Sunday, February 14, 2010

Strange moments in the world of book blogging/marketing...

People really, really want to win a copy of Linger, don't they? When I had a look at my subs this morning, it looked like about a third of the posts were about Maggie Stiefvater's upcoming Linger (the sequel to Shiver). So I followed the provided links and discovered that all of these posts are basically just contest entries (post an ad, maybe win a book).

From a marketing perspective, this is pretty smart. You're getting publicity for your book all over the book blogosphere, and familiarizing readers with the cover so that, when it's released in stores, people will know what to look for. Giving people extra entries for using the book cover as their profile pic on social networking sites? Genius.

From a book blog reader's perspective, though, this is all kind of annoying. Hence my mixed feelings about this. I understand why it's being done, but that doesn't mean it's any less frustrating to sort through my subs to find something to read that isn't -- let's face it -- a form of spam.

I'm curious about how this might relate to the new FTC guidelines. After all, there is an advertising relationship here: people are being compensated (albeit with contest entries) in exchange for posting advertisements. That sounds awfully similar to the main issue that these guidelines were created to address:

... Engle said the revised guidelines are aimed at advertisers and marketers, not individual bloggers. She cited a Procter & Gamble campaign called “Vocalpoint,” which provided “400,000 moms” with free products in exchange for endorsements made via blog posts and tweets.

I don't know. Maybe I'm just getting jaded. It seems the publishing industry has gone from an industry that once provided a mouthpiece for genuinely talented storytellers into a money-focused industry that will publish just about anything as long as they think people will buy it. Perhaps it's always been that way, but I certainly don't remember reading as many bad books in the past as I've read lately. Typos, plot holes, questionable messages for the target audience... and that's not even taking into account the self-published stuff!

What do you think? Do you like contests that basically force you to become an advertiser? What about publishing today? Have you noticed a downward spiral as of late... or were things always this shoddy and avaricious in the publishing industry?


  1. I was really excited about that contest until I started reading through the ways to gain entries. Now many of them are the typical ways (tweet etc), but the one where you post the book cover and it mandated exactly what you posted with it - that stopped me. It felt too much like just putting up an ad. Do I do that kind of stuff all the time on my blog in one form or another - yes. BUT I do it on my own terms - I'm not told what I have to write by the author or publisher. And maybe I read it wrong and it didn't matter if I posted it in my own words, but it didn't seem like it. And maybe it helps insure that the news of the books is being shown in all the entries not just the contest. But for some reason it just set wrong with me - I'll pass on that giveaway.

  2. I understand exactly what you are saying. It is kinda annoying to see the same thing being posted over and over and over again. While the contest promises some amazing prizes, I do not know if I am willing to enter due to the amount of advertising I would have to do solely for the opportunity to win.

    This is similar to the extra entries some contests offer for posting about a contest. Personally, I dislike those because I do not think they add anything to my blog or its content. At this point, I just think that it is necessary evil of sorts and try to ignore it as best I can.

  3. I never really thought about it that way, but your so right.

  4. Wow I am really excited to find this. It is an interesting question.
    I think blogs have been taking on a role to advertise that was not originally in the regular means of advertising. It raises a lot of questions. I would have loved to email you - I could not find the email address - So I will mention the Online Conference For Book Bloggers and Publishers I am organizing in March. I would love to have you address the issue raised here and perhaps be a panelist. Here is a link - and I am truly sorry to "spam" your comments :)
    Thanks for the thought provoking issue.
    Terry Kate
    romanceinthebackseat @

  5. Wow, really interesting post!

    I was just checking my google reader right now and going "WHAT IS THIS?" because 7 out of 10 posts in a row were about Linger.

    And I clicked on the link and quickly clicked out--I don't generally like to post about things like that. As you said, it feels like advertising; and it's interesting to see how it relates to FTC guidelines.

    But I'm totally with you with reading a bunch of bad books lately--I feel like the quality of new releases has gone down. I keep doling out biting, negative reviews (because I'm getting so, so frustrated). For a lot of the books, I wonder how they could possibly be that bad if there's a a whole editing/publishing team behind them, and who thought they'd merit publication. So I agree with you, a lot of the books being published are because publishers think that's what the market wants.

    And I know I may anger some people when I say this, but every single--I mean, EVERY SINGLE paranormal romance SHINY COVER OMG BESTSELLER I've read in the last year has made me want to bang my head against a wall repeatedly.

    Very thought-provoking post! :D

  6. You have made a great point here. I have to say I am starting to skip over the to be read posts for the book Linger. And there are a few that I see look the same way. I am hoping to eventually get to these books, but the more I see them around the less I want them now. I don't want to be reading the same book as everyone else in the blog. We will all be writing reviews of the same book at the same time. And I get tired of reading repeat reviews. I like new and different things.

    Great post!

  7. I feel you! I felt the same way when it kept popping up all over of the place.
    I just scroll on.

  8. I agree 100%! I was getting a bit annoyed seeing all of the same types of posts!! I just keep scrolling on, but I really hope this doesn't become a trend in the blogging community!!

  9. GREAT POST! I feel as if I don't follow book reading trends. Or I don't want to. I stay clear of reviewing those books which are always popping up on bloggers sites. I mean, whats the point of me adding my review to the pile? It won't be noticed. If I do read a trendier book I'll wait until I want to read it or it strikes me...not when everyone else is.

    I stopped entering giveaways because you have to do SO many things just to be entered. Whats the point? It seems as if all you want is a follower and a more advertisement for your contest, not to giveaway a great book because you love reading and want to share it with others. My contests are easy. Just enter your name and email. You don't have to have a blog, no +732 entries for posting about my contest on your blog.

    I also hate meme's. I just scroll on...