And I reference the Michael Caine version.
Lenore at Presenting Lenore has her latest Bloggers Behaving Badly post up, and since one my suggestions was included, I wanted to follow up here.
My pet peeve: "Using the publisher summary in your reviews but not linking to your source."
My lawyer and librarian (and semi journalist) hats insist, "if you quote, cite your source." And cite accurately. The Amazon page for Ally Carter's Heist Society contains a "product description." If you didn't know before, know now -- that product description is not written by an Amazon employee. At Barnes & Noble, they call it the Synopsis, but it's still not B&N's words. It's written by someone at the publisher. (Huh. In this instance, Amazon, for no apparent reason, leaves out two of the lines from the publisher copy. ) (BTW, I'm picking on Carter because I LOVE her books so it's truly an example, not a picking on her.)
So, please, if you've decided to use the publisher copy (which can also be found at other online places), please, use quotes and note that it's the publisher description. I'd add that italics or indenting isn't enough, because RSS doesn't always preserve that type of formatting, so people (like me) reading via readers (like Bloglines) don't "see" those italics and indents. All I see is your review and I don't realize you're using someone else's words.... until I read the same start of a post on other blogs. I'd add, "don't assume that the reader will know it is publishers copy." Why would a reader -- especially someone new to blogs -- assume part of your post isn't yours?
Under "requests," I'd also like to see more bloggers not rely on publishers copy.
That request is partly selfish; but I like to think that some of my reactions are shared by others.
Why create your own synopsis / plot description?
To Stand Out. Like many of you, I read hundreds of blogs. What do you think I'm more likely to click thru to read -- a post that begins exactly like twenty others in my blog reader? Or one that begins with something unique? (I said this was "me me me".)
To Give Your Own Spin. I don't always agree with how the publisher's describe their own books. No, really. I understand that the copy is marketing and is designed to sell the book. That's cool. But different readers take different things away from a book, even including what a book is about. That can be reflected in not only your review of the book, but also how you write up what the book is about.
To Showcase Your Own Original Voice. I love the variety of voices in the blogosphere, including what and how say about books. Why limit that originality to the review/discussion portion of your blog?
I'll be honest. It can be hard to write a plot description for a book! And it doesn't have to be a separate part of a blog post; it can be woven into the review/discussion. The reason I have "The Plot" and "The Good" for my reviews is because when I started blogging it helped me to focus on a tight, short synopsis. And at times, I've used publisher copy when I have failed at doing my own description.
So, I am alone and lonely on this one?
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© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy
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