Friday, October 9, 2009

This Is Important

There are new rules for book bloggers, having to do with payments and endorsements. All my book review blogging friends in the USA, please read carefully. To quote from Christian Fiction:
What the new FTC Rules mean?
Book Bloggers who receive payment or in-kind payment for a book review must disclose their relationship with the payor.

What is in-kind payment?

A book of retail value is considered in-kind. An ARC is not, because it cannot be sold and holds no value. The ARC or loose bound manuscript cannot be sold.

What if I do receive the actual book to review?
It's cool. However, in your review you need to add your relationship to the payor. You can write something simple as, "Disclosure: I was provided with this free product by ."

What if I was paid for the review?

You must disclose that you were paid a fee to write the endorsement.

Will this affect my credibility?

Read my next post to find out my answer. It's twofold.

If I don't disclose what will happen to me?
Fines for violating the new rule will run up to $11,000 per post.

I can say that quite honestly I have never received monetary compensation for a book review, and often have either had to buy the book myself or get it from the library. In the past, sometimes a friend and or fellow writer has sent me a copy of their book as a gift, to review if I like it. From what I understand from the new law, if an author friend now sends me a copy of their book, and if I like it and want to share it with my readers, I will have to disclose in the review that it was indeed a gift from the author.

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Elizabeth Kerri Mahon said...

I find the whole thing terribly annoying but what can you do? I now receive books from publishers and I'll just have to point that out in my reviews.

elena maria vidal said...

Yes, that's about all you can do, Elizabeth.

Enbrethiliel said...


So there is now, at least in America, a legal distinction between a review and an endorsement? It seems like a lot of trouble.

Whatever happened to the common sense principle that the fewer rules you have, the fewer there are to break?

May said...

It all seems a bit excessive- especially the threat of $11,000 fines? In any case though, I don't receive any money for posts or reviews, or any free copies of anything.

Anonymous said...

What's the government doing putting its nose in people's personal journals? That's what web logs are, after all. It's unconstitutional!

elena maria vidal said...

It's a Brave New World, my friends....

R J said...

Whilst this ruling hasn't happened in Australia yet, I'm sure it will. Soon. After all, Australia (unlike America) has no free speech heritage of either a statutory or a cultural sort - on the contrary, its tradition goes entirely the other way - and according to the groupthinking Australian mind, independently made literary comments must constitute, by definition, "hate crimes".

Short of getting the relevant legislation deep-sixed, the only method around it that I can think of is the method that (irrespective of any such law) I have long since had to defend myself by adopting. Namely, no reviews, no endorsements, ever, ever. Except on the rather rare occasions when I myself have instigated the contact with the author or publisher.

By sticking to this procedure, I have affronted all sorts of precious little literary poppets out there ("But you promised you'd give my book a plug!" To which the only accurate response is "In your dreams I did!") But if their sensibilities are so delicate that they're upset by the non-cooperation of a peon like me, then they haven't got what it takes to be writing seriously, I suspect.