Bloggers, BEA, and Bullying

There has been a heated debate and debacle on the internets lately about ARCs, BEA, ALA, and Bullies on GR  (and the people who tried to stop the bullying by exposing accounts and snide comments). It has been a bit of a disaster all up in here and I don’t really have much to add, except “For shame”, to what has already been said. If you want to get caught up on all of this I recommend reading the following, thoughtful, and intelligent postings.

The Book Smugglers (an excellent book blogging site) has been at the forefront of discussing the issues, especially since they have even been involved on some of the panels at the BEA Bloggers Conference this year. Here is their recap of the conference and why they felt it was more about authors and publishers and how bloggers should be cheerleaders, than it was about tips for bloggers and being better writers and bloggers. They also wrote an excllent piece on ARCs, Librarians, and Bloggers which links to all the other relevent postings including a well written response from The Lost Lola whose video started it all. You can see I lean toward the Book Bloggers side of things, especially when I read this post by a librarian who was not so nice in her assumptions of bloggers. Read in a Single Sitting discusses non-professional (those who don’t make money blogging and promoting books) versus unprofessional behavior over on her Bookish News and Publishing Tidbits.

In addition to the “librarians vs bloggers” postings that has been discussed recently among the blogs is a not so new discussion on bloggers bad reviews of author’s books, and how these authors and publishers respond. Apparently, bloggers are supposed to like every book that they read. This would not be true of anyone, and I find most bloggers simply say the book was not for them and why. This also doesn’t make them unprofessional, in spite of what other people may say. Attacking and author and giving a critique of a reading are two different things.  Foz Meadows discusses bad book reviews, GoodRead’s unmonitored forums, and the definition of bullying over at her blog. Definitely interesting and thought fodder.

And now because I’ve been thoroughly intense with these links and it is all a bit depressing, I present the mandatory kitten to cheer you up!

By Krzysztof P. Jasiutowicz Kpjas (Own work) GFDL via Wikimedia Commons

By Krzysztof P. Jasiutowicz Kpjas (Own work) GFDL via Wikimedia Commons

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10 thoughts on “Bloggers, BEA, and Bullying

  1. It is a shame. We get snobbery in the visual art world too. Friends with other artists until your work gets more attention then whoah! Look out. Watch your back.

    I met a musician who was an accomplished jazz guitar player. He was not the least bit snobbish about music. He would say, “If its good for you its good,” to anyone’s choice of music. I liked that approach.

    • ARC- Advanced Reader Copy (unfinished product of a book given before publication to people who will read and review to create excitement for the final book)

      BEA- Book Expo America (book conference with authors and publishers)

      ALA- American Library Association (association has a paid membership (normally librarians) but also holds a conference where anyone can attend if they pay the conference fee)

      GR- GoodReads a networking site for people who read books.

      (I’ve had to look up a couple of these in the last few days also, so you really aren’t that late to the party. :D)

  2. I did notice at BEA that it seemed like some publishers were treating bloggers as free advertising and wanted bloggers to cater to their whims and avoid negativity. That defeats the purpose of writing book reviews. As a blogger, I do end up liking most of the books that I read, but that’s because I wouldn’t generally pick up a book that I don’t already suspect that I’ll enjoy.

    I wasn’t at ALA, just BEA (mostly for budgetary reasons, and two conferences within a month of each other is a bit redundant), but I find the whole librarian versus blogger debate interesting because I’m a blogger who is in grad school for library science. A lot of librarians don’t realize how much time and effort goes into blogging about books. The fact that we don’t get paid doesn’t mean that we aren’t professionals.

    • There has been a lot of interesting push back against publishers from bloggers with the way some publishers have been treating bloggers recently. I think dialogue is important, but that in the end most bloggers are doing this out of love not for any type of obligation, express or implied (as my law professor used to say).

      The library v. blogger debate is interesting, especially as a lot of librarians (or those studying to be a librarian) are bloggers. I think it is a small sector that have bad feelings toward each other and maybe as misunderstandings are cleared, both can exist alongside each other as contributors to this important area of life- generating enthusiasm for books.

      Avoiding negativity does defeat the purpose of reviews. That is what blurbs, summaries, and agents are for, not bloggers.

      • Agreed. Book bloggers would be writing about books whether or not they’re receiving copies from publishers. We review advanced copies as a favor to publishers to get the word out about new books, but we’re not limited to just that, and we’re not just free advertising.

    • I agree completely, Grace. It might be different here in Australia as both the publishing and blogging scenes are much smaller, but it does seem like we get a lot more support than bloggers in the US. The publishers here are very personable and friendly, and the size of the scene means that we tend to form quite close relationships. I do always appreciate that no one (other than the odd author!) has questioned my generally grumpy reviews.

      Is it, then, librarians’ perceptions that bloggers are somehow ousting them as a go-between between publisher and book? That our expertise may be requiring changes on their end?

      • I think it’s more that librarians are being hit hard by a public perception of irrelevance, and even though library usage has gone up since the recession hit, budgets have been going way down, and it’s making everyone a wee bit irrational.

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