On My Soapbox: Booknerds Etiquette

I've only been blogging for around fifteen months, but you don't need to have an exorbitant membership count or audience to be entitled to an opinion. To say we're a proud and close knit community is an understatement, but as more and more readers are taking their reviews online to share their opinions, it seems we may be forgetting how to set an example of how we support one another. Over the past few weeks I've seen gripes, complaints and bloggers almost ready to walk away from a blog that they've poured their hearts into, all because as book bloggers, it seems some us are losing our way.

Don't comment and run


Most bloggers are interested in what others have to say, even if we're all petrified of having a storyline inadvertently spoiled. But some bloggers like to cut and run. If you participate in any weekly features that are reproduced over hundreds of blogs, you would have had a runner visit. They're the one that makes a random blanket comment that could apply to just about anything, then they leave their link. They aren't meaning to be rude, they simply want comments for their own blog. They generally don't care what you're blogging about, it's all about traffic. If you're guilty of commenting and running, please stop. It's better not to leave a comment at all. Instead, choose a few blogs that you actually enjoy their content, and comment on articles or reviews that interest you.


Be honest with your reviews


If you don't enjoy a particular book, never be afraid to make your opinion heard. You're entitled to it. Just be mindful of your language (something I'm guilty of on occasion), be respectful and don't attack the author themselves, but you can critique a book however you see fit. A few probably wonder, but have never expressed how genuine some reviews they've come across are when you see buying links. Chatting to another blogger a few weeks ago, she brought up how she had concerns that some blogs may inflate their reviews in a more positive light, believing that purchase links for that title may go unclicked. Surely that isn't the case, but she raises a valid point.

Take inspiration from, but don't copy blog designs


This one runs rampant at the moment. I can see how easily it happens, you click on a snazzy blog and think, I want that! No one can stop you from using the same template (provided it's not specifically made for that particular blog), but change the colours, don't try to replicate their graphics and certainly don't give yourself a similar name. It's bad form. The overall look of your blog is part of your own unique branding, be an individual or others will see you only as the replica blog with no imagination.


Don't lift content... Create it yourself


This is one of the biggest issues that is a sure fire way to anger bloggers. There's been those who copy reviews, those who have pretended to review advanced reading copies that they've never received, even lifting policies, similar profile summaries and giveaways that don't really exist. There's no achievement in taking someone's hard work and calling it your own. There are so many websites now that take original content and crawl the internet to find duplicate posts and if that doesn't scare you into putting in the work yourself, imagine how upset you would feel if another blogger had stolen your content.

Don't get too personal


Some bloggers love personal content, myself included. A funny story about one of your kids, your husband being an idiot? I'd like to read all about it. But no one really wants to know about your grandmother who enjoys nude bingo, or how sexually excited Fifty Shades of Grey rated on your horned up scale. It's too confronting, not to mention gross. We're all busy individuals, so how do you expect the blogger on the bus using their iPad, to read your nice little tale about your husband thinking about a penis enlargement. Eww, we don't want to know, don't share it and for the love of god, don't surprise us with photos.


What is your most important piece of book blogger advice?

25 comments

  1. Great tips, Kelly! I totally agree with all of them!

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    1. Thanks Brittany. I must admit, I've been guilty of the comment and run from time to time, but vowing to rectify it and try to be a better blogger.

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  2. HAHAHAHAHAAHA omg Kelly please tell me one of those personal stories were true and you read it on a blog somewhere? :P

    But anyways, I absolutely agree. It's poor form jumping around and leaving comments when you don't care about the person behind the blog. Essentially, it's about community right, and we want to get to know the person behind the link. I try to be as honest as I can with reviews. I used to be scared about hating a book, but not once did I shy away from reviewing it honestly. And stealing is a HUGE issue. I don't understand why anyone does it. It's just shows you're not creative enough and also that you're lazy. :(

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    1. My word, I'd be horrified if someone's grandmother DID enjoy nude bingo. I really do think we tend to overshare, so wouldn't surprise me if someone has blogged about something similar.

      The comment and run is a huge issue with so many bloggers participating in memes these days, we all want traffic but it's really a poor way of getting people to visit your blog. You feel obligated to visit and return the reply and the cycle starts all over again. Having said that, some bloggers don't assimilate either and choose not to comment on ANY blogs. There needs to be a certain amount of socialising and reading what others are writing, or you end up just a boring blog hermit with no readership.

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  3. Love this post, Kelly :)

    When you told me about the blog who seemed to have copied my format, I was so tempted to leave a comment and say "Hey, fancy seeing my format here!", I even typed up a post about it, but I haven't decided if I wanted to post it or not. It's a shame when something that you've thought about is copied somewhere else. I think that if you found a format that you like, let the other person know about it, ask permission, or link to them to acknowledge that you've taken inspiration from them. Some people think that when it's on the internet, it's free for the taking, but it's NOT.

    As for reviewing books that you don't like...well, I am not afraid to let the world know that I didn't enjoy the book much. I mean, why force it when it just didn't work for you, right?

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    1. Exactly Dre. I visit all kinds of young adult book blogs and some force you to do a double take, they are just too similar for comfort. Even with a template, you're bound to see differences in how reviews are presented, meme graphics, and general content, but some seem to copy right down to the bare basics. It's sad. I'd rather visit a plain blog that spends more time on their content, than on looking pretty. Doesn't matter how lovely a blog looks if you're boring, you just won't hold your visitors attention.

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  4. Great tips! I love the tip about commenting and running--this is something I need to work on. I'm inspired to be a better blogger and reader after reading this. And as true as your last tip is, it also made me laugh, and I needed that today, so thank you! :)

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    1. Thanks Kelly, and great name.
      Ive been guilty of it too often as well, so I'm vowing to make a change as well. I like to return visits to other blogs, but have a look at various posts until something interests me enough to warrant a comment now, not just for the sake of doing my duty.

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  5. OMG LOL at the last tip! I do love personal stories but yeah, you gotta know when it's too much info! I originally was going to get a template, but I don't like to have my blog design to look similar to someone else's blog which was one of the main reasons why I get them customly made. And about the comment and run thing, well said. When I do my weekly hauls, I get really random and meaningless comments and a link to their STS. I always end up ignoring them.

    Lovely post, Kelly! <33

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    1. It's great to learn about the person behind the blog, but over sharing is probably the quickest way to turn readers away. The comment and run really annoys me, but I feel as though I need to return the visit. Is it better to ignore, delete the comment or return the favour? It's a tricky one.

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  6. Great post, Kel, and put so well! I defo agree about the commenting, I really appreciate those that take the time to comment. I know some bloggers find they don't have a lot to say so they say "great review"and leave it at that, but it can seem insincere to bloggers on the receiving end.

    Mands @ The Bookish Manicurist

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    1. Couldn't agree more Mands, personally I'd rather just spend my time replying and visiting those who want to engage in discussion.

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  7. Great tips . I hate the run and comment things so I don't particpate in things now unless they really interest me and I have the time. I follow lots of Aussie blogs but they don't have a clue since I never comment opps since I don't leaving generic comments . OH and don't get me started on blog content and design. There one particular blog that driving me nuts since she trying to copy the style and giveaways of a very popular blogger that I"m friends with.

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    1. Does your friend know about the copycat? Sometimes it pays to have a word with the blogger who is trying to replicate your site. Even though most understand the wrongness, it might only take a quiet word to ask the blogger to find their own design. It's certainly disappointing.

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  8. Great tips, Kelly! I hate reading comments from people who obviously didn't even bother to skim a particular post. Generic comments like "great review" or "great post" bothers me if they didn't tell me why said post was "great."

    I tend not to follow blogs with all positive reviews. It's great if the blogger really loves all the books they read, but I don't find them all that trustworthy if they just praise everything. And I never buy books online, anyway. But you have a point!

    I just hate those people who steal content and reviews! I honestly never thought that other people will claim reviews as their own. I mean, come on, are they that desperate? How hard is it to read and review a book on your own?

    LOL to the last one! I do read personal posts only if they're an interesting or humorous topic. =)

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    1. There was a blogger a few months ago who was caught copying reviews. I had no idea either Aimee, why would anyone bother to pretend to have read something? I won't name them, but they seem to have been copying the gist of reviews from a popular and prominent blogger and she was caught. 'She deleted the post in question, but I imagine that it was probably a regular occurrence. Perhaps she believed popular books would bring her more views? Who knows. I just hope she learnt from her mistake and writes her own content now.

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  9. Haha...don't worry! I think we're all guilty of the comment and run at least once in a while! ;) But the stealing designs and plagiarizing reviews? No. Just no. What do you hope to accomplish from that? And LOL about the last tip...I'm all for personal posts, but there's a fine line from personal (hobbies, other interests besides blogging, etc) and too personal.

    Thanks for these lovely tips and for sharing this Kelly! xD

    ~ Zoe @ The Infinite To-Read Shelf

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  10. Awesome post Kelly. I found myself chuckling here and there! I don't think I've ever comment and run. I hate that. I don't want that happening to me, so I don't do it to other people. Even if the latest post isn't something interesting in my eyes, I try to contribute still in ways that I can. I dunno, some people may see think that's highly unnecessary, but I just like it that way :D I want to support! Just... don't expect me to comment every post ;P

    Also, boo to plagiarism! There are so many blogs out there that it's hard to know if you've been stolen from, and I really, really, really hope I'm not a victim in any way. How do you even know? :/ Do you know a website that could analyze that for you?

    And yes, honest reviews all the way. Even pubs would rather have that than a fake review. I mean if you LOVE all the books, fine, I won't hold that against you. But if you 5 star a book that I hated with all my soul, and if I see you 5 starring almost EVERYTHING, then I think there is a conflict of interest, and we might not be seeing eye to eye, and I'd rather interact with those who do :)

    Lovely post once again, Kelly! :D

    Faye at The Social Potato Reviews

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  11. I LOVE ALL OF THESE. I think they're hugely important and extremely well summed up, Kelly. ;) At the moment the cut-and-run comments are killing me. Sometimes I'm guilty of unintelligent comments, but I ALWAYS say more then "nice post, here's my blog" because, heck, why should I reach out to you when you barely blinked at me?? It's weird, also. The copying is driving me a little bonkers at the moment too. It's just...it's just UNFAIR. Bloggers work hard to be original and when you snag something, even if it's just a post idea, it hurts a little. *sigh*
    Anyway. Absolutely awesome post. XD

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  12. I've saved this link. I have a blogger who visits every week with a blanket comment and I've taken to deleting their posts. Chance is, they've visited you too because they visit everyone. Nearly every time they write that they've heard of none of the books. Last week I posted Fangirl, a book that has been on every blog going and they comment that they haven't heard of the books. I wrote a very long annoyed comment and then deleted their comment without posting mine. It made me feel better! Next time I'll probably just link them to this post. Ergh.

    Under The Mountain

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  13. This is such an amazing post Kelly! I've seen a few comment runners and it always makes me think, should I visit, or not? This is such a wonderful post, I am sharing :)

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  14. I definitely think commenting and running is bad form. Maybe they might think it's so bad, since almost everyone who posts memes gets those kinds of comments so maybe that comment&run commenter doesn't think it's so bad. But still, it's not great, and will probably deter a blogger from their blog.
    I've never had an overly personal post come into my feed, but wow if those examples you gave were true .. NO. JUST NO.
    Plagiarism is big, but thankfully I've never actually seen it. I think it's simply awful, and just downright mean. Publishing creative and unique posts is one of the most important things about blogging, and that people may be abusing that makes me really sad. :(
    Great post, Kelly ^.^

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  15. These are some great tips! When I first started blogging I didn't comment at all, I didn't want to just drop a comment and run, so i didn't comment at all. Nowadays I found a better balance. And I never drop my links in a comment, many blogs already have some sort of comment system where it's easy to find out the commentors blog.

    And that point about being honest, I totally agree! It might be difficult sometimes to write a honest review, especially when you know the author, but I think writing honest reviews is really important. I always try to be hoenst, but not bach or attach the author, although sometimes it's a fine line indeed. And what I think is a helpfull critical comment, the author can still see as an attack.

    I started blogging as a co-blogger, so when i finally started my own blog, I found myself doing a lot of things because that's how we did it or how it looked on the blog where I was a co-blogger. Luckily I found my own style eventually :).

    Lately I've been trying to get a bit more personal i my posts as I noticed people like to read about my personal life as well and not only about which books I read and got. So in my Sunday Post I talk about myself a bit (I noticed people also find it easier to comment on that), but indeed some things just aren't suited to put on your blog.

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  16. " We're all busy individuals, so how do you expect the blogger on the bus using their iPad, to read your nice little tale about your husband thinking about a penis enlargement. Eww, we don't want to know, don't share it and for the love of god, don't surprise us with photos." Hilarious! LOL so funny! I love this post and I totally agree with you! I am a big believer in being original and creating original content for readers. When I hear about blog content being copied, makes me sick to my stomach. If you can't write yourself don't blog!

    Keep up the wonderful posts!

    Irene @ Ice queen's bookshelf

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  17. I have to be honest... I am paranoid about someone copying me. It makes me sad to think that people do that. I'm not just talking about blog posts but like you said memes and what not. I am about to have a new template made for me and will make my look go with that so maybe people won't copy it if it is all in one theme. Comment runners don't bother me on posts like Top Ten Tuesday. I guess I do it on that day myself. Truly I just want to see what is on everyone's lists ... to get ideas. Sooo... yea I'm guilty. But I really do look around the blog when I stop by. Most of the TTT blogs I go to I also comment on one more post. I hope the blogger notices.

    Angie

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