Welcome to Sugarbeat’s Books – The Home of the Romance Novel!
It’s time to announce a change here at Sugarbeat’s Books. I’ve decided that I won’t be accepting anymore outside submissions for my blog. I won’t be accepting books from authors in exchange for a review, I won’t be doing any other features by request.
To be honest, I haven’t been accepting reviews requests in some time. I found it upsetting to have to tell an author I didn’t like their book. Frankly, I don’t want to finish a book that I’m not enjoying. I have lots of books in the house so I would rather just move on to the next one in my TBR pile.
In August 2010 when I first started this blog, it never really occurred to me that anyone would read what I had to say. I’ve been pleasantly surprised and honored to have met some wonderful fellow readers via my blog. I remember reading a post early on about a blogger getting free books and was amazed. It never occurred to me to start blogging to get free books – I just wanted the technological challenge of creating a blog, and the freedom to express my thoughts on the books that I loved.
The free books started coming. With them were authors who wanted someone to talk about their book. Someone to like their book and to help them promote it.
Isn’t the expression, “There isn’t any free lunch”?
With free books comes not only a responsibility, but it also turns a hobby into work. Along with the increased visibility of a blog comes an increase in the requests from authors. I get hundreds of requests each month. There’s only me. I don’t have a staff of reviewers. I quickly found the requests overwhelming. In fact 6 months ago, I figured out that I was spending about 10 hours each week simply responding to emails. 10 hours that I could be reading. So I started only responding to emails for the books that I was interested in.
Stories periodically bubble to surface on social media about authors responding poorly to what in some cases aren’t even bad reviews. That made me even more nervous about accepting requests from authors that I didn’t know in some fashion.
The latest fervor to hit social media was an author stalking a reviewer for comments about a book that frankly weren’t as bad as others that were posted. This situation was recently discussed at a conference that I attended. The blogger that was giving the talk stated that she had contingency plans in place to protect her kids and her family if she was threatened. My mind came to a screeching halt. The fact that my hobby would put my family in danger was appalling to me.
At that point I knew that I needed to put my family’s safety ahead of my hobby.
From now on, I’ll be posting my thoughts about books that I like, that I’ve acquired from the used bookstore or the library – just like I did when I was first starting out. I won’t be taking any outside requests. Going back to the way I started!
It pains me to be writing this post, but the world that existed when I first started blogging all those years ago isn’t the world that exists now. I hope that my readers will continue to enjoy my thoughts on the books that I’ve read, and share their thoughts with me. I also hope that authors understand the position that I have been forced to take.