Book bloggers are the unsung heroes of the literary world. They each have their own styles, their own tastes, their own standards, their own processes and procedures, and their own set of services. But what links them together, and connects them to authors, publishers and readers, is a love of reading.
Now, most people read books and keep their opinions to themselves, others might write a review on online platforms, but then you have this group of people who create their own web presence to both
review and promote books and authors. There are some who charge a fee for this, but the vast majority spend hours of their own time actively publicising the works of authors simply for the love of it.
Over the past couple of years I have been fortunate enough to get to know many such bloggers across a variety of social media platforms, and many of them have become friends during that time, some of whom I have met and enjoyed spending time with. They are the lifeblood of writers at my level, and I have no doubt that whatever profile I have managed to garner, whatever relative success I have had, has to a large degree been due to the selfless efforts of the book blogging community.
Sadly, as is so often the way in life generally, the good nature, warmth, friendliness, and devotion to their work, can be exploited by some authors. They make unreasonable demands, complain when a blogger cannot drop everything in order to promote their work, make no allowances for the fact that these bloggers are ordinary people with ordinary problems and ordinary reasons for not being able to deliver at the drop of a hat. A number of bloggers have burned themselves out in a very short period of time, and as many have simply become disenchanted by the pressure being heaped upon them.
As a fellow human being I cannot begin to fathom why anyone would be so unpleasant or demanding or just plain rude to a group of people whose only aim is to share their joy of the written word. But on a completely practical level these authors are cutting their own throats, because the community is not so large that word does not spread, and anyone who gives the blogging group a hard time will deservedly find themselves frozen out by the very people who could and so often do provide the best kind of publicity – word of mouth.
I confess I do not know how widespread this problem is, but I do know how many posts I’ve seen about it on social media, how frustrated, irritated, or just plain angry some bloggers are at the moment. What I do know from personal experience is that I’ve met many fellow authors over the past couple of years, and I can honestly say I’ve not encountered a single one with a bad word to say about bloggers. I believe those who complain and demand and bully are in a small minority, but those of us who respect bloggers should not dismiss the problem because of that. Because it will still hurt those who feel bullied, still rankle, and will still push even more of them away.
On a purely practical basis so many of should support the blogging community. But I hope – and strongly suspect – that the majority of us do so because we genuinely appreciate the hard work and commitment shown by those we have come to know and care for.