Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Book Bloggers Are People, Too

Okay, I'm writing a blog in a response to a blog, so it might help if you read the blog I'm responding to first. In this case, it's this blog: 'Ain't nothing gonna break  my stride': or WTF YAlitchat.

Several things I want to point out before proceeding: That blog was written by April at Good Books &Wine, a person and blog I am unfamiliar with. I was only directed towards this blog because of somebody else's retweet.

The other thing is the really important part - I did not and have not read any of the #YAlitchat from February 2nd. It's because of that that I've been hesitant to comment on this blog, but it's been bothering me for a week now, so I've decided that I've got to say something.

If you didn't read the blog (which you should), I'll just explain the main points. YAlitchit is basically just a discussion on Twitter where people talk about young adult books. It's pretty self explanatory. According to what April says in her blog (which I have not confirmed), some things were mentioned in the YA lit chit staying (and I'll quote from her blog):

"People honestly think bloggers don’t sell books. People seem to also think negative reviews are unprofessional." 

"Towards the late middle/end of the chat, the tweets were flying about negative reviews and book bashers and blah-di-blah. If ever there is a pet peeve I have, that peeve is people telling me I can’t write about something I didn’t like."

"And, OF COURSE we get tweets that seem to me to be completely on the fringe. I.e. ‘bloggers who bash books should be blacklisted‘ and ‘bloggers should never bash an author’s writing"

And again, I'm going to encourage you to read her blog if you haven't already done so. Go. Hurry. I'll be here waiting when you get back.

The reason I debated on comment is because I didn't read the YAlitchat, so I don't know what exactly was said, and I don't like commenting on things I'm not certain of, and the reason I don't go back and read it, is because I knew it would really, really make me angry, and I didn't want to write an angry rant blog.

But I'm bothered enough by this where I feel like, as an author, I need to say something.

Book bloggers have saved my life. Book bloggers absolutely without a doubt sell books. I can prove it to you. In May, I sold just over 600 books. In June, I sold over 4,000. In May, I had no reviews. In June, book bloggers started reviewing my books.

And the truth, a lot of the reviews I got in June for My Blood Approves were 3-star reviews, and it STILL sold . Because they were solid, well-written reviews that explained what they liked about it and what they didn't. They were honest, and that's important, because then readers trust them. Readers won't buy books from people they don't trust, and so reviewers need to be honest. They need to say when they didn't like something. They need to say what they want to say.

Seriously. That's just a totally insane concept to me. Clearly book bloggers sell books, and they do it all for FREE. They're only payment is "free" books. Really think about that. Their payment for selling my book is getting to read my book. And they work their butts off.

Writing reviews is really, really hard. I mean in-depth reviews that explain what worked and what didn't. That's incredibly difficult. I don't know how they do it. I couldn't do it. Nor would I want to. These people are super human.

They're juggling families and jobs and school and pets and dishes, and they make time in their busy schedule to not only read a book but review it. That astounds me. I'm in awe of their drive.

Julie Brazeal at A Tale of Many Reviews has probably sold at least a thousand of my books herself. She's been like a one woman fan club. Alex Bennet is my self-proclaimed #1 fan, and he's only fourteen, and he's writing blogs, doing video book reviews, going to school, AND on top of that, he's writing his own stuff. I have no idea how he has time to sleep.

There's so many more book bloggers, too many to name. (And I'm sorry if I didn't mention you. My brain shorted out, but I know there's A TON of you who have helped me, but I feel a bit like I'm about to give an Oscar speech, and they just started playing the wrap up music. My mind isn't working, but THANK YOU).

And that's not even counting all the people who take the time to review my books on Goodreads, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble, or all the people I don't even know about who are telling their friends and family. I get emails and comments from people all the time saying they heard about my books from their friend/sister/daughter/brother.

I honestly don't believe I've ever sold in a book in my life. The book bloggers, the readers, these are the salesmen. These are the people out there selling my books by talking about them honestly. And I am so, so, so grateful for them. Unbelievably grateful.

When I send out ARCs, I want an honest review. That means sometimes people don't like my books. And that's fine. I know that when I sent it out.

Book reviewers have to be afforded the right to be honest, even if it means being negative, otherwise it defeats the whole purpose. Readers trust their opinions because they're honest, and if readers don't trust them, they won't read the reviews or buy the books. So nobody wins in that situation. Everybody needs them to be honest, including authors.

Now, I will say that there is a difference between saying "I hated this book" and "I hate the author and think they're smelly and stupid and hope they die." And any reputable book blogger would never say the latter, and if they did, authors probably would stop sending them ARCs, as they should. It's one thing to review a book. It's another to attack a person.

So, no, I'm not defending personal attacks, but writing a negative review on a book doesn't equate a personal attack

So that's all. That's the end of this. April really said it all best in her blog. I just felt that since book bloggers have done so much for me, I wanted to stand up and say that, as an author, I agree with those sentiments and I support you guys. I know how much work you really do, and I appreciate it immensely.