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Ethics & Book blogging + Non-Fiction Literature #ArmchairBEA

ethicsEthics & Non-Fiction #ArmchairBEA Day 4

We get back into discussions on Friday with the heavy topic of ethics.  Do you have recommendations to new bloggers to ensure credit is given to whom/where credit is due?  Have you had an experience with plagiarism?  How did you deal with it?  What are the guidelines as bloggers that we must follow?

ethics  plural of eth·ics (Noun)


  1. Moral principles that govern a person’s or group’s behavior.
  2. The moral correctness of specified conduct.


  • morality – morals – ethic – moral

Ethics are a big dark pool of ick in the world of blogging. I have read a few of the blogs today and I have seen some great advice and some poor advice. One blog said your blog is yours, do what you want as long as your honest for a guideline. The thing is? There are guidelines to blogging. Sure! You can do whatever you want but as soon as you step into a specific industry ie: reviewing books, you have to follow guidelines.

Ethics are specific, your morality is based upon them and it is your choice but you need to remember it does “govern a person’s or group’s behavior” and in a world like ours where the majority of book bloggers are women. A lot of this is because more women read than men, in fact at least 20% more. A lot of it is because it is an industry that markets towards women.. the other? Well 80% of the market is romance.  Yep, it is true, go do the googling and find out.  Instead of using guidelines you have responsibilities to stick to your honor, ethics and morals.

Guidelines? Don’t do to your fellow bloggers what you wouldn’t do to your neighbors. Would you create a neighborhood party that happens a week before another neighbor throws their annual neighborhood party? You know the themed one with all the fun that your husband got drunk at and threw up in the planter on the front porch? The one you are to embarrassed to go back to? Suck it up buttercup, don’t start your own because your feelings got hurt! IN OTHER WORDS… check the memes out. Someone recently started a a meme that is similar to Waiting on Wednesday ummmm that one is HUGE, and so by doing that? Tacky! Plus why not just dive in and join the fun!


Plagiarism: Basic stuff here. I want to be clear though, plagiarism does not mean you copy and paste someones work it also means if you rewrite it too. You cannot right click and change the synonym, still plagiarism guys! Good policy; until you are comfortable in your own work, do not read the reviews ahead of time. Authors do the same thing. Many take a break from reading so their work is not flavored with someone elses style. Be honest and own your own thoughts.

Advice – if this happens to you, contact them – try to resolve this offline. If you cannot ask them to cease and desist. Wait, have some patience. If you cannot get any satisfaction, report it. I will say, try if you can do not take it public. There are several people on this very Armchair BEA who suggest you should take it public going through all of these steps — finding and taking advice, leaning on friends etc. You know what happens? You get witch hunts! You find out that you are not right? You find out that someone may actually have made an honest mistake (not with plagiarism usually but with images or even simple code. They may have written from someone else who stole it and gotten permission from them and you think they are lying) I have watched crap like this go down and seeing people ruined for it because “biotches” need to hang someone. Come on people, do you really need to hang someone? This is what hosting companies live for, to resolve illegal use of copy right. Want to avoid it? Water mark it. Simple. Use images that are not yours. Don’t allow your images to be used, really easy to do that so folks cannot hotlink. But do not be catty and start a witch hunt on a public forum, again.. tacky with a capital “T” and completely unprofessional. Suck it up buttercup, learn from it and move on.

Copyright: Just because you found it in Google images doesn’t mean you can use it.

I want to stress this, NOT everyone realizes this at all. There was a HUGE blow out, and there is a participant who has gone over her experiences on this I realize not everyone knows this.  Never assume…

ASS out of YOU and ME

Even if you say where you found it and give the copyright info, doesn’t count. Be safe, contact the artist, photographer etc. Do a backward image search to double check the info out. (click the camera on google images and upload the image. Many of them have a Creative Commons license which means you still must give credit… ugh it is complicated. Your best bet if you do not have straight permission, install Zemanta and have great photos at your fingertips. Buy blocks of credits from Depositphotos. Join in a subscription with a few fellow bloggers so you can afford to download a bunch over a chunk of time. GO find free stock on deviantART and follow their rules. BUT DO NOT think it is OK just because you found it on Google Images.

Seal of the United States Federal Trade Commis...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Reviews: Paid or not paid, make sure you are open, upfront and honest about where you are getting your material from. Follow the guidelines the FTC has set forth for us. It’s actually required by FTC policy for us to disclose this on the blog. Your readers have to know where it is all coming from and your connection to the author/publisher/publicist.


We bridge the genre gap from fiction to all things non-fiction.  Do you read non-fiction?  Why or why not?  Is there a specific type of non-fiction that you prefer to read (i.e., historical, true crime, memoirs, biographies, etc.)?  What is the perfect book for a first-time non-fiction reader?


I have a few non-fiction books I have read over the years and the two I still love the most these two. And yes, you can live like Walden if you want, we do! (OK I don’t plant beans and my floor is not dirt!)

                          Walden; or, Life  in the Woods Scarlet Letter

Cookbooks are the best non-fiction books of all!

Ethics & Book blogging + Non-Fiction Literature #ArmchairBEA

Ethics & Book blogging + Non-Fiction Literature #ArmchairBEA


  1. I’ve been reviewiing for years, and I still don’t like to read other reviews before I write mine. It tends to make me focus on someone else’s words and ideas rather than my own. I do like to read other reviews *after* mine is written, so I can see what other readers thought.
    Show me some love!

  2. If I read other people’s reviews before I read a book, my thoughts on the book are often affected by that. I’ve started mostly going into books blind as a result… it’s just easier that way.
    Show me some love!

  3. I can barely find the time to read the books, much less someone else’s reviews of them. I’d never do it if I had the time anyway. I wouldn’t want their thoughts to color my idea of the book.

    Great post!

  4. Cookbooks rate high on my non-fiction lists too! 😀

  5. I think that ethics can be summed up simply…treat others like you want to be treated.

    I love non-fiction. It allows me to learn and I love to learn. 😉
    Show me some love!

  6. I make it a rule to never read reviews until mine is published. Sometimes I can’t help but see the ratings when I’m checking one out though. That doesn’t affect my own review.
    I really liked your post Kriss. I didn’t know we were required to say how we obtained the book on our blog. I do it only when I didn’t purchase it.
    Show me some love!

  7. I added some stuff since my brain obviously does not work late at night

  8. I’m with Dana on ethics. I think it is really simple – follow The Golden Rule.
    Show me some love!

  9. On ethics and trying to be a good blogger, I still think that what some bloggers see as guidelines, others see differently. The fact of the matter is that we come from all over the world, and what may seem normal in one culture might not necessarily be so in another. That is one of the reasons I am with those who say ‘it’s your blog – do what you want with it, write what you want, and express yourself how you usually express yourself.’ I think that a universal guideline for all would be pretty difficult to agree on, exactly because we come from different places and have varied experiences both with our lives and our blogs.
    Does that mean I think it’s OK to plagiarize or rewrite things? No, not at all. And I think that might be the only thing we could all agree on. If we write an original post, code, or meme, it would not be very nice to see something extremely similar pop up elsewhere in the blogosphere.
    Great post, though, and I got hungry looking at your cookbook rec 😉
    Show me some love!

  10. Hi Kriss! Nice post, nice points.

    • Thanks Maureen!

  11. Awesome post on book blogging ethics, you covered it well!
    Show me some love!

    • Thanks Kathleen!

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