Originality and the Idiocy of Others

Originality

Disclaimer: Yes, I know I’m late to the party on this one, but I seriously could not keep my mouth shut. People may disagree with this and you can call me out on rehashing it if you want; but anyone who believes cookie cutter posts are the way to go needs to seriously re-evaluate why they’re doing them in the first place. Originality should NOT be a foreign concept people.

OriginalityWhile going through my reader, I came across a post by Parajunkee titled Book Blogging 101: Is Originality Gone? and was completely agreeing with everything she said.  (I do so lover her Blogging 101 posts) And then I read this gem:

I’m not trying to bully you into changing your blog. I’m just letting you know how I feel. I think it is ridiculous to even throw out the word bully. We don’t like it when authors call us bullies for writing a negative review, why are you throwing it back at me? I don’t think it’s bullying to empower bloggers into taking control of their own blogs. Bullying! I don’t think it is entitlement to ask for original content when you are offering promotion. You have the right to demand anything you want.

Are you fraking serious? I had to stop reading right there. People were seriously attacking Parajunkee because she was getting annoyed by seeing the same lame promotions over and over again? And I’m sorry, but yes. After seeing the screen shot of her reader, I would have been more than annoyed as well. There’s a reason I don’t post many cover reveals here on LE – EVERYONE ELSE IS DOING IT. Why would I want to be one of the fifty doing the same thing, when I can be the one who isn’t?

Answer me this: You pull up your reader and out of 10 entries, 8 of them are all cover reveals (and I know I’m picking on this one, but go with me for a minute) – do you click on all 8 of them or only go to one? Which one do you go to?  Assuming all 8 are part of the same cover reveal promotion, they all have the same content, so does it really matter who you go to? Here’s the bigger question, those 2 entries that weren’t cover reveals – do they stand out to you? Are you more likely to click on both of those entries than the other 8?

I don’t want to be a part of a group who all have the same content. Originality means you stand out, means there’s something there that someone else isn’t posting. Readers come back to LE because they found something here that they weren’t finding elsewhere. It makes people remember you and want to come again. So why would I want to be a part of something unoriginal, when I can do something no one else that can also bring people back to LE? Posting original content gives readers a REASON to come back.

That’s what bloggers should be thinking about. What they can do to their sites that draw in readers. Parajunkee’s Blogging 101 is a fabulous feature, and even after 6 years of doing this, I’m still looking at ways I can improve LE and her feature has helped me find ways to do that.  There should not be any reason why anyone would think Parajunkee was trying to bully people into changing what they were posting. That wasn’t her point. All she did was review the content of her reader. Isn’t that what us book bloggers do – review? It’s called an opinion people and she was making a very valid one at that.

Half the Book Blogger population is just regurgitating whatever they are fed to them by the authors, tour hosts and pubs. Glub glub. Vomit vomit. Do you think I would buy a subscription to a newspaper that just posted Press Release after Press Release? Nope. I would throw that crap in the trash. Do you think I’m reading your promo spots, considering there is about 10 others OF THE EXACT NATURE sitting in my Google Reader at the moment? Nope. Not going to read it.

This should be considered GOLD and do you know why? Because Parajunkee is just ONE person and there are a billion others out there. Is she the only one who feels this way? Do you think she’s the only one who has unfollowed a blog due to their content? If you think she is, you’re delusional. I can tell you right now, while I have quite a few blogs in my reader, there are very few that I actually click through and comment on.   Parajunkee is one of them because I know I’m not going to be reading someone else’s thoughts. She puts work into her site and it shows. If I’m going to take the time away from my family and working on LE to visit a blog, it better have something original and creative. It better be worth my time because my time is worth so much more than eight blogs all posting the same thing.

I know I’m probably late to the party on this one, but this kind of idiotic behavior frustrates the hell out of me. The book blogging community has exploded since I first started and it seems like the majority of those starting all want the same thing – free books. I’m sorry, but that’s not what LE is about at all and it shouldn’t be what others are about either.  I could care less if I receive a free book for review. I could care less if you agree with my opinion. In fact, I don’t want you to agree with me. I want you to argue and debate all the points of that book we both read. I want us to TALK about books because the more we talk, the more exposure that book gets. Not everyone is going to like what someone has to say, but people will listen if there is a discussion going on.

Parajunkee’s article probably exploded across Twitter when it was posted last month and I bet a (good?) portion of the people who saw those tweets have either never heard of her before or had never gone to her site. People may have called her a bully, but she got what all of us want should be wanting – attention. She was doing what she does every time she posts –  she wrote a review that was filled with her opinions and she got people talking.

Did everyone agree with her? No and I can’t tell you why. I haven’t finished reading her article. Why you ask? Because there are idiots out there who could care less about the integrity of what they’re doing and just want all the free books they can get their hands on. So they called her a bully and started throwing a tantrum. Am I being cynical? Most assuredly, but it’s those greedy few who can give the rest of us a bad name. So I have no patience for them at all. I can have an infinite amount of patience and am just as giving when it comes to blogging advice as Parajunkee is. I’ll answer any questions anyone has, but the one thing I will not stand for is someone looking for the easy way. And that’s exactly what posting unoriginal content is.

As book bloggers, we’re here to help promote our favorite novels and authors. We throw ourselves at publishers and publicists, insisting we can help spread the word about their clients, making ourselves available to them whenever they want. We’re the whores to their pimps – spreading out like a virus, dealing the euphoria that are books. Posting the same content as everyone else may help get the word out, but essentially you have to stop and ask yourself – do you want to be the street walker, the one of a dozen standing on a corner, just waiting for their next hit and hoping to entice someone to sample their goods? Or do you want to be the high class hooker who parties with a select few and always has clients who return for more? It all comes down to originality and making yourself stand out.

About Jackie 3273 Articles
I am a 30-something SAHM with two adorable boys and a supportive husband who is very tolerant of my reading addiction. I love to read and easily go through about a dozen books a month – well I did before I had kids. Now, not so much. After my first son was born, I began to take my hobby of reviewing a little more serious and started Literary Escapism to help with my sanity. I love to discuss the fabulous novels I’ve read and meeting all the wonderful people in the book blogging community has been amazing.

12 Comments

  1. I must have missed this post from her, but I have to say, I try to keep the promotional stuff to a minimum. I’d rather have original content or nothing at all. There are times I make exceptions for some authors I adore or books I’ve read and loved and are getting a renewed push in the blogosphere, but for the most part, my blog is a representation of me and my reading preferences.

    Thanks for posting about this.

    • Exactly! Your site should be a reflection of yourself or what’s the point. Nothing should be on your site that you wouldn’t want to read. That’s how LE started – as a record of what I was reading and what my favorite authors were doing – and then you go from there. If you like doing cover reveals, then do them, but find a way of doing them differently than others. Be creative in how your showcase them.

  2. Wow! This is a great discussion topic. I will admit that I have participated in some cover reveals and promo blasts. While I do think it is a great marketing tool, I do see the downside to it. I follow several blogs and it is frustrating to go through them and see the same thing over and over. I’ve decided to only do these types of posts for books and authors that I’m really excited for and/or if it’s a book tour I’m participating in for said books and authors.

    As a new blogger, I was trying to do everything that I thought would get me noticed. There were the memes, the cover reveals, promo blasts, etc. I didn’t realize how annoying I was actually being. I think it’s all so new that we just don’t know where to begin and just spit out whatever comes our way. While I think that is okay when you’re beginning, it’s important that we read up on blogging and learn what we can do to improve.

    I still consider myself new (I’m only a year in) but I feel I’ve learned quite a lot in the past year. It’s thanks to posts like this one and those that Parajunkee and others do that have taught me the things I need to learn and grow. I still participate in the aforementioned but I’ve learned to curb it. These things are okay to partake in as long as that’s not what your blog is all about. Write more reviews, have more guest posts, do more personal posts, etc.

    • I think everyone participates in memes at one point or another – it is a great way to network with other bloggers when you’re starting out. I know I did a few at the beginning. But there does have to be a happy medium.

      There were two really great memes that was put together by a blogger named Dewey, but both kind of fizzled out when she passed away. They were fabulous because it wasn’t a meme where you said “here’s my top 10” or whatever, but they invoked discussions. I’m not sure if anyone remembers Weekly Geeks or the Bookworm Carnival, but both gave you topics that you were asked to discuss on your site. Those types of memes I kind of like. Especially if they involve topics where you’re trying to invoke conversation.

  3. ahahaha the paranoid in me is now sobbing in the corner Jackie XD

    The more rational side of me however agrees. I give new blogs I follow about two weeks–if in that two weeks they’re posting almost the same content as other new blogs I’m following, they get regulated to a separate folder on the Reader that I check maybe once a week to see if I missed anything of interest from any of them. I used to follow the cover reveals way more closely then I do now, but with Goodreads I tend to see this stuff before they reveal it anyhow, so not so big a deal to me.

    In a more broad sense I follow an eclectic enough range of blogs that its really only the cover reveals, book trailers or news announcements that tend to be repeated obnoxiously. Reviews not as much (though some of the ‘hyped up to the max’ books strain this). I try to keep my own blog as diverse as possible, and avoid almost all the cover reveal/book trailer/etc posts unless its something more (an interview or guest post or such) and even then I’ve been getting pickier just so that I have a broader range on my blog.

    • There’s nothing wrong with being paranoid Lexie…I know I always am. *grin* Paranoid that no one is reading the site, that I’m no longer original, etc etc. Being paranoid helps creativity I hope. *grin*

      I think a lot of it is how you post cover reveals, promos, etc. I do the weekly news posts (well, they will be once I can get back caught up), but I started them more for me than anyone else really. I wanted all the information about my favorite authors in one place, but it was one of the things that drew readers, so I’m always looking for ways to make it fresh and original so it doesn’t become one of those posts that people gloss over.

      I didn’t mean to pick on cover reveals though. I do I like the pretties, so I do pay attention to some cover reveals, but I like posts that do it all at once – like All Things Urban Fantasy and Wicked Scribes – and not the individual ones. This way I get lots of pretties without having to do numerous clicks.

      • Well Cover Reveals and Book Trailers seem to be the most predominantly ‘everyone on the same day!’ promo blitz. Which I can understand on one hand–there’s thousands upon thousands of blogs out there and you want to reach every last corner you can, but many of the book types (YA, Paranormal, Fantasy, etc) have insular communities of folk who follow each other.

        I do like the round-up posts that All Things Urban Fantasy does and the diversity therein. Even though they’re all pretty much in one genre, each post I’ve found books I hadn’t heard of before. Tez Miller also does it (I think on a more weekly basis), but she also covers when books come out in her neck of the woods (Australia) so one week could be the US cover and the next the AUS cover.

        I think its a lot like Amy said above–newer bloggers want to get noticed and joining these cover reveals/excerpt tours is a way to a jumping off point. Or as Sharon says below about blog hops its a way to boost their numbers (kind of like how contests used to be ‘follow me for +2 bonus entries!’ which even I did on occasion till I got sick tallying the extra points XD). And don’t get me started on Memes…I used to love doing them, because it was a surefire way to have content for the day, but I realized I’d rather have no content then the easy content that maybe doesn’t reflect the feel of my blog so well.

  4. Lol, where to even begin! I agree that a large % of blogs out there just do the reveal/tour thing and people visit for a chance to win a book and that is it. I do cover reveals for certain authors because I love their work or I know my readers will want to know. When deciding on doing a tour I ask one question: will my readers want to read this book. I pimp books I like and my readers know this. They trust that I won’t waste their time visiting my blog and I don’t want to mess that up just to have content. Our posts aren’t predictable, readers never know what they will find each day and that is part of our appeal (at least I hope so)
    I love PJ too and have learned so much from those 101 posts.
    I have a stick up my butt about blog hops. Some blogs use them just to bump up their numbers and that is all they do. I pick the ones that I know will appeal to my readers.

  5. I always fear when adding a new blog to the feeder what it will look like two weeks down the road. I have to admit that I have not been the most consistent blogger, with school and all. But I am striving to be better with original content. But this whole bullying thing, has gotten me to reconsider my thoughts. I am late to everything and do my best to stay out of drama. I have un-followed and defriended those that stir drama into the mix. When I first started my blog, there wasn’t anything special about it except for my thoughts. I didn’t know any other bloggers, hadn’t made connections to publishers or authors. I do participate in cover reveals, at first all it took was someone to be like “hey wanna participate in a cover reveal?” I thought that I was cool and had finally arrived because I was being approached for this. Unfortunately, I didn’t really care about the covers I was revealing. It was just another way to get a post up, since I hadn’t finished that review in time. After I realized that, I kind of stopped doing them. At least for any joe schmo. Now, the cover reveals I do are the ones I stumble upon because I’m checking out an author I like and see that this series that I’m in the midst of just released its latest cover. If I’m invest in the author or the series than I will do the cover reveal. If I am REALLY excited about an upcoming book, I participate in the W.O.W. meme. (But seriously, I’m like the last person to find out when a book is coming out or I simply forget about it.) Oy, this is longer than I thought. I’m new -not really kind of a toddler- at this whole blogging thing. I fell off last year because I was trying to keep up with the Jonses. What I learned? I’m Starr and I rock just the way I am. By extension, so does my blog. Hold on, waiting for the point to come back around. Ok here it comes. If every blog was the same than soon publishers would stop needing us all. We each bring something different and special to the blogosphere. There’s no need to just go through the motions. We’re not getting paid for any of this stuff (no matter how awesome that ARC is, it’s just an arc). So, what fuel us should be the passion that we have for the books/authors that we promote. My blog looks different than yours, but it doesn’t mean that it’s better. Wow! I really hope that makes sense.

    • I’m not saying my blog is better. All I’m saying is what you did – that we need to each bring out our own originality to our sites and not simply use the cookie cutter posts that many have been doing.

  6. Thanks for this Jackie. I was mad when I wrote the post. I probably would have tried to be less “intense” if I would have calmed down. But, after I proofed it the next day, I thought it did the job LOL. After I looked around and saw who the main naysayers were, it was obvious that the reason they were speaking out wasn’t because of the post, they just used it as an excuse because of other reasons. Most did agree, even the ones that do post a lot of promo posts. It was the end of the year, we were all in a Holidaze…I get it. I just don’t subscribe to it. I think though, if people strive to deliver a better blog, it’ll show. Thanks again. you rock my world chick and your blog was one of the blogs that inspired me in the beginning and continues to inspire me. I don’t know how you put together all the information you do…and still maintain your sanity.

    • HAHAHAHA….you think I’m still sane. Ain’t you sweet. *grin*

      Personally, claiming it’s the holidays is just an excuse. That is still no reason to have cookie cutter posts. With a little advance planning, the holidays can be a cake walk and a sites biggest month. I start Black Friday in late September/early October, so I can get posts back before Thanksgiving. By the first of December, I have 75% of the posts scheduled so I have minimal work to do during the month of December. Original content can be done easily for anyone who wants to take the time to do it. It just takes a little planning. *grin*

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