because it seems a few have recently noticed WordPress’ defintion:
I had heard some grumbling, but I didn’t think it was a big deal. Because if you use a FREE program like WordPress.com and Blogger.com there is a good chance you are violating their TOS in some way. Because they have a lot of rules. There is a reason they are free, the point is for them to make money from your Free site, not for you to make money or get recognition. Just keep it in mind, when you violate TOS on a free site and someone reports you, they make your site go away. Poof. They don’t even have to email and tell you about it before hand.
This is not WordPress.org – if you have a self-hosted WordPress site, in which you pay for hosting, you do not fall under any Terms of Service from WordPress. You fall under Terms of Service for the host you purchased hosting with. Wordpress.com is also the worst, as far as TOS regulations. They have very strict rules about advertising on their free sites and they are also trying to push you to “upgrade” your wordpress.com blog and buy paid features. Their biggest restrictions are advertising. You can not post banner ads, or advertising content on your wordpress.com site.
This is Huge Deal for WordPress.com users. You can’t post advertising content on a free wordpress.com blog.
If you are like the majority of users, you think, “well this doesn’t apply to me. I don’t have advertising banners on my site. I’m good.” But, the thing is, WordPress isn’t just looking at those banners on your sidebar. They are looking at your content. They are looking for Spam and advertising content. And WordPress’ definition of spam and advertising content is what has sent up a red flag…because…
WordPress thinks Book Tours are spam.
The thing is, I know where WordPress is coming from, remember when I came under fire for this post? My dislike for “book blitzes” and generic cover reveals is evident. I don’t like them. Because they are spam.
There is no question about it. If you are posting content that someone just sent to you in an email, regurgitated copy from a Marketing Agency, PR firm, Publisher or Author – you are regurgitating their advertising copy. Advertising copy pushed over and over again is Spam. A Book Blitz, a book tour that gets bloggers to post book covers, buy links and synopsis with a giveaway tacked onto the end, no original content, no deviation in structure or copy is a repeated advertisement on multiple blogs. WordPress thinks this is advertising/spam, I think this is spam and your readers are just ignoring the content because they’ve seen it on a million other sites. Shame for the blog, because they didn’t get paid to generate advertising on their site. They were just bribed with the hopes of a good giveaway. Again, WordPress doesn’t really care if you didn’t get paid or receive any compensation for the content. They still believe it is spam.
And they go so far as to target blogs that only do book tours.
WordPress defines it ingeniously, doesn’t even call these sites “book blogs” – they are book tour blogs. Meaning: these sites only do book tours.
Book tour blogs: Blogs that consist of scraped, pre-written content, as opposed to original book reviews, for the purpose of promoting books and driving traffic to other promotional and giveaway sites.
They define these sites and single them out because they do not want them associated with sites that do “original book reviews.” This is because there is one big mantra that most Ruling Class internet groups abide by…
Book Blitzes, Cover Reveals that just post the cover and the synopsis along with press releases are not original. And now if your site consists solely of these regurgitated, copy and paste tours – you can get kicked off of sites like WordPress.com. If you do a lot of these tours, even if you do an “original book review” in between these tours…you can still be in TOS violation.
Keep this in mind the next time you sign up for a Book Tour. Because the basis of any book tour is that YOU are doing them a favor by generating advertising for the book. You shouldn’t be required to just post a generic excerpt, or synopsis. And frankly book tour companies shouldn’t want you to just post generic copy, because people don’t read it! A books synopsis and cover are posted on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble…why should it be posted all over the blogosphere, where originality is prized?
In the WordPress Forum one of the WordPress “Happiness Engineer” posts:
We do expect all of our users to create original content on their sites and to comply with copyright laws. However, fair-use excerpts of content published elsewhere, particularly in the context of a review, is generally considered to be acceptable both from copyright standards and our Terms of Service.
If the bloggers are posting their own, or a guest blogger’s, content to their own blog, that’s fine. If there are a number of bloggers all posting the exact same pre-written content to their blogs, however, that may be considered spam or advertising.
Please refer to our Terms of Service for further information: http://en.wordpress.com/tos/
How to Avoid Your Post Getting Considered Spam?
If you love doing cover reveals – comment on the cover. Give your opinion of what you like or dislike about the cover. If you are posting an excerpt – comment about that excerpt! Tell us your thoughts on the content. It doesn’t have to be a thesis, or a lengthy diatribe about key elements of the information…just make sure yours is different from the other 30 blog posts that are joining you on the tour.
Then it is not spam. Then it is more like affiliated advertising and less like spam.
Just keep this in mind the next time you join a blog tour. You might not be on WordPress.com, you might be on Blogger or a self-hosted Worpdress platform, which doesn’t fall under these TOS guidelines, but maybe you can learn a lesson from the WordPress guidelines. These type of posts are being viewed as spam/advertising. So, it might be a good idea to either avoid promo posts or change them up so they have original content in them.
More information on this topic:
Have you been waiting patiently for these gems? No? I wonder why. Could it be you judged this book by its cover? No? Don’t lie. I totally judged.
Our first gem…
I think the ‘shopped head on the floating body builder says it all about this particular cover…or maybe it was the fact that this was actually produced from a publisher and a staff cover-artist. Nothing on this cover makes sense, from the typography – how many fonts can you count, not to mention that 3 that is just up there Bear 3 County? Or maybe I’m thrown off that the author is The Lynn Hagen. Or what the actual series is.. ManLove Collection (Is ManLove one word?) or Bear 3 County? Luckily my eye keeps on getting drawn to the man nips to the ‘shopped in bear…so I don’t pay much attention to the typography.
I understand what the artist was trying to do here, but they failed miserably. This is one of the most boring covers I have seen in awhile, boring but at the same time, the bad gradient assaults my retinas. Then the fact that they couldn’t visually center the text assaults my equilibrium. Now you don’t have to center text on a cover, this is not a set in stone design style, but the type is so large and so “close” to being centered that it only looks like a mistake and not a design style. And BTW my iPhone doesn’t look like this. There is another edition of this cover which is much better, even though the circles are a bit much.
Just ewww. Ewww.
This one screams DIY. I can’t figure out what the circle point thing is. And that is all I see. Or maybe the halo around the silhouette.
And finally….who wore stock hottie the best?
I’m going for the Tentacle one…just for the sake of tentacles…
For today’s Book Blogger Buzz Tour I have the wonderful Jannelle of Jannelle Reads!
I had the pleasure of meeting Janelle at RT2014 and she is definitely a blogger to know! The fact that she is a chef and includes great recipes with her book love makes my day, since I’m a foodie along with being a book lover…how can you not be?
Jannelle will be discussing on the tour today:
What trends do you want to see next in book blogging?
Hello everyone and thank you, Rachel, for having me on your blog!
So today we are going to be talking about which trends I would like to see next in book blogging.
Honestly, what I really want to talk about first is the trend I feel like we will be seeing next in the book blogging community – book vlogging.
What is vlogging, exactly? Vlogging is a video blog (you can find these all over YouTube). The most popular vlogs you can find are usually of the comedic and beauty variety with followers in the millions – it’s insane! These people become “YouTube famous” from the amount of subscribers they have on their channels.
Recently, I stumbled upon the book vloggers who call themselves, “book-tubers.” I have become semi-obsessed following their different channel updates which can vary anywhere from book reviews to bookshelf tours. I even wrote an entire blog post of my favorite YouTubers which you can find on my blog, here.
Not only do I believe that is this the next big thing in book blogging but also what I want to see next in the book blogging community. Because – let’s be real people – the masses love television – I love television. Anything visual and pretty (or, let’s face it, gruesome) is what everyone wants to watch/read/be a part of. Book vlogging also has appeal because it creates a more personal experience for the audience. Since reality TV came into our lives, we have become infatuated with “behind the scenes” news and videos of what people are doing when they are not on camera or on camera but at home. We’re nosy, people!
And if we are honest with ourselves, the only time that books begin to get a mass following is when there is a movie adaptation made from said book because this is what attracts the masses.
I like it when some bloggers/writers say that they don’t worry about being heard; they write to simply write. Well, props to them for their love of anonymity but I want to be heard. We write for those words to be read and we speak so that our words are heard.
By going on the vlogging route, we can almost guarantee that we will be expanding our audience - win!
It is also a lot more practical for the everyday person to watch/listen to something while they are taking care of anything else – cooking, cleaning, etc. It takes time for people to sit down and read something and people are trying to save as much time as possible while trying to make the most out of every second.
In this and most every aforementioned aspect, vlogging>blogging. The only problem? Thousands of people are trying to create their own channel and therefore, their own following. Slowly, this is becoming the next big thing and trying to find a unique voice will become progressively more difficult as time passes. The solution? Start vlogging – now!
What trends do you think we will be seeing next in book blogging and which would you like to see?
Don’t forget to enter to win a Kindle Fire!
July Buzz Tour Schedule
Mama Kitty Reviews appearing on Me & Reading
Topic: Reading for Enjoyment vs. Reading for Reviewing – the difference in the reading for enjoyment and the toll that reading review copies had done to our hobby.
Me & Reading appearing on Contagious Reads
Topic: Why are you a reader?
Raw Books Online appearing on Delicously Wicked Books
Topic: What I look for in the book blogs I follow
Reading is my Treasure appearing on Jenna does Books
Topic: What YA has taught me / how it has affected my life
Chapter Break appearing on Reading with ABC
Topic: Ten reasons you CAN’T read and you are dying on the inside.
Contagious Reads appearing on Reading Black & White
Topic: Organization tips and tricks
Second Run Reviews appearing on Bibliognome
Topic: Books you feel need more attention. A top ten list. Tell why you think they need to be read by everyone.
Fiktshun appearing on Once Upon a Twilight
Topic: Rant: Things you wish others would stop “judging” other book bloggers on
Bibliognome appearing on Chapter Break
Topic: You’ve been asked to write a short story starring a gnome character, what would the gnome be named and how would the story go?
Gwynn White appearing on Reading is my Treasure
Topic: What last books in a trilogy or series do you wish you had never read? Why?
Reading with ABC appearing on Ali’s Bookshelf Reviews
Topic: Your Favorite Blogger Moment. Recount it.
Reading Black & White appearing on My Midnight Fantasies
Topic: What are those wonderful things you see in other blogger’s reviews and think are wonderful? Or what do you like to see in other blogger’s reviews?
Ali’s Bookshelf Reviews appearing on Second Run Reviews
Topic: Your Biggest Blogger Fail. Recount it.
Parajunkee appearing on Midnyte Reader
Topic: Are you creative or just depressed? A mental survival guide for bloggers.
Delicously Wicked Books appearing on Stephanie’s Book Reports
Topic: After Fifty Shades. What’s the next big thing?
Stephanie’s Book Reports appearing on Raw Books Online
Topic: What trends do you hope are popular next in Romance/Erotica?
Janelle Reads appearing on Parajunkee
Topic: What trends do you want to see next in book blogging?
Midnyte Reader appearing on Harlequin Junkie
Topic: Audiobooks vs. …regular books?
Jenna does Books appearing on Fiktshun
Topic: Hardcover vs. Paperback
Once Upon a Twilight appearing on Gwynn White
Topic: Rant: Things you wish other book bloggers would stop doing
My Midnight Fantasies appearing on Mama Kitty Reviews
Topic: My favorite animals to read about in fiction – or my favorite paranormal shifter characters and why.
Harlequin Junkie appearing on Janelle Reads
Topic: Dealing with your first negative review from an author you’ve enjoyed connecting with on social networks.
Our Book Blogger Problems Can’t be Understood b
- Shelf Space
- Finishing an ARC that just happens to be a cliffhanger and realizing the next book doesn’t come out for a year and a half!
- Getting hyped up by a title and then hating it
- Purses big enough to fit our books/eReader and still look cute
- Feigning illness so you can stay inside and read
- Your online friends know you better then your coworkers
- You now only receive Barnes & Noble gift certificates for every holiday
- You seriously have to decide if you would rather get take-out tonight or purchase the latest Kresley Cole title (hate budgets!)
- The phenom new widget/gadget/plugin is only available on THAT OTHER blogging platform!
- Your blogging nemesis just had her blog redesigned and it looks so good…feeling inadequate
- You just can’t wrap your head around HTML/CSS
- Five giveaway entries (WTH is that?!)
- Workplace has a firewall that blocks social media!
- Your favorite author is having a midlife crisis and is now writing Western themed erotica instead of your favorite series…
- Writing a really negative review about a book and then running into that author at a reading convention, of course he/she notices you…
- Getting glared at by said author while you share an elevator
- Authors going on hiatus even though they haven’t finished their series…
- Forgetting a blog tour
Did I miss any of your particular Book Blogger Problems??
The bane of every Bloggers existence is email.
The key is organization. And knowing that you can’t do it all or respond to all of the emails.
Here are some tips to keeping your email organized and easy to use.
- Label & Categorize
Tag all your VIPs, contacts and cobloggers with special labels or flags or have them auto-moved to special folders.
Delete messages that you don’t need. Archive and delete. Don’t be scared. Just delete.
- Special Email Time
Designate a special time for checking and responding to emails. Maybe it is first thing in the morning, or the first thing you do when you sit down at your desk. Just make sure you set aside time specifically for email.
- Respond in a timely fashion
If you don’t respond to the email when you read it, chances are you will let it go and maybe not respond at all. Respond right after you read the email or shortly after.
- Utilize Filters
Spam filters, filters set for specific keywords, filters for certain @domains. Put those filters to work. For example, my Mail program scans my emails and if it says “review my book” the email goes into a special folder.
- Folders Are Your Friends
Create folders, to-do, for immediate response, interesting etc and use them.
- Check email daily
Skipping a day can be disastrous if you get a ton of email, make sure to check daily.
All that junk email you are getting takes time to delete. Unsubscribe from all those lists. And then your inbox will not be cluttered and you will not have to keep hitting delete.
- Quick & Dirty Responses
You don’t have to write a novel when sending a response email. The average email is five sentences, don’t waste your time or the recipients time, get to the point quickly.
- Use Templates
Do you generate the same kind of email over and over again? Requests, or introductions – save them as drafts and just INSERT key words needed.
Do you implement Headers?
SEO 101 and Web Standards say that proper blog writing for optimal reading and search engine crawls includes a hierarchy in your post. Structure.
That means hierarchical headers should be implemented, offset by paragraphs and list items.
So instead of using a pretty image…
You should use the H2 tag and announce that the post is a…
Of course if you have fancy CSS skills or can afford someone to do it for you, you can style your Header tags to look like images. This gives you the best of both worlds, the crazy look of an image, with the searchable text of well text.
It really is up to you, sometimes inserting an image is a hassle and takes more time. Much easier to just select Header3 from the drop down in the post editor. Not to mention inserting images into your post can increase your load time when people view your post.
But, images can be so pretty.
What do you prefer?
Me personally, I utilize the headers. I have them styled in a way that they look kind of like images. My search engine traffic though isn’t crazy, so I’m not a testament to SEO – all my traffic comes from social networks and the Google Traffic I do get, is a lot of people looking for my movie reviews and free downloads of books. Unfortunately.
P.S. If you like images you can download the FreeGraphics here, in the style of the images shown above.
Images included (meant for white post areas):
- Author Interview
- Blog Tour
- Cover Reveal
- Guest Post
- Join the Fun
- Pardon the Rant…