Discussion: A Rant About Contacts


This is a topic that I didn't think I had to discuss, but sure as hell want to now. I'll start from the beginning. Monday morning, I woke up to an e-mail that said this:

Hi Lili
Can I ask how did you get a copy for Frozen by Melissa De la Cruz? I would be very thankful if you direct me to your contact :)
C
For all intents and purposes, I am removing the e-mailer's name. So, instead, they will simply be "C."

Now, I know this is a fairly nice e-mail, but it really upset me and pissed me off.

That was my reaction, smile disappearing and all.

I don't think that C realized how rude they were being. My response was simple, I started off saying that I happened to get the book at BEA without a contact, but went on to explain that I work hard for my contacts and would appreciate if they never asked me for my contacts again. I will not share them and I think contacts are something everyone else should work towards. Somehow, I managed to remain calm before flipping out for a few minutes all my lonesome about the absurdity of it all.



So, here's my little rant. I'm by no means an experienced blogger. I've been around for a little over a year and there's still a lot for me to learn. I personally just began making contacts in the past few months and I can still count the ones I have on a single hand. It's not many, but they're contacts I'm proud of. And I did a little happy dance every time I successfully made one because it's not only a step in the right direction for blogging, but for my future as well since I hope to be in their job positions one day. And not only that, but it's showing that my little blog that, like everyone else, once had a generic design and no followers, is finally growing more and more each day. I'm beginning to make my own little mark on the blogging world, and isn't that what everyone wants?

That is why I got so defensive when someone who I've barely ever talked to just came out of  nowhere asking for the information I worked so hard for to gain for myself. I did it without help and so can everyone else, you know? It makes the moment you make a connection all the more satisfying. But instead, C just e-mailed me hoping for the information they wanted. And I'm sorry, but I will never get it to anyone, even my best blogging friends who don't share their contacts with me either.

The worst part of it all was that C just asked for my contact's information outright. They didn't ask for help and advice on how to make their own contacts, but they just wanted mine. No work on their part, all the work on my part, what's done is done.


There would have been an entirely different response if C instead asked for my advice on how to make contacts instead of asking for my own. Want to know how you make them? It's simple really, you blog. You keep on reading and requesting books when your blog is big enough to get books. You work on your own to make your blog big enough and then try to make contacts. Most of the time, it won't work out, but there will be that moment where you will get a response to an e-mail or a review book in the mail with a business card or media contact card stuck inside and you can do your own happy dance. That's what I did! I started a mere three months into blogging and it took me months, almost a year, to finally make my first contact, but I perservered. So why can't you? It's simply part of growing and it's something everyone has to do themself.

And for those of you who are young bloggers or just dedicated readers (I'm not entirely sure which C is), please know that outright asking people for their contacts is probably one of the rudest things you can do to a blogger, aside from stealing their reviews or spreading false lies about them to ruin their reputations. It's because, inadvertantly, you want to profit off of something that we worked damn hard for, even if you have the best intentions at heart.

I'm not ashamed to admit that I asked more experienced bloggers about how they made their contacts. Inky at Book Haven Extraordinaire and Krista at Nawanda Files randomly get a question from me (to this day, I might add!) asking if they think a proposal email was phrased properly or if there's a certain bit of information about myself I should include or not. But I have never outright asked for their contacts. I asked for their help in advising me to find ways to make my own contacts and the two of them are the first people to celebrate with me when I make a contact. The first time I ever got a review request accepted from Disney Hyperion, Inky jumped for joy right alongside me because she helped give me advice on drafting that e-mail for a solid hour the week before. Because she's my friend, and helping others is the right thing to do.

Help is limitless here in the blogosphere, but laziness and freebies are not acceptable when it comes to establishing yourself. If you want to be a successful blogger and get the slight perks of getting ARCs in advance because of it, than get on your computer and start typing. Establish yourself in your own way, but never take the easy way out.


I'll answer any questions to the best of my ability, but my own personal victories in the blogosphere are my own personal victories that will remain mine and only mine. And once everyone else can start making their own contacts, they can feel the same satisfaction and odd possessiveness that I feel.

This all stemmed from C, admittedly not knowing how rude her simple request truly was, but this is something I need to get off my chest because of my intense reaction and disbelief of the entire situation. New bloggers, making contacts is important, but you have to make the contacts yourself. And readers, I'm sorry to say the odds are you won't be making contacts because you can't generate the publicity they want. I started my blog on a whim, and here I am a year later, almost at 600 loyal and lovely followers. Why not give it a shot for yourself?

C, this in no way was an attack on you, but you inadvertantly started an emotional storm within me that I needed to get out.

~*~Big Edit~*~

The amazing Blythe over at Finding Bliss in Books has helped me figure out that C has been contacting several other bloggers with the same message. If she's contacted you, please DM me at @LiliReflects or e-mail me at reflectionsbylili@gmail.com because of how wrong this is.

We've done some detective work and found her blog, youtube, goodreads, and twitter. This girl is an established blogger. Not only that, she's got more followers than me and Blythe. And normally stats mean absolutely nothing to me, but a girl going around who has a bigger blog than either of us asking for our contacts makes me really mad. I'd really love to warn others about this.

Please inform us if anything like this has happened to you. It seems she's copying and pasting the same message, just changing the book titles.

~*~Those That Have Come Forward About C~*~
Myself

What does everyone else think about sharing contacts? Thoughts?

26 comments:

  1. Unfortunately we seem to live in a world full of people who are rude without knowing it. I would have felt the same if someone asked for my contacts. Wouldn't it feel better to work hard and get the result all by yourself, but yet some people just don't get it. I'm not sure that your contacts would appreciate it if you had of given out their emails to each person who asked either. You did the right thing :) Some people just need to learn to stand on their own feet.

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    1. Yeah. I don't know, it was just insulting. And my contacts would probably stop trusting me if I started shopping them around because that's wrong on so many levels.

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  2. I can definitely understand why this is insulting. When I started to look around for ARC's, I did ask advice from other Dutch bloggers, but you have to work for it yourself. Asking for someones contact is a bit rude and lazy.

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    1. Advice is different than outright asking for a contact. I asked my friends for advice, but I NEVER said, "give me your contact to make my life easier."

      Lazy and rude is the feeling I got too, even though it wasn't meant to be that way.

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  3. Lili, I completely understand! I've been around for about six months as a blogger, and I feel like that's an unspoken (or spoken!) rule that all bloggers just know. I have like, 4 contacts? And while I'd love more, I know that I've been blogging for half a year. Someone recently asked me who to contact for XYZ publisher, which was so irritating, because I actually went around and looked for the general publicity email address, and then got the contact.

    I hope this never happens to you again! :\

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

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    1. Sometimes I forget you've only been around half a year! <3 Yeah, that's pretty much how you make them. Once you have the stats, it's all luck on timing to get someone to actually answer you.

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  4. Um, wow. I wasn't too surprised by any of this until I got to the end and discovered this person has more followers than either of you. UMMM, what? I mean, contacts are great, and I'm so excited whenever I find a reliable one, but part of why contacts work with you is that trust that you won't publish their info all over the place and end up inundating their email inboxes.

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    1. Yeah, does that not make you mad?!

      If you go around giving contacts out than you ruin your relationship and they'll probably no longer be a reliable contact. And this girl doesn't even live in the US so our contacts would be pointless to her.

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    2. OH. MY. GOD.

      Really? REALLY? *HEADDESKS* How does this person have such a following without knowing any of this stuff?

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    3. Yup. No comment. Just... no comment.

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  5. I agree, I have worked hard to make the contacts I have and it feeling like cheating to have someone straight out ask for them. If you are dedicated you will find your own contacts and they will probably even treat you better in the long run.

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    1. It's like they want the reward without the work! It's terrible!

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  6. The point of a contact is that's it's an INDIVIDUAL contact. They chose to trust you enough to release their information, and they only released it to YOU. So they don't WANT to hear from ten other people who say, "Lili gave me your email, GIVE ME THE BOOKS TOO!" It's not how the world works, and it's certainly not how book blogging works. Well ranted, Lili! (And no, I think the claws were out just enough!)

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  7. Very well said, Lili! Making contacts takes time and work, and no one should think that they come as easy as simply asking for them. And publicists don't want reviewers spreading around their information either. I think the most shocking thing is that this blogger has been blogging for a while. She should know better than to contact someone, let alone multiple people for contacts. Great post!

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    1. I know right! It's a hugely unspoken rule of the blogosphere not to do this and look what she's doing! Makes me so mad, Krista!

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  8. I've been around over a year and don't have any contacts (*major sadface* but I also need to request more to be noticed) and I'd never just ask someone to give me theirs. And how would that even work out for them? The contact will have no idea who they are. They are better off just asking for advice and doing it themselves. I'm really surprised this was someone who should know better. Thanks for sharing about this!

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    1. It's not easy, it'll happen eventually!

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  9. Very interesting, I was surprised by the ending for the post as well. When I first was reading this I thought, "Probably just a very new book blogger that hasn't had a chance to get a feel for the unspoken golden rules yet", but when you said she'd been around for a while, I was definitely surprised! I'm sure she wasn't doing it with any kind of purposeful rudeness, but I can see why it offended you since your contacts are something you've worked so hard for.

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    1. I was surprised by it too. I went out of my way to make sure this wasn't an attack on her and then Blythe tweeted me saying something similar happened to her, so she DMed me the name and it was the same person. So I added the edit and immediately two more people contacted me saying she sent the exact same message, just with altered titles to whichever she was looking for at the moment. It's as if she doesn't understand the work necessary for blogging. THATS the infuriating part.

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  10. I work in the healthcare industry and private information is a very important aspect of our job, but even before that I worked in retail for like 16 years and one thing I have learned is that you don't share other people's personal information and you don't share contacts. Even at work now, if someone needs help, I will email my contact myself, but I won't give out the name.
    So, I totally agree with you. Especially if the contact has no knowledge that their information is being shared. That could reflect badly on the person who shared the info.
    Wanting to be helpful is one thing. You can lend assistance, but still protect your reputation, but divulging personal information would definitely be where I draw the line.

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    1. Ugh, this. Just this. I don't even have to respond because this comment is perfect.

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  11. It's hard to write these posts. But they have to be written every once in awhile and you did a lovely job of it Lili. You were straightforward without hard bashing. I totally appreciate it. I've never had things like this exactly happen, but there's been tons of drama around as you know. Sigh. Why can't the blogging community be perfect? Lol. I'm a dreamer.

    Anyway, thanks for writing this Lili. All the love!
    Inky

    Psst. Thanks for mentioning me! I'm so glad I could help you connect with DH! And it made me smile at your comment after a long tiring day. :D

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    1. Haha thank you for your help <3 Disney was the first person I connected with because of your help!

      And yeah, it wasn't easy. I wanted to break out the claws and had to de-claw it in several drafts, but it needed to be said.

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  12. I had a blogger ask me once if I would "share" an e-galley of mine when I was finished. Granted, I don't know if she knew if it was an e-galley or not, and she offered to trade if there was something of hers that I wanted, but, um, no!

    1) Sharing e-galleys is NOT OKAY. The risk for piracy is too great. No way on earth am I doing anything that would make it easier for anyone to pirate a book. Not saying that she or anyone else would, but once I let that electronic copy leave my e-reader, I can't control how it's used. Plus I'm pretty sure publishers wouldn't be too happy anyways.

    2) Dude, this galley is mine. I asked for it. I worked for it. It's mine. Yes, sharing is good. I often pass on my galleys to responsible blogger friends who will review it and then get rid of it properly. They won't sell it. They won't give it to a thrift store or put it on eBay. I trust them. I don't know you, so I don't trust you. At all. And did I mention that I worked for it? Galleys are not a right. They are a privilege. If you want one, you build your online presence and ask for one from the publishers. Or just wait and BUY a finished copy.

    Yeesh. Sorry about the rant, Lilli. But clearly some people need to think before emailing.

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  13. Lili, this makes me sooo angry. I have been blogging over a year and also just started making my own contacts in the last few months. I don't have many, and some are actually with pretty big publishers, and I will not share any information other than what is publicly readily available to everyone.

    What I am willing to do is share some of the information I include when I send a letter to a publisher, and sometimes it works out great and sometimes I am completely ignored. But I worked hard to make that happen, and while I don't have huge amounts of followers and have even lost some thanks to Google Reader going south, They are still my contacts and that information will not be shared. We all have to work for it just the same.

    I am so sorry this has happened to you. It really leaves a bad taste in my mouth about the community, but I will try not to let it keep me from helping where I am able.

    Lisa @ Just Another Rabid Reader

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