Reviews: A Necessary Evil We Love to Hate

Posted November 10, 2017 by Amber in Memes / 6 Comments

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Bad Blogger Confession:  I almost never read reviews.

It’s not that you’re doing them wrong!  There are so many posts about reviews.  They’re hard to write.  They’re hard to read.  Make them better!  Make them shorter.  Make them colorful!

I’m gonna be honest with you – unless the the book itself stands out to me, I’m no more likely to click on your review overloaded with GIFs than I am if it’s 6 paragraphs.  Book reviews are tough because they’re only fun if you are:

  1. Looking to add books to your TBR.
  2. Have already read the book and OMG SQUEE LET US DISCUSS!

At least, that’s how I see them.  And at the end of the day, if we’re not discussing the book, we’re just advertising it.  We’re not blogging, we’re free marketing!  Which is why we gets ARCs, yes, but it’s also a nice thing that we do for free.  And that’s okay!  It’s part of the book blogging thing.

Writing reviews, tho?  It’s hard sometimes.

I used to be a blogger that put all the bells and whistles on my reviews.  I threw in trailers and recommendations and alternate covers and a slew of quotes and made it all real shiny.

It wasn’t working.  And it took so much time.  I would spend an hour, maybe two, writing a book review.  It took forever and made it frustrating.  I like finding the quotes, I like looking at the alternate covers, but compiling it all was an eternal task and my reviews got almost no hits.

Okay, I get it.  I freely admit I don’t read many reviews and I’m not so unique a person that I naively believe I am the only one.

Reviews are really subjective.

Who reads your reviews depends on the person.  It depends on what they are looking for.  Like I mentioned above, I’m more likely to read the review if I want to know more about the book, and there’s nothing more you can do to draw me in.  Promises of chocolate covered pineapple will do nothing to further your cause.  Nada.  Zilch.  Sorry?

But what you can do is make sure your reviews are knowledgable, enthusiastic, and concise.  Long reviews are the worst.  And I should know – I’ve written some of them!  “Meh” is your worst enemy.  Make sure you have something to say about the book!  There are a couple things I do to make sure mine are raw and immediate and interesting should someone choose to read it:

  • take notes as I read (Goodreads status updates FTW).
  • Write a review as soon as possible after finishing the book.
  • Set up an outline for my review so I stick to my topics.
  • Summarise the book, but only in a few short sentences for context.

This seems to be working for me because while my reviews don’t explode, people seem to be reading them now!  I posted a review for Rejected Princesses last month and it was the most popular post that week.

(Also the book is truly fabulous – read it.)

Reviews are difficult to comment on.

Don’t be discouraged if you see a review got zero comments.  Honestly, if you hadn’t heard of the book before, even if the review was interesting, there’s not a lot to say.  “Hi, thanks for reading this book and writing the review, I’ll add it to my TBR!”  At best, you’ll get an “oh, I hate books that include panda bears!” but there’s still not much to say.  The best comments will be “I READ THIS TOO AND IT WAS THE BEST THING EVER!”

With reviews, it’s okay not to get 50 comments.  If you check your stats, you can see how many people are reading the post.  And if they’re not reading it today, they may read it next week.  Next year.  Books are timeless!

Reviews are also the backbone of the book blogger’s life.

If you scroll through my feed, you’ll see I review 2-3 books weekly (sometimes more).  I’ve actually got so many reviews that in order to keep to my posting schedule, I’ve got them pre-scheduled to January and a little beyond.

How does this happen?!

It’s pretty basic, really.

We love our books and we want to share them.

Books are beautiful.  Lets talk about them more.

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This week’s Book Blogger Hop asked:

What is your favorite part of blogging? Is there a least favorite part of blogging?

The short answer:  I like talking about my passions, which largely comes down to the books themselves.  I really like reviewing them, even though I don’t read the reviews on blogs and my own are out of control.

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Do you read book reviews on blogs?

Do you ever write reviews?

What was the most difficult book for you to review?
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6 responses to “Reviews: A Necessary Evil We Love to Hate

  1. Okay, I love this post (and no, not just because of the adorable Disney gifs 😉 well…maybe), but honestly, because it’s relatable! I admit, when I don’t have time, reviews are the first thing I stop reading. I feel bad, but if I haven’t read the book my interest starts to wane. I think that’s why I like mini reviews so much more, they’re the perfect glimpse of a new book to get me interested, while not bogging me down in endless details I know nothing about .

    Rebeccah recently posted: Beautiful Books : NaNoWriMo Check In!
    • Amber

      Hahaha I was in such a Disney vibe when I wrote this one. Reviews are rough, right? I actually have a couple people who I only ever see commenting on my reviews here, so maybe it just depends on what you like? I like “how’s my writing going” and rants or how-to posts best, myself. 🙂

  2. Hahah yes I completely agree with this post! I don’t read many reviews in general unless it’s actually about a book I know, or something that I’ve already read. And most of the times I don’t end up commenting because I don’t have anything to say! And I kind of feel bad, but at the same time I want the blogger to know that I did read their full post and I really appreciated it! So it’s definitely hard deciding on whether and what to comment on!

    As for my own reviews, they’re tough. I’ve found it easier to record myself using Google Voice on my phone (lol) and then editing from there. I think I still have trouble with the context part of my review though, because I think I make them too long sometimes? So it definitely leads to disengaged readers. But I just have to find my own thing and as long as I enjoy writing them, I don’t care who reads them or not haha.

    • Amber

      I have a couple reviews where I’ve definitely dictated through to Siri… then gone back and read them and wondered why I was talking about pancakes, etc. Haha, my editing skills on voice-to-text are subpar, I always miss something ridiculous. :P. But it’s really easy to end up with long reviews that way, because it’s so easy to go on and on about books we feel passionate about.

      For what it’s worth, I’m sitting on my comments page atm and the comment you left about Seraphina (which I’ll reply to in a sec lol) is a great example of how to leave a wonderful, engaging comment on a review post. So keep doing that, I would say. XD

  3. I do read book reviews, but not all of them, like when I have no interest in the book. Sometimes I’m so hyped about a book that I don’t want to know ANYTHING, or sometimes I’ve already read a few reviews and I feel like another review won’t add anything (unless I’ve only read positive or negative reviews and the title of the review makes it sound like it’s the opposite of all the reviews I’ve already read) Book reviews are definitely important though, and I definitely appreciate them! I just don’t have the time to read them all sadly

    • Amber

      Your point about more reviews not adding anything is definitely a shared sentiment. Because so many book bloggers are really up to date on their reads and only looking at new releases, I feel like I see fifty reviews for the same book! After the first two it sort of becomes “oh yay, look, another one.” It’s one of the reason I like to read and review older books, too. “Lost gems” behind all the new publications that are still really good, just not 2017 releases. 🙂