I know I don't share my personal opinions or thoughts very often.
However, I've been thinking about this a lot recently, and decided it would be worth writing about.
Some thoughts on book blogging...
I've been stressed, because I've been noticing in the past couple of months, the rise of bloggers who have joined book blogging solely for the purpose of getting ARCs.
While I'm definitely not trying to point fingers or speculate on the motives of these bloggers, this ARCs or Die! attitude came across my radar, when I noticed that some of the bloggers were utilizing sketchy, shortcutting behavior to push their way to the top - e.g. in one specific case, "borrowing" questions that I've used in my Q&As with authors before.
(Seriously. One of the questions is so specific, I was flabbergasted when I saw the blogger reuse it. If you're going to copy from me, shouldn't you at least change the question a little? Just so you're not being that obvious?)
In that particular case, the blogger has been rewarded for it, by receiving ARCs and getting access to authors, whom she interviews using my questions. And while I generally operate under the idea that book blogging is a community effort, I'm not going to lie. I was angry. I was depressed. No one likes feeling like someone else is profiting off of their work.
In fact, I was so bummed, I spent a good week after discovering that my questions had been "borrowed" by this blogger, asking myself why I blog at all. What's the point of working to spread book love, if plagiarists can gain splashy numbers so quickly? Was I making any sort of positive impact at all?
However, after a series of events yesterday, I've definitely changed my tune. Yes, I'm still angry about that blogger plagiarizing my work. But yesterday also reminded me just how much of an impact a single individual can have, when spreading a genuine love of books.
First, I received a lovely letter from a thirteen-year-old friend yesterday, telling me how much she loves a Scholastic ARC I've sent her:
(Also, Kat Falls: we need a sequel, stat!)
Second, I hung out with a group of awesome writers/bloggers/publishing professionals at Katherine Longshore's book party for Manor of Secrets yesterday.
Hearing how the writers were all in different stages of their publication journeys, and how bloggers and publishing professionals were joining together to help spread the love for their books, was so inspiring to me.
Not only did I walk away from yesterday evening knowing that I could genuinely help spread the world for an up-and-coming writer in a positive way, but also knowing that they had my back too - both in terms of blogging and in writing - again reminded me of why I do this.
Third, I received a very sweet email from a children's book writer, who enthusiastically introduced me to his upcoming title, and asked me if I wanted to review it.
The fact that the writer sought me out, trusting me to help spread the love for his work, again reminded me of how lucky I am to do this. Even if I can reach just one person about this author's new title, who knows how many people that person can reach - as evidenced by my thirteen-year-old pal? And isn't that more than worth it?
The bottom line here is: I'm not a big fan of bloggers who are currently gaining popularity in book blogging for the wrong reasons, especially when they take shortcuts.
But yesterday was a strong reminder that those other people also shouldn't matter to me.
So who cares if they're gaining a ridiculous number of stats or twitter followers with their tactics? That's all immaterial. Because at the end of the day, I know that any ARCs or attention I've received from authors or publishers have been legitimately gained through hard work.
I know that the friendships and relationships I have with the publishing, writing and blogging community is one built on genuine respect and friendship, and that they've changed my life, just as I hopefully have helped change theirs.
I know that I'm genuinely making a long-term impact with the reviews, ideas and books I put out in the world, and I'm impacting and inspiring readers, in a positive and forever sort of way.
As Tom always reminds me: this is a marathon, not a sprint. And I'm going to enjoy every moment of it.
Also, to the blogger in question: Take this as notice that I know what you're doing. However, I'm not going to call you out. Instead, I urge you to use your own work in the future - you're going to find it all the more satisfying. Trust me.