I just finished reading all the posts included in the Unconventional Blog Tour. You remember the Unconventional Blog Tour. It was the blog tour about blogging. If you are a litblogger or thinking of becoming one or you are an author thinking of contacting blogs to try to arrange for reviews, you should consider at least skimming parts of the tour.
I see a recurring theme in the Unconventional Blog Tour--An attempt to set and maintain professional standards and to maintain independence of the publishing marketing machine. The professional standards issue is understandable. Anyone can put out a shingle and claim to be a blogger and, what's more, claim to be a literary blogger. There isn't any professional certification or licensing. For those of us who appreciate a rogue quality in life, a different voice and attitude, this is a good thing. But it also puts a lot of responsibility on readers to determine which bloggers favor straight opinion and which favor judgement, (see Objectivity and Transparency Online at Sophisticated Dorkiness), and to determine, moreover, how much professionalism we want in our blog reading. Readers really need to beware.
The attempt to maintain independence of the publishing marketing machine is a more interesting situation. It's interesting because back in the day, when lit blogging first started, it wasn't an issue. Blogs were totally independent of publishing. That started to change when the traditional publishing world, authors and publishing companies alike, saw that blogs could pull some of the marketing weight and moved in. Now publishing companies are trying to manage bloggers. No wonder the FTC got involved a few years ago regarding whether or not bloggers are being compensated for reviews when they receive goods, such as books, from publishers (again, see Objectivity and Transparency Online).
Blogging started out as an independent act. Personally, I hope it stays that way.
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