Spawned from the Big Sis, Little Blog program, Book Blogging 101 was born. Do you have a question? Leave it in the google docs form and I'll try and answer them in the order they are received.
A: Sis, remember before you start your blog, that if you brand yourself in a certain way you can really get stuck in that image.
Take myself for example. The blog is all about the paranormal, even my AKA -- what happens if I reviewed a Western? or maybe a Memoir? Not that I would, but that would probably stray off topic a bit. It would be like an electronics reviewer, reviewing a mattress or shower head. People might not scream and declare them a heathen and stop following, but it might raise a few eyebrows.
But, what if I wanted to read Westerns? What if my other love was Westerns and I was feeling repressed by my paranormal books? I would probably start another blog and call it CowJunkee or something like that. Just so I wouldn't get things all confused and aggravate my hard core ParaFantatics.
So, this in mind think about how you are going to brand yourself when just starting out. Do you want to review just Urban Fantasy novels --- there sure are enough to keep on going with those, or are you going to go Romance only? Or are you going to just lump them all together and be an everything sort of blog. I review this this and this. People do it, it is not a big deal. The one piece of advice I can give is that you know in advance what type of books you will review and what you will not. You know your likes and dislikes, don't accept or state on your blog that you will accept everything...when you really don't like Non-Fiction, or Memoirs or Westerns.
A: FaerieGrl, this is a slippery slope. Personally I've heard a bit of feedback on this topic and it is not always good. I know some readers get cranky about the CSNstores.com giveaways that were very big a few months back. I did one, kept it to a bookshelf...since it was book related, but after that I didn't feel comfortable doing it. I felt I was pushing something on my readers that they didn't come here for. I'm not the BookshelfJunkee, right?
You might have 9 out of 10 readers that could care less if you review some lipstick, but are you staying true to your blog's mission? You are a book blog, what does make-up have to do with books? If it was maybe finger nail polish from Bree Despain to go with her latest Dark Divine novel...maybe, or eye shadow inspired by Twilight...there you go, but if it is just some mundane, everyday make-up, I might think twice. Is a thing of eye shadow for review worth calling to question the integrity of your blog? It really might not be a big deal to you, so don't sweat it, but if you are asking me, I think you might already know the answer.
A: You can always quote a printed piece. The MLA rules state that the quote must be placed in quotation marks followed by the page number "YOUR QUOTE" (66). Then at the end of the article you would put the name of the author, book, publisher and published date.
Quoting from advanced release copies and galleys is not recommended since scenes are still going to be edited and changed, so something you quote may not be correct.
"Fair use" (section 107 of the copyright law) states (quoted from the US Copyright Office)
"Section 107 contains a list of the various purposes for which the reproduction of a particular work may be considered fair, such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Section 107 also sets out four factors to be considered in determining whether or not a particular use is fair:
- The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes
- The nature of the copyrighted work
- The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole
- The effect of the use upon the potential market for, or value of, the copyrighted work
The 1961 Report of the Register of Copyrights on the General Revision of the U.S. Copyright Law cites examples of activities that courts have regarded as fair use: “quotation of excerpts in a review or criticism for purposes of illustration or comment; quotation of short passages in a scholarly or technical work, for illustration or clarification of the author’s observations; use in a parody of some of the content of the work parodied; summary of an address or article, with brief quotations, in a news report; reproduction by a library of a portion of a work to replace part of a damaged copy; reproduction by a teacher or student of a small part of a work to illustrate a lesson; reproduction of a work in legislative or judicial proceedings or reports; incidental and fortuitous reproduction, in a newsreel or broadcast, of a work located in the scene of an event being reported.” 1
Now a review is considered criticism so you are able to "reproduce" the work you are critiquing.
In regards to length. The code says "quotation of excerpts". Now how long that entails, it is really a matter up for discussion. I think a paragraph or two might be a reasonable assumption, but anything beyond that is pushing copyright infringement and I would contact the author, well really the publisher for permission, since the publisher is usually the one that retains the copyright. If I was an author I wouldn't want bloggers copying Chapter 1 of my novel and posting it on their blogs without my permission.
1. "Fair Use." U.S. Copyright Office. Web. 16 Feb. 2011. <http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl102.html>.
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