Thursday, 4 March 2010

What Bugs Me in the Blogosphere.

I am in a whinging mood so I thought I would list all the things that bug me at the moment. Then ... perhaps, I can move on and collect better karma (the Mr T graphic is directed at myself so please, no hate mail).

  • Bloggers who link their post in my comment section.
Ahhh. If I am interested in your IMM or even your blog, I will click on your username. My blog is not your billboard! It actually does the opposite of what you've intended...turns me off. Links in comments are a sign (to me) that it's a new blogger trying to build a profile. My advice? Stop doing it, it's not doing you any favours. And commenting with one word and then a hyperlink doesn't fool me...heck, it wouldn't even fool Jessica Simpson.

Exception...I've reviewed an author and you've conducted an interview with that author. The interview sheds light on something in my review. Then by all means link.

To make a long story short. Link when you know for sure that I will find it of interest, don't when it is to serve your own gain.

  • Publicity whores
There's a difference between getting the word out there and getting all your stuff out there and IN MY FACE every five minutes. Whether on twitter or facebook, I will unfollow/hide you if you continue to hit me with the publicity tsunami (especially once the retweet second, third and fourth waves hit). This applies to authors and bloggers alike. It has actually changed my perception of individuals as I think its really inconsiderate. It is spam. And I don't like spam in food or online varieties.

  • Book tours
Now I am going to sound like a hag. I don't think book blogging tours work. I was for a very short time in a book blogging tour group until I realised it bored me. Tours flush the blogosphere with too much of the same product. Tour reviews and interviews are often stale and make blogging seem more like a job than booky fun.

I honestly think that targeting 3-4 influential bloggers (by this I mean articulate, well read, quality review writers), who enjoy the genre you write, would be a better bet. I honestly think that having one Steph Su Reads review (hopefully a positive one) outweighs ten blah-written reviews.

  • Bad interviews
This rests on both contributors of an interview. To keep it brief - ask interesting, book and career relevant questions. Add some random things. Keep the author on their toes with questions about their book that show insight or a new perspective on their work. Keep the readers on their toes with some random fun questions that reflect the person, not just the author.

Authors...if a blogger asks the same questions you've been asked before...tell them. Believe me, I've been grateful when an author has informed me (nicely) of this. I don't want recycled questions and answers on my blog...what's the point? So think outside the square and challenge yourself, the author and your readers.

  • Twitter
I LOVE Twitter. Love it, love it, love it. But there are a few people that I very much like that keep using it to ask questions that have no business being asked on Twitter. Your conduct with authors, in asking for interviews/ARCs, should NEVER be public. Or even worse, asking vaguely if any authors want to be interviewed as an undirected tweet. It's like trawling a net in the ocean to catch anything that's out there. In the end in reflects poorly on the blogger but it pisses me off on the manners front too.

It ultimately comes down to this. Do I want to read a blog where the blogger doesn't invest in what they are posting? If they are randomly trawling for interviews with anyone that puts their hand up...does this truly reflect this reading? No.

Then I start doubting myself and what a blog is supposed to be. My blog is me. My blog shares my opinions but perhaps I think of blogging differently. I don't interview anyone I haven't read. I don't interview anyone who's work I don't respond to. I figure my personal opinions and preferences have to hold weight and that dictates who I interview and how I ask for interviews. Lecture done.

  • Blanket emails

If you can't figure out my name is Adele then you have no business emailing me about how much you love my blog! Seriously, it's there IN THE EMAIL ADDRESS ITSELF, which is on the MAIN PAGE!

  • Online Booksellers that don't differentiate YA from Children's Books

Yes, that's right Book Depository you bug me. Most of the time I know what I am looking for but like all bookworms, I browse. But when I have to sort through all the children's fiction, it's a problem and I am not buying as much as I would have otherwise (though still a lot).

**Credit where credit is due - I griped about this on Twitter. The BDep. CEO spotted it, DMed me his email address to have a proper whinge. The whinge was nicely put, as much as whingeing can be and he responded. Gotta give the man some serious kudos. They are currently working on changing this NOW...not because of me though I like to think I played a part.

  • My narcissistic tendencies

I look at my unchanging follower numbers and get blog-conscious. I see other blogs getting into the top hundreds and wonder how on earth they are making that happen? Do all those followers read their blog? I am lucky to get 2-3 comments per post. It's worse with the blogs that started the same month as me. They all kick my followers number in the ass. I am a petty, petty individual.

Maybe I could boost it with a competition...of which I don't typically run. But I am proud that my blog has 347 followers gathered from non-contest means. That means the followers actually wish to read it...that's got to mean something right? Though only 25 people bothered to take part in my survey. Sigh - I have to get over myself already.

  • Braggarts
I know some bloggers are friends with authors. It's bound to happen. We were all those book obsessed, somewhat dorky (whether on the inside or outside, or both) teens that treasured our library cards and lusted after Gilbert Blythe. There's a lot of common ground there.

But I think those friendships are better kept on the down low. I hate seeing bloggers talk about authors like they are their best friends. I have several authors that I am pretty chummy with and I have been VERY conscious of not talking about them. I never want them to think that my blog is more important than my friendship with them. I think I've done a pretty good job of it too. I've kept my mouth shut, I am interested in them as people and most people are none the wiser.

There is a line there though and it is fuzzy. I think that's why I am ultra careful. I don't even post when I receive signed books as it makes it a personal gift. Perhaps I am over reacting but it's something to think about.

Before you start calling me a hypocrite...Courtney Summers is my wife in a joking sense...I am NOT bragging about our actual matrimony. That would be crass and quite honestly, beneath me :) I am not a tweet kiss and tell kind of gal.

What gripes do you have?

35 comments:

Elie said...

Wow, you are bugged by a lot of things. I disagree with the book tours. IMO, the tours are great. From a readers point of view, I can't possibly buy all the books that come out, nor will my library carry them. But I can read them for the cost of shipping, even prior to release. And from a consumers pov, we do see duplicates of reviews around the blogosphere. I usually read a few to get some different opinions, they skip the rest, no one said you have to read them all.

Adele said...

Yes, I am regular grouch :) I do see what the benefit is in them but I think the content is rather tired, esp interview portions.

I think that I have rather exact tastes in reviewing. I love reading differing opinions but if there's no reasoning for these opinions then I get increasingly frustrated. Unfortunately this is all too common in reviewing...which is why I have only a small amount of blogs that I read consistently.

Brooke Reviews said...

I agree with a lot of this actually. Especially the part about having a positive review from Steph Su, she's one of the best reviewers around.

I also feel the same way about followers. I've watched mine slowly climb for two years, and people that have been blogging for a few months have over like 800 it's depressing lol

Lenore said...

I agree with you on many of your points. Bad interviews annoy me especially because I put so much time into mine, making sure I ask unique, creative questions, and then I hear people say they never read author interviews because they all suck.

Oh, and want 2000 followers by tomorrow? Offer a $2000 prize! It's only $1 a follower - great deal!! ;)

Aye.Me? said...

I agree with just about everything you've said.

Book Tours - I'd rather just borrow the book from the library, or buy it to keep, than pay for the postage to send it on to someone else. But I'm a cheapskate.

Bad Interviews - I do get sick of reading the same author get asked the same questions over and over, but I can't complain because I haven't has the guts to interview anyone yet.

No YA Section - I HATE this too putting YA books in the same category as picture books is just ridiculous, and makes browsing really time-consuming.

Narcissistic tendencies - I'm the same as you about watching my follower count. In comparison though, I had a giveaway in celebration of reaching 50 followers, and when it ended I had 200. As happy as this made me, it was an empty happiness - just how many of these people will EVER look at my blog again?

Great, thought-provoking post. i promise to try and comment more often on your blog (I'm a self-confessed lurker.)

踢人 said...

我對自己的信心已超越別人對我的評價........................................

Adele said...

Oh bugger, I forgot to mention how much the above gives me the irrits. Thanks 12.23am...you've been a lovely reminder!

teri said...

Ahhh--for some reason the comment link was nowhere earlier. I think you are right on on all of it. Book tours tend to make me sick of the book if they are overdone. And while I don't tend to trust any blogger or pro reviewer's word in terms of whether i will read a book, I do appreciate actually thoughtful reviews. Seem like we all have different tastes.

I answered your poll! And I think your honestly earned followers are better than followers earned by contests or whatever.

And, I suffer from a touch of the narcissism too, which bugs me to NO END. I heard they have a pill for it now?

Angiegirl said...

I hear ya, Adele. About the glut of reviews of the same book in a single day. It's fatiguing and I quickly become uninterested in the book, which of course is the direct opposite of the desired result. The bribing people to follow with giveaways is also a sticky issue. I don't like the basic philosophy behind it. On the other hand, I have actually discovered several blogs I now love by following them for a contest initially.

Lenore said...

I kind of hate it when you HAVE to be a follower to enter a contest. That makes me not want to enter the contest. But to offer an extra entry...I guess I am ok with that, though I don't do it anymore.

LovesSam said...

Woah someone is in a grouchy mood today?!

I'm not going to lie, this post made me a little mad. I get where your coming from and yes certain aspects of blogging really grate on my nerves, but to call people out on them is not cool. People have a right to their own opinions and when they are spending their own time working on their own blog, who are we to judge them for the way they choose to do it.

I started blogging around six months ago, and with me my follower numbers never change. It creeps up a little but I see it as a gradual thing. Most blogs have gotten followers through competitions, stipulating people have to follow to enter, but why does it matter. I choose not to have that as a stipulation on my blog, because i'd rather have people follow me because they find my blog interesting and plan to come back. This doesn't mean it annoys me when other people have more followers than me, it's just a fact of the blogging community.

Do you not realise that you've probably hurt a lot of peoples feelings because of this post. Not myself personally because stuff like this doesn't bother me in the slightest, and I do actually agree with your points. I've unfollowed people on twitter for the same reasons you've stated, i've unfollowed peoples blogs because they went in a direction that wasn't up my street. But, this is a community, you have to respect how other people choose to run their blogs and or twitter/facebook.

I love your blog, I really do. You always have something interesting to say and I value your opinion, but to attack other bloggers inadvertently is not something I would ever thought you would do.

Hagelrat said...

I get why everything you listed irritates you. Most of it doesn't bother me in the least. Half the fun of course is that we aren't all the same.
As for figuring out your name, well my name is also Adele but I was hagelrat wat the beginning and I haven't seen the point in changing, but I do have fun reading contact emails where you can almost hear people cringing as they type hagelrat. I give them my real name then, i'm not completely cruel. :)

Rowena said...

Great post! I've thought the same thing over the past couple of months (with everything you posted) so you're not alone. It's good to see that I'm not the only person that feels like this from time to time.

Lenore said...

Dear Hagelrat...

LOL!

April (BooksandWine) said...

I agree with a lot of these points. I've been guilty of some of them, might as well fess up to that, like the linking. I'm glad I've never blanked twitter asking for interviews. Although, I'd rather read a guest post than in interview, I'm not much interested in reading about the writing process or what it's like being a writer.
I tend to tweet a link to something I post everyday, right now I tend to tweet a lot about the list I'm compiling of the top 100 YA list because it's important to me and because I want to get a decent representation. I'm not sure if that's considered spamming, since it's not tweeting the same link over and over.
Also, I know how the narcissism feels. I see some bloggers who have HUGE huge HUGE amounts of followers, and the quality is just lacking, as in, 3 sentence reviews. I've unfollowed blogs because the reviews never told me enough, I suppose that makes me a jerk, but deep reviews are where my preference lies, not in contests although those are nice, if all you do is hold contests and don't write many reviews, then it's not worth my time to follow.
That said, there's some bloggers with an astronomical amount of followers that I love who've obviously worked their butts off to get where they are (Kristi, Steph, etc.)

Adele said...

LovesSam - I by no means meant to hurt people's feelings and I am sorry to have done that for you. This post reflects my feelings, not everyones. Yes I was in an exceedingly grumpy mood when I wrote this but I feel some of my points are valid *at least*.

On the competition front...that was the one point where I wasn't having a go. I am jealous of people having lots of followers (I am aware this is petty) but I don't begrudge the following/tweeting blog promotion element to these comps. I choose not to do it as I am too lazy to enter those kinds of competitions. It would be hypocritical for me to host them :)

I am honestly curious about the connection between follower numbers and daily unique hits. My guestimate is that halve your followers number and that's your daily hit...does that sound right?

Sorry to have upset you, LS.

Kirsty Murray said...

Loved the grouchiness, Adele. Some good points in this post and a few timely reminders. Without complaint and debate, nothing improves. Go well, oh snarky one!

Abigail Carter said...
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Abigail Carter said...

Personally I think you have two choices. You either invite comments from other bloggers or you don't. You don't get much choice in the quality or subject of their comments, unfortunately. If you find that you're getting a lot of spam consider using the comment moderator so that you can at least filter out a lot of the crap. I won't go into any of your other points, because I really don't follow any other YA book review blogs, and therefore don't know enough about them, though I don't think it is your place to tell others how to run their own site.

Tracey said...

I started to read your blog as I have, in my household, a "young adult" reader and after reading one of the books aimed at his age group, I was surprised with the content as it wasn't anything like what I remember from when I was a young adult!

I agree with your comments about how annoying it is when booksellers (online and physical) and libraries group their children and young adult sections together as there is no way I thought that the book I read was suitable for my younger son who is 12. Secondary school students do not want to browse through the children's section and for parents, a separate section helps us to decide whether the content of the book will be "age appropriate" for the child (even if they can read it).

As someone new to reading blogs, I haven't become a follower (to be honest I'm not sure what it is about), but have subscribed via google reader which I feel more comfortable with - must be the older generation thing. Maybe there are more people like me out there. However, this doesn't mean that I don't follow your blog, I read it regularly, and you have inspired me to read "Saving Francesca" with your recent reviews on Melina Marchetta. I think your blog is one of the best ones I am reading, and really valuable. I just don't always have time to be as active a participant in these communities as the younger generation seem to do.

Lisa Schroeder said...

hahahaha - publicity whores. Ah, the perfect name. Yeah, there have been a couple recently... I don't know. I don't get it. And the thing is, they don't NEED TO BE LIKE THAT. Their books have marketing dollars behind them. They're good, at least I've heard they are. I'm tempted to unfollow. But I'm not on twitter that much, so if I hop on and someone is being whorish, I just leave.

Do you feel better getting it off your chest? :)

teri said...

Hmmm. I already commented once but I just gotta say, I don't see where Adele has said anywhere in her post that other must conduct themselves in a certain way or run their blogs in a certain way. She has only said what bugs her. Some of those things bug other people. Some of them don't. Why the angry responses to her post?

Shweta said...

I agree with most of ur points Adele. Making people follow your blog for a contest is kinda lame. I am not saying I don't follow them or don't participate it's just that it looks so desperate. I am sure most of those people won't even look back at your blog after the competition .

Also I think you have all the right to say what you feel like or what bothers you. It's ur space after all. :)

Aye.Me? said...

I agree with Teri.

Adele has only said the things that bother her; she hasn't attacked anyone and is not telling others how to run their blogs.

I don't see how this could offend anyone; I found it helpful. :S

LovesSam said...

Adele - You really didn't need to apologise, you have the right to your own opinion and I totally respect that. Woah, I think the way this post made me a little mad, my comment has done the same. Ditto, I never wanted my comment to be construed in that way. I think you now where I was coming from, and me like you have the right to an opinion too. You know I love this blog, you know I love chatting to you on Twitter about FNL and bookish goodness.

Sassy CC said...

The fact that book depository doesn't have a separate YA section to children has and does annoy me because it means that I have to browse somewhere else then find it and buy. Maybe that just shows that I'm lazy though.

As for followers and comments I believe I consistently read your blog though I don't comment, mainly because I feel silly writing generic comments (because I'm comment challenged) such as great review! etc.
I will attempt to comment more in general as it's the least I can do for the great bloggers that maintain one of my main forms of procrastination and feel good past times when not reading.

What bugs was a fun and informative post

Sassy CC said...

Also I like reading a blog that is was based in Australia and the southern hemisphere, I can generally find the books that you review, recommend locally.
So I guess a "bug" of mine is that though I love international blogs knowing/wanting a book that isn't published here is irritating. Then I decide to buy it via internet only to find it in the bookstore/ library etc a week later cheaper and physically there as opposed to in transit(this has happened a few times).
That does make you feel better.

Seahn

滷肉飯 said...
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Liz said...

Random ramblings from me!

You know what breaks my heart and annoy me at the same time?

After four years or more of dedicated blogging, building up relationships with publishers, authors and "my" audience, seeing newer bloggers who have no respect when it comes to brazenly (and sometimes laughingly foolishly) shove themselves infront of publicity people - be it Twitter, Facebook or whatever - and demand to receive books, man, it drives me nuts.

And then when they receive these books, they do nothing with them, apart from putting them on their blog to say: lookit what I got in the post today. So few of the newer bloggers get how much hard work it is. It's taken me this long to get where I am and you know, it's pretty much the pinacle: being taken seriously as a reviewer is the biggest compliment any of us can get.

I have a smattering of loyal followers and I love them all. I love the fact that even if I know they don't comment on my blog posts a lot of times, that they've read the review or event I've attended and they've liked it. I get personal emails from them, from new readers and from authors, saying thanks for an astute review. Things like this matter to me. It proves I'm doing the right thing, that the blog works. I've had people approach me for reccomendations for their kids to read - how frigging cool is that? They felt that their local bookstore didn't have the knowledge to help them. I was crying into my cereal I was so happy that I had somehow managed to make an impact like this.

I started the blog to tell the world about the books I read, cos I read a gorram lot. And in the process it's evolved into something completely huge and beautiful and I love it. Because of the blog I've come to know a lot of publicity people, editors, agents and other players behind the scene in publishing, but you know, I don't take it for granted.

It only takes one dumbass reviewer to mess things up for all of us. If publishers decide that bloggers aren't pulling their weight any more, that they are in it for only the free books, and there are no reviews forthcoming, a stance could be taken that no proofs are being sent out to us "mundanes" anymore. I genuinely don't think the new (and some older) bloggers have even considered this possible nightmare scenario.

I am disgusted by some reviews that I've seen lately where bloggers have lambasted authors or books or covers and they feel cool because they get all these hits on their site because they are being controversial. Be careful, because if you get a negative reputation in the industry, your books will dry up faster than the Sahara after a sandstorm. I've seen it happen here in the UK and I suspect I will see it again. You may appear to be the flavour of the month right now, but sometimes those people laughing aren't laughing with you but at you.

Start small, grow big. Build a readership - and here I mean people that aren't just your fellow class-mates who have also started their little review blog and it's a competition to see who can get books from xyz publisher. Take yourself seriously enough to make an impact. The publishing industry is very small, it may not appear to be so, but trust me when I say it: it's incredibly small. Publicity people, editors, marketing people and agents talk. They leave jobs, go elsehwere. If they like you, your name and contact details will go with them to their new job. If you have a good rep, your name will get out there.

Followers and hits don't happen overnight. It takes time. And you know what, you shouldn't care about that when you start off. Just do the best you can and people will find you.

Similarly - if there is one thing I can't express enough: quality over quantity.

And oh, I have a lot more to say, but I won't. Cause I want to get home before dark!

cat said...

Dear Persnickety Snark,

This was a very well informed blog post and I was wondering if you might be able to hook me up with a cornucopia of free books to review and then like to join my blog tour where I just have people link to my blog and write about how awesome I am.

hugs and kisses,
Beyond Books

Ha! I'm, sorry the "If you can't figure out my name is Adele then you have no business emailing me about how much you love my blog! Seriously, it's there IN THE EMAIL ADDRESS ITSELF, which is on the MAIN PAGE!" part cracked me up!! hahahaha!!

This was a great post and I agree with many of your points as well. The blog follower thing.. I am tired of people asking other to follow them just to gain a contest entry or whatever. Or how people are so focused on the numbers. Makes it sound like a popularity contest. Hosting my own blog using wordpress I don't have a "Follower" button so I don't really know how many people read my blog, what I do know is that a handful of people have told me a review has helped them and THAT makes me happy. ;)

Emily said...

I just want to say that I'm second-ing several of your points (or third-ing... or fourth-ing... or whatever).

Especially about the book tours. I do get the purpose for them, but when I'm looking through my blog reader and the same book pops up over and over and over again.... it just drives me nuts. And then when I've finally read the book, I either feel like no one would want to read my review anyway.

One other thing that bothers me (i'm not sure if you mentioned this one and it may just be me) when bloggers post the same things over again. There are a few memes that have bloggers list what they're reading... then what they completed... then how the month went... and so on. It's a list of the same books over and over again! That's just one of my pet peeves on this whole blogging thing.

Watch, I'll probably start doing that in a few months, too. :)

Lu @ Regular Rumination said...

Honestly something that bugs me is when people list the number of followers or hits they get. I probably only say that because I am a little blog and even your numbers look huge to me, but there are plenty of blogs that started after me and are much higher. Ever since I've really been thinking about followers and what announcing that means, well, I've just been totally put off by contests or posts that mention follower count. Like all the things that annoy you, it's just me and it certainly doesn't mean I'm going to stop following a blog, unless they just won't stop talking about it.

One thing I disagree with you about is blog tours. I had exactly the same opinion you did until I actually participated in one. It ended up being the best conversation in the comments I've EVER had. It was amazing! The author came to my blog, answered questions in the comments and we all just had a lovely discussion. I know that there are some tour posts that are tired and unfortunate, and I don't necessarily like how it locks you into posting about a book, but overall, it can do great stuff for conversation!

In any case, I don't mind a little whining! I feel like doing the same on my blog sometimes, too. So thanks for being honest!

PS. I couldn't read the yellow in google reader and had to highlight it. Just letting you know!

IS76 said...

Hey Adele:

I just want to reiterate the point made by some of the commenters... You're expressing what bugs you and you are absolutely entitled to your opinion. Others can disagree but if they take offense or are hurt by your opinions... well, that's kind of their problem for being so sensitive.

I read your blog religiously but I'm not signed up as a follower. In fact, I only read a couple of blogs regularly and I'm not signed up to follow any of them. The whole "follower" concept seems too much like a popularity contest to me. Reminds me of grade school when kids would give out their school photos to friends and the kid who had collected the biggest stack of photos was the kid with the most friends, and hence, the most popular kid. Yeah, shows you how old I am...

I rarely comment too (but I did fill out your survey). I try to limit my online footprint.. I have weird privacy issues... But I just want to let you know that even though I don't publicly contribute to your narcissistic tendencies I absolutely love your blog, your wit and your writing. Your honest opinions are what makes this blog so enjoyable.

And for those that are "hurt/offended" by this post... umm, this blog has "snark" in the title... what did you expect? pink glitter and a shrine to S. Meyer?

Ladybug said...

This post kind of scared me really. That being said I agree to several of your points and I really hope that I don't fall into to many of the categories that bothers you, Adele. At least I'm no online bookstore LOL, that is the only thing I'm certain of.

I'm one of those who have contests for my followers by the way. I kind of feel like it is a treat for those bothering to follow my NorwegianEnglish scribblings :)

When it comes to the interview part I hope I do okay. I just conducted/posted my very first interview last week and I spent days to prepare it actually. Both due to the fact that English isn't my mother tongue and in-dept research about the author I was going to interview.