I’ve been seeing the idea for this topic going around the blogosphere a lot lately, so I decided to write a post on it. I know it might not be a very original idea, but hopefully I get to bring something new to the conversation!
I’ve noticed that my reviews lately have been almost all been on 4 and 5-star books. Which, don’t get me wrong, is fantastic as a reader, but there are several reasons why this might be a bit concerning as a book blogger. Particularly:
- I WANT READERS AND BLOGGERS TO TAKE ME SERIOUSLY. My main goal when reviewing a book is to give my honest feedback on the book, which allows the reader of my post to make the decision of either reading the book or not bothering with it. Writing so many positive reviews could go two ways: either people will trust my opinions and read the book, or they might not trust me after all my 4-star reviews and decide to not bother at all. I mean, the books I read can’t all be special, can they now?
- Which leads to another problem: I WANT PUBLISHERS AND AUTHORS TO TAKE ME SERIOUSLY. Authors and publishers want you to read their books and provide your honest opinion on it, which not only promotes the book and raises awareness for it within the blogosphere, but also gives them feedback on what they could do better. And trust me, authors love getting feedback, as long as it’s respectful and insightful. When bloggers and readers aren’t taking your opinions seriously, chances are, authors and publishers aren’t either.
- THERE ARE SO MANY GOOD BOOKS, BUT AS DISTRESSING AS IT MIGHT BE, WE CAN’T READ ALL OF THEM. I started blogging because I wanted a platform where I could share my opinions on books and meet amazing people that shared my love for the written word. Which is great and all, but I need to accept the fact that no matter how many books I add to my TBR and babble ecstatically about for what seems like hours, I’m never going to read all of them. So, if this is true, shouldn’t I be using my time to promote the books I adored the most to the fabulous bookish community in hopes of having them read it as well? Writing so many 4 and 5-star book reviews creates a problem, because even though people wish they could only read 5-star books for the rest of their lives, it’s really not going to happen. So, if they read my blog and see all of the positive reviews I have to offer, won’t the decision of what to read next become harder for them instead of easier?
I used to see myself as a critical rater instead of an easy one, but being introduced to the blogosphere has definitely changed my opinion about myself. I mean, I’ve always been told outside of blogging that I’m too harsh of a rater, and that I rarely seem satisfied with books and movies and things of that sort, but blogging has introduced an entire new dimension to this thinking. Instead of being one of those people who always takes everything too seriously and only settles for the best, I’m now seeing myself as the opposite. Book blogging has been a very interesting experience for me regarding this topic because I’m constantly discovering unique opinions about the books I love that rival my own opinions. While reading negative reviews on the books I love don’t normally alter or taint my opinions on it, they sometimes do offer some interesting insight that I might find myself agreeing with despite my initial reactions. I have a huge amount of respect for critical raters and reviewers, because not only do they offer insight on some of the issues they might have had on the book that other people had overlooked, but they also often contradict popular opinions, which we all know can be quite intimidating.
So, you might be wondering, why is it that you’re not a critical rater in the first place, Paige? It can’t be that hard to tweak your reviews a little bit so you go a little more in-depth on the parts you disliked, rather than babbling aimlessly about all the parts you adored for WAY longer than necessary, right?
This, THIS is where I get to the meat of this blog post. This is where I will explain why I’m not the critical rater that so many of my friends and family members think I am. (And I know you’re probably frustrated that I’m already 800+ words in to this post and I STILL haven’t gotten to the “meat” of it, and I apologize for that, but I’m naturally a quite rambly person. I CAN’T HELP MYSELF.)
So, in no particular order, here are the reasons why I think I’m not a very critical rater/reviewer:
- Um…..I just naturally happen to like almost all of the books I read? This one seems fairly obvious, but it’s also not completely true. Like, even though I’ve recently written a lot of positive reviews, this doesn’t mean I’m an easy reviewer in general, right? I could have just gone through a long period of time where I just picked up the books I was sure I’d like. Or, maybe starting a blog recently has caused me to be much more aware of the books I will and will not like, based on the reviews of people whom I usually have similar opinions as.
- I’m young. And I don’t say this meaning that I’m a young person, though that’s true as well; I mean that I’m an extremely young blogger and reader. I’ve been blogging for less than 6 months, and I didn’t really fall in love with reading until about 2 years ago. This probably affects my reviewing and rating process because I’ve experienced very little reading material compared to most other bloggers, and I’m therefore probably an easier rater because I don’t have as much past experience to compare my current reading material to.
- Maybe I just try to avoid giving negative reviews altogether, no matter what I think of the books I read. I’m not saying that I’m afraid to voice my opinions; I’m just saying that positive reviews are much more enjoyable to write, and therefore, I might try to avoid writing negative reviews. Blogging should be a fun experience for me, so why should I have to review every book I read if I don’t enjoy it? Honestly, I think that writing negative reviews is necessary if you want to have a successful blog; it’s just something that I personally struggle with.
I’m definitely not saying that bloggers have to be critical in order to be successful, because I know some really popular blogs that are written by super lenient raters. I guess I’m just trying to express the fact that everyone has a different style of writing and blogging and rating, and that we should always respect others’ ideas and opinions. Even if we completely disagree with them. Bloggers and book reviewers should never be scared to express their opinions and beliefs.
OOOOOKAY, THAT WAS QUITE A LENGTHY POST. So, because you made it all the way to the bottom of this – CONGRATULATIONS! AND THANK YOU! I really appreciate it when people take the time to read super lengthy posts like this because they take me SO LONG to write and it really means a lot to me when people value my opinion enough to keep reading!