Thursday, February 15, 2007

[Transparency] PR Gifts for Bloggers

Hop over to 'Almost Vegetarian' to read:
For all the food bloggers who have ever, or will ever, encounter a public relations (PR) person.

Previous discussions on this subject can be found in the archives situated in the blogroll, including some under the heading transparency and blogging etiquette.

Hope some of you will find it to be an educational read.


This Post was written by sam from Becks & Posh

9 comments:

McAuliflower said...

thanks sam- I need to hear this right now.

(as I am sitting on two cookbooks that were offered to me... thinking of sending them back).

Teacher or Student said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kalyn said...

"So if you decide to follow a journalistic code of ethics, how do you review a cookbook? You act just like the media does. You take the book and tell PR you will consider reviewing it. Then you hold your own counsel for all decisions. And, if you do decide to review it, you write as fair a review as you can."

I do agree with the final conclusion of the post as quoted above. I think what's important is that you don't *promise* to review a book on your blog as a condition of getting the book. As long as you haven't promised that, if you should happen to decide that the book doesn't appeal to you, no need to return it.

(I did learn this the hard way. I admit the first time someone offered me a free book, I was quite wowed by it and promised I'd write about it. I later regretted making the promise and made sure I never promised again.)

Personally I don't do "reviews" per se, and I wouldn't ever write a bad review of a cookbook (I wouldn't give blog space to a book I didn't like.) But if I receive a book that I like, I will share a recipe or recipes from the book that I think my readers might like to try.

david L said...

It's common for cookbook publishers to send out review copies of books. In the past, they were often 'uncorrected proofs'...paperback versions of the book which have a prominent disclaimer on the cover that the book is in it's unfinished form and may contain errors.

Because bloggers are an inexpensive and viable option, they're being sent copies of cookbooks, but I guess they're getting finished copies of books since they'd perhaps have an easier time evaluating a finished book (as opposed to a unfinished copy) and perhaps might give it a more favorable review as well.

Cookbooks get sent out freely for review to hundreds of editors, business owners, and other influential people. Normally the books get sent with a press release, giving some details about the author and the book for the reviewer to extract background information from. I receive books for review and have never gotten a pressured letter to promote the book, and if it's becoming the norm to send out that kind of information, like requests for a positive review, that's a new tact.

(A lot of publishers, which are cash-strapped, often hire out PR and consequently many inexperienced PR people just comb the web. I've only worked with experienced publicists and none of them has the time to harrass bloggers.)

If you receive a book, either review it or don't. That's the risk they take by sending it out and there should never be any expectation otherwise. If you don't want the book, either write them back and tell you to take you off their list, then donate the book to a local thrift shop or drop them off at your library.

Liz D. said...

Great article. As blogging becomes more prevalent and has a greater influence on the population as a whole- writers and readers alike- PR is an issue that was bound to come up.

Thanks for the link.

Almost Vegetarian said...

Hello! I've written a quick follow-up to the post, including some of the great comments it generated and all sorts of juicy links. It's here if you want to see what your fellow food bloggers are thinking: http://almostvegetarian.blogspot.com/2007/02/round-up-for-all-food-bloggers-who-read.html

Mimi said...

Everything in the article is pretty much what I hold to in my day job as a journalist.

Recently, I was asked to review a video on my blog in exchange for a free DVD. I declined. I could not find a direct link to my blog.

A week or two later, I was asked to review a cookbook that has a direct and almost uncanny link to the whole premise of my blog. This I accepted, and I will disclose everything upfront. I will also be very fair and honest in my review. There are some things I like about the cookbook and others I do not.

I think the best way is to take this stuff on a case by case basis. I get stuff like this at work all the time, and having been in PR work, I've been on the sending end, too. Sometimes, there's a heck of a good story there.

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