Every community has rules that need to be followed and actions that are considered taboo. No one is perfect. We are all humans (I think) and we all make a lot of mistakes. Heck, I’m pretty sure I’ve done at least half of the list below. But the important thing is that we learn from our own mistakes, as well as those that others make.
Before I get any further, I have to make something clear about this post. The goal of this post is simply to educate and remind people of things they should know about being a blogger. Nothing more. Nothing less.
So, in no particular order, book bloggers should NEVER…
Be Rude / Insult Others
Politeness is key. Even if someone insults or annoys you, there are better ways to respond than dishing an insult back their way. It’s hard to read someone’s tone in text. Maybe that person didn’t really mean what they said. You never know what fire you’ll be starting or pouring fuel on when you respond with rudeness and negatively. The blogosphere is supposed to be a utopia of sorts (not that it really is, but that’s its goal). If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all. And in some cases, ignoring the problem is the right solution.
Judge a Book by its Cover
While I really don’t think you should judge a book by its cover, I’m not referring an actual one here. No, I’m talking about other people and bloggers instead. Kind of self-explanatory.
It’s one thing to inform others of news, like so and so will be at Book of Wonder at 7pm tomorrow. It’s another totally different things to spread rumors, even accidently. Please don’t share anything without gathering the full story from multiple sources first. Just because your best friend who knows everything swears something is true, doesn’t actually mean it is. Please, please, verify stories before your share them.
It’s sad at that I still have to include this on the list. No matter how far we’ve come as a race, we still need to be reminded constantly that we are all equal, regardless of color, gender, sex, sexual orientation, disability, sickness, size, and more.
This is a big problem. Plagiarizing is when you take someone’s work and pass it off as your own. Kind of like what I just did there with the definition of “plagiarize” that I got from Google. It’s also important to understand that, it doesn’t matter if you change some of the words or reword the whole thing, taking someone’s work and saying “this is mine, I was the one who created this” is still considered plagiarism.
If you really like a post and want to share it, post the link! It’s that simple. You don’t have to copy and paste the whole thing and repost it.
This goes hand in hand with plagiarism. Anything someone creates something, whether it be a photograph, a design, a poem, or a blog post, that work is automatically copyrighted by the creator. Maybe not officially and registered, but stealing anything without permission is considered a copyright violation.
Examples of violating copyrights include
- Reposting an image on Instagram without the user’s permission. Even if credit is given.
- Using a copyrighted picture from the Internet that is not considered fair use on a blog post. Even if the blog is a small one.
- Taking a graphic someone created and using it on your blog post.
As long as you don’t have direct permission to use something, don’t use it. If you’re not sure, ask!
This one makes me really angry. Somewhere on the front of every single Advance Reader’s Copy (ARC), there are the words “NOT FOR SALE”. The four pictured above are all from different publishers. They may all refer to the ARC as something different (it’s even called an ARE in the top right), but they all include those three small, but important words – “NOT FOR SALE”.
It is important to understand that ARCs are uncorrected proofs given to people like bloggers and librarians for review. They are created for the sole purpose to promote the finished copy of the book when it is published.
If you should be fortunate enough to receive an ARC, don’t be disrespectful towards the publisher and author by putting it up for sale. It doesn’t matter how you do it. Whether it’s putting it up for auction on eBay or charging an excessive amount of money for shipping, it is not right and you should NOT do it. Ever!
Hoard ARCs (at Events)
Similarily, you should not hoard ARCs at any events you go to that are handing them out. Why do you need seven copies of one ARC to review it? You do not need to drag mom, dad, gramps, grannie, uncle, niece, and nephew in line at an event to all grab the same ARC. Not only are you being terribly inconsiderate by taking them out of the hands of other people who would love the chance to read that book early, you are also helping the publishers lose money as you will surely not be using all of them for their intended purpose, and give bloggers everywhere a bad rep.
It’s one thing to scroll through someone’s Twitter feed and a totally totally different thing to show up someone’s house uninvited and watch them behind the bushes throughout the day. Not only is it a violation of privacy, it’s also illegal. Just saying.
According to the Urban Dictionary, a catfish is someone who pretends to be someone they are not on social media. You are not a catfish if you are simply using a different name to blog. You are a catfish if you say your name is Sarah Jane, a sixteen-year-old high schooler from Connecticut, when in reality, you’re 60-year-old father of two from California. Okay, so it’s just a little white lie right? Wrong. Not only is assuming the identity of someone else, fictional or not, way more than just a little white lie, it also can skew people’s perceptions of books “Sarah Jane” reviews. A 60-year-old man is not exactly the target demographic for YA books, and thus any review “Sarah Jane” writes will contain unexplainable bias.
Most of these points are just common sense. I guess I just wanted to remind everyone to be kind and not go anything illegal.
What do you think?
What didn’t make the list but should have?