Monday, September 14, 2009

Book Blogger Appreciation Week has begun!

So, it's Book Blogger Appreciation Week! Hurrah!

For this first day, participants are encouraged to do a post dedicated to blogs we love that didn't make the BBAW shortlists thanks to the cruel capriciousness of fate. Tomorrow, I'll be posting an interview with blogger Beatrice from My Kingdom For a Book.

Today, however, as I avidly refresh the BBAW page to see some of the early BBAW winners (Congrats, Books on the Nightstand!), I will bring to you blogs that I personally love:

The Thrillionth Page
What does blogger Carolyn Crane review? WHATEVER SHE DAMN WELL WANTS TO, ha ha ha. Her commentaries are funny and thought-provoking (particularly her post on the "moment of longing" in romances, le sigh), and she won't hesitate to poke fun at the ridiculousness of Ye Olde Internets (after receiving a bunch of meme-ish blog awards *cough*onefromme*cough*, she created the Ultimate Blogger Award to end all blogger awards and then gave it away in a draw), the attraction of cowboy menages, and the repetitive silliness of backcover blurbs.

Happily Forever After
With all the controversy and differences in opinion over the Internets, people forget that blogs can still be fun to read even if your tastes differ. I always read Barbara's blog, even though our romantic tastes are like night and day. If I hate a book - she'll probably love it (so I'll suggest it to her!), and vice versa. So it's always great to read her blog to see what she didn't like! At the same time, Barbara writes her reviews with grace and style, providing an eloquent look at the different flavours and attractions of the romance genre that I might not have discovered yet.

The Misadventures of Super Librarian
Wendy, here, is romance's very own superhero. She writes reviews, commentaries, and whatever else strikes her fancy. She also will not put up with Internet bullshit. The blogosphere has had its share of controversies, but Super Librarian is there to remind us that, "Dude, it's the internet. Quityerbitchin'."

Ramblings on Romance
Ramblings on Romance is a lovely blog, and not just because Kristie J and I are LIKE THIS *crosses fingers*. She (and the other blogs I've mentioned) blog what they like, because they like it. Most bloggers don't get paid, so we have to provide our own motivation. And when Kristie J gets motivated, hooooooly crap. We get authors like Judith James getting better book deals! I'd hate to see what would happen if Kristie J hated something - would the author vanish down a well?

That being said, I do have a question to ask of the blogosphere: what is wrong with people getting paid for reviews? One of BBAW's biggest controversies was how one of the blogs nominated got paid for reviews, and people assume their opinion has been bought. How is that? From what I understand, the blogger was upfront about it and kept a list of prices in return for book reviews. I have a problem with a blogger being motivated by money instead of just plain reading, but how is what they do unethical? Maybe I'm ignorant of the situation, but how, for instance, is this different than receiving an ARC from a publisher?

ARCs are free books, but they cost the publisher money - hence, they are sacrificing money to a blogger in return for a review. I've received many ARCs while writing for The Green Man Review and let me tell you, it has never prevented me from writing a negative review when one was warranted. One example - I received a press kit from TA Barron's publicist about his Tree of Avalon series. Because the ARC was the last book in the series, the publicist also sent me the first two books of the series, in hardcover, for free - along with a pretty keychain and postcards, the whole deal.

I really, really, REALLY didn't like The Tree of Avalon. I wrote a review explaining as such. I threw out the keychain, in case you're wondering - not because I didn't like it but because the chain snapped (it was a very pretty keychain). So, to me, ARCs are an investment/gamble on the part of publishers - how is paying for a review any different? I'm not asking this in defence of the paid blogger, I'm asking this because I am genuinely curious as to where the whole "unethical" argument comes from. Let's discuss!


  1. This topic of receiving ARCs has been on-going for a long time. Someone put it in perspective for me. We put in a few hours to read and review, basically giving out free PR. What is the big deal about getting a free book?

    On another note, I think it is wrong to sell your services to authors where they will have to pay for your review a book. If you become a reviewer for a newspaper or magazine or other on-line site who pays you, fine.

  2. AnimeJuuuune! thanks for such kind words. Oh, wow, this is so sweet of you. Also, I had no idea this was actually going on! I think I have the totally wrong post up today.

    I love all the other blogs you mention here, too!

    Oh, and you know I was just screwing around with the award. I DO appeciate awards. Little CJ made me do it!

  3. Okay, I meant I knew BBAW was going on, but not this event. Where the heck do I go for a list of BBAW events?

  4. I don't see the problem with bloggers getting ARCs. My issue is when bloggers hold up ARCs as proof of their importance.

    Unless one of us turns into Oprah Jr. overnight, trust me....none of us is all that important :)

    As for paid reviews, I think it muddies the waters. If the author is paying a reviewer, does that mean they've just effectively "bought" a positive review? I think having a middle man helps a little bit with this. I know Publisher's Weekly pays their reviewers (although, not much!), and certainly you can find ho-hum and negative reviews in their publication.

    But if a blogger/reviewer is charging and I see nothing but glowing reviews on their site? Yeah, sorry. Not buying.

    Also, I think it's money wasted for authors. For every one blog that charges there are literally hundreds of alternatives who will give you the same amount of digital ink for free.

  5. Very nicely done AJ. I like all these blogs too.

    As for payment, I don't see an ARC as payment. Although I would guess most ARCs are given to fans the author is hoping to get a favorable review from.

    As for author's paying for reviews, I'm with Wendy. If any blogger site is always giving glowing reviews then the site and the blogger lose credibility. No one will be reading the reviews which was the whole purpose in the first place.

    I don't think payment has to necessarily preclude an even handed review.

  6. I don't see anything wrong with ARC's. With me though, it's my own overinflated sense of obligation. (and again - this is ME I'm talking about). If someone gives me an ARC I feel like I HAVE to read it and with me still buying so many books and picking the books I read strictly by mood, rather then any other factor, I could have books sitting in my TBR pile for ages and then I'd start feeling bad that I hadn't read it yet, but to read it when I'm not in the mood - the reading would become more of a chore then a way to relax and escape into another world. Same principal goes for doing reviewing for another site or something. As soon as I'm told I SHOULD or HAVE to read something - all desire for it flies out the window. That would make reviewing rather difficult :-)
    On top of that, my reading has become very sporadic the last couple of years so I wouldn't be able to keep up. Time was when I could read four or five books a week. Now it's closer to 2 or 3 or even (eeeeek) sometimes only 1!!!!
    As for getting paid for reviews - I'm not saying this happens, but the perception COULD be that they might not be 100% honest if one is getting paid to do it.

    And last - but not least - awww - thank you for your nice words (insert curtsy and hoping I don't fall over sideways doing it)

  7. Katiebabs --> Aaaah, now that I understand. I was never slamming ARCs, I get them all the time when I review for Green Man. But I do get about selling services to authors, rather than being paid by a middle party that has no bias towards or against authors (like a newspaper).

    Carolyn Crane -->You're welcome. If you check the BBAW website, they should have a list of what they've planned for each day.

    Wendy --> Yeah, I can totally see how it would be a waste of money when there's a whole Internet out there willing to review the book for free.

    Rosie --> Same here. I'm understanding this part a lot better now.

    Kristie J--> True - you are the master of your internet domain, reading what you want, when you want to. I do see how ARCs come with an obligation. As someone who reviews for an e-magazine who gets free books that don't always look like the hottest thing to read, I can relate.

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