*This is just my opinion, and what I’ve learned in my two years of blogging. This is by no means fact or law.
Isn’t it sad that I feel the need to insert a disclaimer?
Now, for most of these things, I’m more lenient when it comes to newbie bloggers who don’t know any better. I probably made plenty of mistakes in my first months of blogging (I admit I was guilty of excessive commenting to get traffic in my early days *cringes*)!
1. Don’t leave generic comments.
You know what I’m talking about: Those one liner comments that simply say “Great post” or “Great review.” To me, this kind of comment tells me that the commenter didn’t actually read said review. Why was it great? You seriously don’t have anything else to say other than that? I’m not asking for a novel, guys. But a sentence or two would be nice, if only to prove that someone actually reads my posts and cares about what I have to say.
Now, if it’s someone that I know well and that comments regularly, I don’t mind a one-liner comment (as long as it’s not “great review” lol) because I know they care about my content, and chances are they at least skimmed the post.
If you want more detail, Cee @ Novel Hermit explains it perfectly!
2. Don’t ask people to follow your blog.
There is nothing more annoying than getting a tweet or comment asking you to “please stop by my blog.” This goes right along with the half-assed comments, and it’s especially bad on memes. You know, when someone says “Great post! Here’s mine: [link to their blog]” HOW in holy hell can you expect someone to care about your blog, when you’ve made no effort to care about theirs?! I mean, I know how hard it is to start blogging, believe me, I KNOW. But when you see the same generic comment from the same person over and over and over again, it makes you think that they just post comments to get traffic. If you’re going to link your blog, that’s fine. But leave a meaningful comment! People are much more likely to return the favor.
When someone says to me, “Hi! Can you please check out my blog?” I ignore the comment entirely. Maybe it’s rude, but hey. If you can’t do for me what you want me to do for you…just saying. Now, when someone leaves a meaningful comment on one of my posts, especially a thought-provoking one, I’m probably going to visit their blog, follow them on twitter, and maybe even subscribe to their posts. I like to talk to bookish people. If I feel like I’m going to make a new friend from the interaction, I’m more willing to put in a little effort. I have no interest in someone who only cares about pageviews.
I personally never link to my blog when leaving comments (the only exception being recently, when I leave comments on other people’s Life of a Blogger posts). I usually comment under ‘Jessi @ Novel Heartbeat,’ that way if someone is interested, they can seek me out. I don’t want to force my blog on anyone!
3. Don’t take something that isn’t yours.
This is a major, major thing for me. If you are participating in any meme/challenge/etc, always link back to the host. Never, ever take someone’s feature or meme and make it your own. NEVER copy and paste from anyone else’s blog, unless it’s a meme or you have direct permission from that person to use their content. If you’re not sure, ask permission first. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Sure, there may be no original idea out there, but if you do exactly what someone else is doing (i.e. You start a feature with the same exact name as someone else’s…not cool), it’s called plagiarism. Stealing an idea is still considered plagiarism, guys.
This goes the same for pictures. If someone has specifically made a graphic for their blog, they’ve probably spent lots of time on it (for example, Ashley’s awesome graphics she puts in reviews). Taking it and making it look like it’s yours is ignorant and disgraceful of that person’s hard work.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to be inspired by others. But take that inspiration and make it your own. You want to do a Blogger Spotlight post? Well, someone else already has it. So what should you do instead? Come up with a unique name for it, that fits your blog, like Reanna’s Phantasmic Friends. You can’t just take something that isn’t yours. It’s hurtful, and believe me, it feels awful to be on the receiving end, to have your hard work taken.
If you see something like this, speak up! Sometimes it can be an honest mistake – i.e. someone simply forgot to link up. (Usually in this case, the person will be very polite, and will comply quickly and easily.) But if it’s blatant theft, then the content needs to be taken down (and this is where it has the potential to get ugly; because the offender is likely to get very defensive – which, to me, is the first sign that they know they’re wrong). BUT – don’t post it all over social media: If it’s someone else’s work, email the person that owns the original content and let them know, then it’s up to them to decide how to handle it. If it’s your work, email the person that has taken your work and politely tell them that it’s yours and they should take it down or change it (it’s probably going to be difficult and awkward, there’s no way to avoid that). Things like this should always be handled privately and professionally unless the thief refuses to cooperate.
As far as reviews go, I personally never read reviews of a book that I’m a) currently reading, or b) reading soon, because I don’t want any phrases of someone else’s review to stand out in my mind. I want each and every review to be 100% me!
I’ll say it again: DON’T take something that isn’t yours. Ever.
4. Don’t obsess over ARCs.
If all you care about is ARCs, you should quit right now. Sorry if that’s harsh, but that is not the reason you should book blog. Bloggers who are only in it for free books are a disgrace to the rest of the book blogging community.
Don’t tweet authors repeatedly and ask for a copy of their book. Chances are, they don’t even handle ARCs anyway. Not to mention it’s rude and annoying. It’s one thing to say “Ohhh, Anita, I hope I get an ARC of Unhinged, I can’t wait to read it!” but another thing entirely to say “Hey Anita, do you think you could get me an ARC of Unhinged? Pretty please?” (This didn’t actually happen by the way, I made up the scenario ;p) The answer is going to be no, because she probably can’t.
At the same time, don’t get butthurt because someone got an ARC you wanted. Oh, I know all about ARC envy. Many a time I’ve coveted a shiny ARC that someone else had (*coughs* The Winner’s Curse). As a book blogger, it’s hard not to be envious! But don’t let it turn into a big deal. Don’t get pissed at somebody because they got one and you didn’t. It’s not their fault! And don’t get angry because someone posted on your Waiting on Wednesday post that they have it. They’re probably just excited to read it too, not shoving it in your face to be malicious. *rolls eyes* This goes along with the same old discussion that people are too touchy these days.
5. Don’t attack someone for their opinion.
Just because you LOVED say, Divergent for example, doesn’t mean everyone else will. There’s no need to verbally deride someone because they didn’t like your favorite book. We all have opinions! Maybe they loved something that you hate. Not everyone is going to enjoy the same things; you have to learn to accept that. If you see someone complaining about something in a book, don’t tell them “Well, you just didn’t understand what the author was trying to do.” There’s no need to insult a reader’s intelligence because they don’t agree with you!
6. Don’t bash any authors
There’s a major difference between author bashing and negative reviews. You can definitely rant about the book in a negative review without demeaning the author’s name. (I did a discussion about bad reactions to negative reviews not too long ago!) Yes, a ‘negative’ review may still be painful to read, but as an author, they have to realize that when you put something on the market for consumers, you’re opening yourself up to public opinion. And isn’t it the point of a book reviewer to be 100% honest?
BUT – don’t ever call the author names, or say that he (or she) is a piece of trash for writing a terrible book. The author may be a perfectly respectable dude, you just didn’t like his book. Maybe someone else will. Or maybe writing just isn’t his forte. Either way, the author isn’t a bad person because the book was disagreeable.
I hate when these things happen. Especially when they start unnecessary drama. I loooove the book blogging world and I love all the new friends I’ve made along the way, so it makes me sad to see bloggers go at each other. Sometimes, yes, it’s warranted. If a blogger crosses a line, I completely agree with standing up for yourself, and even your friends, as long as it doesn’t turn into a lynch mob. If the blogger admits her mistake and apologizes, let it go! If they don’t, be professional. Don’t lower yourself to their level. It makes you look bad, too, when you call names and fling insults. If you have to go public, just stick to the facts and try your best to stay professional.
Ultimately, what I want to know is: Can’t we all just get along?!
Yes, I know, it’s impossible. But one can hope, right?