Readers' Favorite

September 27, 2012

Tips on Thursday: Bloggiesta Edition

This weekend is Bloggiesta. It's a blogging event hosted by There's a Book and It's All About Books. It allows bloggers to set aside time to do some housekeeping tasks on the blog and an opportunity to learn tips and tricks.

I'm hosting a mini-challenge on policy and procedures. While it is a boring topic, having these policies and procedures in place will make your blogging more effective, efficient, and most importantly legal. For your efforts, I have a giveaway at the end of this post.

Review Policy: In a previous tips post, I discuss the importance of review policies in more detail. You can read that post here. Having a review policy will make your blogging life a bit easier as authors can quickly surmise if your blog is a fit for them, but also it will give you a place to point authors to when they make inquiries. If you are like me and have trouble saying "No", it can also be the "excuse" you need. I've put together a questionnaire to help you develop your own policy. The most important tip for developing a review policy is to be concise (no one wants to spend 10 minutes reading the "fine print").

  • Who are you open to receiving review pitches from? Self-published, independent published, major publishers, etc.
  • How do you want to be contacted? Email, contact form? Should Review Request or something be in the subject line?
  • What formats do you accept? Hard copies (paperback or hardcover), ebooks (mobi, pdf, epub), advance copies or finished copies only, audio books, serials
  • What genre(s) do you read? You might say you read everything, but everyone has 1 - 3 favorite genres. If you are unsure of genres or only read a narrow subgenre, you can list some of your favorite authors.
  • What genres won't you read? You might be open to everything, but if there is a genre you really don't like to read then you should state it. I don't read horror and I listed Stephen King as someone who I consider writes horror.
  • Are you open to guest posts or interviews? I include my feature posts options in my review policy.
  • Will you review a book you do not finish? Will you post reviews of books that you consider 1 or 2 stars? Also you will want to explain your rating system.
  • Do you post your reviews anywhere else (Amazon, Goodreads,etc.)?

Answering these questions will give you a pretty comprehensive review policy. There might be specific things you want to add. For example some bloggers like to have authors/publishers send book cover images or a digital version in the pitch email, others don't. If you feel strongly that you want it included then you should state it in your review policy.
The important thing to keep in mind is to be CONCISE. Check out my review policy for an example.

FTC Disclaimer: I haven't written a full post on the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) guidelines for advertisement and endorsements, yet (it's in the works so please stop back by). With the recent news about sock puppets and paid reviews it is more important than ever to include a few disclaimers on your blog and within your posts. If you are outside the U.S., you may think you are not affected by the policy. However, if the servers where your blog is hosted are in the U.S. or you are reviewing for U.S. based companies, then the policy does apply. Also, your home country may have it's own requirements. The disclaimer adds credibility to review blogs. You can read FTC 16 CFR Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising here. But it's a government document so you might just want to read some commentary. I like the posts here and here.

So what do you need to do to be in compliance?

  • Disclose any financial relationship you have with the company/author in which you are reviewing.
  • If you use affiliate links within your post, you must disclose that and inform your readers you are paid an advertising fee.
  • The disclaimer must be included in every review post where you received a free copy of the product and/or you use affiliate links. Some bloggers have the disclaimer in the footer so it shows on every page.
It really isn't too difficult to comply with. I recommend being as open with your readers about any connections as it adds to your credibility as a reviewer. If you are like me and include publishing information about the book you are reviewing it isn't any extra work really to add another line stating the source of you copy.

Personal Opinion Statements: It's possible that the company you work for has a social media policy that affects the employee's personal use. Or you may work within the book industry (librarian, publicist, editor, bookseller, etc.) and need to differentiate your personal opinion from that of your place of business. Even if your company doesn't have a policy, you may want to include one to be safe.

Also if you accept guest posts, you may wish to protect yourself from what your guests write. I didn't really think about that until I saw the disclaimer on Terri Giuliano Long's blog. But it makes good business sense to include such a statement.

Examples: You can check out my full disclaimer page, but below are also the statements I add to each post (well I'm starting to add to each post). I have these in a notepad document for easy cut and paste.

  • Girl Who Reads is an advertising affiliate with Amazon and IndieBound; a small fee is earned when purchases are made using the above links.
  • Featured Books is a free announcement feature and all information is provided by the author unless otherwise noted.
  • Book Trailers are a free feature. All videos are provided by the author who has granted Girl Who Reads permission to post them on this blog.
  • The views, beliefs, and opinions expressed by guest post authors are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views, beliefs, or opinions of Girl Who Reads. 
  • A free book was obtained from the source mentioned above in order to provide an honest and free review.

Contest Rules: I recently wrote a tips post about laws that govern contests and giveaways. After researching the topic a bit, I realized a number of bloggers (and even a few indie publishers) were running illegal giveaways. You can read the full post here. For this challenge, I'm just going to paste below the rules I use.

By clicking 'enter' I agree to these terms and conditions (I typically use Rafflecopter for giveaways and this is a mandatory entry):

  • I am at least 18 years old or older.
  • I understand my information will not be shared or sold to a third party and I will only be contacted if I am a winner.
  • I understand my entry may be verified and if the entry cannot be verified it may be removed.
  • Void where prohibited by law.
  • Physical copies can only be shipped to US/Canada. eBooks and/or Gift Cards can be emailed internationally unless prohibited by that country or the publisher. 
  • No purchase is necessary to win.
  • Odds of winning are based on the number of entries.
  • Prize value:
  • This giveaway is sponsored by the author. The author is responsible for the delivery of prizes.

Wow! That was a lot of boring text. Just one more thing - I'm not a lawyer and my advice should not taken as legal counsel. For assistance with your specific situation please consult a licensed lawyer.

Ok, now the fun part. If you complete (or already had on your blog) one of the tasks above then you can enter to win your choice of the following paperback books (I'm willing to ship internationally, but the winner will be responsible for any applicable custom duties/import taxes). There are 4 Tasks that you can complete, the more you do the more entries you get! (Feel free to leave a link in the comment section to your completed task or your Bloggiesta post).

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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  1. I really love these Thursday tips and have been incorporating them into my blog. Thanks so much. Good luck with your book. I don't know that there is anything I can possibly contribute - wish I did. Donna

    1. I'm glad you are finding them helpful. I'm always open to topic suggestions if you have any.

  2. Such great tips! I was badly in need of updating my policies, so I used them as a guideline.

  3. Great post! I wrote my policies awhile ago and I'm glad to have them ... this is something all bloggers should have!

    1. Definitely. It's surprising how many bloggers don't have a review policy. It can be quite maddening as a publicist. I don't wan to waste my time or the blogger's time with a pitch that doesn't match.

  4. This is so helpful. Thank you very much. I've been meaning to add this to my blog for some time now, especially a note on one of my pages explaining that Netgalley reviews are my honest reviews.
    Thanks so much! I think I might keep going and do another task!

    1. Wonderful. I debated doing this topic thinking everyone knows this stuff. But then I saw how many blogs out there that don't have even the most basic of policies or disclaimers and decided to offer it.

  5. I didn't think about the guest post disclosure, but it's a great idea!

    1. I think somewhere in the back of my mind I knew it, but until I saw it on Terri's blog I didn't think about putting it on my own blog.

  6. Great mini-challenge! It's a good way to keep us honest. Any advice on copyright notices?

    1. What about copyright notices are you wanting to know?

    2. Anything special (with respect to our copyright) we should have on our blogs?

    3. My template (and most templates) put a copyright date in the footer. I've also included a statement on my Disclaimer page in reference to using excerpts or reprints of entire articles. I recommend a watermark for any images that are yours.

  7. This was a great help! Between your advice here and your own examples, I updated my review policy and added a disclaimer. I want to write a guest post policy, too, but that will likely be for another day. Thanks for the help!

  8. Thanks for informative post. Even though in Australia some of those disclosure type rule don't apply here I think it is just good practice to state you do not do it for the money etc.

    1. Many countries have their own form of disclosure requirements. Because the FTC will go after the company as well as the blogger, if you are working with American based businesses/publishers you would be required to post the disclaimer. But like you said even if it isn't required the transparency helps build your credibility.

  9. What a fantastic article, Donna. Thank you so much for writing this up and sharing it for Bloggiesta. I'm part book blogger and part personal blogger, so I've been pretty lax about the FTC disclaimer thing over the last year. I only make mention of the disclaimer, and not very thoroughly at that, when I post a review for a book that I've been given for free by an author. I am going to make a statement to add at the bottom of every review and or post it on my sidebar. Also, I never thought of making sure my giveaway rules are for 18 and older, void where prohibited and no purchase necessary! I have made note of all of these things. Thank you!

  10. Awesome mini-challenge! Thank you for hosting and sharing your brain cells!! I went through and tweaked my FTC disclaimer in my footer and I need to make sure my footer shows up on my post pages. On my goals for Bloggiesta was a contest rules page so I still need to write that :)

  11. This is an awesome post and I think I need to take time to run through my policy page again. Thanks for taking time to explain the FTC stuff too... I have a disclaimer, but may need to revamp it to make sure I'm covered properly. New follower!

  12. David Villa berharap dapat mencetak banyak gol untuk tim barunya
    Berita dari Dunia Bola melaporkan Penyerang baru Atletico Madrid, David Villa, kini semakin percaya diri setelah berhasil mencetak gol perdananya untuk Los Colchoneros. Pemain berusia 31 tahun itu yakin bahwa dirinya akan dapat mencetak banyak gol bagi klub barunya itu.
    David Villa yang merupakan satu-satunya striker papan atas yang didatangkan oleh Atletico Madrid sejak ditinggal Radamel Falcao ke AS Monaco, tentu akan menjadi harapan besar bagi Los Clochoneros untuk dapat berperan sebagai pencetak gol terbanyak bagi tim. David Villa yang baru berhasil mencetak gol perdananya ke gawang Las Palmas dalam laga uji coba yang berakhir dengan kedudukan 2-0 untuk Atletico, kini semakin percaya diri dan sesumbar bahwa gol demi gol akan segera lahir dari kakinya.
    Seperti berita yang dirangkum oleh Bola Soccer Indo11"Saya senang bahwa semuanya berjalan dengan baik. Hubungan saya dengan rekan-rekan baru saya sangat baik, dan saya yakin gol demi gol akan terus berdatangan," tutur David Villa kepada Football Espana. Tapi, tentu saja saya harus terus bekerja keras dan terus meningkatkan kemampuan diri untuk dapat meraihnya.

  13. Ever Banega memberikan pujian kepada pelatih baru Los Che
    Berita dari Dunia Bola melaporkan Gelandang bertahan Valencia, Ever Banega, kini memberikan pujiannya kepada pelatih baru Los Che, Miroslav Djukic. Banega merasa sangat nyaman dalam skema permainan yang diterapkan Djukic di dalam tim.
    Miroslav Djukic yang datang ke Valencia untuk menggantikan Ernesto Valverde, dipercaya memberikan pengaruh yang baik kepada tim yang akan berdampak pada prestasi tim di akhir kompetisi. Hal ini sudah tampak pada apa yang mereka pertunjukkan di pertandingan pra musim mereka yang dinilai berjalan dengan lancar.
    Menurut berita yang dirangkum oleh Bola Indo11 Ever Banega yang menjadi bagian dari tim utama Valencia menilai bahwa dirinya dan pemain lainnya merasa sangat nyaman dalam bermain di bawah arahan Djukic dan berharap dapat membalas kepercayaan pelatih di lapangan. "Saya merasa sangat nyaman. Saya merasa nyaman dengan permainan saya, rekan-rekan saya, dan dengan pelatih," tutur Banega kepada AS. Dia sangat bergantung pada saya, dan saya berharap untuk mencoba menjalankan peran saya dan membalas kepercayaannya kepada saya di lapangan. "Saya hanya ingin terus bekerja dan melakukan yang terbaik untuk kesuksesan tim," ungkap Banega.

  14. Schalke lakukan hatrik
    Schalke lakukan hatrik , - Pemain Schalke yang baru dikontrak, Adam Szalai, mencetak angka ketiga untuk tim `Royal Blues` itu sehingga mereka berbagi angka dengan Hamburg sedangkan pemain depan asal Gabon Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang menandai penampilan awalnya di Dortmund dengan melakukan hatrik.

    Pemain Mainz, Shinji Okazaki dari Jepang, dan pemain bintang Leverkusen dari Korea Selatan, Son Heung-Min, sama-sama mencetak gol dalam debut mereka bersama klub mereka. Pemain tengah menyerang berusia 19 tahun itu didera cedera pada menit ke-23 ketika melawan Hamburg, ketika urat pada kaki kirinya bermasalah.

    Berita olahraga mengabarkan , Schalke memimpin di kandang ketika menjamu Hamburg. Striker asal Belanda Klaas-Jan Huntelaar menggebrak saat permainan baru berlangsung 84 detik, sebelum rekan senegaranya Rafael van der Vaart menjalakan bola lewat titik penalti pada menit ke-12, untuk menyamakan kedudukan. Striker Maximilian Beister melayangkan tendangan menggeledek pada menit ke-24 membuat Hamburg memimpin sebelum Huntelaar menyamakan kedudukan pada akhir babak pertama.

    Berita yang dilangsir oleh agen judi online , Mantan pemain bertahan Dortmund Lasse Sobiech membuat tim tuan rumah memimpin beberapa saat setelah turun minum, sebelum pemain Hungaria, Szalai, yang bergabung dengan Schalke dari Mainz pada musim panas, melakukan tendangan dari titik putih akibat penjaga gawang Rene Adler melakukan kesalahan pada menit ke-72, sehingga kedua tim membagi angka.

  15. Everton’s Barry says Barkely will have a chance to World Cup

    Agen Bola reported, Everton midfielder Gareth Barry is confident that midfielder Ross Barkely
    will be nailed on" for a place in England's squad for the FIFA World Cup due to his current good display.Everton’s Ross Barkely, 20, who
    has produced some outstanding displays for the club this season, has been billed as a star of the future for some time.
    Gareth Barry says he is not worried about his chance and Ross Barkely’s chance for England at the World Cup.
    "I'm not too worried about that at the moment," Barry said.
    "I'm just looking forward to the second half of the season with Everton. I've not been involved with England for 18 months.
    "But Ross, for me, should be absolutely nailed on to be on that plane. And if he continues like this, I'm sure he will be," he added. as
    reported by Agen Bola
    Gareth Barry is sure the England manager knows enough about Ross to know that he could go out there and surprise a lot of teams, because
    he has that natural ability.

  16. Galderisi becomes as new coach of Olhanense

    Agen Bola reported, Giuseppe Galderisi was appointed as the new coach of Olhanense.
    Giuseppe Galderisi, 50, who is a former Italy international who enjoyed playing stints with clubs including Juventus and Milan.
    The 50-year-old has also coached extensively in his homeland, with his last job being a short-lived stint at hometown club Salernitana in 2012,
    and he is set to be unveiled, along with the rest of his staff, at Estadio Jose Arcanjo later on Tuesday. as reported by
    Agen Bola Indo11.
    Galderisi's first game in charge will be the visit of Vitoria Setubal on Sunday.

  17. Argentina tak Ingin Remehkan Lawan

    Agen Bola terpercaya melaporkan, Argentina akan berupaya keras untuk tampil maksimal di babak penyisihan grup Piala Dunia 2014. Pelatih Alejandro Sabella tak mau meremehkan tiga lawan timnya di Grup F, yang dinilainya punya kondisi fisik prima.

    Argentina berada satu grup dengan Bosnia-Herzegovina, Nigeria, dan Iran. Dilihat dari sisi kualitas dan materi pemain, tim 'Tango' masih jauh di atas tiga tim lainnya.

    Meski begitu, kata Sabella, tiga tim yang menjadi lawan Lionel Messi dan kawan-kawan di fase grup punya kekuatan fisik yang mumpuni. Untuk mengalahkan mereka, diperlukan performa tim yang bagus dan stabil, didukung dengan penampilan terbaik dari para pemain andalan.

    "Saya tidak dapat memprediksi masa depan, tapi kami harus tampil pada pertandingan-pertandingan di mana kami wajib bermain oke," ujar Sabella.

    "Kami akan menghadapi tim-tim kuat, tim-tim yang sangat kuat secara fisik, khususnya Iran dan Nigeria. Bosnia adalah tim Eropa sehingga selain kuat secara fisik, mereka juga punya elemen lain yang lebih kuat," jelasnya.

    "Kami tentu saja bakal mencoba melakukan yang terbaik untuk tampil bagus di fase grup. Kami juga harus punya para pemain yang sedang dalam kondisi terbaik," tutur Sabella.

  18. Balotelli Ancaman Untuk Inggris

    Agen Bola terpercaya melaporkan, Tim nasional Inggris akan berhadapan dengan Italia di laga pertama Piala Dunia 2014. Menatap pertandingan itu, The Three Lions bakal mewaspadai ancaman dari Mario Balotelli.

    Laga antara Inggris melawan Gli Azzurri akan berlangsung di Arena Amazonia, Manaus, Sabtu (14/6/2014).

    Balotelli tampaknya masih akan menjadi andalan utama Cesare Prandelli untuk menggedor barisan pertahanan tim 'Tiga Singa'.

    Kendati Balotelli tampil kurang konsisten bersama AC Milan musim ini, hal itu tak membuat bek Inggris, Gary Cahill, menyurutkan kewaspadaan.

    "Balotelli yang tak bisa diprediksi merupakan suatu ancaman yang berbahaya karena Anda tak akan pernah tahu kapan dia bakal bisa menunjukkan kemampuan terbaik, atau apakah dia akan mengeluarkan kemampuan terbaik," kata Cahill.

    "Dia mempunyai potensi untuk menempatkan bola dari sudut atas gawang dari jarak 25 yard. Juga sangat tak bisa diprediksi tapi di hari saat dia tak diragukan lagi menjadi salah satu yang terbaik."

    "Saya sudah pernah bermain melawan dia dalam beberapa kali dan setelah 60 atau 70 menit dia diganti tanpa melihat bola."

    "Saya ulangi, dia merupakan pemain yang tak bisa diprediksi. Dia bisa menjadi pemain berkelas dunia, tapi dia merupakan seorang penyerang yang harus Anda Waspadai," imbuhnya.

  19. Beckham: Rooney Ditakuti Lawan

    Agen Bola terpercaya melaporkan, Wayne Rooney mulai tergeser di timnas Inggris untuk Piala Dunia 2014. Mantan Bintang The Three Lions David Beckham menilai bahwa nama Rooney di line-up sudah cukup untuk bikin lawan katakutan.

    Dalam dua laga ujicoba terakhir timnas Inggris, Rooney dipasang oleh Hodgson menjadi sayap kiri. Di posisi itu, Rooney sudah mampu membuktikan diri memberikan kontribusi positif.

    Atas peran barunya di timnas Inggris, Rooney mengaku tak akan mempermasalahkannya.

    Atas sorotan yang ditujukan pada Rooney di Piala Dunia 2014, Beckham pun memberikan dukungan. Mantan penggawa Manchester United, Real Madrid, AC Milan, dan Paris Saint-Germain itu menyatakan bahwa keberadaan nama Rooney di daftar susunan pemain sudah cukup diperhitungkan lawan.

    "Saat tim lawan melihat nama Wayne Rooney di daftar susunan pemain Inggris, itu tetap menakutkan buat mereka," kata Beckham.

    "Saya akan selalu mendukung Wazza karena dia merupakan talenta yang luar biasa dan pemain yang luar biasa buat Inggris. Ini semua tentang kepercayaan diri bersama striker, tapi membicarakan Wazza selalu mengenai lebih dari mencetak gol."

    "Dia merupakan pencetak gol, tapi dia bekerja keras untuk tim dan seperti itulah permainan Wayne Rooney. Jika dia tidak mencetak gol, dia tetap membantu atau melakukan sesuatu untuk tim. Dia merupakan kreator tapi juga sebagai pencetak gol," imbuhnya.

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  23. Didier Deschamps : “Kami Memiliki Kans Juarai Euro 2016”

    Agen Bola Melaporkan Berita Olahraga Terkini dan terbaru - Pelatih Timnas Prancis, Didier Deschamps mengutarakan pendapatnya mengenai partai Final Euro 2016 yang akan digelar tiga hari lagi. Deschamps berpendapat bahwa peluang timnya dan Portugal untuk menjuarai Euro 2016 sama besarnya, sehingga partai Final nanti diprediksi akan berlangsung dengan sengit.
    Les Bleus sendiri resmi memastikan diri sebagai finalis kedua Euro 2016 setelah mereka menaklukan Jerman dengan skor 2-0 pada dini hari tadi. Mereka kurang selangkah lagi untuk meraih Trofi Euro ketiga mereka, di mana mereka harus mengalahkan Portugal untuk meraih tujuan tersebut.
    Dihadapkan dengan Portugal di Partai Final, Deschamps mengaku siap dan ia menilai timnya punya peluang untuk menjadi juara. “Kami memiliki kans kami untuk menjuarai Euro 2016, dan Portugal juga peluang yang sama” beber Deschamps kepada ESPN.
    “Meski berstatus sebagai tuan rumah dan kami baru saja mengalahkan Jerman tidak berarti kami punya kesempatan yang lebih besar untuk memenangkan Euro nanti. Kami percaya bahwa kami bisa memenangkan turnamen ini begitu pula dengan Portugal” tutup pelatih 47 tahun tersebut.

  24. Ronaldo Ingin Rasakan Gelar Juara Bersama Timnas Portugal

    Agen Bola Melaporkan Berita Olahraga Terkini dan terbaru - Tak ada yang meragukan kemampuan Ronaldo saat dirinya berseragam klub. Bersama Manchester United, Ronaldo seakan membuat pendukung MU melupakan David Beckham. Bahkan beberapa titel juara juga telah berhasil ia genggam saat menjadi bagian dari Real Madrid.
    Namun untuk urusan timnas Portugal, Ronaldo belum pernah menggapai trofi untuk negaranya. Beberapa edisi Euro dan Piala Dunia, Portugal harus pulang sebelum mencapai partai puncak.
    Pada tahun 2004, Portugal pernah masuk kefinal tapi kalah dengan Yunani dengan skor 1-0. Tahun ini, Ronaldo cs punya kesempatan lagi main di partai final setelah mengalahkan Wales di semi final. Mereka akan bertemu dengan tuan rumah Prancis yang akan digelar pada akhir pekan ini.
    “Laga final ini akan sangat berarti yang selalu saya impikan, menang bersama timnas,” kata Ronaldo pada
    “Saya sudah pernah menjadi juara di berbagai kompetisi di klub dan di level individual, juara bersama Portugal akan menjadi pencapaian luar biasa.
    “Saya yakin kami bisa, rekan dan seluruh rakyat Portugal percaya. Kami harus berpikir positif bahwa pada hari Minggu nanti akan menjadi raihan juara untuk pertama kalinya,” tandas pemain 31 tahun tersebut.

  25. Sang Adik Pastikan Hazard Bertahan di Stamford Bridge

    Agen Bola Melaporkan Berita Olahraga Terkini dan terbaru - Adik dari Eden Hazard menegaskan bahwa winger asal Belgia itu akan tetap bertahan di Chelsea musim depan.
    Musim 2015-16 kemarin, Hazard tampil di bawah performa terbaiknya. Ia pun akhirnya gagal membuat Chelsea bertahan di zona empat besar.
    Menurunya performa pemain berusia 25 tahun tersebut membuatnya sempat disebut akan angkat kaki dari Stamford Bridge. Hazard juga sempat dikait-kaitkan dengan klub seperti Real Madrid maupun PSG.
    Namun Kylian Hazard, adik dari Eden, memberikan jawaban terkait teka-teki masa depan kakaknya tersebut. Ia menegaskan bahwa Eden akan tetap bertahan di Stamford Bridge.
    “Ia akan tetap tinggal di Chelsea, ia bahagia di Chelsea. Ia mencintai London. Bagus baginya berada di sana dan ia mengatakan bahwa fasilitasnya sungguh hebat,” tuturnya pada Goal International.
    “Ini adalah salah satu tim terbesar di dunia. Ia akan menjadi istimewa lagi bagi mereka di tahun berikutnya,” tegasnya.

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