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Book Blogging 101: Shameful PJ behavior and Why BEA?


You may have already answered this question, but I was wondering how you say no to an author if you simply don't want to read the book because it doesn't interest you.

Thanks for your answer. Your Book Blogging 101 is sooo helpful!  - Anon

This is shameful. But a lot of the time I don't respond. I feel really horrible writing this and people are going to be all gaspy, but you can't review them all and if I took the time to write a "thank you but no" email to every review request I would never get anything done. Now that just sounds egotistical. But it is the truth. I spend literally 4-6 hours a day doing this, if I answered every email I would have to add another 2 hours to that. Then on top of that, the authors that I have replied "thank you but no" to, sometimes will not take no for an answer. Because sometimes I'm nice - like if it is a 3rd in a series, I'll say - "I can't possible read it out of order". So what do they do? Send me all three books. Or I'll reply "This book doesn't seem to go well with my blog's theme." And they'll respond with "couldn't you make an exception?"

So, I stopped responding to about 80% of the request. For those 20% that I do respond to, I usually just say, something to the effect of:

"Thank you so much for your interest in my blog! Right now I can not guarantee a review because of time constraints and the amount of review copies that I have currently in my queue." More or less 'I'm waaay too busy', but it is the truth. Too many books, too little time, right?

To even rant more about this subject, because I do feel terrible for ignoring emails, but you want to review every book. Or at least I do. I would love to. Self-pubs, off genre, 3rd in series...but if you accept every book for review, you'll literally drown in review copies. Then on top of it, if you accept a copy that you are unsure about. Something that just might not be up your alley, but the author is SOOO nice and she needs the publicity...well chances are you aren't going to like that book and then you'll be stressing yourself out because you have to write a BAD review and the author is SOOO nice.

True story. I was talked into reviewing a 2nd in series. Because you know, it could be treated as a stand alone. On reading it, it wasn't a stand-alone, there was tons of back-story that could have helped me enjoy this book better. I wrote a so-so review. The author got mad at me and wrote me an email saying that I didn't do her book justice and I should have "looked a little deeper." Then guess what? She asked if I wanted to review the first book. *face palm*

Moral of this story. Be nice, but be firm and if you really don't want to, don't say anything.

Thanks for the great information as always. I went to a QR code session at one of the co-located conferences at BEA I think it was IDPF . Chuck Martin has a book out on QR and Snap codes. Becurious is a good site.
QR codes can send someone somewhere- basically to any URL. What happens at that URL is up to the person who has that site.  Heineken  has one on their beer cases that helps you find a cab when you might be tipsy after a drink. Authors may have them on bookmarks that take you to something interactive, or a movie poster may take you to a trailer.  If you see the poster and click the code it will take you there.
I have yet to find a good use. - Steph, fangswandsandfairydust

Business Cards! Advertisements. Posters, bookmarks, book covers. Target marketing is some of the best uses for it that I can tell. You throw up a QR code for a promotion that you are running, like say a "Midsummer Blog Giveaway" and it takes you directly to that post. I've seen QR codes in the signature of emails. Just some suggestions.

How do you add a "subscribe via e-mail" or RSS thing if you use blogger? - Patti (Book Addict)

It is a Blogger Gadget now. New! Just go to gadget and it is the first one on the list now.

In talking about the FTC you said: "You have to disclose that you received that book in exchange for a review."

Does that mean that if I get a book or E-book from a author/publisher to review --and get nothing in return for the review-- that I have to put somewhere on the review that I received it to review from the publisher/author? - Holly

Yes. You have to declare it.  I write something like "review copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review". Because technically you have gotten something for that review. A FREE BOOK.

How do you add a link into comments? Such as if I am wanting to put my blog link into a signature? Right now it only lists the actual URL, without it being a link. Thanks so much! - Ariel @ The Librarian's Bookshelf

HTML. You have to do some HTML.

<a href=""></a>

<a href=""> - this tag tells the browser that it is a link and the is the link that you want the URL to go to. is the text that will show up in the browser as the link

</a> tells the browser that you are closing the link

I watched the screencast of adding pages to blogger, I'm pretty familiar with that aspect, but I am not sure how to turn the pages into mouse-over dropdown menus (i.e Features -> Book Blogger 101 mouseover).

I feel like I get asked this question every week. Sorry I know you didn't know. But drop down navigation is very complicated and is not a standard in blogger. You would actually have to hire someone who knows code. Or work with a program like this free one here:

Or learn to code CSS and HTML. I recommend:

CSS tutorials

So I just started blogging and it happened to a week that everyone was buzzing about BEA.  Being new I know it's a conference with a lot of writers and bloggers, and that it's in NYC which isn't all that far of a drive.  But here's the impression I'm getting and I'd like to know if I'm wrong or not.  It sounds like a big conference where you pay for a hotel and a ticket or pass then go into to stand in massive lines and then buy books you want which will hopefully be signed by the author.  Then you come home and give all said books away.  It sounds like an extremely expensive way to buy books that I could order on amazon that just wouldn't have the benefit of being signed.  Signatures are cool but the difference between a few hundred a book (when you count in the cost of the hotel travel and tickets) versus $20 doesn't really make them worth it especially if you have to then give them away.  Am I getting the wrong impression when I read these posts people have about BEA.  What exactly occur?  What is the average cost of all of this? Why should someone want to do it? Is it something you have to be invited to? Is it something that if you want to make this book blogging thing work you should strive to attend? Thank you very much for taking the time to answer questions like this.  I really appreciate your time and wealth of information.


Welcome to Book Blogging Jenn. Let's clear up a few things. For one BEA is huge for bloggers. One of the PROS is that you get to meet your favorite authors. Our fave authors are our ROCK STARS! There is a reason why I paid $50 bucks for books and stood in line (behind a bookshelf) for three hours to meet Sherrilyn Kenyon for 2 minutes. It doesn't make sense logically, but it made sense to me at the time. It rocked.

So on top of being able to mingle with your favorite authors, you also get to meet and get acquainted with publisher contacts.  This is also a HUGE deal for book bloggers, because publisher contacts are usually who send you those review copies, sponsor contests and set up author interviews.

Then, at BEA you don't buy most of the books. You buy the finished copies, (usually at discounted prices though) but all ARCs and galleys are given to you by those publisher contacts that you are meeting. On top of that, a lot of the publishers offer coupons that you can print out and bring to their booth to receive finished copies of books. That is fun!

BEA is an experience that I have yet to tackle. Mainly because NYC is rather far and cost of hotel accommodations and flights, well, over my budget. I would love to go though. I was actually planning on attending this year, until I found out ALA 2011 would be in my backyard one month later. Don't need hotel accommodations for that one ;) So I chose to sit this one out.

You do not have to be invited. It is open for anyone that wants to buy a ticket to attend.

You also do not have to give books away. BEA attendees are giving away extra copies because they ROCK and are just that generous. XOXO Guys!

Maybe one of my readers that attended BEA can chime in and give us an estimate as to how much it costs.

As to why you would want to do this. I guess if you have to ask, it's probably not for you. For me, like I said earlier it is about making contacts, meeting authors, other bloggers, getting some hot ARCs, meeting authors...I mentioned that, right? Do you understand the high I will be on when I get to meet Orson Scott Card this Saturday???!!! I'm going to be a nervous wreck. Complete lunatic. Patti is going to have smelling salts and prozac waiting for me. LOL

Little TMI. Sorry.

And finally. No you do not have to attend any of these conferences to make book blogging work for you.

That's it folks. Talk Less. Read More. Happy Thusday.

Ask your BB101 Questions here...


Moonlight Gleam said...

Awesome post as always PJ! Rock on!

Grace said...

Well going to BEA, made sense to me as since I live in NYC. It only cost $120.00 to go as I registered early. Some bloggers who if they had over 1000 followers got in for free because they registered as Press. So depended on who you were.

ParaJunkee said...

@Moonlight - TY! XO

@Grace - Ooh I didn't know they accepted bloggers as press. See learn something new every day. ALA doesn't let bloggers register as press, but it is a 4th of the cost for BEA tickets.

Cindy said...

You mentioned in the BEA comment about the books and at the BEA event you do not have to buy any books they are being handed for free and that includeds all ARCS and finished copies.

I guess in regards to paying I didn't have to pay last year when I went to get into the convention. But you do have to pay to get into the Book Blogger convention that is held on the Friday after BEA.

Karen said...

I got into BEA as Press for free also. They changed the registration process so I'm not sure if it will still be free next year.
As for my experience the past two years - all books are free. ARC's, finished copies, everything. Some authors (the big ones) are ticketed but that is free also - just limited quantities of books and you need to get that ticket first thing in the morning.
Some authors are in the autographing area or booths so you have to attend the signings to get the books (still free) but other books can be had just by going to the publishers booth (again - free). They will be unsigned of course since the author isn't there.
There are mostly ARC's but some finished copies of books.
There are also great author panels to attend and it's an excellent networking opportunity to meet other bloggers/publishers/authors.
And it's just plain fun getting to hang out with everyone!

Also thanks for making me feel less guilty about turning down those requests. I have been trying to answer everyone politely but you're right, some just won't take no for an answer ;-)

Anonymous said...

I wish they'd have BEA on the west coast. It sounds like it would be great to go.

Taschima Cullen said...

Okay, so BEA:

The hotel costs can be a bit expenssive, last year was my first year attending, I went with my mother and we found a hotel where we stayed for 5 days I believed and it was around $500 dollars, add to this that I live at FL and I have to buy to and from plane tickets...

Basically it can be expenssive. But you get to meet your favorite authors (Getting to meet authors like Richelle Mead and Julie Kagawa is out of this world, plus you get to get their books signed!!), talk to publishers (I met the most awesome publisher at McMillan plus I got to put faces on those names on the emails you get from publishers), make new connections and meet fantastic book bloggers in the process! Also the books at BEA, finished copies or not, are free. All of them. So thats a plus. Also the ticket to get into BEA is free for book bloggers, they have to approve you though (BCC -Book Blogger Convention- though is not free for Book Bloggers). Plus it's NY! I mean who doesn't want to go to NY at least once in their life!

Best way to save some money is by rooming with other book bloggers, that is what I did this year and it was such a fantastic experience! Plus cheaper ;)

My advice? If you want to go next year start saving now.

PS; PJ if you are going next year and need someone to room with me and some other book bloggers are rooming again if you are interested ^^

Jenni Elyse said...

I love your Book Blogging 101 posts. They're so helpful! Thank you! :)

Vampyre Gurls Book Blog said...

I am saddened this passed b4 I could go to it :( BUT I live in Connecticut & am gonna go next June! I already printed out the list of all who will be there & where their booths are, etc. I have to plan so I don't miss any of my faves.. I can't wait! Hopefully by next year I will be over 1k followers and get in for free :) I think going to the Book Blogger Conference would be fabulous too.


As always, informative, funny, you rock too, Parajunkee! Thanks for the info!


Lori @ Romancing the Darkside said...

I'm also fairly new to blogging and had no idea what BEA was all about. I live in NY so I'll most likely be attending next year!! Thanks for the insight!

nymfaux said...

WOW again!!!--I've been following you for at least a year now, and I swear I learn something new every week!!!!

p.s. didn't know they still made smelling salts lol ;)

LupLun said...

LOL, The whole bad review issue comes up again and again. ^_^ Really, everyone makes such a big deal out of it. Neither reviewers nor writers seem to understand that a bad review is a lot better than none at all. Even a bad review gets the word out, and even a bad review sends the message that the author is respectable enough for the reviewer to take them seriously. And the bad reviews tell you a lot more than the good ones about what you need to be doing better in the sequel. The only review I'd consider truly "bad" is one where the reviewer has clearly not read the book. This is why the big publishers are so willing to send ARCs out: it's a lot better to have the book everyone's talking about then to have the book that a few bloggers who like this sort of thing have praised.

Personally, I accept every ARC I'm offered if it fits my niche, but... errr... that's because I've been offered a grand total of one. ^_^;;;; More commonly, I have authors saying "Hey, you should read my book!", which I treat like any other recommendation: Say "Thanks! I'll read it if I see it."

Lupines and Lunatics

Jamie said...

I went to BEA as an ABA (American Bookseller's Association) member, so my badge was free. BUT, most bloggers register as press and get free badges. Airfare was around $215/person, ABA hotel was $205/night split four ways, Book Blogger Convention was $120/person, and I spent $75 for three author breakfasts and an author tea. I don't know exactly how much I spent on food, cabs, etc. because I was too afraid to add it all up ;) I came home with over 50 books and paid for none of them. THEY GIVE THEM TO YOU!!! They do, however, ask for a $1 donation for each book you get signed for the National Book Foundation - a small price to pay for something that could be priceless to you! Overall it was a great experience - expensive, but totally worth it in my opinion.

Patti (Book Addict) said...

I swear that e-mail function was not available when I asked - I looked!!!

Yes, I will administer smelling salts at ALA if you will do the same for me :)

Denise Z said...

I really enjoy these posts. Thank you for sharing.

Hannah said...

Regarding the requirement to disclose that you received the book you're reviewing for free, my understanding is that it's not that strict. It's only if it wouldn't be otherwise clear that you got the book (or other product) for free that you have to disclose it. I don't remember where I read this but it seemed to be an authoritative source.

Lauren B said...

Thanks for the html tip. I was wondering how its done.
~Lauren's Book Bag

Emily a.k.a WilowRaven : ) said...

Great post as usual!

I now some others have chimed in already about BEA but I wanted to as well :)

I've gone to BEA the last 2 years and as a blogger I was able to register as press and get in for free. It doesn't matter how many followers you have -- there is no secret or special formula or criteria to be considered a legit 'blogger' but your registration is subject to approval. I have yet to hear of the BEA folks denying a request but I guess it could happen.

All the books are free. You won't pay a thing for anything you receive on the BEA exhibit floor.

Cost would really come down to how much it would cost you personally to get yourself to NYC and stay for as many days as you wanted.

The BBC (Book Blogger Convention) does cost. This year was only the second time it was held and I didn't go so I can't speak to the price but last year it was around $130. It's a separate event usually held on the Friday of BEA week.

Don't know if that helps anyone! I can only assume next June things will be about the same. For anyone who is interested in going, I suggest contacting other bloggers you know have been before to help with any questions you might have :)

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