Showing posts with label discussion. Show all posts
Showing posts with label discussion. Show all posts

Friday, October 21, 2016

Why I Hardly Ever Read Sequels and Seldom Finish Book Series

Anyone who's been reading for a while knows that I review a lot of book series on my blog. I hardly ever complete series though and more often than not you'll see me read a sequel, dislike it, and then stop reading the series (or even the author!) altogether.

I feel like book series are always a commitment. Most people I know, very much to my shock, buy an entire series before having even read the first book. And then they'll go ahead and read all books, regardless of whether they liked the individual novels or not. I'd never do that.

Especially when I'm reading a series, I'll need to love the world and the characters and ideally the writing so much that I'm excited for the sequel. Or at least want to see that nice cliffhanger ending resolved. Something, anything like that is a must for me to continue the series. Naturally, that hardly ever happens. 
Too many books are forcibly turned into a series, don't make sense as a series, and are just overall drawn out. Even with those, I still get people asking me all the time why I won't continue and give the series another shot with a sequel. The long answer is this.

There are too many better books out there!

To me, there are too many books out there to even remotely consider sticking with every series I start. I think the first novel in a series is to be treated the same way as a regular stand-alone. Don't like, don't pick up another novel by that author. I make most of my reading decisions like this, thinking about the other books I've read by the same author and asking myself whether I really want to waste my time with something I very likely won't enjoy.

Just think about that wasted time that you could've spent reading something you'll enjoy, possibly even a new favorite. I'm always angry about every one or two star read that wasted my time, considering that I could've read something better in the meantime. Aren't you?

Why would I continue something I hated?

With book series it's even more than just a time commitment. If I don't care about the characters, don't care about the world, possibly even hate the writing, why would I waste any time on that? 

Sure book series look nice if you have all the books displayed beautifully on your shelf, but what's the use if you hated the entire experience and had to force yourself to continue? If I already bought the whole series because it was discounted or whatever, you bet I'll still get rid of those darn sequels if I hated the first one or was very indifferent to it.

An argument I hear a lot when I post my reviews to tumblr is: "Hey you'll probably enjoy the sequel more because reason x and y." Well, I certainly won't touch that sequel with a ten foot pole if I gave it a two or one star rating. I don't understand why you would ever complete a series, hoping that the next book will be better. 

Sure, if you enjoyed the first and didn't like the second so much, I totally get that you might read the third. I've done that plenty of times. But when I've hated book one, there's no reason why I would remotely consider continuing and wasting my time. Why would you?

Do you finish every series you start? Do you pick up sequels to books you hated?

More on book series:

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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) ? 

Continue Reading...

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Not Reviewing Review Copies? How to Make All Bloggers Look Bad

A discussion I witnessed recently made me think about this. As bloggers we have the privilege of being able to read books for free - as long as we provide a review in return.

Something a fellow blogger said irked me instantly, I'm just going to paraphrase. 

They said that it's okay to request books and not read them (specifically ARCs), because it's usually just a case of getting overwhelmed. 

I'm very, very, very iffy about stuff like this. I take blogging super seriously and really try to keep deadlines in check almost obsessively (which I don't recommend, it's really stressful).


I do get that especially when you just start to get review copies, you get super excited and accidentally request more than you can read. Of course that's not a deadly sin, it's okay and I'm sure it happened to a lot of people out there. 

I'm not upset about people who didn't expect to actually get review copies and requested too many and got approved for too many either. 

Who REALLY upsets me are the people who keep on requesting ridiculous amounts of review copies and just collect them. Simply for display or whatever and don't review them. 

Here's why this upsets me:
  • It's rude. 
  • It's a virtual contract. (Most publishers won't work with you anymore if you have a history of doing this btw)
  • It's harmful to the industry. You might think that the big publishers won't be hurt by a couple of people not reviewing - but most big publishers only send out ARCs, which are specifically printed for reviewing purposes and cost a lot more to print, AND are only printed in limited quantities.
  • (The purpose of giving out an ARC and not a finished copy is to get the review before the book is published. If you end up posting the review late or not at all, the resources were wasted on you)
  • There are bloggers out there who would have given their left leg for reading the ARC/review copy you just ignore.
  • It's even worse if you do this to indie authors and small publishers, because the money for printing them is literally going out of their own pockets. 
  • Did I say it's rude?
I don't understand how anyone could justify having 30+ ARCs dating back a couple of months and not having reviewed them. I don't understand how anyone could have a huge pile of review copies dating back YEARS and not have reviewed them. I just don't get it and I think there should be consequences for people who do this. It's so rude and disrespectful. It makes all bloggers look bad, especially because a lot of times it's the big bloggers with a huge reach who think their fame makes it okay for them to do this. 

Of course, not everyone who does this is aware of how much damage they're doing, but after all we're basically offering a marketing service. Even if you're just blogging as a hobby, you're working with people who actually get paid to do their job and I sincerely doubt that you would do this in a professional environment. 

Why is it so widely accepted (apparently) to keep on requesting stuff you won't read in the first place? I don't know. I just think that we should all be collectively very thankful for having the opportunity to read books for free and not exploit it out of greed. 

Continue Reading...

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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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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Monday, August 17, 2015

#BloggerBlackmail: Do You Think Bloggers Have a Right to Get Paid?

The trending hashtag #bloggerblackmail got me curious.
Apparently a food blogger and a bakery got in conflict. 
The bakery claimed that the blogger was making ridiculous requests (100$ worth of products in compensation for a review. 

The blogger claimed that the bakery was offering too little and expecting too much

#Bloggerblackmail: What happened? 

- Food Blogger is asked to review bakery
- Blogger visits the bakery and is offered a small goodie bag
- Blogger is unsatisfied with the offer, asks for compensation in form of various baked goods that add up to a retail value of 100£
- Owner refuses, Blogger is only offered hot drinks 
- Blogger leaves the store enraged
- Blogger returns, purchases some products themselves, and instagrams negative reviews of them
- They both put each other on blast online, twitter blows up when both posts go viral. 
Sources: The Bakery's side  The Blogger's side

This whole issue got me thinking about compensation for blog posts and what I expect or don't expect personally.

Since I'm a book blogger and most of my readers as well, this will be only about book blogging.

The work that goes into reviewing

There are a lot of bloggers who don't only post reviews, but also take pictures, or create edits. Even if it looks easy, blogging is a very difficult and hard hobby. A blog post can take up to two hours to write, not to mention the hours and hours that go into reading books. I personally can maybe read a 300/400 pages book in about six hours if I hurry, and I really like it. 

The Average Cost of a Book Review

300/400 pages:

Reading: 6 hours
Blogging: 2 hours
Formatting the post: 1 hour

up to 9 hours of work

If you're lucky enough to receive a review copy, that's your compensation for those 9 hours of your life. Is that worth it? Are you entitled to a minimum-wage compensation for those 9 hours?

Blogging: Hobby or Work? 
"[...] I don’t do eight hours of work for an eight piece selection box of macarons and marshmallows. Writing is notoriously badly paid and photography suffers the same, but I value what I produce as worth more than that."

- wrapyourlipsaroundthis

I think in order to answer that question, you have to decide for yourself whether you see blogging as your profession, or as your hobby.
To me, it's a hobby. I'm a small blog, I'm happy if I get recognized at all by publishers, authors etc. If you're a bigger blog and you're very selective with the books you read, does that mean you're also entitled to a bigger compensation? Do you expect more than just the book you have the privilege of reading?

Technically, we could do what the Blogger from the incident with the bakery did. We could define a price and say "unless the product is worth X, I'm not doing it." Would you be okay with that? I consider myself a casual blogger and I'm very fortunate to be in the position that I'm in. I don't expetc anything for anyone. It's a hobby for me. Frankly, any blogger who defines a price would just lose credibility in my opinion.

Where does respecting your work end and becoming a sellout begin?

I think if you start charging, or expecting people to compensate you, it's very easy to lose yourself in it.
I hope I can speak for all of us when I say that we blog because we value freedom of speech. 

We think we have something to say and we're going to share it. 

If someone comes in and offers you 100$ for a good review, would you do it?

Do you think we're entitled to bigger compensations?

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Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Should tumblr Book Blogs Receive Free Review Copies, Too? | YA Talk

If you're not active on tumblr, you probably have no idea about what's going on in the bookish world there. Tumblr is a micro-blogging site, based on resharing content. There are tons of small communities in tumblr and one of them is centered around bookblogging as well.

What's Going On??

In the last couple of days a few users have stated complaints about not getting review copies and not being recognized as proper "bloggers" in comparison to WordPress/Blogger/Self-hosted users.

The big argument was mainly that tumblr blogging can reach a bigger audience just as easily as regular blogging. Especially users with huge followings said that they know of a lot of people who have bought a certain book solely because they posted about it.

As a micro-blogging site, tumblr works completely different to other blogging sites. You don't need to lift a finger to fill your blog with thousands of posts, all you have to do is reshare content through the "reblogging" option. Some users argued that they do post some original content and get most of their traffic through that. However, I don't think you can say it's the same thing, can you?

Two Sides of the Same Coin?

As a user of both I understand both sides. I get that people who have used tumblr for years want their recognition for having gained a solid following. It's still a fact that tumblr isn't necessarily the right medium if you're looking to reach a big audience and build a following.

Followers on tumblr mostly don't care about the person behind the blog or their content. For instance, I follow around 500 blogs on tumblr and about 80 via Bloglovin'. I actually go through the post of all the regular blogs I follow, while my tumblr dashboard is just a cluttered mess.

As a blogger user I have mixed feelings about this sudden mini uprising. I gained a couple thousand followers by barely doing anything other than reblogging posts on tumblr. I gained around 500 total followers on my Blogger blog with a lot of hard work, hours of refining posts and trying to get my name out there. 

Blogging is hard. Tumblr-ing? Not so much.

From the Publishing Point of View

I perfectly understand why tumblr isn't treated equally to external blogging platforms. First off - it's not blogging at all. It's resharing! It's getting recognition for the content that other people created. I don't even think tumblr users should be allowed to host ads on their sites.

Publishers are always looking for exposure. Review copies are sent out to increase the buzz around a book. Tumblr has a  major impact on teenage culture, but is it really the right platform for literary critique? I scroll past reviews 99% of the time. Tumblr is not the platform I go to when I look for opinions.
Blogging is about stating your opinion. Opinions on tumblr are never a good thing. You get attacked for almost everything on tumblr.

Why would this be different if we all started to post book reviews there?

It's easy to yell injustice, but to me, there is no injustice. Tumblr and third-party-blogging sites aren't the same thing. Why would publishers send out review copies for users of a platform that isn't about reviewing at all?

- Against
  • tumblr users rarely have experience in writing. Remember our first reviews? They were a mess. Everything needs practice. Sending out copies blindly to people just because of their following is a little naive.
  • The effort involved in gaining tumblr fame is dramatically different than effort involved in gaining blogging fame
  • tumblr followings don't even remotely equal to the amount of regular readers
  • Why give out review copies if no one on tumblr reads reviews? There has to be some form of compensation for the authors/publishers
  • Controversy isn't welcome on tumblr, neither are (negative) opinions. How could you judge a book honestly on tumblr without causing a shitstorm?
+ In Favor
  • Gaining a huge tumblr following takes time, too
  • Many people decide to buy books because of tumblr edits
  • Instagram and other websites are recognized as business platforms, too, why not tumblr?
  • Many young adults are more active on tumblr than reading regular blogs

Do you think tumblr bloggers should be treated equal to regular bloggers? Do you think they should get review copies, too?

Link Up: Discussion Challenge @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

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