All You Need Is Love by Donalyn Miller

Cindy Minnich, one-third of the Nerdy facilitator team, spent a whirlwind week at BEA and picked up our Independent Book Bloggers Award. We are thrilled that Nerdy won this award and we share it with every reader and poster of this blog.

Chatting during a recent conference call, Cindy regaled Colby and me with tales about her BEA trip. She was entranced by publishers and publicists talking about their favorite upcoming titles at their booths and the Editors’ buzz sessions, and tickled pink to meet some of the authors she and the rest of Nerdy Nation have enjoyed so much. She met some friendly folks who wore blogger badges, too.

Unfortunately, the poor behavior exhibited by some bloggers rattled Cindy—the casual way they talked to her about leaving advance reader copies (ARCs) behind because it costs too much to get them home or their descriptions of tossing ARCs when they are done with them. She saw several bloggers leave the Editors’ Sessions early—apparently to get closer to the table of ARCs, so they could snag at least one copy of each.

Reading the tweets and blog posts about bloggers storming the American Library Association Conference’s exhibit hall to snatch free ARCs last week doesn’t put book bloggers in a good light, either. I like to imagine that every one of those ARCs will be passed into the hands of a reader who needs a book. I like to imagine that people dragging six overflowing bags behind them are librarians and teachers who spent thousands of dollars of their own money on books last year. I like to imagine that these ARCs will never show up on e-Bay.

I like to imagine quite a bit, but I read a lot of fiction and spend most of my time with children.

As a follow-up to our IBBA Award win, we were asked in an interview to comment on Nerdy’s influence in selling books. We can honestly say that we don’t know and we don’t think about it. The only bookselling we care about on Nerdy is hand-selling Hatchet to Bobby in third period.

The Nerdy Book Club blog is not specifically a book review blog, although we post reviews here. The Nerdy Book Club blog is a readers’ blog—particularly young readers and the teachers, school and public librarians, authors, parents, and other folks who promote books and reading to kids. Nerdy is a place for readers. I hope many readers have found a home here. We love kids, reading, and books. We love anyone who loves these things, too. That’s all Nerdy is.

As for our friends in the publishing industry, we appreciate you. Let’s be clear. We appreciate you because we need you to continue to publish quality books for our children and engage them with reading. We believe that reading is art appreciation. We need your art. T-shirts and bookmarks and plush dolls are fun, but they don’t entice us to promote your books over others. It’s not about the swag. It’s about the stories.

Colby, Cindy, and I have always had a policy about promotions, advertising, and reviews. We think it is a good time to share our policy with the rest of you.

We do not accept unsolicited books for review. Please do not email us asking us to review your newest book. We do not want to feel obligated to review your book just because you sent us a copy.

All reviews are positive. If we can’t say something nice about a book on Nerdy, we don’t review it. We do not feel the need to show off our intelligence by writing an 800 word review about how terrible a book is.

Books reviewed exemplify engaging literature for children. Our definition of quality may not match yours. We care about kid appeal. The kids do, too.

No book will be reviewed solely because of a relationship with publishers or authors. All authors who post on Nerdy are invited to post. No one provides incentives to Nerdy facilitators in exchange for posting.

Any ARCs received for review ultimately wind up in the hands of kids. Cindy, Colby, and I are classroom teachers, and most of Nerdy’s bloggers work in libraries and schools. Our ARCs go to classrooms and libraries. If you need a place to donate your ARCs, consider enrolling in the ARCs Float On program, run by Sarah Mulhern Gross.

Nerdy will never attempt to make a profit. We do not post ads. We do not sell products or programs. We will not approve your post or comment if you do. We are currently reviewing every blogger on the Nerdy blog roll, and we will remove any for-profit bloggers.

As a teacher, I gut check every decision by asking, “What is the right thing for the kids?” I think this ideal has been a good compass for Nerdy Book Club, too. Any blog dedicated to elevating young adult and children’s literature should be about the kids. As long as Nerdy Book Club continues to celebrate children and their books, we can’t go wrong.

** A note about the Nerdy Book Club store and the Indie Bound link. We do have a Nerdy Book Club store where you can buy your own Nerdy swag (insert irony button here). We donate the tiny profits from this store to Reading Is Fundamental. We earn about $30 a month. No one has used the Indie Bound link as far as we can tell. Let’s consider it a “Buy Indie” badge.

Donalyn Miller is a fourth grade teacher at Peterson Elementary in Fort Worth, TX. She is the author of The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child. Donalyn co-hosts the monthly Twitter chat, #titletalk (with Nerdy co-founder, Colby Sharp), and facilitates the Twitter reading initiative, #bookaday.