Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Hardcover Lover Confessions | Dishonestly, Frustration, Scams, and How to Avoid Getting a Bad Name in the Book Community

Welcome to the latest installment of my discussion post feature, Hardcover Lover Confessions!

In these Hardcover Lover Confessions posts, I confess bookish habits, thoughts, or other random things with my readers, and then I encourage everyone to start discussing the issue with everyone else. It's a really fun way to get some bookish confessions off your chest, but it's also a great way to get to know other people in the blogosphere by commenting and interacting.

There really isn't an order as to when I post my Confessions - I kind of come up with them when an issue arises or a thought pops into my head. Sometimes, an issue just eats away at me until I finally decide to write a post. Ergo, there could be one a month or there could be a few a month. There could even be a month when I don't post a Hardcover Lovers Confessions at all. It just all depends on what's going on in the book community or how I feel.

Hardcover Lover Confessions on Scammers and the Frustrations they Cause

This is the second time that I've written a Hardcover Lover Confessions post about morals in the book blogging community, and it makes me so sad that I'm now sitting here and typing another one. This might read like more of a rant, but I'm trying to find some positive in this horrid situation, so just hang tight.

If you're on Twitter, I'm sure that you've seen that something very ugly happened in our community. Because of recent developments, bloggers are afraid that everything they have worked for, no matter how long or little they've been blogging, has been ruined. I'm here to tell you that it's not. I don't want to see so many of the passionate readers and bloggers out there quit just because of one person.

So today, I'm taking one bad situation, and trying to turn it around. I want to share the many reasons as to why I blog and why I won't let one person ruin this for me, no matter how many times she tries to harass or report me because I speak the truth about her.

Why I Started Blogging

Like most book bloggers out there, I started blogging because I love to read. I knew that I didn't have very many friends in real life who read as much as I do, so I wanted to find an outlet to share my thoughts and opinions with those people who read similar books. 

My education degree also had a lot to do with why I started The Hardcover Lover. During my last two years of college, and after I took a course called Young Adult Literature, I wanted to start reading more and more books that I'd be able to recommend to students. I started reading more YA and middle grade books to compile a list of books for my potential students. 

ARCs and the Chaos They Leave in Their Wake

It's been a fun ride, being a book blogger, and sometimes I really question if I want to stay in this community. And it's all because of one thing - ARCs.

Unlike most bloggers, I got a taste of what ARCs were before I even started blogging. I didn't even know what they really were, but I never assumed that they would one day tear a loving community apart. 

Honestly, I don't really know how I got them or why, but I definitley did have a few ARCs sent to me before I started blogging. Because I wasn't too familiar with them, I read them, rated them, and moved on. Then I started doing more in-depth reviews on Goodreads, and authors started approaching me for reviews. That's what really made me throw myself into the community. I started talking to more and more authors, and then more and more bloggers. I found out that so many people were kind and accepting. It was honestly like heaven.

As my blog was growing, I found out that I really enjoyed writing book reviews. I don't just write ARC reviews on The Hardcover Lover. During my first few months on the blog, I had a few ARC reviews, but a lot of backlist reviews. That stands to this day. I enjoy reading and reviewing a mix of new releases, backlist books, and ARCs.

Since my first day blogging almost two years ago, my reviews went from being a few paragraphs to the lengthy reviews that you see on my blog today. And I'm proud of all of them. I know that sometimes I will stare at a blank computer screen for hours, trying to figure out how to formulate my thoughts, but I wouldn't change how I do this for the world. Yes, I have my ups and my downs, but I honestly really enjoy blogging and being able to promote all of these awesome books that come out month after month.

Does that mean that I think I'm entitled to read and review every single YA or middle grade ARC that is printed? Absolutely not. I am a firm believer in the statement that ARCs are not a right.

Now as a blogger and an educator, I don't understand how we, as a community, got to a point where it seems like everyone is so hungry for ARCs. Don't get me wrong, I love being able to receive and review ARCs, but I don't take advantage of my situation. I don't go on NetGalley or Edelweiss and request hundreds of books at a time. I don't email the publicists that I'm in contact with for many books, either. I request the ones that I want to read, and if I receive those books, I try my hardest to read and review them before they come out.

Book Conferences

I know about the crazy situations that happened at some of the community's more recent book conferences. It makes me so angry that people will try to take advantage of publishers to get as many copies of ARCs and finished books that they can get. To me, it's taking away resources from the many people who will eventually put that book in the hands of a teenager who needs it. It sickens me that there are people out there profiting from books that are labeled as "Not for Sale."

Now I've never been to a book conference but I know that there are many of them, some especially for teachers and librarians. Honestly, I don't even want to go to any future conferences because I don't want to be looked down upon for being a book blogger. I also don't want to be a witness to the greed that I am sure I will see. 

How to Avoid Getting a Bad Name in the Book Community

Aside from disassociating yourself from any bloggers who have been involved in any sketchy behavior, the best advice I have for you is just to be yourself. 

I know it's hard to avoid, especially because there is book community drama, but try to avoid it. Yes, I know that we all get fired up, and that many people in the community, myself included, spoke out about one particular person last week, but avoiding drama when you can is always the best thing. 

If you are an active participant in Books for Trade, fulfill your end of the deal. Don't just take a book from someone and never send theirs. Keep in communication with people you are trading with to avoid problems.

And just for the heck of it, even though we should all know this: Don't sell ARCs.

In Conclusion

I'm sure that many of you are angry about what has happened and are concerned that the actions of one might ruin things for all of us book bloggers, but please don't be. As long as you are honest, publicists will see that and keep asking you for help. Yes, teachers and librarians are needed, but so are bloggers.

Your Confessions

Now is the part of the post where I hand things over to you. Feel free to sound off, ask questions, or just chat about what you're concerned about in the comments.

Please be advised that bullying will not be tolerated in this comment thread. I will remove any comments that I think are inappropriate or ones that call out anyone who may or may not be involved in the recent events.

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