Showing posts with label originals. Show all posts
Showing posts with label originals. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Should You Only Post 3 Star and Up Reviews? | Book Blogging Tips (#59)




I've noticed that there is a shocking amount of bloggers who seem to rate everything five stars. 

Every book they encounter is a new favorite, especially the popular books out there that have a huge fan base. 

While I genuinely believe that not all of these people are actually aware of what they're doing and just are easy to please, I also believe that a huge amount of them is just too scared to post a negative opinion online. 

I absolutely know where people who do this are coming from. While I do think that the blogging community on Wordpress/Blogger is mature enough to respect each other's opinions and not throw hissy fits, I've definitely been a victim of people lashing out at me for my opinions.

I'm very active on tumblr, a site that is known for people overreacting over everything. When I was asked about my opinion on SIX OF CROWS by Leigh Bardugo, a very very popular book up there that's hyped and worshiped to no end - and told the person that I found it offensive and didn't like it - I was told to kill myself via multiple anonymous messages sent to me. Huh.

It's always a matter of tone

Especially because there's so much anonymity on the internet, people sometimes forget that there's another person at the end of the receiving line. That doesn't only count for messages sent to other users, but also for blogging and reviewing.

As bloggers it is easy to ignore everything else and just pretend you're in your little bubble and post opinions that others might consider offensive. While I'm a strong supporter of freedom of speech, I think this should never be an excuse to be rude. I think we can all agree that there is a difference between writing a one star review respectfully and doing so to purposely hurt someone. 

Authors read reviews sometimes, too. To me, it's perfectly fine to post low rating reviews on your blog, after all this is just a collection of personal, subjective opinions, isn't it? If you're writing a zero star review because the book was poorly written and overall a nuisance to you, go ahead! But don't do offensively. 


Is your blog "genuine" if you rate everything positively?

But another thing that you'll have to consider is that the more negative opinions you post, the more people feel themselves "invited" to chime in and tell you all the reasons why you are wrong. In order to avoid that I can understand that some people refrain from writing negative reviews on their blog. 

To me that takes away your credibility, though. Bloggers are just people who post their opinions online. That's in the definition to me. And if you're one of those that's too scared to post a negative review, I will very likely not enjoy your blog. But of course, this is so subjective. Maybe this doesn't affect your personal reading experiences at all, who knows! It's almost impossible to like everything, and even if you don't actually, your blog will appear that way if you don't have a single one star review up there. Also, let's admit it, sometimes it's just fun to read ranty negative reviews, for me at least!


Do you post negative reviews? 

What's your opinion on people who don't?


More posts on reviewing and blogging culture:

Continue Reading...

Friday, June 2, 2017

7 Reasons Why I Prefer Young Adult books over Adult books | #BloggerConfessions



It's not a secret that I love young adult books. Even though I'm slowly but surely starting to be MAJORLY out of the target audience, my love for these books just becomes stronger.

Here are 7 reasons why I prefer YA over Adult books.




7. They make me forget how old I am
I don't know about you guys, but I'd do anything to go back to being 15. I wish I had appreciated it more back then

6. I can relate to them more
I don't feel like a grown up, even though I'm in my twenties, I just don't feel like I'm there read. Reading about high school still seems closer to what I'm doing with my life than reading about taxes and secure jobs I'm exaggerating

5. YA represents *me* more
I'm not trying to say either target group has better books available, not at all! But it's just a fact that it's a LOT harder to find diverse voices and characters of ethnic backgrounds other than white in adult lit, especially Literary Fiction. I feel more represented in the genre.

4. Opportunity to learn from other cultures
Sure, I can just pick up a book set in a different country from the adult section, it's not like there's a shortage of those. But there's no equivalent to a good fluffy YA contemporary with a an ethnically diverse main character. Learning about other people's cultures has never been easier and more effortless.

3. YA isn't constantly trying to prove something
Seriously, sometimes when I read adult books it feels like authors are one-up'ing each other (or at least trying to) all the time. Who's more inventive, who's weirder, who's deeper, WHO HAS WRITTEN THE NEXT CLASSIC. Maybe this is just a thing I think personally, but I feel like most YA doesn't even have that. Nobody's trying to prove anything. Of course there are exceptions to everything.

2. Teenagers accomplishing things!!!
There is something insanely comforting about reading about people younger than me going on crazy adventures and visiting paranormal worlds. I wish I had discovered YA books when I had been younger.

1. Who likes adulting?
I mean, let's be real here: being an adult sucks. For me, YA is more of an escape specifically because it makes me completely forget all the stress that comes with being an adult.

Do you prefer YA over Adult books? Why/ why not?

Continue Reading...

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Why Book Bloggers Don't Reply To Your Review Requests and How to Fix It





Again, it is time for another "I'm so upset about the sheer volume of ridiculous emails in my inbox that I write a post about it".

This time in the only form people seeking reviews seem to be able to read: Bullet points.

Again, this is mostly directed at inexperienced authors. Please, if you're reading this, take my advice. it works wonders.

I don't know how often I've said it, but the #1 remedy is always reading a review policy. I have specific instructions in mine, and if you're not following them, I'm not even opening your email. Be respectful.


Addressing

OKAY
  • "Hi/Hey/Howdy/(greeting of choice)/ Dear [Name]"
  • "Hi/Hey/Howdy/(greeting of choice)/ Dear [Blog Name]"

NOT OKAY
  • "Hi/Hey/Howdy/(greeting of choice)"

Why: If you're not even bothering to write my name, pretty sure it's a mass email. Delete.

First Line

OKAY
  • [jumps right to pitch]
  • Personalization
  • Tell me why *I* am the right blog for this

Why: I like a good personalization. If you show me you read my blog, reference one of my tweets/interests, you've already got a foot in the door. Even if your book isn't for me, chances are I might give you some helpful feedback. Make me feel special and I'll be nice to you. It's okay if you jump right to the pitch as well if you can't think of anything.

NOT OKAY
  • "I know you don't like this genre"
  • [pitch for a genre I don't read]
  • "I know you don't read this, but"
  • "I know you receive many submissions/are you so busy, but"
  • I'm a big fan of your blog (Note: almost always a lie, I react allergic to it at this point)

Why: Lies are never good. Just say nothing instead of lying. Don't try to guilt-trip me into reading something, and don't try to talk me into trying a genre that I don't want to read. You'll fail.

Negotiating

OKAY
  • I'm offering you a free copy for review

NOT OKAY
  • I'm offering you a free copy for review on the following sites:
  • I'm offering you a free copy, if
  • If you're not interested, can you promote my book anyway

Why: Book bloggers know what they're doing. You come across as patronizing. We're not going to change our habits because of you. Who do you think you are to even suggest that? Delete.


After You Sent the Book

OKAY
  • asking whether I received the book

NOT OKAY
  • reminding me of the launch date
  • giving me a deadline à la "have you read it yet, if not read it by"
  • asking me how much I read
  • asking me when I'll post the review
  • following up in any form whatsoever

Why: Chill out. Your book will be read if I said that it would be. The only thing you'll achieve is that I won't ever work with you again. Maybe decide to not even read the book and cancel our whole arrangement because you're annoying to work with.


Tips:
  • Don't listen to any tips you get from people who aren't bloggers and reviewers
  • Don't listen to any tips you get from people who have successfully spammed their way into getting a lot of reviews
  • Read review policies (!!!!)
  • Personalize your requests and pick the bloggers you target carefully
  • Read review policies


Authors: If you have any more questions, there's an option to submit a comment anonymously. 

Bloggers: Any pet peeves to add?

Continue Reading...

Friday, July 29, 2016

How often should YOU post per week? | Book Blogging Tips (#43)


I often find myself absolutely overwhelmed by this question.

I don't want to be that guy who posts too much or too little. I take blogging ridiculously seriously, I want to put quality content out there regularly.

But all the time I ask myself - am I really posting often enough or too often?

Looking at other bloggers, they seem to either post every day or every other day or every week, and I never know what works for me.

Just like everything in blogging, there won't be a general answer I can give you, it's all up to your personal preference and blogging needs. But the thing I can give you is a list of pros and cons of the different frequencies of blogging.

1.) Once per month
+ super easy-going, one post per month is an easy frequency to keep up for a long time
+ no stressful blogging!
- it'll be difficult to build a strong reader base unless that one post you post every month is phenomenal and you really found your niche
- readers prefer a higher frequency
- very little content
- you're absolutely limited in the things you can say in a single post
- lots of publishers demand that you post daily or almost daily if you want review copies

Recommended for: niche blogs, directory-type of blogs (if you post a lot of lists and links), established blogs

2.) Once per week
+ easy to keep up for a long time
+ not very stressful
+ 4 times per month is definitely enough content to put out
- some readers prefer a higher frequency
- you might have difficulties
- lots of publishers demand that you post daily or almost daily if you want review copies

Recommended for: all blogs, blogs with mostly original content

3.) Multiple times per week
+ lots of publishers demand that you post daily or almost daily if you want review copies
+ usually the preferred frequency of most readers
- can get stressful, it's quite a lot of content!
- you should look into scheduling to keep this up

Recommended for: all blogs, blogs with mixed content (reviews, memes, original)

4.) Multiple times per day
+ lots of publishers demand that you post daily or almost daily if you want review copies
+ pretty much no limitation in what you can say
+ so many possibilities to post different things and put a crap ton of content out there
- readers get annoyed by people who post this often very quickly
- very high possibility of accidentally making it spam-y (as in, posting a lot of low-quality stuff just for the sake of posting)
- it doesn't get more stressful than this if you can keep this up, you're probably a witch
- if you don't schedule, this is pretty much blogging hell, coming up with a couple of posts every day isn't ideal

Recommended for: meme blogs (seriously, how can you keep this up without doing a lot of memes), blogs with multiple hosts

Continue Reading...

Thursday, July 14, 2016

No Comments on Book Reviews? | Book Blogging Tips (#42)




What I've noticed recently is that book reviews generally seem to get less reader interaction in form of comments. 

And I wonder why, because reviews tend to be the one thing I focus most on when I'm checking out a new blog. 


I personally read other blogs mostly for the reviews, but I figured maybe that's not what everyone seems to be interested in.

So I did a little digging, observed my own commenting habits, and tried to find out why people tend to comment less on book reviews than on other posts


1) People like to share their opinion

You'd think this would go towards the "reasons why people comment on reviews" pile, but it doesn't. Not everyone will read or even think about reading the same books as you. While I do follow many, many, and almost exclusively YA book blogs, there are maybe only two people whose tastes mesh very nicely with mine. 

If your readers haven't read the book - they can't share their opinion of it, so no comments on that!

2) Reviews are longer than most other posts

Everyone has their own way of writing reviews, but I noticed that people tend to write too much rather than too little. If I see a brick wall of a review in front of me, I sometimes just close the window and don't read it, even if I was interested in that blogger's opinion in the first place. I usually just zone out after a certain length and just skim the review. If I have skimmed the whole thing, I don't feel comfortable commenting.

3) Formatting is everything - you can lose a lot of readers over this

The only thing that's worse than having a 2500 word review is a poorly formatted 2500 word review. I do know some bloggers who do this only with their reviews but format everything nicely. If you post reviews like these, it's even less likely to get comments. 


Should we just stop writing reviews then? Nobody reads them anyways...

There are so many factors that can impact whether I read a review in the first place and whether I'll comment. Even if there's a perfectly formatted, wonderful short review of a book that I have read by someone that I trust - I don't think this would be a 100% guarantee that I'll comment. And you want to know why? Because I'm scared to disagree. 

Sometimes I don't like a book and I still keep reading reviews of it to see if I'm the only one, but I don't want a fight.

There'll always be books that people like or dislike, and there'll always be people who defend said book to their dying breath. I think maybe that might be the reason why there are usually so few comments on book reviews. People don't necessarily agree and don't want to start a fight. Maybe this, or they just don't read them.

Regardless, I'll still keep writing reviews. Will you?

Continue Reading...

Saturday, June 25, 2016

I Lose Interest in Books When Everybody's Reading Them



I wonder if it's only me. 

This whole hating-popular-things thing started on tumblr. There are certain books that are insanely popular there and that everyone seems to love.

Fan casts, fan edits, reviews, my entire dash is filled with posts about those books and every other day someone tells me that I just have to read those books finally.

But will I? I haven't read them and with every post I see about those books, with every person that tells me I should read them already, I start to hate these books a little more. 

The second I see something all over every blog, I'm not intrigued, I'm more annoyed, actually. 

Popular = Bad?

Of course not all books that are popular will be books that you'll consider good, but then again, not all books that are popular are automatically bad books.

Obviously, with a lot of people telling you to buy a book because it's good you might get the impression that you're missing out on some top quality stuff. But for me that's hardly ever the case. All books that I've read just because I had people bombarding me with messages, telling me to read them, turned out to be nothing like I expected.

Too high expectations are dooming every book before you even read a single page. Thus, popular books have it even harder for a super picky person like me. This has nothing to do with the quality of the books. The more popular and praised it is, the more likely I am to be disappointed and absolutely angry after reading a book when it didn't live up to my very high expectations.

Don't Tell Me What To Read!

I find the thought of everyone liking something already when I'm just discovering it very annoying. I know this is a terrible attitude and I'm missing out on many books, but I like feeling like I'm one of the first people to discover a new gem in my genre of choice. I don't want to feel like one of the millions of fans of a new book, I want to be among the first thousand, maybe. It's weird.

I think the bottom line is that I'm just a closet hipster.

Especially as a blogger, I want to be on top of things. I want to discover great books as soon as I can get my hands on them. It's virtually impossible though. There are so many books being released every month, every year, that you can impossibly read them all. If you can, you probably have superpowers.

And honestly? It shouldn't matter. It shouldn't matter whether you're keeping up with all new releases or whether you're still catching up on books that have been released 4 years ago, or whether you simply couldn't care less about new releases and read what you want. At the end of the day everyone should read whatever they want, whenever they want. 


Are you a closet hipster, too, or am I just weird?

Continue Reading...

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Not Reviewing Review Copies? How to Make All Bloggers Look Bad




A discussion I witnessed recently made me think about this. As bloggers we have the privilege of being able to read books for free - as long as we provide a review in return.

Something a fellow blogger said irked me instantly, I'm just going to paraphrase. 

They said that it's okay to request books and not read them (specifically ARCs), because it's usually just a case of getting overwhelmed. 

I'm very, very, very iffy about stuff like this. I take blogging super seriously and really try to keep deadlines in check almost obsessively (which I don't recommend, it's really stressful).

...

I do get that especially when you just start to get review copies, you get super excited and accidentally request more than you can read. Of course that's not a deadly sin, it's okay and I'm sure it happened to a lot of people out there. 

I'm not upset about people who didn't expect to actually get review copies and requested too many and got approved for too many either. 

Who REALLY upsets me are the people who keep on requesting ridiculous amounts of review copies and just collect them. Simply for display or whatever and don't review them. 

Here's why this upsets me:
  • It's rude. 
  • It's a virtual contract. (Most publishers won't work with you anymore if you have a history of doing this btw)
  • It's harmful to the industry. You might think that the big publishers won't be hurt by a couple of people not reviewing - but most big publishers only send out ARCs, which are specifically printed for reviewing purposes and cost a lot more to print, AND are only printed in limited quantities.
  • (The purpose of giving out an ARC and not a finished copy is to get the review before the book is published. If you end up posting the review late or not at all, the resources were wasted on you)
  • There are bloggers out there who would have given their left leg for reading the ARC/review copy you just ignore.
  • It's even worse if you do this to indie authors and small publishers, because the money for printing them is literally going out of their own pockets. 
  • Did I say it's rude?
I don't understand how anyone could justify having 30+ ARCs dating back a couple of months and not having reviewed them. I don't understand how anyone could have a huge pile of review copies dating back YEARS and not have reviewed them. I just don't get it and I think there should be consequences for people who do this. It's so rude and disrespectful. It makes all bloggers look bad, especially because a lot of times it's the big bloggers with a huge reach who think their fame makes it okay for them to do this. 

Of course, not everyone who does this is aware of how much damage they're doing, but after all we're basically offering a marketing service. Even if you're just blogging as a hobby, you're working with people who actually get paid to do their job and I sincerely doubt that you would do this in a professional environment. 

Why is it so widely accepted (apparently) to keep on requesting stuff you won't read in the first place? I don't know. I just think that we should all be collectively very thankful for having the opportunity to read books for free and not exploit it out of greed. 


Continue Reading...

Thursday, May 26, 2016

10 Dramatic Changes I Made that Ended up Improving My Blog | Book Blogging Tips (#41)




Sometimes you've gotta make tough decisions blogging-wise. Here are the decisions I had to make that ended up being for the better.

This is only to give you an idea of what you CAN do, you don't have to use any of my tips for your own blog, but feel free to do so if you like!



#10: Crossposting
There's no way around crossposting. Everyone of us probably has one social media platform that's doing a little better than the others. Use that to your advantage and pitch your posts there. Of course don't go overboard so people won't think you're spamming!

#9: Original posts!
Hard to believe, but I used to be a meme and review-only blog. It ended up improving my blog (for myself) a lot I think.

#8: Having a set post structure
Gosh, I can't even look back at the old reviews I wrote. I used to NOT format at all. For chatty and discussion posts that MIGHT work and you can get away with it, but you can't just publish a block of text review. This is never okay. Find your style, come up with something you're comfortable with and stick to that structure.

#7: Making graphics for each post
Before I made original posts much at all, I never had a reason to make any kind of graphics. Now I make them for every single post that isn't a review. It brightened up my blog a lot and I think they're quite eye-catching and pretty.

#6: Reviewing for NetGalley
This is such an essential part of my blogging experience now, I can't believe I never used it. NetGalley can be overwhelming at first, but reviewing new releases is a GREAT way to attract new viewers to your blog. Go on, make a NetGalley account!

#5: Deleting Old Posts
Sometimes you just gotta say goodbye to posts that neither have done well, not are up to your current standards, nor are anything that you think would attract any more readers. I used to do so many memes back when I first started (and not very well and very half-heartedly). Don't be afraid to delete crappy stuff!

#4: Ditching the open post archive
+guiltless reader, remember last year during Bloggiesta when you said to me to ditch that stupid open post archive? I was so upset about changing it because I liked it so much to have all my posts displayed there, but I'm so glad I listened.

Prime example why you should always, always listen to other bloggers' advice! I can't imagine having anything other than a drop down archive on my blog now!

#3: Working more with catchy headlines
I used to not really hashtag or try to make the headlines of my posts go into the clickbait direction, but I think I've gotten a little better at it now.
Try to give out as much info about your post in the headline, this is the prime ground where you advertise for your posts! Use it!

#2: Starting to recommend more!
I used to only have the little section of five star reviews in my header and that was it. I can't imagine my blog without themed recommendations now! If you love them and would like to see a specific theme, head over to my tumblr and send me a quick message, I'll make a post for it on a topic of your choice. Always open for requests!

#1: Linking within posts
Seriously, how did I never do this? If you write a lot of personal or discussion posts, this is such an essential thing to do. Link similar topics below or in the post so people who might be interested can find them. Such a great way to build more traffic.


Have you ever had to make dramatic changes to your blog?


Need more advice? Check out my blogging tips!


Continue Reading...

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

7 Reasons Why I Declined Your Review Inquiry


I'm flattered every time I get an inquiry by a fellow blogger, publisher, or author. Most of these are lovely and the people actually put a lot of effort in it. 

Sadly, there are still some black sheep in my inbox.

1. You didn't read the review policy
Do you really think I can't tell? It's there for a reason. We bloggers make the effort to write them because they actually serve a purpose!
Do you think I bothered to type up an 800 word policy just for jokes?

2. You ignored my review policy
Yeah, I said I'm not open to the genre X or physical books/ebooks/pdfs. Still you decided to take the plunge. You know how that makes me feel? Like you haven't read my policy. Why should I read your book if you can't even be bothered to read my policy?

3. You're disrespectful
Just because I'm a blogger, it doesn't mean that this isn't a virtual contract. If we're collaborating, we become business partners. Yeah, you don't have to be arch-conservative, you can use smileys and call me by my first name, but don't be rude.

If I decline your offer and you keep sending me emails trying to persuade me, you aren't really helping the cause. You certainly won't be able to convince me by re-sending your review request ten times.

4. I don't like the book
This isn't something personal, I just didn't think that the book fits into my blog concept.
I actually did you a favor by saying that right now instead of just waiting for you to send the book and post a terrible review of it afterwards.

As an experienced blogger I can tell when I'm going to absolutely hate a book and before I shame your hard work publicly, I'd rather say no. It's called politeness.

5. I don't have time
Sadly, I'm not a full-time blogger. I don't get paid for this. I don't have the time to read and review every single book that is offered to me. It has nothing to do with your work.

6. I don't think the book fits into my blog
I don't review this genre on my blog, regardless of personal taste. Yeah, you might argue that you've seen me say that I like that genre, but this doesn't automatically mean that I think it's suitable for my blog. I write reviews for my readers.

7. It's a mass mail.
You really think we can't tell? I can absolutely tell if you just sent me the same copy and paste mail that you sent to 2389289 other bloggers. Please, just don't.
It's spam, and it's annoying, and I will report it. I get that you're just seeking promotion, but please, not like this.


What are your review inquiry pet peeves?


For more posts about review copies, check out my original posts section!

If you struggle with declining review requests, I talked about how to do this politely here.
Continue Reading...

Sunday, May 8, 2016

I Only Read Negative Reviews on Goodreads



I've been trying to observe the way I pick which reviews to read for a while now and I noticed that I have a pattern. 




Every single time I'm reading a book, regardless of whether I'm currently liking it or absolutely hating it, I head over to Goodreads and check out the one star reviews.

Sure, especially on Goodreads people are insanely disrespectful, nitpicky, and sometimes downright offensive. But there's a reason why the negative reviews are usually the ones with the most likes and why people like me go for them purposely.

What's so interesting about negative reviews?

They're funny. Even if I like a book it's just hilarious to me to see people freak out about little things, sometimes add 400 gifs of people throwing tables.

They point out the flaws others are afraid to admit. Of course some negative reviews on Goodreads are just crap and unnecessary nitpicking, but I noticed that only the negative reviews actually depict things that don't quite work in the novels they're critiquing. 

Too positive reviews don't intrigue me at all. Mostly it's just flailing and telling me how awesome the book is without actually saying what it is that makes the book good.

Negative reviews use proof. Whether it'll be quotes or retelling a specific moment in the book that just doesn't make sense. I'm a factual person and a simple "THIS IS THE BEST BOOK I'VE EVER READ GO READ IT" doesn't really do anything for me.

Does this mean people should start being more picky and rude and rate stuff more harshly for success?

No, absolutely not!!!! While I do enjoy negative reviews, I don't like bullying. It's basically what many many Goodreads reviewers do, bully authors because they don't like their books. A big amount of those negative reviews make me cringe and ask myself whether any of these people is actually aware that authors do read reviews sometimes.


Do you read positive or negative reviews on Goodreads?
Do you even filter by rating?

Continue Reading...

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Book Blogging Etiquette: Making Business Connections and Talking To Industry Professionals




Communication is key when dealing with inquiries by authors, publishers, and publicists. It's very important to always stay professional when dealing with business contacts.


#1: The Encounter: Be Professional

When you meet a new business contact, it's important not to be casual. We may be bloggers, but you really have to watch you language. Always be respectful and don't make immoral offers.
Don't reach out to people that you aren't intending to work with, and decline every offer that you have no plans to purse. 


#2: Don't Rip Off & Don't Get Ripped Off 

The best tip I can give you, is to be honest when something doesn't work for you. It's not a big deal to decline and say no - everyone will appreciate it if you say no before it all gets rolling instead of backing out last minute. 

Don't be afraid to negiotiate - but don't be unrealistic. Nobody owes you anything. It's a privilege to receive review copies and the like, and you don't want to push your luck. Never ever ask for gift cards or money compensation

Never ever let someone exploit you and accept a ridiculous offer of promotion. I have encountered business contacts who just thought that it's an honor for us bloggers to be able to work with them. I was asked for regular promos for free, ad space etc. in exchange for a single review copy, which I also had to review, of course. 

While you shouldn't ask for too much, you should never sell yourself below worth. You have to find a middle way of things you're comfortable doing, After all, book blogging is business. 

That's why it's important to negotiate a middle way. Don't rip other people off, and don't let yourself get ripped off.

#3: What If the Deal Goes Wrong?

So you've found a business partner and you're happy to work with them. You've exchanged whatever you've agreed upon - but oh shock - your business partner isn't doing what they promised you to do. 

The bad example of the bakery and the food blogger (here) shows us exactly what not to do. Putting your business partner on blast online is one of the most unprofessional, childish, and unreasonable things you can do. If you're looking to ruin your reputation - go for it. 

But in all seriousness, you're doing business online. If the opposite party isn't keeping up their part of the promise, confront them maturely. If they don't react - move on. Your experiences are confidential. If you decide to blog about it, make sure to NEVER mention names and make it as anonymous as possible. 


The most important thing is to be mature. If you encounter problems, voice them to the person you're negotiating with.

Continue Reading...

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Always the Same Love Interests? | YA Talk





If you read a lot of YA, you've probably also noticed that there's a trend in characters.

Meet Love Interest 1:
He's characterized through being
  • the epitome of the nice guy
  • probably has been friends with the heroine forever/ they're maybe even neighbors/ definitely know each other longer than love interest 2 and the heroine
  • always there for the heroine
  • they might have been in love at some point and/or are dating
  • either will mess up eventually or just flat out get ignored when the second love interest comes along
EXAMPLES:
Adam Kent from SHATTER ME by Tahereh Mafi
Simon Lewis from CITY OF BONES by Cassandra Clare
Mathias from ZODIAC by Romina Russell


Meet Love Interest 2:
He's characterized through being
  • the new guy!
  • suddenly comes into the heroines life 
  • smirks a lot
  • is sarcastic and ridiculously good-looking
  • not ashamed to hit on her 24/7
  • morally grey ... redeems himself at the end of the trilogy
  • almost always "gets the girl"
EXAMPLES:
Aaron Warner from from SHATTER ME by Tahereh Mafi
Jace Wayland from CITY OF BONES by Cassandra Clare
Hysan from ZODIAC by Romina Russell

Why I think it's unnecessary

  • You always know who's going to get the girl. SPOILER: It's always the bad guy after the redemption ARC
  • It's lazy: Seriously, at this point it's almost a stock character kinda situation. If you have to write a love triangle, please try to make it at least a little original. Like this it just seems like I'm reading fan fictions of the same characters over and over again.
  • It's boring and predictable
  • It's so easy to fix: Just throw in a little variation, kill one of them, make one of them unredeemable, honestly, at this point I'm so desperate for decent love triangles that I'd take anything that's even a little different.

What do you think of love triangles with the same characters over and over again?




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Saturday, April 9, 2016

Why I Almost Gave Up Blogging






I've been doing this for over a year now. I publish at least 10 posts a month, always reading, writing, and collecting ideas. My blog queue is stocked with 30+ posts at all times. But it wasn't always like this.

Blogging Is Hard

I know everyone says this, but let me tell you once more: after the honeymoon phase where you're new to everything and discovering new things is fun and great and awesome, you'll eventually get into a big blogging slump.

For me, the first slump came when I realized how hard it is to get your name out there. Without constantly promoting and commenting on other blogs, you're not going anywhere. Readers won't suddenly appear out of the blue.

Nobody can find your blog if you're not advertising for it. And this exactly what I didn't understand as a new blogger. I thought that mouth-to-mouth propaganda would work, people hear about my content from others and discover my blog. But in reality, that rarely happens, especially not for small blogs.

I didn't have the time or motivation to do this long-term, to keep advertising, to keep commenting excessively on other blogs. I salute everyone who can do this and has been doing this for several years. I just grew tired of it and wondered why my views stagnated and I lost more readers than I gained new ones.
Blog-Envy Is A Thing

To me, it was definitely jealousy that made me want to give up blogging and sent me into a full-blown phase of not wanting to write posts at all anymore. I wanted instant results, solely based on my content. Of course, this isn't how it works.
  • I saw blogs that were very new and had already more followers than me.
  • I saw blogs that didn't live up to my standards and that I considered bad, but still had more followers. 
  • I wondered what I was doing wrong, because I had such a small following, but considered myself better than some bloggers who had more. Something you should never ever do. You're not better than anyone, whether you're a new or well-known blogger.
I'm still a small blog and I've come to terms with that, but when you're surrounded by a billion bloggers who get more than a thousand views per day, you'll feel even smaller.
The thing that got me out of this slump was the realization that I'm not blogging for success. I'm blogging for me, and to help the people that read my blog, however big that number is.

Because let's face it: Hardly any book bloggers can make a living off their blogs. If you can, you've probably been at it for years, or are just plastering your blog with a billion adverts, or are just a natural. It's the minority.

Why It All Doesn't Matter Anyways

Maybe some of you had phases like this, maybe some of you will in the future. The point I want to make is that it doesn't matter what others are doing, it doesn't matter how many followers you have or haven't. Blog for yourself. Remember why you started doing this and keep on working towards whichever goal you have.


Did You Ever Consider Stopping Blogging?

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Friday, April 1, 2016

When is it okay to share your review of a DNF?






Even if we don't like to admit it, we've all not finished a book and still written a review on it.

Whether you just skipped the last 5 pages or the last 50, it does happen sometimes. But the question is, is that okay? 





The biggest argument against this that I've heard is that

"Books can have a sudden plot twist that changes everything and make you suddenly super interested in it again"

To me this does sound more like wishful thinking than a common thing that actually happens. When I get to the point that I'm DNF-ing or at least contemplating it, the last thing I want to do is "give the book another chance".

When I DNF, it's probably for a very good reason. That might be the writing isn't for me, the book is full of characters with questionable moral choices (that rather seem like the author trying to preach their own values), or it's just not a genre I'm not interested in.

Some books do turn around within the last couple of pages, but this has only ever happened to me a handful of times and never with a book that I was intentionally going to DNF. If you've written reviews for a while, you'll get a feeling for what works or what doesn't. You'll know your own taste and be able to judge a book very quickly.

I can tell by page 10 whether a book will be something I like or not. Regardless, I always give books 50 pages before I DNF. 

Is it justified to still write a review if you DNF like that? 

If it's a review copy, I would never do that, I'd rather contact the person I'm working with and tell them the book is not for me. I wouldn't feel comfortable writing a review for something I didn't read and 50 pages aren't nearly enough to justify a negative review.

Especially for unknown authors with few reviews for their books, that's just not something that I'd feel comfortable doing. At the end of the day, I want to help authors out and talk about books with other readers and writing a review for something that I didn't /really/ read is doing more harm than benefit in my opinion. 

So I was talking about review copies before, but what about reading books in your free time, do you DNF silently and still write a review for it? If nobody would ever find out, would you do it?


DNF reviews? Yay or nay?

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Friday, February 26, 2016

Review Copies ARE NOT Free Books, DON'T start a blog if you just want books free of charge! | Book Blogging Tips #40





I have no clue how this is even a thing people think. I know bloggers who started just to get review copies. Not necessarily because they wanted to read books in advance, but because
they thought:


"Yay, all I need is a blog and everyone will start sending me books... FOR FREE $$$$$$$$$!!!!"*

*an altered version of what I witnessed on twitter yesterday

A review copy is not a free book.  It's payment for a service!!

  • Reading the book
  • Collecting thoughts on the book and forming an opinion on it
  • Compressing all those jumbled up thoughts into a single blog post
  • Promoting said blog post

It's not just "I read the book and I write down something and I'm done". Book reviews aren't written quickly. It takes hours, sometimes even days to get my thoughts in order and then there's also the formatting. Reviews aren't easy to write, which is why there are hardly any book reviewers who earn their money doing so. 

Sometimes you won't like the book you read. Sometimes you'll realize halfway through that you made a terrible choice and it's not a book you'd ever pick up in your free time and it's actually torture to finish it. Sometimes you have to force yourself to read the book, because you've basically signed a virtual contract that you'd at least try. "Just reading" isn't easy.

You just don't "get review copies"

There is a reason why there are dozens of posts circulating on the internet on how to get review copies. They don't fall out of the sky the second you order business cards that say you're a book blogger. They don't come with the registration confirmation email from Wordpress/Blogger. You have to reach out, you have to have a solid platform and you're basically at the mercy of the publicists. 

If you're starting out, there is no way you're getting an advance reading copy "just like that". You have to have a platform and establishing that is HARD. Especially if you're American, the big five publishers won't even consider your blog before you have more than 500 followers. Let alone the views. Your statistics are super important and without a blog that gets frequent visitors, you're not "getting" anything.

Advance copies aren't printed for free, generally review copies cost money and it is your job to make that money worth the effort. 


Blogging is not a joke. Blogging is not easy and it's not a quick way to never have to pay for books again. 



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Thursday, February 18, 2016

How I Pick Which Books I Request For Review | Book Blogging Tips (#39)



If you have the luxury of getting requests by authors and publishers, you also have to choose which ones to read and which offers to decline.

Here's a list of things that I take into consideration when I'm looking at a review request.

For a bigger list of DON'Ts when pitching books to bloggers, click here.




#1: Form
You probably know already that I'm not a fan of mass emails.
Unless they're coming from a big publisher and I've subscribed to their mail list/newsletter, I usually delete these immediately. Everything addressed to "Dear Blogger" etc. remains unread and gets deleted.

#2: Genre
I go through phases where I read a bunch of books in one genre and am absolutely not interested in anything else. Even if my favorite author has a new book out and it's not in a genre that I'm into right now, I probably won't read the book. It's arbitrary sometimes and has nothing to do with the quality of the work that's offered to me.

#3: Synopsis
If the form is impeccable, the genre is something that I'm interested in right now, the synopsis really has to get to me. If you've got a good pitch, I'm absolutely interested. It's important to have a good pitch, your book can be exactly up my alley, but if you've got a bunch of typos and didn't really put any effort in this, I'm just moving on.

#4: Amazon Preview!
My favorite feature. That's why I ask for official links in my review policy. If available, I always make use of the preview feature. If the form, genre, and synopsis are just right, the last obstacle is the preview. If I like writing style, I'm going to request! I don't request books that didn't make me want to desperately continue reading, the better the preview, the more intrigued am I! Cliffhangers are a plus here!

Bonus: 
Niche Markets
If I've liked several books about a super specific genre lately, I'll probably try to get my hands on everything related to that. That's why it's always a good idea to look at my social media accounts and check what I've been reading lately. 

I've read books from that author before
There are some talented writers out there (not necessarily big names, also indie writers!!) who have just impressed me so much with their writing that I'll request their books no matter the genre or the mood. If you've received a good review from me once, there's a very high chance I'll turn a blind eye on my review policy and even try something I usually don't read.

How do you pick which books you review?


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Thursday, February 11, 2016

Do You Actually Review Unsolicited ARCs? | Book Blogging Tips (#38)


When I first started out, being sent ARCs by publishers seemed to be the holy grail of blogging. I mean, if you look at all those pictures on the instagram pages of the big name book bloggers and booktubers, you can't help but think like this.

What always struck me as weird is the fact that some bloggers get sent DOZENS of books every month. 

As a fairly quick reader, I read about 8 books per month (that's a good month for me!). I can hardly imagine how anyone could possibly read more than 20 books a month EVERY month. If you do, I salute you.


Let's be honest: Who even reads all those ARCs?!

One of my favorite booktubers, Abookutopia publishes book hauls every month, showing about 10+ ARCs by publishers that have been sent to her unsolicitedly. 

I get that it's a business and they're already profiting from the fact that a big name blogger like her only mentions these books briefly in her videos or shows the covers quickly. I hardly believe she read even half of these books. It's just a business transaction, nothing more and I don't blame her for doing this. It's basically impossible to read all those books, especially because she states all the time that 90% of them are unsolicited. I would have a panic attack, because I'd feel like I actually had to read all of those to be honest.

Most people who get the same amount of ARCs hardly are able to read those unless they have some kind of super power. To me, it just defeats the purpose of ARCs to just hoard them and show them off. For the publishers this might be still a good way to advertise, to just have their books appear on instagrammers' pages and in booktuber's videos. Of course the exposure on a big name's page is much bigger than the exposure they'd get from my blog for example.

Technically, you're under no obligation to review them

You didn't agree to reviewing ARCs that were sent to you unsolicitedly, it's only a matter of politeness if you do. In Germany things works a little differently and you hardly ever get sent anything that you didn't request, so I didn't have to deal with that problem personally, but it seems very stressful.

Personally, I would never let a single book that is sent to me go without a review, but if you're getting sent dozens of books every month, it's pretty understandable that you can't review them all. Let alone read them all.


Do you get unsolicited ARCs? Do you write reviews for them/ have the time to read them?

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Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Annoying YA Tropes That Make Me Want to Cry / Claw My Eyes Out | YA Talk





!!!This is highly sarcastic. If need be, try to fight me on my points. Doesn't make any them less valid, though.!!!





No.7: No means yes: If I tell you to go away that absolutely means "Kiss me and I won't be mad anymore"
If a girl/boy tells you to leave them alone and never speak to them again, don't show up at their house later that day blasting music from a boombox you're not in a goddamn John Hughes movie okay
If only half of the YA love interests did that, we'd have a surprising amount of books that were only 50 pages long.

No.6: "I KNOW I JUST MET YOU BUT I'LL DIE IF YOU EVER LEAVE ME"
I don't know why there seems to be this general impression that co-dependency is romantic... I don't get it, does somebody want to explain? Emotional manipulation isn't cool either.

No.5: I'm not human.... I'm half human, half wizard/fae/loch ness monster
I can't. I just can't deal with this anymore.
Rule of thumb: If you already have a supernatural love interest, don't try to make the other person a supernatural whatever, too.


No.4: "The minute I saw her, I knew we were meant to be"
...totally not because she's smoking hot. I mean, I instantly fell in love with her personality. Like, before we even talked. I could smell her personality.


No.3: The dark broody, smoking, leather-jacket-wearing, too-smart-for-school love interest who writes poetry in his free time and skips class, but is still an A student
You'd think a highly specific trope like that wouldn't be so common. Actually, this is probably one of the maybe five love interests you'll find in popular YA. It's not YA if the love interest isn't a sarcastic dark haired dude with stunning blue eyes the color of the sky at precisely 3pm, am I right?

No.2: Eye colors more important than personality
Who needs a personality when your boyfriend has sparkling sapphire green eyes. Seriously, sometimes I forget people don't only consist of hair and eye colors, do we even have faces? Doesn't seem that important.

No.1: Teenagers reading Charles Bukowksi / T.S. Eliot / Jack Kerouac 
Has anyone ever been a teenager? Nobody enjoys assigned reading. Nobody reads stuff like that in their free time?!! Come on?!!! What are the odds of the two starcrossed lovers to both share an obsession with The Catcher in the Rye? Just don't. Two people who are madly obsessed with some obscure indie band? Okay, that I'll buy, but not J.D. Salinger. 


What are some YA tropes that make you want to leave this planet?



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