Hey there, my bookworms. Already, we’re almost at the middle of the week, and I’m just anticipating my upcoming trip. I seem to have vacation brain and nothing else, well, at least until today. I don’t want to be bringing you this sort of post, but, after a bit of negative feedback was brought to my attention, it seems I must.
I like to keep things on this blog positive, and about the books. Of course, I like to get a little personal and give you guys an insight into my life so you know who is writing to you on a weekly basis. I didn’t think I had to discuss this particular topic or write such an “approach with caution” sentiment, but I feel the need to address… what was brought up to me. I thought I’d be curled up finishing one of my latest review requests, but instead, I need to rant, I guess. Let me explain.
If you visit this site, or any of my various social media, you know full well about my genuine passion for many aspects of literature. I have never been anything but honest and a full out fangirl when it comes to my books. I can’t help it. I’ve been raised on the written word since I was fairly small, and my family wound up creating a monster. I spent the better part of a decade in school studying and earning degrees (two) in English Literature, joining a Literary Honor Society, and obsessing over research papers. Towards the end of my college career, I began jotting down thoughts and brief reviews of books I read on my class breaks on social media, and that has somehow morphed into this, The Blabbing Bibliophile. I have had such an awesome journey so far, but today, I had just an itty bitty moment of negativity from an author that left me taken aback.
Today, I received a message and was told I was underhanded and demanding for charging for book reviews when many (or apparently all) bloggers don’t. I do charge a minimal fee, and here’s why.
I added a compensation feature to my reviews for those who want it simply because of time. I’m so thankful this blog has grown slow and steady the way it has over the past couple of years, but with that comes an audience, and people seeking out reviews. That’s amazing! I love that! I’m an aspiring writer, myself, and I know I’d be looking for anyone I could to read my story and give me some honest feedback or promotion. I’d love for someone to help me the way I feel I’ve been helping authors since I was a little kid.
Us readers know that reading books takes time, and writing up comprehensive reviews about them takes even more time, and promoting the book of the moment you’re absolutely gaga over takes even more time. For me, the process start-to-finish, depending on my schedule, can take days, or even weeks. It is a time consuming process that yes, I do love, but there’s a big however. I have a full-time job, I have a family, I have friends and a fairly busy life. I run on about five hours of sleep a night, but outside of work, I put the majority of my time into this site and into my books. I’ve committed myself to it and keep things going on a regular basis because I really want to share my love of literature with anyone I can. My TBR list is hundreds of books long, and in the networking I’ve done with authors from Book Expo to Facebook to Instagram has added up. I want to help everyone I can, but I’m also one person.
In the past, I’ve had people send me e-mails or Facebook messages with links to books that have gotten lost in translation due to an ever-growing list of stories and not enough hours in the day. I had a handful of authors contacting me asking if they could send me books and asked how much I charged, and my answer was always “nothing”, but after awhile, I knew that had to change.
Deciding to charge a fee to review books was difficult for me. Honestly, it was. I didn’t want it to seem like I was taking advantage of the author, the story, or the review process. However, with the amount of time I was putting into the site, and writing, and sharing, and how often I was putting my own tasks on the back burner, I felt it only fair to seek a small compensation. I mean, movie, food, and book critics do it, I’m just doing it on a MUCH smaller scale.
In the day and age of social media, forms of self-employment and side gigs are prominent. People take their hobbies, loves, and geekdoms and turn them into Etsy shops, Youtube channels, blog spaces (hello), and build a small business. I’d like to think I am doing the same in providing a service for those who are really looking to put their book out into the world. I might occupy only a small corner of that world, but I’m still there to help.
Just because I invoice authors who e-mail me book review requests does NOT mean I do not appreciate the story. It does not demean the author in any way, or discredit or devalue the words they’ve worked so hard on that is then in my possession to give my honest thoughts. I have been and always continue to be constructive, thoughtful, and as thorough as possible in every review I write, and I have never simply posted a full and final blog without genuine sentiment and feeling for the journey I had just been on within the pages.
Lastly, I do not make demands of the authors involved. They fill out the form on my site or my facebook page and we correspond a bit about the book and scheduling, agreeing on terms and turn-around times before I even think about sending an invoice. Every aspect of communication from start-to-finish is discussed, and I do my absolute best to make sure they are getting what they paid me to do.
So to know how much of a cheerleader I’ve always been for authors, for reading, for the book community, and for my absolute love of all my favorite literary things that I share with you bookworms on an almost daily basis gives me such a thrill. To have it cut down so quickly and thoughtlessly by a random and seemingly casual e-mail is bothersome and I want nothing more than to be honest and up front with all of you. I may receive a small fee for some of what I do on this site from anyone who feels like sharing their book with me, but at the end of the day, everything I post in this space and across my various social media, paid or not, is because I adore literature.
To the authors who were kind enough to think of me and my little sliver of bookish paradise and trusted me with your work, just know how thankful and honored I am to discover and help you share your story. I’m eternally grateful!