We can now move to the distinction between professional writers (who must by definition be published, right?) and non-professionals (are they the ones who are not getting paid to write, or not published?). If you are a brochure writer, you're still a writer, in my book/blog. Again, the distinctions become blurred. And, now, the FTC is regulating blogs and thus, reminding readers that some bloggers are not or no longer writing out of the goodness of their hearts.
Some writers are up in arms. How dare the government regulate free speech!
We Americans used to believe what was printed in the newspapers ("they wouldn't print it if it weren't true" rationalization). Now, some people still say they found it over the internet, as if that decides it, it must be right. Are you a doctor or just play one on TV? Are you a writer or a blogger?
We writers (those of us who actually consider ourselves so) have a responsibility to write well. Do we have the responsibility to tell the truth?
Well, I have already disclaimed I get payola for anything and probably will not "monetize" this blog, simply because I doubt anyone's going to pay to have the cover of a book on here.
I will add that as a bookseller, I receive what we call in the biz ARCs -- advanced reader copies. This is to enable us to read a book, review it and sell it to our customers. We booksellers would love free stuff or to be paid to sell a book, but as a group (I believe I can almost speak for probably 99.94% Ivory-soap pure), we will only push that about which we are passionate. And, if we are passionate about a best-selling author, we still read his works, although we may not "push" them as hard as a newly published writer or a little known author or little known but well-written book. We don't have to do it. Are we falling down on the job? Just because he's a very very good seller, does it mean we are allowed to "ignore" him? Well, no, first off, we'd never ignore someone's work that can actually bring in some funds to meet the payroll. Secondly, what kind of expectations do publishers, writers, makers of products and Federal regulators really have of us little indies (whether we are booksellers or bloggers) influencing large blocks of sales?
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