LOOK! No, not at John Hamm (though he’s scrumptious). Look up above the header. You’ve probably already noticed, depending on your powers of observation, that The Picky Girl now has an ad up there.
*totally superfluous shot of Jon Hamm.
Last month, Litbreaker, a literary ad agency, contacted me about the possibility of having an ad on the site. As I had already noticed these really attractive ads on other sites, I was interested. You should know that I have been contacted by at least half a dozen other companies wanting me to include anything from in-text ads to side ads for some online gaming company. Uh, no.
However, Litbreaker caught my attention because a. they know what they’re doing and produce high-quality ads for (what I consider to be) high-quality books b. there is no in-text boohockey going on.Â Because that’s annoying. c. they knew quite a lot about my blog when they contacted me. In other words, they’d done their research, and as someone interested in marketing, that was impressive to me.
A lot of people are against ads of any type on book blogs, and I can certainly understand why. The main argument seems to be that bloggers with ads will be partial to certain books/authors/publishers based on the ads that run on the site.
Instead of simply allowing the ad to run without comment, I wanted to address it. If you have been around these parts long, you know I speak my mind. I don’t shy away from negative reviews or glowing ones. I don’t do author interviews because they don’t interest me all that much. Giveaways are few and far between. I review really old books and brand-spanking-new books. In short, this blog is 100% me.
Last month, I spoke on a panel about social media and publishing. There were several authors in attendance and one asked me if there was a lot of corruption in book blogging. I didn’t mean to, but I laughed and think I even mimed getting money under the table. No publisher, author, or publicist has ever contacted me offering to pay for a good review. I answered him that for nearly two years, I have been blogging in my own free time. He asked how much time I devote to it, and I told him, honestly, that between reading, writing, maintaining, and answering comments, I probably spend anywhere from 25 – 35 hours a week on the blog. He was shocked. When he asked if I was paid at all for that time, I told him, again quite honestly, no. I blog because sometimes it’s the best part of my day, and the interaction I have with other readers is priceless.
Some might argue that bloggers are paid in books, and I’ll admit that it’s a nice perk. However, I do not seek out review copies – with the exception of NetGalley. I have always been one who is hesitant to ask for anything, so emailing a publicist to ask for a specific book is just not gonna happen. Therefore, I don’t have two dozen pitch emails in my inbox every other day. I don’t have to schedule my reading – and refuse to do so. I might get a book a week or every other week, though often these books are from giveaways.
So… in full disclosure to you guys, I wanted to say that the above ad will in no way affect what you read on this blog. If you have any concerns, I’d love to discuss them with you. Also, as you know, I’m a sucker for aesthetics, and I actually like the look of my blog with the ad.
What do you think? Are you uncomfortable with ads on book blogs? Are you uncomfortable with ads on more general blogs? If so, is it the ethical issues that bother you or the aesthetic ones? Open forum. You first.
P.S. Or you can just call me a sell-out, what my attorney friend Jim Dedman of the legal blog Abnormal Use jokingly called me upon seeing the ad. 🙂