Book review are the main part of being a book blogger, and for most of us they’re probably connected in some way to the reason why we started blogging. I started blogging so I could talk to other people about the books I loved, and the best way to do that is through book reviews, but of all the posts people publish on their sites book reviews have the least traffic.
They’re also hard to write. If you’re anything like me you’ll leave your reviews to the very last minute when drafting new posts; you’ll write book tags, discussions and weekly memes first, or comment and blog hop before finally opening that blank document to write a review. Then before you know it your un-reviewed books have piled up and there’s a whole list you need to get through.
Why Are Reviews So Hard to Write and So Unpopular in the Blogging Community?
Not all reviews are hard for me to write. When it comes to books I’ve hated I find it all too easy, but the challenge then becomes cutting my review down from a five page rant on everything I didn’t like to something more constructive I can actually post.
I flew through my reviews for The One Memory of Flora Banks and The Truth and Lies of Ella Black because I hated them, but even the books which get three or four stars from me aren’t that much of a challenge to write. I think because there’s more to my thoughts on those books than just an endless gushing amount of praise on how amazing they were.
The real issue I have with reviews tends to be when I love a book, and if you look at my average rating on Goodreads you’ll see that happens more often than not. I feel like the more I love a book the more pressure there is to write a review that fully expresses how I felt so I can convince others to pick it up.
This summer I read Circe, and it’s in the running for my best book of the year that’s how amazing it was, but I was at a loss for how to express that in my review. I sat staring at a blank word document for maybe ten minutes before finally typing something, and it took me well over an hour and a half to come up with a review I thought was good enough to post (normally writing reviews takes may half an hour-forty five minutes).
It’s a lot of work writing review for not a lot of traffic, so of all the posts we publish why are they so unpopular? For me there are a couple of reasons, and the first is hyped releases.
When it comes to the books I can’t wait for, especially sequels, I want to go in blind so I will avoid all reviews and all mentions of said book until I can pick it up myself. Strange the Dreamer was one of my most anticipated releases of last year, and in the run up to its release there were so many people talking about it and so many ARC reviews that it seemed to be everywhere I looked. I pretty much had to avoid my whole Readers feed on WordPress until I read the book myself, even though I knew most of those reviews would be spoiler free, and it was the same story when Muse of Nightmares was released.
This ties in with my other reason as well; if people see the cover or read the blurb and think this is a book they’ll want to read they may avoid reviews to form their own opinions rather than mirroring someone else’s. Or it could be the other way around; if they see the cover or read the blurb and think this is a book they’ll never be interested in is there any point reading a review for it?
That’s not to say I’m going to stop writing reviews, or that I think anyone else should. I may have avoided all mentions of Strange the Dreamer and Muse of Nightmares in the run up to, and immediately after, their release dates but there’s so much more I discovered thanks to reviews; favourite series I only gave a chance because I saw a glowing review for the first book, and genres I love which I never would have discovered if it hadn’t been for the five-star reviews I read.
Now Onto the Discussion Part of This Post:
Do you struggle with writing reviews?
Are you like me in that you fly through the negative reviews but get stumped on the positive ones, or is it the other way around for you?
Do you read reviews for the hyped releases you can’t wait for before you’ve read them, or do you prefer to go in blind?
What is the best book/series/genre you’ve discovered thanks to someone’s review?
Let me know in the comments below.