Thursday, November 10, 2016

Discussion: Bookish Opportunities: A Public Service Announcement

Feed Your Fiction Addiction and It Starts At Midnight host the 2016 Discussion Challenge.

Normally, I hate it when people start a post with a disclaimer, but I’m going to do it because I’m talking about a BookTuber in our bookish community. I’m not trying to spread hate or drama. (We already have more than enough of that.) Blogs and YouTube videos only show a small part of a person’s existence. I don’t know anything about this BookTuber’s personal life or her agreements with publishers. I’m not trying to call her out or imply she did anything wrong. Her videos just made me think about bookish opportunities, which inspired this post. Disclaimer over. Read on.

Bookish Opportunities: A Public Service Announcement

In 2014/2015 I tried very hard to get interested in BookTube. It was difficult for me because I don’t have the best attention span for TV or online videos. I tend to zone out. Blogs are easier for me to concentrate on, but BookTubers are a huge part of the bookish community, and I wanted to support them. I eventually found a small group of BookTubers who I enjoyed watching.

One of the BookTubers I subscribed to had a bubbly personality and was a lot of fun to watch. Many of the videos she posted were book hauls. She got a lot of books. Most of them came from publishers. I liked her videos, but I became really interested in them when she started working with a literary award committee. I pay attention to most of the major literary awards and usually buy the winners and whichever finalists sound interesting. A committee for a literary award sent this BookTuber all of the novels from the award’s longlist. My mind was blown. Reviewing an entire award longlist would be my book blogger dream. If an award committee sent me a giant box of books, I’d probably hyperventilate from nerdish excitement.

The BookTuber said she was going to review all of the books and tell us which ones she thought would win. I eagerly awaited her reviews. And waited . . . and waited . . . and waited. Months passed with no reviews from her. The award committee announced the shortlist, and I was still waiting for reviews. Then the winner was announced. I was still waiting for reviews. The BookTuber mentioned the award a few times, but it mostly seemed like she’d forgotten about it.

Then the end of the year came. In her year-end wrap-up video, the BookTuber said she’d read 20 books that year. I was surprised because she’d probably hauled several hundred books over the course of the year. I’d assumed she was one of those magical people who are able to read a book a day. (How I envy them.) When she said she’d read 20 books that year, I realized she probably hadn’t read the award longlist. Maybe that’s why she hadn’t talked about it very much.

I felt annoyed and betrayed. I was psyched to find out that award committees sometimes worked with book reviewers. It seemed like an amazing opportunity, and this BookTuber didn’t appear to do much with it.

This is my public service announcement: As bloggers, we occasionally get the chance to do really cool bookish things. I realize that blogging is a hobby, and real life gets priority over it, but if you have the chance to do something interesting, please don’t squander it. Have tons of fun with it, and try to follow through on what you promised. That will show the publishing industry that we’re serious about our book obsession. Then they might let us do even more cool stuff.

Let’s discuss: Has blogging given you any interesting opportunities? Have you been to conferences? Interviewed authors? Gotten coveted ARCs? Done anything unique with social media?

If you haven’t, what’s your wildest blogging dream? 


  1. Great message to that story!! That really stinks she squandered a cool opportunity.

  2. Great message wrapped into this story. What a wasted opportunity for those authors and the pubs. I recently entered a contest to win a book a month from a bookstore, that would be personally picked for me. I think that would have been pretty cool (cuz sometimes I pick the wrong books for myself). Great post!

  3. Yeah this exactly is the reason why im not a fan of booktube. I follow maybe three booktubers who actually read the books (or a majority) they get sent. It just annoys me tremendously to see stuff like that. Even worse with the recent decisions that only booktubers will get review copies. Theyre called that for a reason- theyre there to get reviewed not to show on camera and then hoard. 🙄

  4. I can't say I've had any amazing opportunities as a blogger yet, but I would like to interview a famous author one day! I think that when you reach that point, you should be a dedicated blogger, and the fact that some people just go for the benefits but don't really share anything else like they promise to is very irritating :(

  5. Not to be rude, but I feel like if you only read 20 books per year you should not be blogging/YouTubing(?) about books. I would kill for an opportunity like that so this really kind of bugs me. Especially with the knowledge that BookTubers get SO MANY MORE opportunities than bloggers. Thanks for posting this!

    Tracy @ Cornerfolds

  6. This is really more of a problem among those who post mostly book hauls since the publishers send books to those who get a lot of views just to get it mentioned. It is sad that someone with all of those glorious books is someone who read just the twenty books in a years time.
    I follow a few book tubers who I love. They do mostly reviews and suggestion videos on classics, backlist books, and some adult literary. I listed them in a post a few weeks back if your interested in checking them out.

  7. Ugh, this story really annoyed me!!
    I'm a terribly slow reader but read waay more than 20 books a year. I'm just at a loss as to how this Booktuber accepted so many books if she doesn't actually read them??? Does she simply acquire books to look good on her channel?
    I 95% of all the books sent to me. It may take me a while, but I do it because it's a privilege. I couldn't possibly imagine just ignoring all the books that were sent to me without a care. Maybe she was super busy and couldn't handle the pressure or whatever, but maybe she shouldn't have accepted all those books?

    I'm still a small blogger, but I have gotten a chance to interview several authors and have even received some really cool print ARCs, which I always review. I take blogging very seriously. :)

  8. Wow, that really is annoying and I agree, a wasted opportunity for those authors. I'm sure publishers don't let bloggers like this booktuber affect their overall view of book bloggers, but I'm sure it makes them question how effective it is to give out so many advance copies.

  9. I think someone like this should be called on it. If the publishers are not checking up, perhaps they should be alerted by others to the fact that the person is not really reading and reviewing their books.

  10. I think my takeaway from this is, don't accept an opportunity unless you really think you'll be able to follow through. Like you said, I don't even know who you're talking about so I definitely don't know her personal life, but just in general I see book bloggers sometimes take opportunities (like ARCs) with no real intention of following through. And that does bother me because whoever gave them that ARC or offered them that opportunity or whatever likely spent time and/or money to do so, and they're counting on them. And the opportunity could've gone to other bloggers who really did want it and would've used it.

    I've not had any cool opportunities though. I'd be super excited just to get a physical ARC!

  11. Yes. Blogging has currently led to me writing the Book Club (book recommendation) column in Country Woman magazine. I'm also currently judging round 1 of Cybils Fiction Picture Book awards for 2016. And of course I am getting many ARCs and review copies of books. I never imagined any of this when I started blogging 1.5 years ago.

  12. Yeah, that makes me pretty pissy.

    I still feel bad because I haven't read/reviewed a book I won in a Goodreads giveaway last summer, and that's not strictly "required." (I'll get to it before the end of the year, I swear!)

    There are lots of new experiences blogging has brought me, but the only "opportunity" per se has been judging the CYBILS. Last year I was a round 2 judge for YA contemporary, and this year I'll be a round 2 judge for MG/YA nonfiction. I also got one free book out of that last year, because it wasn't available at my local library, so the publisher sent me a copy directly.

  13. Thank you for this public service announcement! It needs to be said!

    I read roughly 80 books a year, and got sent maybe 10-15 of those. Why does someone need all of those books they don't even touch? I would love to have ARCs of some books that I am eagerly awaiting, and someone like that can be sent them but they don't realize how amazing it is.

    It frustrates me.

    -Kayl @ Kayl's Krazy Obsession

  14. When I first started blogging I got caught up with the ARC's and the book buying. Looking back, I think I thought I needed to buy those books to have content on my blog for a weekly meme. Lately, I've been more than happy to just go through my backlist titles and not focus on the newly released books.

  15. It's easy to get caught up in the "honor" of something like this and then get overwhelmed and not follow through---I agree that it's a sadly missed opportunity and a shame on both sides.

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

  16. Gah, that would (and quite frankly, DOES) drive me batty. Like, look, I know things happen, no one is perfect, all that jazz. But like, to just basically accept books and not read them at ALL is just not great- especially if she was just posting as though nothing had happened. (For example, a "hey guys, life got in the way" would have at least shown that she'd intended on reading them, etc.) I feel like if you only read 20 books in a year, and are receiving SO MANY more, there's a bit of an issue. I mean, it isn't up to me obviously to decide who gets books (I'd give them all to myself, is that bad? ;) ) but I feel like it's not the best move, just from a business perspective, to give someone who is most definitely NOT reading or sharing them an endless supply. I really can't think of ANY ARC I have gotten and have not read, except for a few (rare) unsolicited ones that were just NOT my genre/type at all (or were like, the 5th book in a series, what was I supposed to do with that? Hhaha). I feel like if I asked for it, I have a responsibility to at least do my very best to follow through. Maybe an unpopular opinion, but meh hahah. Very thought provoking post!