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Book Blogging 101: Stolen Ideas & Mentor Me

Do you happen to know the specifics of how S&S Galley Grab works? Can you browse or are you assigned titles? How can you sign up for it? - Anon
Simon and Schuster's Galley Grab program is something similar to but S&S keeps it completely in-house. They usually have a few titles each month that they allow to be downloaded and they let you know via email each month.

The website is located here. Simon & Schuster Galley Grab

The website states that the Galley Grab program is for invited guests only, which is where the quandary lies. But, most bloggers are usually invited by one of the authors in a newsletter or via a blog post. They'll have a banner on a site (like for Lisa McMann's Cryer Gross galley) that says click here and it will take you to the sign-up page.

Emailing someone at Simon & Schuster might also get you in the door. Just a quick question to an email listed on their website.

When you are invited, once a month an email will go out with a list of the titles that are on the "grab" you can click a link to download any of those titles and you usually have one month or as little as 14 days before they expire. You can only read them on certain software and most of it is via your computer. There are ways of getting around them and reading them via your iPad or smart phone or things like that, but it varies per device.

A few weeks ago I started working on an event.  I posted on a few forums looking for feedback and possible co-hosts.  I never got any answers, but I went ahead and put it together anyway.  For two weeks, I've been relentlessly marketing my event.  Not a week later another post pops up, in the same forums I've been marketing on, for the same event I'm hosting, but on another blog.
Basically, I'm a little pissed.  I put a lot of effort into putting together what I hope will be an awesome event.  I even looked for co-hosts!  I can't help but want to say something to this other blogger.
What would you do? - Bekka
Same exact? Meaning like same name? Same topics? Same Modus operandi? Because that would be rude and rather forward to post it in the same forum. Or is it just similar? If it is a blatant rip, I would email the blogger. I would send them a sort of "cease and desist" letter. Something along the lines ... I posted my idea in the forum, dated XX XX XX, your initiation of the event is almost an exact replica of my event. Out of a courtesy to a fellow blogger I would hope that you could stop doing the event or change the name and parameters. Don't be ugly though. Ugly will only get returned ugliness.

If it is just a similar event. On the same lines, but a different name, things like that you have to take like a good blogger. These things happen, but there is really nothing you can do about it. You can't own an idea. It would be like if I came up with the French Fry - I can hold on tightly to my recipe but if someone comes up with something similar I can't freak out. Even if they do it better.

Punch a pillow. Bitch about it on twitter. Unfollow and give the evil eye to their blog. But just keep it in your heart that you did it first, this person can't come up with an original idea so they have to copy it from you and then pity them their flatness.

It happens and it happens a lot! But, remember sometimes it happens by accident. Sometimes other bloggers don't realize it. Ideas are like butterflies they flit around the world erratically.

Is there such a thing as "Giveaway" etiquette? Like, what is the appropriate time to post a giveaway if an author or publisher provides a book for the giveaway? Is it better to do the giveaway before the review, after the review, with the review? And what if the review is critical? - Aimee

  1. If you are scheduling the giveaway with a review you should give yourself one month to read and prepare the review
  2. If it is a negative review I would rethink having the giveaway at all. But, I'm talking HATE the book type of critical. If it is just a middle of the road sort of critical, I would probably post the review after the giveaway post
  3. Praising review? Maybe the day before the giveaway post, get them excited! Maybe list I'll be giving away this book on such and such date...
  4. Most of the time, though if I'm given a copy to review/giveaway I post the giveaway with my review
There is no real etiquette set in stone,  just that if you are given a review copy with a giveaway to go with it, review the book. If you are given "promo copy" and then a copy of the book thrown in, which does happen a lot. there is not as much pressure to review it with the giveaway. Publishers will usually specify if they want the review posted with the giveaway.

Okay, Rachel, I'm going to drive you nutz with my persistent queries. What If you have multi-contributors on your site (new situation), an author has just submitted a review request and more than one person wants to accept the opportunity to read and review the same book? Is there a general rule that normally applies in this type situation? Do we all fight over the request...  pull hair, set traps, sabotoge email accounts, to be the one chosen to do the review? Just kidding, we're all civilized, I think. What is the best way to handle that type of situation? – Aimee

My suggestion would be the person that gets this first copy of the "chosen book" sits out for the next hot copy. Maybe go in alphabetical order. The next time it happens the person that was left out the first time gets the book. I do this with my kid and her friends, LOL.

Hi Parajunkee, Thanxs for sharing this wonderful go to bloging guide. I just love all the help you have provided me & my blog with so far. Also I was hoping to get some help with my basic "0 Comments" link. I want it to stand out, is there any thing I can add to blogger like a widget or code, to make it stand out like my addthis buttons? - Fellow Blogger

Your COMMENTs link will be listed in your POST FOOTER section. Depending on your template that you've chosen you could have more options than I'm showing here...take a look at what it looks like for my template. (Click on the image to make it larger)

In this area you can change the font color and the background to make it stand out a little more.

Want to make it go even crazier? This will require CSS change-ups. You know the name of it right? POST FOOTER --- well now we need to go into your EDIT HTML in the template and check out our options in POST FOOTER.

Back to Blogger > Template > scroll down > Edit Template

(This will vary for different templates)

Search text: .post-footer

This will be the CSS that changes what you .post-footer looks like:

To make your font bigger, you will be concerned with:
  font-size: 90%;

This mean it will be 90% the size of your "page text"

Increase 90% to 98% and you are increasing it 8% in size, on 2% smaller than your page text. Go over 100% and you will be increasing it larger than your page text.

Want to change the font? This is where you would insert a font code, something like:

font-family: 'Carme', sans-serif;
Find a fun font on the Google Font Directory and use it! Change things up, it'll make it stand out!

Hey PJ you so ****ing {edited ;) } rock. I want to start a book blog but I'm not quite sure how to get started. I was thinking since you are like an expert on this you could mentor me, or kind of show me the ropes tell me what to do those type of things. I so look forward to hearing from you!  - Flippy
I really do get a lot of these type of questions. In fact probably one a week, which I guess isn't that much, but I don't know what is really expected of me? Do you want me to start your blog for you? I thank you for thinking that I'm an expert (which I'm not - I just tell you what I would do) and thinking that I could make a difference in your endeavors, but this is kind of why I do these Blogging 101 posts so you can read them and make the decisions yourself. I can answer singled out questions - but I really don't think it would be in my best interest to mentor or show someone the ropes. Once again, why I've done these posts. Sorry. I would like to be a lot more helpful!

That's it folks. Talk less. Read More. Happy Thursday.

Ask your BB101 Questions here...


Leanna (Daisy Chain Book Reviews) said...

Thanks for the helpful post as always!

Just an extra tip about Galley Grab. I know the site says invite only, but there is a sign-up page too, where once the account is approved, you'll start receiving the newsletters each month. :)

ParaJunkee said...

@Leanna - You are a gem. Thank you for letting everyone know.

Sandy said...

Oh also on the galley grab the amount of time you get to read a book depends on how much time between the day you download the ebook and the release date.

The newsletter usually provides books about two months before their release date so you get around 60 days usually. At least that has been my experience :)

Mari - Escape In A Book said...

Another great 101 post, Rachel :)

I like the sound of S&S galley grab but I do hate reading on my computer. It's a shame that there isn't an option for getting the files onto a Kindle or another reader for that matter.

My advice to Flippy would be to start a blog and take it from there. One will learn lots of new stuff over time, I know I have. Reading these fab 101 posts and perhaps check out The Story Sirens "Blogger help" is also a great way to get all(many of them at least) questions answered. Might I also add that Google is your friend ;)

Aimee said...

That's how I got mine, did the sign up page. I got my invite to SS really fast after that. I haven't managed to snag one of those strictly invite only book links though.

Joy Tamsin David said...

My co-blogger and I share review copies we both want to read, but only one of us reviews the book. The one who doesn't do the review might highlight it some other way like through a meme post. When we get pitched PDF copies, we ask for the publicist or author to email copies to both of us if we're interested.

Cassandra said...

Wow, this article is super long but I'm reading since it's very important(for me anyway)

Cassandra @ Book & Movie Dimension (

Moonlight Gleam said...

PJ You rock!!! I am totally addicted to your Blogging 101 posts! hehe :D

ParaJunkee said...

@Sandy - I'm trying to remember what I downloaded, but it was only 14 days. The others about a month, so yes, I guess it varies.

@Mari - I haven't been able to finish them. I grabbed Wildfire and even though I'm enjoying it I only made it to half way through. I get distracted by twitter and email.... Google is your friend, everything I don't know how to do is usually solved with a simply google query.

@Aimee - I guess it depends, right, usually they are from the author. I haven't gotten on either so they could be "make-believe" j/k

@Joy - I've seen joint reviews on co-blogs, which I think is cool. XX bloggers though & YY bloggers thoughts...I'm trying to remember who does that, but it's slipped my mind. I know I've seen it on LateBloomers Online at least once or twice like that.

@Cassandra - Sorry - I didn't even get to 1/3rd of the questions either...

@Moonlight - Why thank you! It's good to be a junkee.

Emily said...

The Book Smugglers do a lot of joint reviews- I'm sure others do as well but theirs are the ones that jump right out in my mind.

Also, here is free mentoring advice for anyone who wants it: read a book. Write about whether you liked it or didn't like it. Hit post. Repeat. :D

Rebecca said...

I love these weekly BB101's I always learn something.

@Emily love the mentoring

melissa said...

I dont have a question i just wanted to give you kudos for helping others with there book blogging i just wrote a post on my blog about some what of a vibe i picked up on when a smaller blogger asked an established blogger for help.

so lots of kudos to you!!! Awesome post.

Enbrethiliel said...


I actually get that last question a lot, from people I know offline, when they learn how long I've been blogging. I think they ask because they worry about doing something wrong, when the reality is that the rules of blogging are very few and fluid. But when I tell them that I just started writing and went with whatever felt natural from there, they never believe me! It sounds too easy to be true! =P

If I've learned anything after all these years, it is that blogging is best learned by doing. The more you do it, the better you get--and one month's worth of blogging mistakes that you can learn from is worth ten years' worth of preparation by reading other people's advice about what to do.

Bekka said...

Thanks for answering me, PJ! I really do appreciate it.

The other blogger just changed the name. But it's the same parameters, it even starts on the same day!
I decided I wouldn't say anything though. I just take it like I know I had a good idea. =p

Thanks again!


Safari Poet said...

Thanks for the tips! Christine Seifert is giving away a signed ARC of The Predicteds on my blog if you're interested.

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