Viewpoint: I’m a Book Blogger, not a Publicist

Some of you may have seen the recent furore on Twitter regarding some negative coments about the efficacy of book bloggers and their impact on book sales.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the debate (if you can call it that) and whilst I think it’s pretty obvious that book bloggers ARE a huge part of the PR and marketing plan for many new books – I don’t think that’s not really the point of book blogging. 

At the end of the day, my blog is my little corner of the internet where I witter on about whatever I want. I usually talk about books because I have a deep, undying love for reading and have done ever since I was little. I devote hours of my time to book blogging, for free, purely because I love it. 

But – and I’m going to say this in an outdoor voice *deep breath* I’M NOT HERE TO PROVIDE FREE PUBLICITY. That’s called MARKETING –  showing off whatever you’re trying to flog in it’s most favourable light, highlighting the positives and wilfully ignoring the negatives. If I were, I’d be writing biased reviews about all of the good points of a novel and expecting to get paid for it as some kind of freelance book promoter. And you’d all see through it in about five seconds flat and stop following me.

I hate the idea that giving out an ARC or creating a blog tour is going to generate loads of publicity. That suggests that publishers expect positive responses to the books they’ve given out, purely because the blogger has received them for free. Sorry but that’s not how it works. I’ve received many ARC’s that I’ve been highly critical of (hopefully in a constructive way) because that’s the chance you take. Again – I’ll say it louder for the people at the back – I’M NOT HERE TO PROVIDE FREE PUBLICITY. All of my reviews – every single one – are my own honest opinions. And if you’ve sent me a book that I haven’t enjoyed, I’m going to tell you that. In detail. I’ll be fair and I’ll make it clear if I think I’m just not the target demographic but I won’t be anything other than honest. 

That’s not to say that I won’t help out with promoting a book if my already written, honestly positive review can help the author/publisher. Sure, they can use it for quotes; I’ll happily post it on Goodreads, Amazon etc. I’ll send out a tweet and I’ll include any hashtags or links that they want. I think it’s important to remember though that I’ll do this for any book – whether it’s an ARC, as part of a blog tour, a library book, a borrowed book, a second-hand book, a book I’ve bought myself – regardless of when it was published or how much praise it’s already received. They all get treated in exactly the same way because I’m talking about something that I love. If that’s useful to a publisher then great – if not, it doesn’t matter to me because I DON’T WORK IN P.R. This is my hobby, not my job. 

So, do I want everyone who reads one of my positive reviews to rush out and buy the book? No, I don’t. At the end of the day, it’s just an opinion. My reviews are solely written from my own viwepoint, so of course they’re biased – otherwise I’d be trying to collate everyone’s thoughts and creating some kind of meta-data overview. At the end of the day, I want my readers to think about what I’ve said and make their own judgements. I’ve read loads of fabulous, entertaining, five star reviews where I’ve known that the book in question isn’t something I’d enjoy. Like all readers over the age of ten I know my own preferences and tolerances, so for example if a reviewer goes overboard about the cute romance between two characters that’s a personal red flag for me but if they slate a book for use of profanity – meh, I won’t count that as a negative. 

Now, I could go on for hours about the intangible benefits to publishers of brand recognition, the difficulty of measuring return on investment when your sales could be impacted by a myriad of variables or the fact that you can’t attribute any profit to one specific strand of your marketing strategy if you’re not collecting customer feedback but I’ll leave my business degree knowledge alone because a) it’s boring b) it’s not my job to think about this stuff and c) IT’S NOT MY JOB TO THINK ABOUT THIS STUFF. Does it matter that my blog is tiny and statistically won’t have much reach? No. Because, for the third and final time:

I’M NOT HERE TO PROVIDE FREE PUBLICITY. 

I blog for the friendship, the discussions and the entertainment.

I blog to “meet” likeminded individuals.

I blog because I enjoy talking about books.

If my blog can help to promote a book that I love then that’s great but that’s a by-product of my primary aims. We’re all here, diligently bashing away at our keyboards because we want to share our enthusiasm, our passion and our love for reading. For free. It would be lovely if everyone could be a bit more respectful towards us – after all, without us readers the publishing industry wouldn’t exist.

Lucinda x

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18 thoughts on “Viewpoint: I’m a Book Blogger, not a Publicist

  1. Yeah book blogging is really not the same as being someone’s publicist- and it’s amazing to me that some people think that it’s about selling things *for them*. And yeah, we’re not invested in people buying the book in the same way as a PR or marketing team. This is not our job! (and even for professional reviewers- it’s still not their job to sell the book- it’s their job to entertain and sell their own newspaper/website/vlog) I so agree with your points about why we’re blogging- I got into this (and I know other people did this too) to talk to people about books I loved/hated/want to read and make friends with bookworms- I didn’t get into this cos they want to lick some random publisher’s boots! (I’d say no one does it for that reason, but I can’t speak for everyone and to each their own πŸ˜‰ ) Anyway, I saw you reply to that douchy publisher on twitter and am so glad you covered this topic!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes! Great point – all reviewers should be impartial regardless of whether it’s their job or not. Otherwise it’s not a book review, it’s an advert and no-one will trust your opinions.

      It’s a good job Twitter limits the number of characters you can use otherwise I would have sent an extremely ranty missive to that publisher! On the plus side I’ve seen lots of authors and other publishing houses expressing their love for book bloggers which is a nice outcome ☺

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah for sure! A bit off topic but I actually saw a youtube video recently saying that if you want to be successful on booktube you shouldn’t do negative reviews (partly cos that way you won’t get free books or paid for promotions, as publishers see you as a PR person, partly to make yourself look good if you ever want to get published one day)- which I really don’t agree with as a principle for reviewing books. Getting freebies or making a good reputation for yourself isn’t a good reason to get into book blogging. I think it would just lead to being stale *and* audiences can tell if you’re not being authentic (I know I’m not the only one to be put off by people who only do positive reviews). And I bet that publishers know a positive review from an honest reviewer is worth a lot more than yet another fake positive review (there are a lot of reviewers, particularly on booktube, that I went off of because they’d give a negative review, but then encourage people to buy the book and say it was 5*) Anyway sorry- that was slightly off topic and ranty!

        hahaha! Yeah it is a nice outcome!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Urgh. How do these people sleep at night? You’re literally selling your own integrity for what – Β£10? I get why people want to be successful but it’s a hell of a lot of work for the price of a paperback. Yeah I’ve also seen reviewers who’ve become successful, got sponsored by brands and suddenly everything is amazing. Then you check the comments and it’s just people saying “fake!” What’s the point? You’d never get your reputation back and I’m sure no-one is buying in to what you’re saying.

        If you wanted to carry on doing reviews you’d have to start again with an anonymous account and never let anyone know your name – who would want to do that? πŸ˜‰

        Like

  2. Great post. I think you nailed it with these three points:
    I blog for the friendship, the discussions and the entertainment.
    I blog to β€œmeet” likeminded individuals.
    I blog because I enjoy talking about books.
    Completely agree 😁

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hello. That’s a great post. Very well written; I need to up my game, lol πŸ˜‰ You make a very good point, but I also review for my own pleasure, but I also want the author to get something out of it too. I don’t see it as doing there PR for them per se, but if that’s the side effect of my review then that’s ok with me. 😊 Personally I never ask due ARCs or free books to review. With the exception of the blog tours, I but all the books I review, and even then I’ll buy the ones I get for free if I like it, to support the author. I guess I’ve been lucky in that the very few I have received I’ve really enjoyed. My views are still my own though. I wouldn’t post a positive review just because I guy the book for free. I think that the publishers that have given me a proof for free, Orenda and Bloomsbury Raven, are the kind publishers that respect the views of bloggers whether they be positive or not. At least, I’d hope so. πŸ˜„ Anyway, a very well written and intelligent post. Consider yourself followed (your blog that is. I’m not about to stalk you!). πŸ‘ŒπŸΌ

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! Haha, it took me a whole afternoon just to edit it! I don’t usually have that luxury so you’ll probably be disappointed in my other posts πŸ˜‚. I’m perhaps more sociopathic than you in that I’ll happily post a review about a book that I don’t like but I’d never tag in an author and I try to be fair about my reasoning. I’ve always assumed my blog is too small for anyone to care about!

      Thank you for following me – right back atcha! 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Lol, hey it’s your blog so you blog what the hell you like πŸ˜… and I usually feel the same way about my blog, but today has been quite the surprise. I never thought my post would get the response it has, tbh. Not that I’m complaining about that, lol. πŸ˜‚

    I usually do all my blogging at the weekends as I work long hours during the week and really can’t be arsed when I get home, truth be told. My blog is a hobby blog, and I want to keep it that way. Less pressure πŸ˜… Still, I would love to update it more often.

    Liked by 1 person

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