Raw Books was born after months and months of being pestered. I read a lot and I am referred to as a “Book Pimp” to a special set of people in my life. They are my “Book Sluts”. They are the ones that ‘get’ me and my obsession with books. I read wicked fast, but then I was constantly bummed when my Sluts hadn’t caught up so that we could blab and bitch about said books. They encouraged and pestered and pushed me to start a blog and share my Book Pimpage with others. I finally caved and I dragged my sister in law along for the ride. Y’all know her as Danielle. She actually came up with the name. I told her that if she could come up with a decent blog name that I would do it. And right out of the gate- she nailed it with Raw Books. Lorraine got dragged in when we were over our heads in review requests, and then we couldn’t let her go and she didn’t want to leave. (Thank Goodness!)
Raw Books was supposed to be fun. And it has been for the most part. It has also been eye opening. Bloggers and even authors act like high schoolers. Bullies and bitches. The in crowd and the outcasts. Don’t even get me started on Goodreads. And then there is the game of likes. The game has one rule: Here’s a chance at some free shit, now like my page. We currently have over 1800 likes on Facebook. And I know that only a small percentage of ‘likers’ have ever clicked over to the site and read a post. But if I mention a giveaway, then people are all over it. It’s very frustrating and discouraging.
Seriously, the highest viewed page on our site is the 500 likes giveaway. Come on, really? Our reviews and plenty of other bloggers’s reviews are damn good. A lot of time and effort goes into blog posts and it’s more than giveaways. By not reading posts, you miss out on excerpts, deleted scenes, interviews, sexy teasers, AND GIVEAWAYS! Got your attention, didn’t I? Almost every review that we post has a giveaway attached. So take the time to see what we, bloggers, really put our time into doing- reading and reviewing books. We are more than Facebook pages. And I am not blameless in my frustration either; I have gone about this the wrong way.
In the beginning, I signed up for any book that sounded remotely interesting and spent a fair amount of my family’s money on giveaways, just to get likes exposure. I joined blogger groups on Facebook. I probed fellow bloggers for tips and insight and contacts. I did whatever I thought would help Raw Books get exposure and ultimately, readers. Now, after 3 months, I find myself adrift and questioning the point of this whole endeavor. I have read more crappy books in the past few months than I have read in the past few years. And I have seen some of the behind the scenes politics and drama that plays out in the Indie Community and it has turned me off of certain blogs and authors because I do not want to be weighed down by such asinine bullshit. As some of you are aware, we were also a victim of said drama and bullying recently. Whatevs, we’re here to review books and support authors that we enjoy. We’re not interested in tearing people a part or lowering ourselves to playground bully antics. Moving ON!
Before the age of social media, people the world over were dependent on word of mouth, and professional critics’ opinions in regards to what to read or purchase or what have you. Enter blogging and anybody and everybody is a critic. And everyone is entitled to express their opinion about whatever the hell moves them- from books to movies to kitchen gadgets. Whatever the topic, there’s a blog for that. And you don’t have to agree with them. Or like them. Or respond to them. Find the ones that you can relate to or can appreciate and show them some support by commenting and sharing. We, bloggers, love to interact with our readers.
Which brings me to blog tours and book reviews. In an effort to participate in the Indie Community, book bloggers typically sign up to be a part of blog tours. Bloggers are given an advance reader copy of a book and asked to provide an honest review and then share said review during a specific period of time. It’s a great way for authors to get exposure and raise book sales. There’s typically a giveaway since that draws attention. All of this is well and good, except for the fact that what bloggers are really being asked for is to sing high praise of a book in order to boost sales for an author and if a blogger did not enjoy a book, then we are asked not to post our honest review and instead to promote the book and keep silent until the tour is over. I get it. No one wants to pay for promotion of a product and then get unfavorable opinions about it. But doesn’t that defeat the purpose of asking for an honest review? Doesn’t it make me, as a blogger, a hypocrite for promoting something that readers may run off to buy because I posted about it, and then later on I post a review that is not favorable to the book?
Self-publishing has opened the flood gates for anyone to publish a book. And I truly believe that it takes balls to put yourself and your book out there for the world to judge. But if you are going to do so; you need to expect that not every person is going to like it. Deal with it. Get the fuck over yourself and move on. Not everyone is going to like your book. And if someone doesn’t like your book, it doesn’t mean that you are any less of a person of value. Opinions are like assholes and all that jazz.
So what is my point with all of this rambling? Basically, an apology to those of you who follow Raw Books. We promised raw, spoil free reviews and while what we have posted has been raw, it has not been the whole story. There have been a staggering number of books that have not been reviewed on this site because our review would not have looked favorably on a book and our hands were tied. Plus, we were also afraid of being targeted if we posted less than 3 star reviews. But that ship has sailed without ever posting a negative review.
I lost sight of why I started this in the first place. I love to read and I love to talk with others that read the same books. I follow several blogs. By follow, I mean that I actually read their posts. I love to compare my thoughts with others’ reviews on a given book. And I love recommendations! Both giving them and receiving them. But I expect the reviews that I read to be honest. Not an attempt to make a friend happy or to blow smoke up an author’s ass. And Raw Books should deliver the same.
So, going forward, Raw Books will be posting the whole story. We will never set out to attack an author or a book, but if we don’t enjoy it- you’re going to know about it. We truly hate it when a book doesn’t rock our world. Reading time is precious to us. We will still participate in tours. And post promos and release day blitzes. But if we don’t like the book, we WILL post our review after the tour dates. We do this for free and it’s my blog, so I make the rules. Authors- continue to send your requests and we will continue to read and review for you, but if your book isn’t very good- then we will share that with our readers. You shouldn’t provide a book in exchange for an honest review and then balk if we don’t provide the review that you were looking for. We only promise to provide an honest review, not a review that is deceitful in its praise and promotion. Besides, someone else may find that what we didn’t like about a book is exactly what they are looking for.
We are not in this for the giveaways and the free books. We started this to share our opinions about the books that we have read. And that’s what we are going to do, whether we enjoy them or whether we would like our precious reading time back; it will be RAW.
This is RAW Books- raw reviews, raw opinions. Don’t like it, then don’t read it. It makes no difference to me. My Book Sluts know that I have their backs when it comes to a good book. The rest is gravy.
To those of you that have read our posts, made comments, and shared our site with others- We love you. Thanks for your support!