Showing posts with label book reviewing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label book reviewing. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

When is it Okay to Talk About Sequel Spoilers? | Book Blogging Etiquette (#10)



Don't you just love getting your favorite book series spoiled? 

Fortunately this hasn't happened to me in a while but I'm very much not looking forward to this happening anytime soon.







Be gentle on your readers- especially on social media.

Whenever I'm talking about a sequel I always assume that someone out there who has an eye on my social media is still planning to read the first one. Even if that book came out in, say, 2005. There is no expiration date on reading and if something isn't so popular that it's pretty much general pop culture knowledge by now (for example Darth Vader being Luke Skywalker's father), you really shouldn't ruin someone's day by talking about spoilers without labeling them. Anywhere.

The thing is, I try to be as inclusive with my blog as I possibly can. I want backlist and frontlist readers to have a great time here, I want to provide as much of a variety in terms of the books that I review and the content I provide as I can. Same goes for my social media. It's only logical then to also take into consideration that there will be readers out there who are planning on reading the first book to sequel you're talking about.

Very often I hear from people who read my blog that my review made them interested in reading a specific book. And that often happens with sequels, too. I like to think that the people who read my blog also care about my opinion on things and that I to some degree am able to influence their decision whether to read a book or not. And blatantly spoilering left and right on social media and blog, knowing that there are possible readers and fans of a series or book I've already read out there is just a no no.

You're ruining everyone's online experience by doing that. Especially when we're talking about social media where you can't mark spoilers appropriately and by default end up spoilering someone if you talk about it openly.

What about reviews?

Of course, sequel reviews are completely out of the picture here. If you're purposely clicking on a review of a sequel, that's your own fault for getting spoilered. I personally find that it's nearly impossible to write a high quality review for a sequel without spoiling anything about the first book. I'm usually still trying to keep the worst spoilers to myself if no necessary, but usually it's fair game to spoil in sequel reviews in my opinion.

(It should go without saying that unlabeled spoilers have no business in a review of a standalone or first in a series, by the way, that's why I'm not even addressing this. NEVER do this.)

So how do I prevent this whole mess?

Simple. By labeling your spoilers. Don't be a meanie and mark your spoilers.



What's the last book that somebody spoiled for you?




More Book Blogging Etiquette:


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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

How Subjectivity Ruins Your Reviews | Book Blogging Tips (#54)

Reviewing is hard. Any blogger will be able to tell you that. 

Today we'll talk about a mistake that you'll find among veteran and rookie reviewers alike: being too subjective in your reviews and the effect this has on your readers.





Extreme subjectivity ruins most of my older reviews. 

Yes, reviewing is subjective by nature, but what I'm talking about is finding the balance between "this is a bad book" and "I didn't like this". I couldn't do that for a long time and I didn't see a need to do that for even longer. You absolutely non-negotiably need to do that though if you care for your audience and don't only do this for you. 

At the end of the day none of us are just reviewing for us, are we? 

I started out blogging to archive my thoughts for myself but since my blog has grown a bit, I grew more and more aware of the fact that there are a lot of people out there who come to me to find their next read or who absolutely trust my judgment. Chances are, it's the same for you.

You probably have a couple people out there who solely rely on you and your reviews to pick their next read. Writing books off immediately that are well-written with well-rounded characters and fantastic world building, simply because you didn't enjoy them for a very subjective irrelevant reason? That's selfish. Yes, it's your blog and all and you can do whatever you want; I'd never try to tell you any differently. Stop reading right here if don't tell me what to do is your takeaway from what I just said. Or read those paragraphs again.

If you cherish being a resource for people, it's important to also take into consideration that 

Your taste =/= an infallible indicator of quality, talent, or entertainment value.

To explain that I usually use books that provide excellent representation of marginalized identities. HOW TO MAKE A WISH by Ashley Herring Blake for example wasn't my thing personally, because I don't like sad, quiet contemporaries. Super subjective and tells you nothing about the quality of this book. It's just my two cents that couldn't be more irrelevant. HOW TO MAKE A WISH also had the first biracial character that I saw myself in. Like, ever. The first time I felt represented. I still gave the book five stars and I'd do it all over again, even though I didn't really enjoy it aside from the representation aspect. 

By being extremely subjective and giving books 1-3 star ratings left and right because you didn't enjoy them for an arbitrary irrelevant taste reason, you are possibly preventing readers from finding a read that will change their lives. People hardly ever read full reviews, and sometimes they pick books up solely because of the rating of their favorite blogger. Contributing to a negative rating (3 stars and below), will also make sure that less people who might be able to see themselves in this book will pick it up. That's on you. You contributed to that. This obviously transcends the issue of representation of marginalized identities. This is a lesson that definitely was the hardest for me personally. 

I do struggle to give books that I didn't care for five stars, and I do struggle sometimes to not just downrate something because I thought it was a terrible book, personally. But the people that I owe the most to are my readers, people like you who are here every week or even every day. And I hope that this helped you to understand that blogging and reviewing is about so much more than just you and your taste.

You're completely free to disagree with what I said, but truly, at some point, reviewing isn't about you anymore. Think of your audience. Especially the marginalized people. Cause if you don't care about them and are just doing this for you, why do you give them the option to follow? Why is your blog public?

What do you think of really subjective reviews?


More Book Blogging Tips on Reviewing

When is it okay to share your review of a DNF?

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Thursday, June 16, 2016

Is Sharing Your Negative Reviews Mean?





I absolutely hate disliking things. Whenever I start a new book, I sincerely hope that this is my new favorite read and that I'll give it a 5 star review. 

But unfortunately, that's just not the case. 

There are more books that I end up disliking than there are new favorite books and that's perfectly okay.

When it comes to sharing posts though, I'm suddenly shy to promote one or even zero star reviews. It just doesn't feel right to go around basically screaming: HEY I didn't like this, listen to me talk about how I hated this for 300 words!!! 


Are negative reviews mean?

There are definitely different ways to write reviews. I like to think that I have a respectful way of talking about books I didn't like (at least I developed that after two years of blogging). Of course there are reviewers who make everything sound mean and whose negative reviews read like hate mail.

What makes a review mean?
  • insults of any sort (whether it's towards the author, the characters, the writing)
  • cursing 
  • telling other people not to buy this
  • confusing personal taste as an indicator for the quality of the work 
I completely understand that you sometimes get carried away and just can't help yourself but be a little annoyed with a book. Especially with books that turned out to disappoint. But really, making the author feel bad about their work isn't really the answer here (some authors DO read reviews!!).

What about sharing negative reviews?

Okay, so you read a book, you didn't like it, and you wrote a review about it that isn't mean at all. 
It's just negative because you didn't like the book. It would probably still offend and hurt the author despite being written respectfully and constructively, simply because it's a one or zero star -kinda deal. 


What do you do with this now? Do you publish it? Is that mean? 

Or are you just sharing your opinion (which you have every right to) ? 

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Thursday, February 11, 2016

Do You Actually Review Unsolicited ARCs? | Book Blogging Tips (#38)


When I first started out, being sent ARCs by publishers seemed to be the holy grail of blogging. I mean, if you look at all those pictures on the instagram pages of the big name book bloggers and booktubers, you can't help but think like this.

What always struck me as weird is the fact that some bloggers get sent DOZENS of books every month. 

As a fairly quick reader, I read about 8 books per month (that's a good month for me!). I can hardly imagine how anyone could possibly read more than 20 books a month EVERY month. If you do, I salute you.


Let's be honest: Who even reads all those ARCs?!

One of my favorite booktubers, Abookutopia publishes book hauls every month, showing about 10+ ARCs by publishers that have been sent to her unsolicitedly. 

I get that it's a business and they're already profiting from the fact that a big name blogger like her only mentions these books briefly in her videos or shows the covers quickly. I hardly believe she read even half of these books. It's just a business transaction, nothing more and I don't blame her for doing this. It's basically impossible to read all those books, especially because she states all the time that 90% of them are unsolicited. I would have a panic attack, because I'd feel like I actually had to read all of those to be honest.

Most people who get the same amount of ARCs hardly are able to read those unless they have some kind of super power. To me, it just defeats the purpose of ARCs to just hoard them and show them off. For the publishers this might be still a good way to advertise, to just have their books appear on instagrammers' pages and in booktuber's videos. Of course the exposure on a big name's page is much bigger than the exposure they'd get from my blog for example.

Technically, you're under no obligation to review them

You didn't agree to reviewing ARCs that were sent to you unsolicitedly, it's only a matter of politeness if you do. In Germany things works a little differently and you hardly ever get sent anything that you didn't request, so I didn't have to deal with that problem personally, but it seems very stressful.

Personally, I would never let a single book that is sent to me go without a review, but if you're getting sent dozens of books every month, it's pretty understandable that you can't review them all. Let alone read them all.


Do you get unsolicited ARCs? Do you write reviews for them/ have the time to read them?

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