Showing posts with label goodreads. Show all posts
Showing posts with label goodreads. Show all posts

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Review-Only Book Blogs and Why They Almost Never Work Out | Book Blogging Tips (#52)




Many bloggers I know started their blogs because they only wanted to share their reviews with other people, myself included. But is that actually a good idea?

My blog first and foremost was born because I wanted to share my reviews. But I had to learn the hard way that review-only blogs are not a thing and very likely never will be.



So why do review-only blogs not work?

  • People don't read reviews!
Seriously. Any and every blogger will tell you that their reviews get the least views out of all their posts. People don't read book blogs for the reviews only and if they do, you have to write extremely good reviews. Once you've established a significant following and people know who you are and care for your opinion, this might change. But to get there with a review only blog is a thing that I'm yet so see in the blogging world. 
  • Reviewing is a skill that you can't build in a year or less!
Everyone's early reviews are a mess. This is just a fact. Writing reviews on a blog is completely different from any other platform. Even if you've been writing reviews on tumblr or Goodreads or booklikes or wherever for YEARS, this doesn't count. 

Trust me, you still won't be up to book blog standard and you will go back and cringe at all these reviews. It will be even harder to attract readers with a review-only blog when your reviews clearly display all the signs of a blogging newbie.

A lot of bloggers who start up review-only blogs probably still make newbie mistakes and probably will for a long time. It took me at least a year of reviewing to write halfway decent reviews. No formatting, way too long reviews, repeating the plot instead of giving your opinion - basic stuff like that. That's something you can't immediately change when you notice you're doing it. You'll learn how to review through writing bad reviews at first, that's how it goes for everyone.

  • You have to make a name for yourself before people care about your opinion!
It's true that you can maybe fake your way to the top with a crappy blog if you advertise a lot and comment on 3280932893 blogs per day, but who has the time? Also you won't get any long-time readers from this, only follow-backs.

The thing is, nobody will listen to your rambles if you're the new kid on the block. You have to earn readers for your reviews. You have to post other super interesting things to get people interested in what you have to say, and you can only do that by posting something else than reviews.

  • Post-consistency is a thing for all blogs!
And if you only post reviews, you'll have to read a lot. I usually unsubscribe from blogs that don't post at LEAST weekly, I do prefer blogs that post 2 or 3 times a week in general. Unless you can't commit to read and write a review for at least one book per week, you're screwed.

...


Sure, at the end of the day, it's your blog and you can do whatever you want, but I can already tell you, either a year from now your blog will be gone. Sometimes listening to experienced bloggers is the best thing you can do, we've all learned from our mistakes, you don't need to repeat them and go through the same thing, do you? Trying to start a review-only blog is the hardest way to start out and it just never works out.

Did you start out as review-only?



More advice for newbie bloggers in my Book Blogging Tips series:

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Saturday, July 23, 2016

When You Have to Write a Negative Review | Book Blogging Etiquette (#4)




Opinions are a difficult matter on the internet. Sometimes you encounter more troll and hateful comments than genuine ones. People often use the anonimity of the internet to show the worst of themselves.

Especially as a book blogger, you may find yourself in a situation where you don't like something everyone likes. 




Of course you are free to share your opinion and tell people why you don't like a popular book. The key here is to put emphasis on the why:
  • Reasons: 
Always give reasons why you don't like something. Don't just express your hate with mean gifs and insults. Be professional about it and just state in a neutral voice why you're not a fan. Never insult. Neither the fans, nor the author. Words are your friend here, show that you have an education.

  • Voice: 
Again, no insults.You're going to want to write a review that shows constructive criticism. If you can't be constructive, simply be polite.

  • Other Perspectives: 
What I like to do before I'm typing up a ranty review is to think about the people who love this book. Maybe you're not the target audience, maybe you have a history with disliking that special genre, or you're just not in the mood for this. Don't demonize a book just because you weren't feeling it.

Think long and hard before you publish a negative review that might affect other people and keep them from buying the book. Is your hate justified? Is this an offensive book or do you just not like it because it doesn't fit your taste? There's a huge difference between the two. Do your best to judge which case you're dealing with.


But what about Goodreads reviews? 

Don't take Goodreads as an example, this is the worst thing you can do as an independent blogger. Goodreads may be a critique platform in theory, but in reality it's just a way for people who hate something equally to huddle and say mean things. You'll quickly notice that the most popular and most liked reviews there are the ones involving the meanest gifs and the rudest remarks. 

The question then is - should you follow that example to gain more success more quickly? 

The short answer is me screaming no with a megaphone.

The long answer is that you always have to keep in mind that the author might be reading this. I don't understand why this is so difficult for some people to grasp, but it takes an insane amount of work to write, edit, and get a book published. That's accomplishment on its own.

We as readers just feel responsible for providing helpful feedback if we decide to share our opinion on public platforms. Imagine if the author were reading that you called them an absolute retard for writing a book that should be used as toilet paper instead (someone actually said this on Goodreads). 

I'm not saying you're not allowed to rant, to express your disappointment over a book that didn't live up to your expectations. Of course you are allowed to voice your opinion, but please, please don't write any feedback that you couldn't deal with yourself. 

Ask yourself: if someone wrote this about your book - how would you react?


How do you handle writing bad reviews? Do you publish them at all?




More Etiquette:

You might want to check out my Book Blogging Tips series:


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Sunday, May 8, 2016

I Only Read Negative Reviews on Goodreads



I've been trying to observe the way I pick which reviews to read for a while now and I noticed that I have a pattern. 




Every single time I'm reading a book, regardless of whether I'm currently liking it or absolutely hating it, I head over to Goodreads and check out the one star reviews.

Sure, especially on Goodreads people are insanely disrespectful, nitpicky, and sometimes downright offensive. But there's a reason why the negative reviews are usually the ones with the most likes and why people like me go for them purposely.

What's so interesting about negative reviews?

They're funny. Even if I like a book it's just hilarious to me to see people freak out about little things, sometimes add 400 gifs of people throwing tables.

They point out the flaws others are afraid to admit. Of course some negative reviews on Goodreads are just crap and unnecessary nitpicking, but I noticed that only the negative reviews actually depict things that don't quite work in the novels they're critiquing. 

Too positive reviews don't intrigue me at all. Mostly it's just flailing and telling me how awesome the book is without actually saying what it is that makes the book good.

Negative reviews use proof. Whether it'll be quotes or retelling a specific moment in the book that just doesn't make sense. I'm a factual person and a simple "THIS IS THE BEST BOOK I'VE EVER READ GO READ IT" doesn't really do anything for me.

Does this mean people should start being more picky and rude and rate stuff more harshly for success?

No, absolutely not!!!! While I do enjoy negative reviews, I don't like bullying. It's basically what many many Goodreads reviewers do, bully authors because they don't like their books. A big amount of those negative reviews make me cringe and ask myself whether any of these people is actually aware that authors do read reviews sometimes.


Do you read positive or negative reviews on Goodreads?
Do you even filter by rating?

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Tuesday, February 2, 2016

How I Got Into Book Blogging: I did it for the reviews! | TAG







If you think about it, book blogging is a pretty obscure niche. 
There are so many people I know that proudly claim that they haven't read a book since 6th grade.

Yet somehow there are thousands of book bloggers like us out there, it's insane to think about the amount of book blogs that exist. 

When you're part of the community, it doesn't feel like it's a niche market. But compared to fashion bloggers the number of us book bloggers is pretty low. So I wondered, how did all of you get into this? Feel free to share your story and leave a link in the comments.

I Was a Movie Reviewer!

I actually did movie reviews on a German site similar to Goodreads just for movies for about three or four years before I came across the first book blog. 

I've always liked the thought of sharing my opinion. I'm a pretty opinionated person and I love to shock people with my controversial opinions sometimes. That's why I loved doing movie reviews, you can watch them in two hours max and cram out a bunch of angry reviews every week without putting a lot of effort into it.

...and then I discovered tumblr

This might be news to you, but I've actually had a book blog on tumblr named bookavid way longer than I've had this blog. I still spend way too much time on that site. 

My passion for sharing my opinion without having anyone ask me for it eventually led to tumblr, the ultimate place for angry opinionated internet people. I was probably 16 when I made my first tumblr account and I went through all the typical stages, from fandom, to aesthetic blogger, to social justice. Eventually everyone will come across pretty pictures of books on their tumblr dashes. Only I was the person who didn't continue scrolling but decided to investigate. 

The book blogging community on tumblr is very close and pretty much welcomed me with open arms. 

If you're on tumblr, too, and also an active book blogger, you know that posting reviews there is like shouting into the void. You barely get any discussion there, which is what I craved and was used to doing from my days as a movie reviewer. I didn't know about Goodreads back then, so I fulfilled myself a life long dream to start my own blog. 

I started out horribly, just posting review after review in the hopes that people would just find my blog somehow and start discussing with me. One year later, here I am still posting opinionated reviews, but actually managed to fill my blog up with content a little. 

..........................................

If you're a book blogger, I'm tagging you to make a post telling your readers how you got into book blogging. Feel free to grab the icon and leave the link to your post in the comments.

How did you get into book blogging?

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Saturday, January 23, 2016

I'm Challenging Myself to Read 1 Book in 2016 | Goodreads Challenges Suck?



Probably everyone who's an avid reader, whether they're a book blogger or just a spectator, has a Goodreads account these days. Whether it's to document, discuss, or just see what others are reading.

A huge part of the Goodreads experience is the Goodreads Reading Challenge.

Basically you simply set a goal for how many books you're going to read in the upcoming year and Goodreads tracks your progress for you.

In theory this is a nice concept, especially for statistic freaks like me who just love seeing everything they do translated into numbers. Goodreads tracks everything for you:

How many pages you read, how many books by a certain author you read, how many books from a genre you read - it's all there. It looks neat and gives you a great overview at the end of the year. I use the function quite often to simply check how many pages I've read or to see how many books I've given a certain rating. 
It's strangely addicting?!

But aside from that, the more people I befriended and the more I started immersing myself in the reading community, I noticed that this whole neat little concept isn't really just a fun thing to do on the side - it's serious business.
People are actively trying to read the most books on the entire website and surpass everyone they know. Like, not even in a friendly way, but in an obsessively competitive kinda way. Myself included. You can't help it, when you see someone post their score, you just want to surpass them. 

When I first started my blog and did the challenge for the first time in 2014, I read about 50 books I think. Last year around 90. But the thing is, I feel constantly pressured to one-up myself every year and read even more books, because there'll always be someone that has a higher book count than me. For people who are naturally just very competitive, this is a nightmare.
Having deadlines is always very stressful for me, and seeing all these people challenge themselves to read ridiculous amounts of books (I've seen 500+) and actually succeed and overpass me very early on just makes me feel like I'm failing at reading. That's actually a pretty stupid thing to think. 

What are we even competing for? 

Does it increase your coolness factor or IQ with every book you read? Eh. I don't think so.

I mean for some people competition is just a fun way to push themselves a little, but for me it's just unnecessary stress that I don't need in my life. The only goal I have reading-wise in 2016 is to read simply for pleasure. I want to read books because I want to, not because they're short and will help me reach my Goodreads challenge goal more quickly (I've seriously done this before).

So in order to avoid all this, I have challenged myself to read a single book this year.
No more competitive reading for me.

Are you doing the 2016 GR challenge? What's your goal?

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Thursday, January 14, 2016

Why You Should Never Ever Take Review Inspiration From Goodreads | Book Blogging Tips (#34)




As a blogger, you probably also have a Goodreads account. Goodreads is a community where you can share reviews, book recommendations, and the like with your friends and discuss the latest books you read.

A huge part of the website is the review section. Anyone and everyone can publish reviews, sharing their opinion with the whole world. 

There are absolutely no rules, and this is exactly why the worst thing an aspiring blogger can do, is to copy-and-paste their super popular Goodreads reviews onto a blog.



The Difference Between Reviewing on Goodreads and Independently

Most reviews on Goodreads are angry rants. The more you write about why you hate a book, the more likes you're going to get from similar-minded people. While I'm a-ok with expressing a negative opinion, it always always always depends on the tone. On Goodreads, people can vote on your review. The more likes and comments it has, the more likely it is to get around and be seen by a lot of people. Logically, the reviews that are shared a lot are the ones that polarize. 

Consequentially - what do people do when they want to get famous on Goodreads? Write controversial reviews, mostly involving swear words, GIFs, quotes, and anything to support your negative or positive opinion. 

If you're reviewing on a blog, your focus isn't on the looks of the review, but the content. At least it should be. Of course you're supposed to have a certain common theme and aesthetic to your reviews, but it's all about your opinion.
On Goodreads, it's all about attention, getting comments and likes, and ideally also ridiculing the author. 

Why Goodreads-Reviewing Is Terrible 

On Goodreads you won't only find a lot readers, but also authors.
Many popular and famous authors do have a Goodreads account, so there's a chance that they'll read what you have written. Most popular Goodreads Reviewers don't have independent blogs and strictly stick to the website. But I've seen a few people try to transition with those hate-filled and flat out mean reviews you'll find on the site.

If you don't know what I mean by goodreads-reviewing, here's a review from a very popular Goodreads reviewer for Becoming Jinn by Lori Goldstein


[Source]


Imagine being the author and having to read that your book made someone want to gouge their eyes out. So much work from a copious amount of people goes into writing a book. If you're going to review it, don't do it like this. It's insanely disrespectful, childish, and mean.

As an aspiring blogger, I can just urge you to aim for the highest level of professionalism you can, while staying true to yourself. Don't look at Goodreads and try to write your reviews like the popular people on there. 


What's Your Opinion on Goodreads-

Reviewing?


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Thursday, November 26, 2015

How to Really Keep Your TBR Below 20 Books | Book Blogging Tips (#27)


As a book blogger, we all know this problem: buying books to no end, with even no intention of ever actually reading them.

An unread library is a great thing, right? You'll convince yourself that you'll get to read those books eventually, but you never do. And suddenly your TBR is in the hundreds.
Let me help you fix that.

I'm not going to tell you to just stop buying books like most of these posts say. Let's be realistic, we're never going to stop buying books and we don't want to. I have found a bullet-proof method to make sure that TBR is going down. With every step you decide to take it will get harder and more difficult. If you do them all and actually go through with it, your TBR WILL get smaller. Trust me.

  • Step 1: Create a bookshelf only for unread books.
Reorganize. In order to know what kind of problem we're dealing with, you have to find out how big it actually is. If you know your TBR will be in the hundreds, stick to making space for it in a single shelf. If you're really serious about this, you can even make two shelves or even an entire book case.
But be warned: the bigger the TBR we are planning to eliminate, the harsher this will be.

  • Step 2: Make a schedule
You won't get to read a new book unless you've read ___ books from the shelf.
My TBR was about fifty when I started that method, so I stuck with two books from that shelf and then a book I really want to read (no matter if from that TBR shelf or not) or a book received for review.
Depending on the size of your TBR stack I propose this:
50: 2 from the TBR, 1 book of your choice
100: 4 from the TBR, 2 books of your choice
200: 8 from the TBR, 3 books of your choice
300: 10 from the TBR, 4 books of your choice
If that your TBR shelves are eliminated, restack them with the rest of your unread books until there are less than twenty left. Twenty is an okay number to stop. Don't let that TBR pile build up again, you've learned your lesson.

  • Step 3: Close your blog for pitches.
Yup. You have enough books to read, stop being delusional. There won't be any book proposed to you that isn't similar to a book you already have your TBR. You can reopen your blog for review requests when your TBR has divided in half. I'm serious. Close it now.

  • Step 4: The BIG NOs
Here are some things that you are absolutely NOT going to do. If you do them, increase the amount of books to read from your TBR by one. There goes your treat.
  1. You aren't going to buy that sequel to the really great book you read if you haven't read enough TBR books
  2. You aren't going to spend more than 30$ on books per month
  3. You aren't going to pass on the TBR books because you want to read something different. That shelf WILL be read.
  • Step 5: Buying Habits - Sales Only
Yeah I know buying books is the bane of our existences, but you really have to check your habits if you've made it to step five and still don't really see your TBR shrinking. We have to fight the problem at its source. Your wallet will thank you, even though you might hate me.
  • Only buy books on special sale if you're saving a lot of money. I'm not talking about 2$ discounts
  • No gift cards. You'll still be able to use them after you've taken care of the TBR
  • Don't bring any money or credit cards if you HAVE to go to a bookstore and are already over your book buying limit
  • Take a friend to that book store and tell them to make sure you don't buy anything
If you actually go through with all of these, your TBR should shrink significantly very soon. If it doesn't, you're not following the rules. Always remember: Keeping your TBR in check doesn't only help your wallet, it also helps the conscience. Don't buy stuff you don't want to read! 

What are your tips on managing your TBR?

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Sunday, November 15, 2015

Is It Okay To Post Negative Reviews?






A comment on a discussion post I did a while ago got me thinking - most people (myself included) read book blogs to discover great books to read.

But a huge part of being a book blogger is criticizing, not only praising the good stuff. To be fair,

I encounter more books that I dislike than books that I like. There are only a handful of books that I've given five stars, maybe five or six per 70 books I read.






Should We Just Keep Quiet About Disliking Stuff?

Especially on Goodreads, bad reviews are the ones that get the most likes. But if you're running an independent book blog, it doesn't seem to be welcome to dislike a lot of stuff, and certainly not the books that are popular right now. 
When I'm looking for a specific review of a book I read and liked, I personally want to see a well-balanced critique. Of course there is a difference between disliking something and being rude about it and writing a critique.

I was told that it's better for book bloggers to showcase good books than critique bad ones, especially you're a picky reader.
If we all collectively stopped doing negative reviews in order to avoid stepping on people's toes, I for example wouldn't be able to accept books for review anymore.

...and If We Did That It Would Also Mean...

No More Review Copies
A huge chunk of the books I review here were sent to me for review. I always promise my honest opinion. But were I to only publish positive reviews, I would stop accepting review copies altogether. It doesn't seem fair to me to receive a book for the purpose of reviewing it and then not doing it, simply because you disliked it.

No More Feedback
With the negative reviews gone, authors wouldn't get feedback anymore. How then do they sell their books? I wouldn't buy a book that only has five-star reviews. 

No More Credibility
Do you trust blogs that only rate books four or five stars? I'd think to myself after the fifteenth five star review that something must be wrong. I'd think that the reviews are paid for or the reviewer has no idea what they're doing. Liking stuff is fine and all, but can you really like everything?


In Consequence:

I'm still going to post negative reviews. And I'm still going to rate books zero stars and state that I don't like stuff. As long as I'm doing it respectfully, I don't really see what's wrong with that.


What do you think? 
Do you post negative reviews?

Continue Reading...

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Impossible Goodreads TBRs - Do You Even Try? | YA Talk



"I'm adding this to my TBR" has become an ancient proverb to me. I say it so often that it probably lost all its meaning.

The times where I did actually go to my TBR to determine which books to read next are long gone. 






Let's Do Some Math

I actually started laughing when I took a look at my Goodreads TBR and saw this:

  • The average book is 80,000 words long
  • The average reading speed per minute is 200 words. 
  • An average-speed reader needs 400 minutes to read an average-length book, that's 6.6 hours.

I have 2239 books on my TBR. Pretending these are all average-length books and I'm an average-speed reader, I'll need 14,777.4 hours to read all these. That's 615.7 days. That's 20.5 months. That's 1.7 years worth of consistent reading. Doesn't seem that high, am I right?

Sadly, in reality I read about 50-100 books a year. The span is that high because I'm super inconsistent. If we pretend I read an average of 70 average-length books for the next few years, it'll take me 37.98 years to get through this TBR. Let's hope there's a lot of DNFs hidden in there.

How Books End Up There

Do I intend to actually read the majority of these? Probably not. I put books on my TBR too easily. 
  • I think I'll like the book, so it's going on my TBR. 
  • Great synopsis! On my TBR.
  • Ooh, my favorite author has a new book? On my TBR.
  • Hey my friend said it's a good book. On my TBR.
  • Wow I like the cover. TBR.
  • Wow I like that review. Gotta check out the book. TBR.
  • Great list of topics I like, better add every single book on it to my TBR.

Do you handle your TBR as carelessly as I do? Or am I just a mess?

Does Anyone Actually Work on Their GR TBR?

Because I don't. I used to, but right now I've got the book blogging community and an immediate TBR stored in my head. I know exactly which books I'm about to buy when my physical TBR shrunk a little. Who needs Goodreads if you have a surprisingly long list of recommendations?

I know that my TBR is nothing compared to the pile of books some of you guys have. I've seen TBRs in the six digits. 
The question is, is it really important what I put there? There are so many books on my list that I probably won't ever read and only added for some long-forgotten reason.

Should I have been more selective with what I add? Probably. Should I actually use it like it was intended - to keep track of what I actually read? Who does that?! I don't know. I just know that I have a lot of reading to do now. About 37 years of it.

How high is your GR TBR? 

Are you actively working on getting rid of it?

Continue Reading...
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