Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Drama Llama

photo by iregretjumping
Unfortunate rumors are swirling about one of YA book blogger's top celebrities, The Story Siren. It appears that she's plagiarized some material from another blog. I am incredibly bummed out about this.

More posts, with more details, here and here.

There is so much that I like about Kristi at The Story Siren:

  • Her incredibly successful (and sometimes controversial) meme, In My Mailbox draws the participation of 300+ bloggers a week. While many have said that these posts seem braggy, "Look how much publishers love me, more than you! My swag! Let me tell you of it!," her apologist answer was that she never asked for all this free stuff publishers send her, and she genuinely wanted to give a shout-out to authors so that their effort in sending out freebies wasn't wasted, struck me as quite genuine.
  • Ditto to her Debut Authors Challenge - what a great way to shine a spotlight on new authors. Yes, she's recruited lots of volunteers to help organize what's become a fairly large undertaking, but this is still another really neat way to stay au courant with the constantly shifting world of YA publishing, and honestly has gotten to the size where it couldn't be managed by one person anymore anyway.
  • She has a wonderful "camera-ready" presence as a vlogger. How many people can say the same? Good lighting, casual but clean clothing, smooth vocal delivery with little to no stumbling and an honest level of enthusiasm about YA literature all shine through on her weekly videos.

I will say, my concerns with The Story Siren have always been: her reviews are few and far between, and when they do come along, they tend to be rather short, contain plenty of filler from the publisher's copy, and nearly always are fairly glowing. Why are such short tidbits rewarded with an "everyday is Christmas" cavalcade of free books and other merch? I chalked it up to the internet principle of "FIRST!!!" The Story Siren's been around a lot longer than some of these other johnny-come-lately blogs, plus I imagined that Kristi must be awesome at following up with folks - e-mailing PR staff, maximizing any and all exposure for her reviews, being a social media maven and so-on. Stuff, that, I admit it, I rarely follow through on.

I've certainly been in that position myself: sweating bullets over some of the reviews I've written, when I've realized that I used the same pull-quote as someone else, or used the same word. I pride myself on writing unique reviews, always from my own perspective, but I've comforted myself thinking, you know it's the same exact book - it's not shocking that two or more people with similar backgrounds and book knowledge would both describe it with the same word, "charming" or whatever. But whole sentences? Whole paragraphs, lifted word, for word? That's just not right. I await further developments on this whole set of dramatic events with interest. In the meantime, there's a hashtag on twitter, #stopthestorysiren.


  1. I think the popularity of her blog comes from the IMM. I have tried to message her before wanting help on my blog and she doesn't even answer. Oh well.... I will keep trying my best on my own blog.


  2. Apparently I managed to miss most of the drama the other day on Twitter so I'm just now catching up to what had happened.

    I feel the same way that you do when writing reviews, I try to avoid reading other reviews of the same book until mine is done and posted. That way I can take comfort in knowing that even if it's similar to what someone else said, it's my own original thoughts!

  3. Actually, I generally do the opposite - I read reviews before I hit "publish" so that I'm certain mine doesn't sound too much like anyone else's! I really hope to bring my own unique take on books on my blog. Otherwise, what's the point? Ultimately, I'm not doing this for anyone but myself. Maybe I'd feel differently, if I was counting on lots of publisher swag, or advertising dollars, but that's just too commercial for me.

    I'm a librarian by trade, so books are my business, but this little corner of the web is where I get to have my own fun.

  4. I have heard of a few of YA blogs are quitting the memes that she started.. I hardly ever do any memes, but I know a lot of people use the IMM. What you were saying about her reviews I had thought before too. How is it she gets all that extra attention when it comes off as she didn't even read the book half the time.

  5. I have participated in IMM in the past - it has been a great way to meet other bloggers. But there is something vaguely icky about bragging about how many freebies you got. And it encourages hoarding - acquiring more ARCs than you can ever possibly hope to read. I liked it a little better when it opened up to books gotten at the library.

    I do love the Debut Author Challenge, however! I love everything about it! Giving a leg up to new writers, challenging readers to try something new. It's nothing but goodness all around. I am really very saddened that this wonderful challenge is now tainted by this scandal.



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