Jo Talks Books: On Author/Blogger Etiquette

Hi everyone! I know, two discussion posts in one month, what is this madness? After all of the discussions around author/blogger interactions last year and into the beginning of this year and that inspired this post. I’m not intending this on being a post naming and shaming people for bad behaviour or making people feel bad if they have done any of these things, the idea is to help out new bloggers and authors in the community who may not be entirely sure how to navigate interactions with each other yet. So here we go, a few top tips for best interactions between bloggers and authors:

For Authors:

  1. Reviews are for readers, not for you. Don’t harass bloggers.

This is probably the biggest one and something a few authors seem to be getting wrong recently. That is not to say all of them, for the most part, authors are lovely people but there have been a few incidences of authors harassing bloggers recently over negative reviews and that is so wrong. We do all of this for you, unpaid work, unpaid publicity for your books and we are entitled to our own opinions. We don’t write our reviews for you, we write them for other readers and if we don’t give our full and honest opinion then we are doing them a disservice. Bloggers talk as well, if you harass one of us, then chances are, the rest of us won’t be willing to work with you either: it’s a small community and word gets around fast!

2. Do your research

If you want to approach a blogger to review your books (and we don’t mind it if you do, we reserve the right to say no but we don’t mind being asked), then do your research about said blogger. Read their blog, their review policy and see if they are the right fit for you and your book. If they are, then great, engage with them, they will appreciate that you took the time to get to know them and their blog. If they are not, then don’t approach them. It will just frustrate them and seem like you didn’t take the time to get to know them at all. We are all very different and not every blogger will be the right fit for your book!

3. Do engage with us in a positive way, ask us to participate in street teams, blog tours, interviews, promotions for your book, that’s what we’re here for!

We want to engage with authors, so we are happy to participate in promotions for you book as long as we have the time to do so (we will tell you if we don’t). I would say the best way of doing this is to put the opportunity out there and allow bloggers to come to you, rather than the other way around (at least for street teams and blog tours, interviews obviously we will approach you if we want to do one), so that interested bloggers can take part and it allows bloggers who don’t think they have the time to not take part without having to feel bad about saying no.

4. Be respectful, follow our guidelines and boundaries

This kind of goes with point two, respect who we are and what are blogs are about and don’t approach us if we say that we don’t review books of your genre, or that we’re closed to review requests, if you try to bully your way in then all it will do is mean that you’ve ruined any chance of working with us in the future.

5. Don’t respond to tweets that haven’t included your handle

If we didn’t include your handle, then that means that we didn’t intend for you to respond to that tweet and if you do, it’s going to look like you’re stalking us. Even if it’s saying that we loved your book, if we didn’t tag you in it, then we don’t want you to respond.

6. Don’t contact bloggers via any means other than the ones they put out there publicly

Most bloggers have a review policy where we give our contact details, I have my email address on there and I’m also willing to be contacted through Twitter as that is a public platform. However, I have never, nor will I ever put my Facebook details on there, so if an author/publicist finds me through that, that would be a big red flag to me. Bloggers will only put out the information for the platforms that we wish to be found on and just because we put ourselves out there on the Internet via our blogs, doesn’t mean that you have the right to contact us via social media that we have decided to keep private. Just don’t do it, okay? Chances are we won’t agree to work with you and will be permanently creeped out.


7. Don’t tag authors in your negative reviews

If you didn’t like an author’s book, that’s fine. It’s our prerogative as readers, we won’t love everything that we read. But don’t tag the author in your negative reviews okay? It’s just mean. By all means, tag them in your positive reviews, authors like to hear that you loved their books, but don’t tag them in your negative reviews, as they can be disheartening to read.

8. Don’t approach authors asking for ARCs

Publicists are the ones you go to for ARCs, and they’re all pretty easy to find on social media, there is no need to approach the author for ARCs as they don’t have control of that. They may have a few, which they choose to giveaway but on the whole, authors don’t get many ARCs and they don’t want you tweeting at them asking for them, it comes across as greedy and not very respectful.

9. Authors don’t owe you personal information, so don’t demand it of them

Don’t harass authors asking if their books are #ownvoices. Those who want you to know that information will publicise it and if they don’t, they don’t want you to know. The only thing that an author puts out that you are entitled to, is their book, so don’t harass them asking for personal information. If they haven’t put it out there, they don’t want you to know it.

10. Read their FAQs, so you don’t ask them things they’ve answered over and over again

FAQs are Frequently Asked Questions. Most authors have a website with this information and it’s worth checking out, so that you don’t ask them something they’ve already answered a million times and end up frustrating them to no end.

11. Don’t harass authors over movie adaptations of their books: they have no control over them

This can apply to both authors who have movie adaptations of their books in the works and ones who don’t. Don’t ask the ones who do about casting, trailers, release dates, why the movie wasn’t as good as the book, didn’t include this part/that part, or blame them for the movie adaptation being bad. They have no control over movie adaptations of their work and you constantly asking questions about it, isn’t helpful. Equally for authors whose books haven’t been adapted into movies yet, don’t ask them why. Studios have to buy the rights to the books and if no one has shown interest in making the book as a movie, it won’t get made. Authors don’t need to be reminded of that. If they do have information about future movie adaptations, they will tell us, we just have to be patient!

So there we go, a quick guide to author/blogger interaction etiquette! Any questions about other dos and don’t of interactions between authors and bloggers? Anything else you would add to either list? Let me know in the comments!

I will have another discussion post for you in February, I’m going to be talking about the dearth of stories for new adults, the need for a larger range of genres and stories in the New Adult category and the need for more college aged stories. In the meantime, I’m hoping to do a January post for my Writing Corner, which should be up either over the weekend or on Monday, so stay tuned for that.

17 thoughts on “Jo Talks Books: On Author/Blogger Etiquette

  1. Angelspearl 25/01/2018 / 2:32 pm

    Great post!!! Love it.

    I don’t think I have experienced authors harassing me but I have heard from other bloggers that this happens when the reviews are not up quick enough.
    Some authors forget that we don’t get paid to do the reviews and we do it mostly because we love reading.
    And I agree that bloggers should not approach authors for ARCS, if you want to read the book that bad then I think you can borrow it from the local library or buy it when its out.
    I have had authors approach me to read books that I really have no interest in, and those are the ones I reject because it just means they didn’t look at my previous blog posts or care if I am a good fit.

    • iloveheartlandx 25/01/2018 / 3:11 pm

      Aww thank you! I haven’t either, but I know I’ve heard from other people that they have been, and it’s not right. I know it just seems so greedy! Like ARCs are a privilege not a right and if you go straight to the authors, it shows you haven’t done your research, same with authors approaching you to read books that you have no interest in.

  2. asreadbytina 25/01/2018 / 8:55 pm

    Great post! I agree with all your points! It really saddens me that authors are harassing bloggers over negative reviews. I personally never had that happen but I do feel like they need to remember that reviews are not for them.

    I really love when an author tells me that they like a certain review and then send me a request. It makes me feel really great that they took the time to look at my policy and get to know me as a blogger. It makes me more likely to accept their review request.

    Tina @ As Told By Tina

    • iloveheartlandx 26/01/2018 / 4:33 pm

      Thank you! It saddens me too, though like you it hasn’t happened to me personally, it shouldn’t happen to anyone and yes it seems sometimes they do need reminding that reviews aren’t for them.
      Exactly! It’s never happened to me, I tend to get requests from publicists rather than authors, but it’s lovely if an author sends a request because they’ve taken the time to read your blog and get to know you.

  3. sydneyeditor1 26/01/2018 / 2:24 am

    Thank you for this list! I appreciate that it’s authors and bloggers, because yeah bad behavior is on both sides, and that should be acknowledged. Tagging authors or publishing houses in anything is a big no from me too. I have the right to not like anything but I don’t need to shove it at people directly — that’s harsh.

    • iloveheartlandx 26/01/2018 / 4:31 pm

      Thanks! I didn’t want to put the blame on either side more than the other, because we all do things we shouldn’t. I don’t mind tagging them in positive stuff, but yes, shoving negative stuff at them without giving them a way to avoid it is super harsh.

  4. Sophia @ Bookwyrming Thoughts 27/01/2018 / 5:35 am

    This is a fantastic post, Jo! I think authors and bloggers sometimes need a gentle reminder about the things we can or cannot do because we as humans can get forgetful sometimes.

    I do want to add one more thing for authors and publicists though… don’t try to contact a reviewer through a method they never publicly mentioned, like Facebook. One year later, and I’m still creeped out by the publicist finding my Facebook account… :/

    Thanks for stopping by The Novelistics! (I know, WordPress is weird and says my home blogging planet, haha,)

    • iloveheartlandx 27/01/2018 / 1:35 pm

      Aww thank you! Yes, it never does any harm to just give everyone a quick reminder of appropriate behaviour. Ooh I hadn’t thought about that one, I’ll have to add it to the list because that’s a really good one. You’ve got me slightly worried now, I hope no publicist ever finds my FB account! No problem 🙂

  5. 🐍Kavita (@ABookishFantasy) 27/01/2018 / 2:50 pm

    Love this post! I think some bloggers and authors should really think before they act – it would make the bookish community much more positive and fun!

  6. Cait @ Paper Fury 28/01/2018 / 9:14 am

    I love this and it’s so so important!! I absolutely am gobsmacked at how many readers harass authors about their movies?!? Like for goodness sakes it’s 2018. We should’ve all figured out that when an author sells the book film rights: THAT’S THE END. 🙄 I see Angie Thomas and Becky Albertalli getting so much crap for that.
    And also I just love all the other points too! I kind of think authors/bloggers should just stay out of each other’s spaces?😂 Well, when it comes to reviews at least! (Speaking to myself now too haha. I’m still trying to figure out if/how to respond to people telling me they’re reading my book. IT’S NERVE WRACKING.) I love that the internet gives us access to our favourite authors, but we all have to respect it!

    • iloveheartlandx 28/01/2018 / 2:06 pm

      Thank you! Yes so am I, it’s pretty clear by now that authors have no control over their films. I’ve seen them getting a lot of crap on Twitter for that as well and I feel so bad for them as they obviously get frustrated being asked over and over again. Yes when it comes to reviews, authors and bloggers definitely need to stay out of each others spaces. I think it’s great that we have Twitter as a medium to flail about our favourite books with our favourite authors, but we definitely need to make sure we stay in our own lanes! I’m sure the fact that you’ll have been on both sides of the blogger/author relationship will help you out in knowing how to navigate the tricky lines between the two!

  7. AngelErin 30/01/2018 / 1:41 am

    Yessssssssss!! The two biggest ones for me is for authors not to harass bloggers. I think we’ve all been there over a negative review and then the author got all butthurt. Also, for bloggers to not tag authors in negative reviews. YES! Hey, the author may see it anyway and that is okay, but don’t shove it in their faces. Great post!

    • iloveheartlandx 30/01/2018 / 9:58 am

      Thanks! I haven’t personally experienced it, but I know of too many people who have and it’s just not the author’s place at all. Exactly! Like you can’t stop authors from looking at reviews but you can not wave the negative ones in their faces.

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