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My Letter To The Book Blogging Community…

Dear Book Bloggers,

Bestselling author Paige Toon is the reason I started a book blog. I read her Summer book, The Longest Holiday and she politely asked me to write a review on Amazon for her. It didn’t have to be an essay, just a few sentences expressing my thoughts. I agreed to it willingly because I was becoming such a fan of hers. When she mentioned writing my thoughts down on a blog, I didn’t know what to think of it. I’ve had blogs in the past whilst I was at University with a few short stories here and there. But I didn’t want anyone to see them and after a while, I would close the blog down and start fresh. I never had the time or patience to continually let my blog run. I thought about Paige’s comment about creating a book blog and I thought it was a brilliant idea. I started my blog with reviews of Paige’s books as well as others, knowing that she would back me one hundred per cent and still to this day, she’s true to her word.

I joined the book blogging community in June of 2012 because I wanted to express my love for books even more. I wanted to make friends with people who loved books just as much as I did. When I spoke to a few of them for the first time on Twitter, I thought it was wonderful. They all had such big hearts, such passion and love for books. I was in my element. Book blogging very quickly became like a drug to me. I literally couldn’t get enough. I was glancing through pictures of book hauls, reading everyone’s reviews and I would retweet like the Mad Hatter. After a while, they did the same for me. I was becoming part of such a big, loving family. Still to this day, I haven’t spoken to every single book blogger, it’s literally impossible as there are hundreds upon hundreds of us.

My blogging life changed when I started receiving review copies in the post. Simon and Schuster were among the first to send me books as they knew how much I was enjoying Paige’s. I’ve built up so many relationships with publication houses such as Headline, Hodder and Stoughton, Penguin, Quercus, Head Of Zeus, Little Brown, Simon and Schuster, Random House and many more. I am incredibly grateful to those employees who email me weekly and ask me whether I’d like to review a particular book. Publication houses have been wonderful to me over the past two years and I couldn’t be more grateful. They have allowed me to become a reviewer and someone who they can trust to promote their books.

My relationship with authors has also changed. When I was in a book shop pre the reviewing days, I would glance at books not really knowing who the author was and not really taking an interest in their life. That has done a complete 360 and now when I see books in shops such as Waterstones and even supermarkets, I fan girl over seeing them. Recently, I’ve been going into my local Waterstones and seeing You’re The One That I Want by Giovanna Fletcher and thinking, “wow, I got to read that in February” and it was only released in May. Book bloggers are extremely privileged people and sometimes, I don’t even think we realise it. I joke that receiving book post is far better than Christmas because if we’re really lucky, books arrive every day of the week.

I’ve had a great relationship with many book bloggers but not all. Last year, it was an extremely difficult time for my family and I when my Mum found a lump. It was Cancer and thankfully, she had it removed and now, all is well. The book bloggers who I’m very close to became my support system. I have friends outside of social media but for some reason, it’s easy to talk to people who don’t really know you. I am speechless with how much they all helped me. Every day, they asked me how my Mum was getting on and what they could do to help. I was amazed to find publishers were emailing me and Charlotte from Harper Impulse very kindly sent my Mum some Crime novels for when she was on Chemotherapy. I’ll never be able to thank you all enough. However, some people weren’t as pleasant as others. I received emails and tweets from particular book bloggers “claiming” that I had made the whole thing up. I was speechless once more but not in a good way. I understand fully that I’m not the nicest person in the world and I will always defend myself until I’m blue in the face, but that was one step too far. For over a year now, I’ve been on the receiving end of hurtful tweets and yes, I tweet back in order to protect myself because if it was someone else, I would stick up for them. I don’t know what I’ve done to these bullies but I’m sorry for being myself. I’m sorry for having an opinion. I’m sorry for making the most of my life. I’m sorry that you feel the need to constantly watch my Twitter feed for my next tweet. I’m sorry that you have nothing better to do with your day than to post hateful comments and silly pictures. Your words have haunted me for far too long and it’s about time it stopped.

The book blogging community isn’t what it used to be. A lot of us have noticed that and it’s a real shame. Nobody runs the community and if anyone did, it would be the publication houses and the authors. They’re the ones who write the books, the ones who publish them and they also allow us to read them months in advance. The community has turned into a competition – who can out do the other. Well, that’s where you’re wrong. Nobody is the best. This isn’t a competition and it needs to stop acting like one. I created a readathon for July because I wanted to bring more people into the book blogging community, but even that has now turned into a competition. It’s really not fun anymore. I love books and I always will do but attempting to compete against someone else is extremely  immature. I know that this post will make people talk and that was my intention. The bullies will continue to post hateful things because they have nothing better to do. I’m asking you, as part of the book blogging community, to put a stop to this bullying. Nobody deserves to be bullied.

The book blogging community ought to go back to the way it was – no bitching, no drama, no silly comments here and there but I guess there will always be one person who spoils it for everyone else. We’re all one big family and yes, not everybody gets along but it’s horrible to bring someone else down. It’s just not fair. I would never do that someone and it’s sickening that someone would do it to me. I was brought up on the saying, “treat people how you wanted to be treated.” I treat everyone with respect. Social media can be a very cruel place. The ring leader is a person who we don’t know, sat behind a phone or a laptop. They don’t know the victim, they don’t know how they live their everyday lives but they’re deeply affected by the hateful words. Quite frankly, it needs to stop. As someone who loves the book blogging community, I’m putting a stop to this on behalf of others who I have spoken directly to. I’m protecting people who I’ve known for years, months, weeks and even days. I would hate to see someone else be victimised the way I’ve been. Building an army up against one person is disgusting and you ought to be ashamed of yourself. Oh and for the record, I would never dream of pretending my Mum had Cancer. Believe me, I wish it all was a dream because that is the most pain I have ever felt in my entire life.

I love being part of the book blogging community. Thank you to all the employees of the publication houses who kindly send me books, to the authors who I love talking to on a daily basis and thank you to my fellow book bloggers, we may not always see eye to eye but at the end of the day, we love books and that is what is important. You’re all beautiful and creative in your own individual way. Embrace that. Don’t be jealous of personality traits others have because you’re wonderful just as you are. Be proud to be part of an amazing community once more. Thank you for being my support system. This isn’t the end of my blogging life, I would never dream of leaving the community.

Emma Louise xx

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42 thoughts on “My Letter To The Book Blogging Community…

  1. Well said. I am sorry that you have had to put up with such negativity. I have only recently discovered your blog and that is purely because of sunathon and I am excited about the upcoming readathon and the prospect of discovering new blogs. I know it is probably easier said than done, but I hope you focus more on the positive impact you and your event are having on book bloggers like myself, rather than people who clearly have nothing else to do but bitch.

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    1. Thank you. That’s a really lovely thing to say 🙂 can’t wait for sunathon and I’m pleased you’re going to be part of it xx

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  2. This is terrible I feel so so sorry for you! If you ever need a safe space without all of the comotion come chat at mylittlebookblog 🙂 always a friendly face there 😀 ❤

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    1. Thank you lovely. Please don’t feel sorry for me. That wasn’t the intention of this post. I’m standing up for everyone else. It’s about time we stood up to the bullies xx

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  3. It tells you how some people might think. Its showing their true self, if they can imagine you making it up about your Mum then clearly its something they might do. Why would anyone consider doing that even? Its horrible & not a joke! Obviously, its a great motto to treat others as you want to be treated & I’m sorry you had to go through that but you’ve got through it & I wish you luck with continuing to do so if you have to, still. I hope they’ll back off but maybe not… If its a lot of them, I guess its hard to block them sadly 😦 Also, wish everyone else luck who manages to get your back! Some of these issues we were all aware of but others some as fresher news. Now our attention is drawn & we’ll talk, action should happen. Ideally.
    Anyway, I’m glad there’s been positive experiences which have made it worth it. Happy reading (and writing). – Amy Bookworm @ http://spreadingukya2013.blogspot.co.uk xx

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  4. So incredibly shocked to hear about this. Utterly disgusting – No one should EVER doubt what another person says about their personal life, much less something as devastating and world-shattering as cancer in the family.
    I admire you for standing up for yourself to these bullies. It takes an incredible amount of strength to do that and still carry on.

    I hate that book blogging is now seen as some kind of competition. Sometimes, yes, I get jealous of other book bloggers getting lots of comments etc but then I remind myself, I get comments too, and just because their less frequent doesn’t mean that they are less enjoyable, and they always make me happy.

    I also hate how petty and horrible some book bloggers get about plagiarism – yes, its wrong, it isnt nice and I know it must hurt for someone to take credit for your work. But I’ve witnessed book bloggers turn into outright hypocrites – saying ‘bullying is wrong’ in one tweet/post, then actually bullying someone in the next, supposedly under the cover of ‘well they plagiarized’ Tit for tat like that is destructive, especially in what could (and has been) a lovely, tight-knit community.

    /rant. Haha! Sorry for my monster of a comment. To conclude, stay strong!!

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    1. I loved the rant (: Yep, I think the spirit of some bloggers during some of the plagarizing scenarios, especially the more recent ones, has surprised everyone! I didn’t participate, I mean its wrong but really it didn’t need more than the person & those it had affected involved. Why would every Tom, Dick & Harry feel the obligation to get involved? They didn’t even really have the right, much less a need to do so. Grr. It annoyed me too, absently watching from sidelines. I agree with you x

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      1. Exactly! What I hated the most was that it was made so public, so even if the people affected wanted to keep it quiet, others would get involved and then it’s just some highschool scenario. Truly awful.

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  5. Ahh Emma, this was a lovely thing to do. You’re very brave for posting about your experiences and you’re completely spot on, bullying needs to be stopped. I’m sorry it happened to you, if you ever need back up just let me know! Hope your mum is now okay and carry on blogging as you do, it’s great! 🙂 xx

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  6. Very well said. I haven’t encountered any negativity yet (very thankful), but I do agree that people seem to be focused on outdoing one another. Personally, I’ve been trying to get to know some of the other book bloggers via social media like Twitter and bloglovin, but it’s a slow process :\. Maybe part of the competition stems from trying to gain followers, which I’ve also noticed is extremely difficult to do without “buying” them with giveaways.

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  7. What an amazing post. I really admire your blog Emma Louise and I love your reviews. Yours was one of the blogs that inspired me to start mine.
    Good on you for stating the facts. Keep smiling! Holly xx

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  8. I honestly can’t believe that someone would think you would make something like that up. It’s disguising on their part to even say something like that and I hope they never have to go through what you do.
    I know I’m new to the whole blogging community and I haven’t known you very long but you and the majority of other bloggers I’ve spoken to have been wonderful. A love for books is something rare these days and I know that this community is sometimes the only place people get the chance to really talk about their passion for books. And we should! The effort and time and love that goes into writing a book is something to be celebrated and I know, like you said, it’s an honour to get to read their words.
    I don’t know what the book blogging community was like before and I feel fortunate that thus far I haven’t had any problems. But I know that other people have and it’s just not on.
    Emma you’re a strong and lovely girl that I’m happy to have gotten to know you, even if it has only been a couple of month. I love that you’re as HP mad as me and I hope that you never have anyone treat you like this again.
    Thank you for writing this. I’m ashamed that it even needs to be said but that fact that you have is inspirational.

    Sorry for the essay of a reply 😉

    Mily xx

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    1. Thank you for reading it! Bullies will pick away at anything. If they wanted proof of my Mum being ill, they could have gladly joined us at the hospital xx

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  9. Bloody hell, I can’t believe people would treat you like that – that’s absolutely awful and I’m so sorry that happened to you :(. It’s a shame how the book blogging community has changed lately, let’s just hope it gets back to the way it was!x

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  10. I haven’t known you for a long time, but I can’t believe that someone would think you’d have made that up. I’m sorry to hear that. It’s awful to go through that and then having to defend yourself about it is horrible.
    Hopefully the good will still win from the bad for you. I really like your blog and your tweets. I hope the bullying will stop as you don’t deserve that. Thanks also for talking about the competition. I sometimes feel insecure, but I’m trying to enjoy the books and don’t let my blogging turn into a race. Well said!

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  11. I’ve only just met you through #sunathon and wasn’t aware of all the bullying until I read your tweets (I must have been living on a deserted island…). It should stop. We’re all into this community because we enjoy reading books and we love to talk about them too. This isn’t about ‘being the most popular’ or ‘receiving the most arcs’ – this is about us booknerds sharing the same passion.

    I’m really sorry you have to go through this. Seeing from the comments above, I’m glad to see you’re not alone and that you have many friends supporting you. Don’t let them bring you down and if you are, know that you’re never alone and there’s always someone ready to listen.

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    1. Thank you lovely. I’m really pleased we meet and that you can’t wait for sunathon 🙂 xx

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  12. I don’t know much about the ins and outs about what has gone but I’m very sorry to hear about your experience. I know it’s a difficult thing but I think the best course of action is to ignore trolls and not respond to any nonsense. There’s no need for any competition in blogging, just continue reading the books and writing about them for the people that enjoy reading your posts. There’s no need for anyone to feel like they should be trying to outdo anyone else or run them down.

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  13. Oh no i sorry to hear what happen i only been blogging since 17 april i found people so help full i hope one day i could be a good as you i love to be a good as you my blog just start i love more to look at i will get to be like you one day i hope your blogs are fab i hate was hear what happen with should support you take a very well written post i loved it

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  14. WORD, Emma. I love our camaraderie among book bloggers and I would be devastated by all the negativity and bullying.

    Book bloggers should unite, not fight.

    Take care, you Mad Potter.

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  15. I can really sympathise. My blog is about whatever I feel about writing about at the moment, but a year or so ago, I accidentally got across a book blogger who took something I’d said, out of context, and wrote a whole blog criticising me. What’s more she didn’t have the guts to tell me. I found what she’d posted by accident, because she’d looked at my blog and I followed the link back to see who’d been interested in it. She seemed to be a person with a very parochial attitude, who objected to me having an opinion. The internet is for everyone, and so are blogs. I agree very strongly with you when you point out that the important people are the writers and publishers.

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    1. It wouldn’t surprise me if it’s the same person as I’m not the only one to be victimised by her xx

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  16. I’ve only been blogging for 6 months and have been met with support and friendship. I hope it stays that way and I hope you can rise above those who can only be jealous. X

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  17. What an amazing and brave post! So sad to hear about all the crap you have had to deal with, but you have definitely shown your bright, intelligent, open-hearted colours with this post! So many people I know, me included, have turned to books as a way to escape bullying, bullying has NO PLACE in any world, especially not the book world.

    Well done you! xx

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  18. I absolutely hate that you had to go through that! For someone to say something so hurtful is such a shame on their part not yours! I’m glad you are speaking up about it and whenever someone has something mean to say I dare you to send them directly to this link! They like to read they should read this! Stay encouraged and keep spreading positive vibes!

    P.S I’m Jasmine from Colorubold I met you on #lbloggers! Thank you for sending me this link and I’m so glad your mom is doing fine now 🙂

    colorubold.blogspot.com

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