Lesson of the Day – Ask for Original Content!

Author guest posts aren’t always original content, they get recycled.

What?!! <--- This was my reaction.

This was news to me. I’ve been book blogging for a about a year and a 1/2 now and this is the first I’ve learned of this. Call me na├»ve but I thought authors/publishers/publicists would want fresh and original content in their author guest posts circulating the book blogging community. Apparently, that is not always the case.

This morning I found out that an author guest post I featured on my blog was used not only on another site, not 2 other sites, but FIVE other sites. The same exact guest post. Verbatim. (And that’s only what I’ve found. There could be more sites out there with the exact same post.) At first, I found just the one site and I instantly thought they stole my guest post! Then I noticed the date on the other site’s post and it’s dated 2 days before my post. So now it looks like I stole their guest post! Then I did a little searching on Google and found that the same exact post is on five different sites.

So I contacted the publicist, since that is who I was working with in regards to this promotion, and asked if the same guest post was being recycled. Here’s the response I got:

I send the same guest post to everyone.

At least the publicist was honest. (This was my first time working with this particular publicist and it will be my last.) The bigger question is: Does the author know this is happening? I’ve contacted the author via their website; I’m waiting on a response.

********************

ETA: I’ve heard back from the author and the author has offered to provide me with another guest post, one with original content. I have gladly taken the author up on the offer. The author also thanked me for bringing this situation to their attention. Kudos to the author for trying to make things right!

********************

I work hard on my blog and I do it for fun in my spare as a hobby. I don’t get paid or compensated for the work that goes into maintaining this blog. I, just like most of the other book bloggers out there, like to help promote authors and I do it for FREE. In return, I expect original content, not cookie-cutter guest posts. To send the same post out to 5 sites is pure laziness. It’s an insult not only to me but to the other bloggers as well who were given the same guest post.

Authors, publishers, publicists: You wouldn’t want me to provide cookie-cutter book reviews, would you? You wouldn’t want me to write the exact same thing for every book I read and review, right? Of course you wouldn’t. That would be boring and sheer laziness on my part. So please, don’t do that with guest posts. It’s insulting. If you’re out of fresh ideas for guest posts, ask me! I can give you some topic ideas. Or we can do an interview. But communicate with me. Just don’t try to pass off a used post to my readers.

What I’ve learned
I need to have a Review Policy in place, whether or not I’m accepting review requests. I took down my Review Policy because I’m currently not accepting review requests at this time. But Review Policies are not just for reviews; they let authors, publishers and publicists know whether or not you participate in guest posts, interviews, virtual book tours and giveaways. I’ll be working on my Review Policy and I will be stipulating that I will only accept guest posts with original content.

 

Book Bloggers: I want to know, has this ever happened to you? Do you mind if you get recycled content for author guest posts you feature on your blog?

About Brianna: Supermom by day, naughty reader by night. Addicted to chocolate, Twitter, her iPad, her Kindle, and 99¢ Kindle deals. You can follow Brianna on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and Instagram.

36 comments:

  1. Yes, this has happened to me. An author (independent) contacted me about doing a guest post which I agreed.

    I was going to post his entry a few days later when I saw the same exact thing on my RSS stream on several (yes, several) other blogs.

    I don't think it's "that bad" but I do think the author/publisher should let the blogger know that it's the case beforehand.

    http://www.ManOfLaBook.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. I don't know if this has ever happened to me on my blog. This post is definitely an eye opener. I just assumed that a guest post would be original. I think if the author/publicist is going to recycle a guest post they should let you know ahead of time.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Man of la Books - I'd rather be told upfront that the author is out of fresh ideas for guest posts. Then I can either come up with some possible topics or we can switch to an interview.

    I thought the other blogger (the first one I saw) copied the post from my site! I almost contacted that blogger. I would have been humiliated! Thank goodness I did a little digging beforehand and saw that the same post was used on numerous sites.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Marie - That's what I had assumed too.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I've never had this specifically happen, but something like it. An author wrote a guest post for me based on a specific topic I requested. It was then published in the mailings included with the author's newest ARC at the time, without mentioning my blog or linking to me.

    Now, in theory this is fine because these are the authors words and I don't need any credit for asking the question. But I was so embarrassed because I was afraid others would read the mailing and think I copied it to my blog and pretended it was an original guest post.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I noticed this awhile ago actually, I was put off by doing author posts due to it actually.

    I also thought it was original content, the bigger issue for me is them not saying it and how 'old' is the content, sigh.

    I am considering doing interviews because of this or just not a guest post.

    ReplyDelete
  7. This was very enlightening! Thanks for spotlighting it.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Wow - I know a few authors have trouble coming up with guest posts prefer to do interviews instead. But I never expected that at all and did the author realise this could be picked up? Or the fact that this would look bad on the bloggers hosting her post?

    Really bad PR there - if an author is busy to do an interview/post - a simple giveaway and intro post can be just as good and simple but this will so backfire on them :P

    ReplyDelete
  9. I don't necessarily mind re-purposing an older post, but it definitely shouldn't be re-posted verbatim.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Well? The author you're talking about obviously does not understand how blogging works and never participated in a "blog hop." Maybe s/he thinks of guest postings as "free" and "easy" publicity, only? Obviously that individual does not understand what a great opportunity guest postings are for creating fresh and new buzz for whatever book they're selling.

    I'm currently doing an author tour myself and am not only creating absolutely fresh and new content for each stop but I'm also drawing new artwork (basically a "thank you" post card) for each blogger-host. It's ridiculously time consuming work but it also provides fresh graphics for my own blog (Vamchoir) where I post hyperlinks to the blog I visit as well as use that same post card so anyone following me knows they made it to the right hyperlink soon as they click and see my artwork.

    *Thank you for being a very open minded blogger whose been willing to share your blog with writers*

    ReplyDelete
  11. Well, I don't know about which post you are talking in particular, but I have a pretty good idea.

    It never happened to us - at least not that I know , but I saw this happen just the last days. On a few blogs I follow, suddenly came the same content.

    I read the first post but then when I saw it on another blog I was taken aback... It really made me mad seing that this author didn't even took the time to come up with something refreshing and new.

    In a community like ours authors have to know that people are reading and following lot's of blog and the chance is high the reader will see this....

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, I can only agree with you on every point!!

    Btw, I just send you a mail...

    ReplyDelete
  12. Jennifer - I see your point. I don't think the authors/publishers/publicists realize that recycled posts can effect our integrity as a book blogger. Like with the first duplicate post I saw this morning - I almost contacted the blogger to ask them to remove the post because my first initial response was that they stole it from my blog. Thank goodness I didn't because I would have been wrong and humiliated.

    Marce - I'll probably go with interviews as well but I like to only do interviews with authors whom I've read their book. I'm definitely going to update my Review Policy and put it back up.

    Has - The thing is, I wasn't dealing with the author for this particular guest post. I was dealing with the author's publicist. If I were a publicist, I would want fresh content about the author I'm representing out there. If I were an author, I'd want the same.

    Vamchoir - Kudos to you for taking the time to do all that! It will stand out and really show.

    As far as the author in this case goes, I really don't know what part they played in this. I don't even know if the author was aware that their post was being recycled. But the publicist knew; knew and didn't seem to care otherwise.

    ReplyDelete
  13. OMG. As a newbie author, I had no idea authors recycled guest posts. Many of my author friends are run ragged during their blog tour time frames answering questions and writing fun, original posts for each blog they'll be visiting. So sad to learn of this situation!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Chiming in as an author who does lots of guest posts - and every single one is original, no matter how stressed I get over them. My first thought, in this particular situation, is not to blame the author so quickly. I think the blame and the shame is on the publicist. Many authors, especially new ones, are clueless when it comes to marketing and do exactly what their publicist tells them to do. If the publicist said, "Write me a guest post and I'll get it out there," that's what the author did. They might not have any idea where "out there" really is.

    Then I read the comment about an indie author, who probably does NOT have a publicist, doing the same thing. And that's just bad on the author.

    I just hope it doesn't turn you all off on all authors, because we're not all like that. Yes, I struggle with coming up with new ideas but I do, sometimes with the help of the host. I think if there's ever a time I'm invited to do a post and circumstances prevent me from creating a new one, the very least I would do is offer a) an interview, if time allows; or b) a previously used but timeless post from my own blog.

    Having a policy is an excellent idea and it wouldn't hurt to explain your policy for those new authors who are unfamiliar with book blogs and don't realize the consequences of multiple blogs having the same post.

    Best wishes to you all! And please don't be turned off from all authors because of a couple of bad apples. Because I, for one, LOOOOOVE you all and appreciate all you have done for authors.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I have not done guest posts but I would hate for this to happen.. I think it is a very thought provoking topic. Would love to know what the author thinks about this...

    ReplyDelete
  16. This hasn't happened to me that I know of but then it never occurred to me that a publicist would think this type of thing is acceptable. I think this shows a lack of courtesy and appreciation for what book bloggers do. A guest post is free promotion by not bothering to take the time to come up with an original post for each blog they have requested a spot on is taking advantage.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Thanks for the FYI. I'm new to blogging and wondered about guest posts. You saved me a problem. Original material only for me.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Kristie Cook - Kudos to you for only using original content in your guest posts! It is a lot of work, hard work, but it really makes a difference. Want to do a guest post here? :)

    I'm with you on not blaming the author so quickly. I wasn't dealing with the author, I was dealing with only the author's publicist. And to be quite honest, the way the publicist is handling the situation is bad. I wouldn't want that publicist representing me. It doesn't turn me off on doing guest posts. If anything, I've learned to watch out for this sort of thing. And I like to share stuff I've learned with my fellow book bloggers, hence the reason for this post. I will be sure to ask for only original content when it comes to guest posts from now on. I'm not going to let this one bad experience ruin it for other authors. There's always a bad apple in the bunch.

    Fiction Vixen - I didn't think that a publicist would find this sort of thing acceptable either. It's quite shocking.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Great post! This has happened only once, but I was aware of it. The author informed me about the post and gave me the option of something original. I didn't mind because I liked the topic, and I hadn't seen it on any of the blogs I read.

    So, I guess it doesn't bother me too much. Especially if they let me know ahead of time and If I haven't read/seen it before.

    Having a policy is definitely a smart thing. It's just getting the publicist, author or publisher to actually read it.

    ReplyDelete
  20. One of the best ways to guarantee original content is to ask for something specific. If I contact a blogger about guest blogging for them, I will come with my own topic (and original blog!) in hand.

    For bloggers requesting guest blogs, however, please offer a couple of topics when you make the request. Sometimes it's hard for authors to come up with something new on their own, and we get asked several questions repeatedly. (Where do your ideas come from? What was the idea behind this book? Why do you write this category of book?)

    Even if I write a brand new guest blog on those topics, the answer is always going to be the same, and it will totally look stale!

    That said, that publicist needs to be spanked, because they should know better. They wouldn't offer a cut & paste interview to a news outlet, unless they were telling the news outlet it was a generic interview. They certainly shouldn't be reusing guest blogs without full disclosure!

    ReplyDelete
  21. I had no idea people do this. It wouldn't have even crossed my mind. I stress myself out over the idea of guest posts but I wouldn't dream of re-hashing. The author in question probably feels bad about the whole thing now.

    ReplyDelete
  22. This was a great post. I wasn't aware that this was a common problem. I did have one author provide a recycled article, but it was a topic relevant to an event I had going on at the time and they informed me of it ahead a time. So, I had no problem with it.

    That being said, I think I would be upset, if I posted a guest post with the assumption it was original work only to find it located at several other places...So I can understand you pissed offness.

    Thanks for bringing this to light.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Wow! I mean wow! This is crazy. I can't believe this. And you like I was naive until I read this. Thanks so much for a heads up. I will be careful when doing a guest post from now on. And I am sorry that this happen to you. I know as bloggers we all work hard on are book blog sites and its only fair that we get original content. Bravo to you for posting this. I hope we can all learn from this situation.

    ReplyDelete
  24. WOW! I bet you were mad when you found out! I've never considered the issue although I have noticed answers to interview questions being the same. I would definitely mind---it's embarassing to all involved!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Hello,
    I'm a first time visitor and I usually don't comment (until I've gotten to know you better) but recycled posts are an increasing issue for authors as well as bloggers. Publishers no longer send authors on tour and think "oh, you'll have a blog tour." Then they proceed to suggest that you write 30 original essays - the month your book comes out. Most publicists don't have the time to read blogs so they don't realize when there's overlap. It's difficult. Sometimes more than one person wants the "how I wrote my book" post or favorite recipes. I've gotten to the point where I don't ask if I can guest blog anymore. Five or six requests come to me and that's hard enough to do.
    I will say that the blogger may know and object to recycling but my guess is that unless the blogs are linked the average reader probably doesn't notice. Please don't hold it against the author!
    Cheers,
    Rosemary Harris
    www.rosemaryharris.com

    ReplyDelete
  26. Anna If I would have been informed ahead of time, then I could have chosen to go ahead with the post or try to come up with something else. It's good the author told you upfront.

    Saundra Mitchell - I guess I'm too lenient with guest posts. I usually leave the topic up to the guest poster. Good advice! And I'm with you on the publicist needing to be spanked ;)

    CarolOates - It never crossed my mind either. Until this morning.

    Lori - I don't think it's a "common" issue because I haven't heard of this happening until now. And I've been blogging for 1 and 1/2 years. It happens but I don't think it's that common of thing. At least I don't think it is...

    Kelli - I can understand interview questions being answered the same. Plus bloggers usually come up with different questions. Sure, there are a few repeat questions but there's usually a different mix.

    ReplyDelete
  27. It did happen to me, but then I was told, and I said ok. But yes I do think we should know what we get

    ReplyDelete
  28. I don't think that something like this happened to me so far but I might check some older guest posts just to be sure.
    Lately I do interviews or ask for a specific, uncommon topics for guest posts.

    Like you said, you always write new reviews, so I would expect an author/publisher to also give out fresh guest posts every time.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Wow, I didn't honestly think that this sort of thing would be a problem. Thanks for bringing it to our attention! Now that I know this occurs, I'll be looking for it in the future. ; )

    Great post!

    ReplyDelete
  30. Thanks so much for this post.I kind of figured this was happing all along. I have been trying to do more interviews, but again thats my free time and I just don't have it.

    I know it's also time from the author, but they could change it up a little so it doesn't look like it was taken from another blog. I think I will add something to take care of this in my policy, but again I sure it will never help.

    ReplyDelete
  31. I don't think it's happened to me, but only because with each instance Kelly or I have been in communication with the author his/herself, not the publicist. However, I guess I wouldn't know.

    I think bittenbyparanormal romance has a good review policy.

    I also think we at demonlovers need to revise ours. I'm getting some weird stuff lately.

    great post, and high five to the author who is choosing to make this right

    ReplyDelete
  32. Argh! Thats so not cool! I dont know if that has ever happened to me... if it has I never noticed, but I dont usually organize guest authors with publicists, I usually deal with the author or their assistants...

    Funny you mention this now, but I just noticed the same guest post by a new author in two different blogs on my google reader LOL not cool =/

    ReplyDelete
  33. Wow. This has never happened to me (as far as I know, though I'm really tempted to go google some of my previous guest posts now), but that's awful! Kudos to the author for doing the right thing though!

    ReplyDelete
  34. Oh my gosh thank you so much for bringing this to my attention! I've only done a few guest post's but this is something that is good to be aware of for sure. We pride ourselves on original content, we should only expect of others!

    ReplyDelete
  35. Wow! I would have never thought to ask but now I will. I've only had 1 guest post so far but I do have 2 coming up so I'll have to make sure about those. Thanks for bringing this up.

    ReplyDelete
  36. My head is swimming from all of the new and different blogs I've been turned onto just by clicking onto the link for this original post! I take back what I said - if anyone would like a copy of the first book in my series to review or would like me to guest blog I'd be delighted. I don't recycle blogs (anymore than I'd like to write the same book over and over.) Also happy to provide free books as giveaways. If you're interested, contact me offlist at rosemary@rosemaryharris.com Cheers.

    ReplyDelete