Armchair BEA: Why You Should be a Professional

When I went to sign up for today’s topics, this one popped out at me. Partially because no one else had tackled this subject, but also the idea of ethics and professionalism appeal to me. It’s very important, I think, to remember that even while we’re doing this for ourselves, we’re not alone in this vast Internet void.

Yes, we’re just bloggers. Yes, we get looked down upon by the “professional” media. No, we’re not paid (most of us). And no, we’re technically not professionals. But, that said, here are five good reasons why we should act professionally.

1. Because we’re not alone: when I first started blogging, I figured I’d just be putting it out there for myself and maybe a few friends and family. I never dreamed I’d have readers. I’m sure those starting blogs today aren’t that naive, but still. It’s good to remember that there are people following what you say. And, as a result, you should be professional about what you write. That’s not to say you can’t talk about your family, your kids, your life outside of books… but, there is a line that you should. not. cross. There is such a thing as too much information. (That’s not to say you can’t be chatty, you can. Just don’t be crude.)

2. Because a blog can lead to something more: think of it not just as a hobby, but a part-time volunteer job. It can go on resumes. It can be used to springboard into something else. It doesn’t have to, but make sure that your blog is some place you would be proud to show to a stranger.

3. Because we’re all adults (mostly) here: disagreements: fine. We all disagree. There are issues that need to be discussed. But name-calling, back-biting, dissing, whatever you want to call it… is not. acceptable. It’s okay to be honest. But be nice about being honest. And that goes for the comments, too.

4. Because no one likes a liar: This goes for the ethical side of things. My personal policy is: if I don’t intend to (eventually) review it, I don’t accept it. Which is why I’ve been trying to slow down accepting ARCs. I’m finding I can’t get to as many as I once did, or I’m not as interested in getting to them. But, whatever the reason is: if I accept a review copy, I feel obligated to read it. That may not be your policy. But, whatever your policy is, state it, and then stick by it.

5. Because the world is a happier place when we’re all acting like professionals and are ethical in our dealings with each other. Enough said.

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15 thoughts on “Armchair BEA: Why You Should be a Professional

  1. Great article!

    I think it boils down to the blogger and what they expect to get out of the community and their blog. I think you get out of it as much as you put in it. Sometimes that is less for people and sometimes it is more. The only thing that irks me is the people on the far sides of the spectrum: Those who believe they are the best, their rules should be followed, and you are wrong if you are not doing it their way. Then the people who join a community just to stir up resentment. Though both of these end up doing the same thing. I think most of us in the book blogging community fall somewhere in the middle and as long as your honest about your content, you will be just fine!

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  2. If you ever want to have a future with your blog, you must be professional. The ones that aren't die out. And it sticks out like a sore thumb when you aren't. Great post!

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  3. I really loved this one! I should have written about this too. I think this is something that we talk about and then forget about until the next big fiasco comes about. So easy to forget and say something stupid. Thanks for the thoughtful info!

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  4. Like someone else said, if you want to grow your blog, you absolutely have to be professional. Burning bridges with readers, authors, and publishers is not the way to go around it.

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  5. Felicia, I couldn't agree more. It is the extremes that drive me nuts, but (as you said) I think, for the most part, we book bloggers are nice and happy right in the middle. We get along, we're nice to each other, and I think we're fairly professional and definitely ethical.

    Thanks all, for the kind words.

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  6. Nice post. At the end of the day our blogs are a representation of ourselves, so I am not sure why blogger's wouldn't want to put their best self forward!

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  7. Very good post, and one I agree with strongly! I always wince a little when I read a blog post (any one, not just those by book bloggers) that veer far from professionalism. But sometimes reading them and the comments tht follows are like watching a train wreck!

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