An Open Letter To Bloggers: What Happened?

Dear Bloggers,

I love you. I really do.

You work tirelessly to share your viewpoints on the books that you read without getting paid a penny. Your passion for books is truly wonderful, and I know that most of you blog in your spare time – time that there is probably not a whole lot of to begin with. So thank you for everything that you do.

Some of my closest friends are bloggers who took a chance on me last year when I first began my author adventure, and I am grateful for their support. Truly.

However…

For some time now, I have been trying to gather my thoughts on a couple of things that I have experienced firsthand. But I confess that I did not know exactly how I should address these “issues”, if you will, because the last thing I want is to offend any of you. But I also feel that I need to voice them because I have seen a shift in the blogging community the past year or so that makes me wonder if it is in some kind of trouble, in a way. A midlife crisis, so to speak. 😉

First of all, to those of you who are unaware of it, let me tell you something: I used to be a blogger. Granted, my blog was small, and I will be the first person to admit that I was not one of the best – I made tons of mistakes in the beginning (and I still feel rather horrible when I think of them) – but I absolutely loved it. I loved being able to share my thoughts on a book I had been given by an author in exchange for an honest review. I loved when authors messaged me in private, thanking me for posting my review, and when there were times when I could not get into a book, for various reasons, I felt absolutely awful about it. But what I found to be the best approach on the latter was emailing the author and explain my reasons as to why I could not post a review. 

And guess what? In every single instance, the author emailed me back. They were kind and courteous about it. Maybe the author was a bit sad about it – which is totally understandable, of course – but usually, they thanked me for letting them know. And that was that. No muss, no fuss – no hard feelings. 

The key word here is communication

If you are still reading this, thank you. I will get to my point of this blog post now.

Promise! 

You see, what I have heard and read and seen the past year is a lack of communication between bloggers and authors – and that makes me so sad. 

Please let me explain before you rip my head off. 

As authors, we depend on bloggers. We spend a lot of time – time we would most likely rather spend working on our next novel – emailing bloggers, asking them to consider reading our book(s). And why do we do that? Because we need to get the word out about us, obviously, but we also secretly hope that we will become a new favourite author to some of them. Because when you reach that point, you know that those bloggers will go to great lengths shouting “Read this book NOW!” to their friends, thus possibly help us gain new readers. 

You have seen bloggers do this on social media. You rejoice when it happens to fellow authors because you know how incredible it feels. You have experienced it firsthand, and it is seriously one of the most amazing things to behold ever! It makes you want to keep writing. It makes you want to keep working hard to become a better writer, because there will always be room for improvement. 

But…you hit an all-time low when bloggers agree to read and review your work – and then do not keep their word. But you do not know for sure until you see a blogger post about another book they agreed to read for a friend after they read yours. That is when the disappointment really sets in. You may grumble in private about it for a bit, but then you move on, because life is just too short to dwell on things, right?

But…what makes matters even worse is when you have hired a promo company where new bloggers sign up to review your work, and, come the day of the event, only one blogger follows through.

One

Yeah. Absolutely not fun. It makes you want to stop writing altogether, actually. You become devastated because your expectations were not met. You might even get rather angry, but the overall emotion is sadness.

And this has nothing to do with “having too thin skin for this business”, in my opnion.

It comes down to this:

Manners matter.

When you give out your work for free, you expect to be respected.

Plain and simple.

What makes you hit rock bottom is not knowing why these bloggers did not tell the promo company that they could not keep their word. 

Maybe you are unaware of it, and I can only speak for myself here, but I would rather receive an email with the answer than not getting one at all. Yes, even if your answer is that you hated my book – I want to know so I will no longer have to wonder about it.

I loathe unanswered questions, and I confess that I have trouble letting them go.

SO my question to you, dear bloggers, is this:

What happened? What happened to communicating with authors? What happened to us? Because this goes both ways, to be honest – we need each other in order to succeed. Is time management the issue for many of you? Do you sign up to participate in too many events out of the goodness of your heart because you want to help us all? 

Like I said in the beginning: I love you. I have the utmost respect for you.

But please keep your word, or explain to us why you cannot/will not be able to do that.

Communication is key. 

Remember: I was a blogger once. I know full well the demands of the job, and these demands have most likely multiplied the past year. I know that blogging has a tendency to take over every aspect of your life because it is your passion. I know that your family sometimes suffer for it. But please, please, please take a minute and think about what your lost promises mean to the authors who have given you their work for free.

All of us are only humans – we cannot do it all, however much we might want to. We can only do our best, and no one expects more of you than that.

Please tell us what is going on.

Tell me what happened, please.

Knowledge is power. Ignorance can crush you.

Much love,

Karen Ferry.