1. kburns421
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    kburns421 Member

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    Book review blog a bad idea?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by kburns421, Apr 11, 2015.

    As an aspiring author, I obviously read a lot. I like to give recognition to authors who write good books and like to share the great finds, so I'm thinking of starting a simple blog to post reviews, as well as Amazon and Goodreads. I only plan on reviewing the books I like enough to give 4 and 5 stars, but I'm afraid I'll still somehow make enemies or hurt my future as a writer.

    Do other authors write book reviews? Is that a thing? Does anyone here both write and review?
     
  2. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I don't do it myself because places like Goodreads and Amazon are the obvious go-to places for such things. Who's going to read my blog? But established (pronounced well-known)authors do often talk about and give informal reviews of the items they happen to be reading as part of an interview. It's a common thing.
     
  3. kburns421
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    kburns421 Member

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    Well, I'm really using the blog as more of a central hub for the reviews, not because I expect to become a famous blogger. I'm just worried about the whole review writing thing in general and whether it could cause problems.
     
  4. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I mean, it depends on what you call a problem? I've read interviews where writers are not kind at all concerning the books they are reading. What problems do you foresee, that you are trying to avert?
     
  5. kburns421
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    kburns421 Member

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    @Wreybies The writers you're talking about are probably famous and respected enough that it doesn't matter who they insult lol. I don't want to make unnecessary enemies with other writers when I'm trying to become one myself. I tried Googling my question and basically just came up with don't give bad reviews. I figure sticking to basically recommending the books I truly like is a good route, but you never know. Even a four star review can bring down the rating if a book has mostly five stars, or a little comment about not liking such-and-such character could make someone angry.

    It also seems like it could be considered unprofessional or hurt my own credibility or somehow impact me when I eventually publish a book. But I'm not sure if it would or if I really am just being paranoid.
     
  6. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I think it's an intriguing idea.
     
  7. kburns421
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    kburns421 Member

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    Intriguing good, or intriguing bad?
     
  8. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think you can expect minimal trouble if you review in a different genre or category of writing than the one you publish in, or if you do one or both activities under a pseudonym, or if, as you say, you only write four or five star reviews.

    I keep track of the books I read on Goodreads. When I read something in my own genre, I just mark it as "read", without a rating or review. For other genres, I use the star system and write comments. This is because I'm keeping track of books for ME. I want an accurate record of whether I want to try more books by those authors, etc. So I have plenty of one- and two-star reviews posted. There's never been an issue.

    A review blog seems more designed to be writing reviews for OTHERS, not yourself. Are you planning to use it as a creative outlet, or as a promotional tool?
     
  9. kburns421
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    kburns421 Member

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    Not a promotional tool. I wasn't planning on using it to springboard into a writing career or anything like that, unless you consider the branding effect it could have. I don't expect to make money (though I'm already an Amazon affiliate, so adding links to the books can't hurt). Maybe somewhat of a creative outlet since I do enjoy the writing aspect of it. Mostly I just genuinely feel like some of the books I read deserve to be read by more people, and the authors deserve to know one more person out there really liked this thing they put so much work into, and I know how important reviews are to both authors and readers. Putting them on a blog is more like my way of keeping them organized. I didn't mean to make this discussion so focused on the blog part. I keep a book journal for myself, maybe similar to what you described, and it just seems like a waste when I find these great books, write my thoughts on them anyway, but then only show it to myself lol. I'm considering a pseudonym though.
     
  10. Burlbird
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    Burlbird Contributing Member Contributor

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    "don't give bad reviews"

    Whoever gives an "advise" like that needs to grow a pair. I mean it. What the hell? Let's like not have an opinion: that's what makes your voice stick out, that's the way to make readers respect your words! ...not!
     
  11. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    It depends on the nature of your negative review, I'd say.

    It may also depend on the genre, but I kind of doubt it. Romance is one of the biggest genres, and even in romance there's definitely a community. Authors do each other favours. We write blurbs for each others covers, host each other as guests on our blogs, share advertising costs, create anthologies, give feedback on different publishers, etc. etc. Within a community, it's pretty rude to... well, it's pretty rude to be rude.

    I have thick skin, so if someone doesn't like my book, that's fine with me. I don't take it personally. But there are a lot of authors who are a lot more sensitive to criticism and who DO take it personally, and I don't think there's anything so world-shaking in my opinions of a book that my ideas must be expressed, even at the cost of damaging the community.

    So I'm careful with what I say within my home genre. If I read a book and don't love it, I try to explain why and I try to emphasize the "for me" part of the review. eg. "Alpha males don't work for me, and this guy is about as alpha as they come."

    I think the really over-the-top reviews ("This book made me want to set it on fire" or whatever) are sort of silly from anyone, but I think they're a really bad idea from an author, especially an author in the same genre.

    Having manners isn't the same as not having "a pair".
     
  12. kburns421
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    kburns421 Member

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    I usually go straight for the two star reviews when deciding whether to read a book or not because they tend to give actual reasons WHY they didn't like the book, rather than the, "This book made me want to set it on fire," reviews you mentioned and the reverse, "This book was so amazing but I'm not going to tell you why," ones. And sometimes the things that other people dislike, I happen to like (like how someone else might like alpha males). Then, if I'm still interested, I move onto the good reviews to find ones that do explain why they liked it. But yeah, there are some authors who are very sensitive to criticism, and it doesn't seem worth it to make an enemy. I'd rather just not review the book at all if I don't like it.

    But why is it that you don't review books in your genre? Because they're the competition? Or simply because the community thing?
     
  13. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Mostly the community thing, yeah. I mean, if I read a book that I totally love, I'll give it four or five stars and rave about it. So I guess I do review in my genre, I just don't post neutral or negative reviews in my genre.
     
  14. edamame
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    edamame Contributing Member Contributor

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    If you're worried about ruffling feathers, why not write reviews using a pseudonym? Unless you are using your review blog to get name recognition for your own writing...

    I have seen one writer's blog that reviews YA books which she also writes, but she had an agent and a book deal before she started it.
     
  15. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Does she give negative reviews?
     
  16. edamame
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    edamame Contributing Member Contributor

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    No. I think she may be using it as a way to cross-promote with other new writers.
     
  17. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yeah, I don't think you're going to get into too much trouble with the community for giving positive reviews. But I'm also not sure how many readers will come to your review site if you seem to love EVERYTHING. You know?
     
  18. Megalith
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    Megalith Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think worrying about what other writers think wouldn't behoove you too much. First of all, it's impossible to not be biased. I like reviewers that try to stay critical and neutral, but still have an air of negativity. But it depends on who you are targeting with your reviews...

    Someone who is looking for a book to read won't want any spoilers. This usually means they want someone credible, because they are going to have to take their word for it. However, as a reader who want to understand how good or bad a book I've read is from someone else's perspective, then I'd look for an in depth book review, pointing out flaws, plot holes I didn't notice, and an overview of the themes and the way they were portrayed. A much more critical analysis. Some readers go for the critical analysis and don't care too much about the spoilers, rather opting to get the in depth review before committing to the read. Reviewers that try and target both have the in depth review in the middle, and the non-spoiler review in the beginning, and sometimes in the end, separating them for the readers convenience.

    A negative review for a book everyone loves in your genre can hurt you and is dangerous to your reputation. But if your critical analysis keeps the same presence of neutrality, then the negative air of your bias doesn't hit home as hard, realizing that your perspective and opinion should be respected as simply that. It can be disappointing to some, but many, will be awed by your lack of bias in the face of mass infatuation.(increasing your credibility.)

    Writers who will give you a bad rep for hating their book, isn't part of this calculation. (It shouldn't be.) If you do it right, when you release your own book, you can use your reviewing reputation to sell your book, especially if you've been reviewing for the same genre. This is because this attraction is specified to your audience, and you can pull a doualewhammy in your favor. Hopefully, worrying about the opposite seems a little silly now. :agreed:

    One other way to put it... What writer is going to go out of their way to hate on a book that hated on them? What kind of influence over the writing world does this type of person have? If it's so prominent, would they worry with some new reviewer? If you have rep that they should be worried about, then you are already sailing on fine waves, and their jealousy shouldn't steer you anywhere you don't want to go.
     
  19. kburns421
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    kburns421 Member

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    You have made a lot of really good points. I didn't even think about the different types of reviews, the non spoiler and the more analyzing one. But I am starting to consider how a review blog could be used to possibly make connections or get some followers who could potentially be interested in my future writing if they like the same kind of books.

    Part of me feels like I am worrying too much about this when the reality is that I'm not an important enough person that my reviews are going to be given much notice, especially 4 and 5 star ones. It's just that you hear stories about some authors who are so offended by one mediocre review or one slightly negative comment that the reviewer gets all sorts of backlash from the author and/or fans. I mean, do I really care about someone's opinion if they're that petty? Not really, but I'd rather not hurt my own chances all the same.

    I'm considering a pseudonym, but I don't know if I wanna deal with secrecy. I suppose, if not a pseudonym, I could just use my first name only on the reviews and keep the two separate, my reviews and my books, or something like that. Someone might notice, but really how often do you study the names of who posted the reviews you read? But as I said above, you all have got me thinking about how this could possibly benefit me, though I really didn't see the blog becoming some big thing.
     

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