Interview With a Book Blogger: Amber from Me, MyShelf, and I

By Lori Culwell

Me, My Shelf and I You guys!   Some time ago, I interviewed my friend Amber Sweeney from the awesome book blog “Me, My Shelf and I.”   I was positive I put the interview up, but now I’m not so sure (and I can’t find it anywhere in the archive), so I’m posting it today.   It has so much good insight, I really want everyone to see it.  So, before you submit to a single book blog, be sure to read this entire interview.   Amber lays down the law, people!

Why did you become a book blogger?

 In all honestly, it wasn’t an intentional choice. I literally fell into it. When I started I had no idea that the community was so large, that authors were accessible and “real people”, and I certainly had no idea what an ARC was. Once I found everyone my focus was learning the ropes and having a solid blog that gave honest reviews and having  fun along the way. After several months, I knew there was no turning back for me. Book Blogger For-Evah!

 What do you love about being a book blogger?

I have made some perfectly amazing friends, both bloggers and authors alike. If you had told me, before I started all this, that I would have So-and-So’s phone number  (and actually use it for random chats and such) or I’d be sharing a meal with an extremely popular YA author, I would have said you were full of shit.

The bloggers I have met, man I can’t even tell you how much I love them all. It’s so great to not just have a few friends that have the same interests as me, but to have a whole army of them!

Also, I can’t lie–  the books are a major bonus. Not just the free ones, though they are a fun treat. The books I know about now because of blogging. The authors I have learned about and the things I have read that I would have otherwise not picked up make up more than half of my Read List. My reading horizon was broadened and that is NEVER a bad thing!

What do you hate about being a book blogger?

Well HATE is a strong word. I prefer, dislike, loathe or makes-me-angry-enough-to-claw-though-my-computer-and-shake-the-sense-into-people. That’s just me though. Every community, (dare I say job?) has good days and bad days, and the blogging community is no exception. Some of the things that I really loathe about blogging are:

1. Author on Blogger Hate (in this case, the use of a strong word like ‘hate’, works perfectly) Examples: Snapping at a reviewer who gave a bad review. Guess what? Not everyone is going to like your book, it happens. Move on and focus on the good ones. And P.S., your reaction makes you look like spoiled toddler and will actually lose you more readers than that review you got all pissy about! Kay, kay?

 

2. Blogger on Blogger Hate Examples: Helping to attack another reviewer who wrote a bad review on a book they happened to like. Hey, High School called they want their drama back. Or fighting over, or verbally attacking others online after things like BEA and ALA They got more books than me. Waaaaaah!!!! Really, you can’t read 257 books in a year…so chill out. And if you want them only for giveaways….uh…if you can’t afford giveaways…don’t do them. Seems like common sense. Right? You see, the publishers and authors out there are not there to keep your blog running. If you can’t run it without the books they sometimes give out, then your blog doesn’t have much of a future and chances are you’re in this for the wrong reasons. Truth hurts.

3. Blogger on Author Hate Example: I once watched a blogger have a full blown temper tantrum and attack an author ON TWITTER…publically lashing out at them. Wha Dafaq? The blogger apparently did something for the author, what I gathered was she had Author on her blog for an interview. This interview was asked for by the blogger, and at the time looking at her blog, it was new and small and thus the author was really doing the blogger a favor, as author was fairly popular. Well ARC time came around and blogger didn’t get one. She proceeded to spew cliché teenaged guilt ridden comments “Fine I guess I’m just not good enough” whilst tagging the author in them, thinking she was being clever about it.

Then when author responded, in a polite way this started the:“Why didn’t I get one?! I helped you!? You owe me!?”  lines. Sigh. One thing the blogger hadn’t processed was she wasn’t in the US and just FYI here kiddos – if you’re not in the US, opportunities for ARCs decrease significantly. It’s not discrimination; it’s expensive as hell shipping. And oh, when your blog has 14 followers, is a hot mess with crap all over and no structure or flow and you post once a month…guess what princess…you’re not going to be the top of an authors list to promote their book. Facts of life.

LASTLY – Authors get like 8 copies of their ARCs…..so think about this….She wants to keep one, maybe give one to her proud mommy…then have a few small giveaways for her benefit…NEVER ASK AN AUTHOR FOR AN ARC! That’s not what the copies they get are for. If you have not yet sorted out and secured contacts with publishers, chances are you’re not yet ready to be getting them any way.

4. Bloggers who are in this simply because they want free books and/or ARCs Read: having a blog does not mean that you are entitled to free books and/or ARCS. They are both GIFTS and are to be respected. Don’t hoard them. Don’t hog them. Don’t take them if you don’t think you can actually read them and for the LOVE OF GOD: DON’T EFFIN SELL THEM!

In all honesty if I have to see one more new blogger pop up asking how they can get free books, where to e-mail, and complain they don’t get them….I will scream so loud that God himself will have to cover his ears from the pain of the frequency.

5. What is the stupidest thing an author has ever done to try to get you to review a book?

A few months back a series of e-mails were going out to bloggers all around the world. (I learned this from chatting with other bloggers after it happened) The subject line was something like “Thanks for joining our tour!  Your post is enclosed”.

Panicked I missed something I scoured my calendar, my e-mails, I googled and goodreads-ed and still this book didn’t seem familiar to me. I e-mailed back, dreading having to say “Um I totally spaced out like an effin idiot and haven’t the slightest clue what you are talking about…” Don’t worry, I spiffed that up a bit before sending it off.

Turns out I HADN’T missed anything. It was a ploy by the author to generate responses. Her response back to my confused note filled with apologies was loaded with LOL’s and sentences in quotes like this: Thanks so much for “joining our tour”

My initial reaction, which I had to hold back, was to yell at her and demand to know why she thought that was a suitable way to get her book on my blog. I wasted an hour hunting down info on a make believe tour for crying out loud!! Instead I told her I couldn’t join and let it go. All was fine and great until 2 more like this arrived from other authors over the next few weeks and they DID hear my roar. I told them that this was a horrible way to go about things and that because I don’t like being lied to off the bat I will not be reviewing this or any of their novels in the future.

True or False:  A lot of the book proposals you receive about vampire books?

Sweet Jesus yes! TRUE. I would have to say that at least half of what we get asked to review is vampire related. I think that a lot of them are probably really good, but the market is over saturated with them and if I tool them all it would primarily be a vampire blog. I like vampires, I do but just not that many of them.

Share