For What It's Worth

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

tell me something tuesday


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Tell Me Something Tuesday is hosted by Rainy Day Ramblings and discusses a wide range of topics from books to blogging.

Question:

When you first started blogging, where you hesitant to give a low rating? Has that changed?

This is going to be a slightly long winded answer. lol

When I first started blogging I didn’t thing ANYONE would ever see my reviews so I didn’t even give it a second thought. I hadn’t heard of ARC’s and was just doing this as a fun hobby so I enjoyed most of what I read and most books were rating highly anyway.

Then I started accepting review requests from self pub authors and if I didn’t like the book I would still be honest but maybe gentler and round up my ratings (like a 3.5 instead of 3) because I felt horrible - and tbh that was when a lot of indie authors started going ape shit on bloggers for negative reviews - but be a  little more critical of the *big* publisher books. I was also entering a reading burnout phase at this point and started hating everything!

Then I started writing these really objective (boring) types or reviews where I listed pros and cons and didn’t really discuss my rating or my feelings at all – thinking that “I review – you decide” lol but I lost my *voice* and second guessed myself a lot trying so hard to be objective and without emotion.

The whole thing got murky for me and I don’t feel like you should even bother reviewing books if you aren’t going to be honest about it and I fell into a blogging/reviewing/reading slump because of it.

Now, I don’t use ratings on the blog but I do on Goodreads and I just say what I feel. I’ve been at this for 8 years now and my days of worrying about it are long gone. I was always honest but I guess now I’ve created a bubble around myself and I can’t worry about what other people are thinking. This is the way I read/review/blog and people either like it or they don’t but I can’t let myself stress over it.

But what are your thoughts on this? I know there’s a lot of drama around the book blogoshere about negative reviews – even 3 stars (which I don’t consider negative but that’s another discussion lol).

24 comments:

  1. When I started blogging, all the books I read and reviewed were the ones I bought myself or the gifts from family and friends, so I don't have any fear to voice my opinion. But since I started getting ARCs, I've always felt guilty whenever I gave a book not-so-good review even though my reviews have always been honest. Now, I'm trying to limit the ARCs only to the ones I'm so anticipating or from the authors I love.

    Awesome discussion, Karen. LOVE this post. :)

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    1. I didn't feel conscious of it until I started accepting requests from Indie/self pub authors. You tend to deal directly with them in those cases and they dont' always handle it well.

      I want to point out that I've always had great experiences but several of my friends have not.

      These days I do my research and see how authors react to a 3 or below star rating before I will accept anything but it can get awkward.

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  2. I find it easier reading posts without ratings, cos then I read what they feel, and do not look at a number. People think about numbers so differently. And yes I was SO chicken in the beginning

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    1. I always look for the 3 star ratings on Goodreads first. Then I want to read what they have to say about the book. It's more the review than the rating for me and those seem to have more information to help me decide.

      See, I wasn't chicken because I didn't know anyone was listening to me lol

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  3. Quote:
    "But what are your thoughts on this? I know there’s a lot of drama around the book blogoshere about negative reviews – even 3 stars (which I don’t consider negative but that’s another discussion lol)."

    I'm with you about the 3 stars - though I have a few 3-star books that I found some issues in but I still re-read and enjoy, and a few that were OK or even good but didn't make that much of an impression on me to make me want to re-read them. In short, some of my 3-stars reviews mean "there are issues but this one speaks to me", while others mean "despite some minor flaws, it's not bad, but I didn't connect with it on a personal level". Ah, it's difficult ;).

    About the topic at hand - I strive for gentle honesty. But of course it's not easy when an author agrees to send you their book and you don't enjoy it (or love it). It's not fear of backlash, as much as a sense of guilt (if I have requested the book), plus uneasiness about having to hurt the author's feelings. I even had to do a thing that should NEVER be done at one point - go back and readjust a few of my ratings, scaling them down of the half star I had originally inflated them with. Though I also added a half star here and there to some I had been too nitpicky about. Now I try to keep my honesty no matter what, but it's still a battle sometimes. What I know is, I don't want to go back and change my ratings ever so slightly anymore, because it's not fair to my (few) readers, and that's even worse than disappointing an author!

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    1. 3 can mean I had high hopes and was disappointed or it can mean I had fun reading it but it was like many of the other books I've read and didn't stand out (this happens a lot if romance for me), or it was pretty good but had a few flaws I couldn't help but point out.

      I used to write really snarky reviews but that doesn't translate well most of the time and comes off as mean spirited so I try to say how I feel but point out why it might appeal more to someone else.

      These days I feel it's more about putting the book in the right hands while still expressing how I feel - honestly.

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  4. Ever since I starting writing reviews and blogging, seven years ago, my policy has always been to be honest, although I do try to write uplifting reviews. I just can't ever put a book down, or an author down just because I didn't like it. Because not all books are for everyone right? Its why even with ARC's I am honest,if a publisher doesn't like it, than oh well right?

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    1. I agree! It's tough but to me that's what reviews are. It's fine if you really do love everything but to not be honest if you don't? Then start a promo blog and be upfront about it.

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  5. I first started "reviewing" back in the late 90's for All About Romance and they were one of the few websites offering up critical reviews so I guess that's how I learned to review. My style has changed over the many years and I've become far less formal and "professional" because that voice never worked for me. I do admit that I am extremely wary of taking review copies because of all of that bullying crap that went down several years ago. I take a few here and there but I always feel obligated to be a tad nicer. Fortunately most of them have been very good but I am super choosy and do lots of research first.

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    1. I tried for *professional* and it's so not me lol I sound like a boring, pretentious shit head lol

      I'm super choosy now too.

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  6. Ohhhh great discussion question! I definitely feel a little guilty when I leave a not so positive review for a book, but I have to be honest. I try to never completely bash the book or author. I give examples for why the book didn't work for me. I feel like constructive criticism will ultimately help them become a better writer anyway, right? That's the way I look at it, I guess.

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    1. As long as it's not personal towards the author than it's perfectly fine to be honest.

      To me - reviews are for readers not authors. If they choose to read them and get something out of it than fine (especially if there's a critical consensus in the reviews) but I also don't think they can write catering to each reviewers response to the book. What I disliked might be what someone else loves.

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  7. "indie authors started going ape shit on bloggers for negative reviews" I remember those days lol!

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  8. I don't like giving a book bad reviews, but there are times when a book doesn't connect to me. I have had authors fight over a freaking star on my blog vs. goodreads. The books were okay but not something that I remember about them. I even had a local author want me to change my book review of hers. Yes I really knew her and saw her. But I didn't like changing my review , I guess because there was a spoiler :( But my times happened in the summer time with authors. Now I don't really read books as much. I also mainly do my book reviews at good reads. Yes I have done low scores because of a book. I don't care as much lol I tend up liking other reviews that thought the way I did after I read a book. But now don't care . Reviews are for readers not authors.

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    1. Oh yeah - I remember that happening to you.

      I'm lucky that nothing like that has happened to me yet but I actually research authors I haven't worked with before and try to see how they've reacted to negative reviews/bloggers.

      My goal is to enjoy every book I read but sometimes I don't and I need to be hoenst.

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  9. I still find it hard to write low rated reviews, but I write them. I just find that the books that I had a hard time reading are ones that I don't really have anything to talk about. They were just ho-hum and leaves me with nothing to say about it. I remember the days of bloggers v.s. authors. It was so out of control.

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    1. I don't mind. It's the 3's (because I'm meh...whatever) and the raves (I excited ramble) that get me lol

      Yeah, it was REALLY bad a few years ago. It does seem to have calmed down some but it's left a lot of bloggers wary.

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  10. I've only been blogging about 4 years, but I've changed my review style quite a few times to find my voice. I don't write as many reviews as I used to so I haven't put a negative one on the blog in quite some time.

    As I read reviews I do find negative reviews to be helpful (sometimes it might not be your cup of tea, but it is mine) and I think as long as you aren't personally attacking the author then you do you.

    I do remember the drama about negative reviews and that definitely made me leery, but I'm a small fish in a big pond so I roll with it.

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  11. I hate to do it but I do. I do hesitate as I want to try to make sure I'm constructive and not just hating a book but I don't stress about it. A book that isn't for me is usually for someone else to enjoy and I just keep that in mind. Btw, 3's are good and authors need to stop stressing about it.

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  12. I don't like giving bad reviews, but at the same time, I want to be honest. I don't tend to use ratings at my blog either. I do on goodreads most of the time but not always. Sometimes I literally don't know what to rate it, or I want half stars, so I just leave it blank.

    I tend to choose books I'm fairly certain I'm going to enjoy, so that's a plus - but if I don't like something, I'll share pros and cons usually.

    -Lauren

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  13. Meh. I've never cared. lol Not that I love giving a bad review but I haven't shied away from it either.

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  14. Oh man, I was definitely hesitant about low ratings in the beginning in the sense that I didn't lie, I just never planned on posting reviews for books I rated low. Like, I originally planned on never accepting arcs, partially because I didn't ever want to be obligated to post a negative review if I didn't like the book. But that soon went out the window. I still hate posting low ratings and negative reviews, but I'm a lot more comfortable with it now and just do my best to stay respectful and point out some positive things as well while being honest about the negatives.

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  15. I feel more or less the same way that you do, Karen: the people who read my blog presumably do so because they want to hear my thoughts on books, so I'm going to keep it real and let people know when I think something sucks. The one thing that does change in my reviews of books I get from the library or buy myself vs. ARCs is that I never use curse words in the latter reviews, but sometimes I will when I'm reviewing books from the former category and the mood strikes me. These publicists don't need to know how much of a potty mouth I really am, lol! I definitely still give low ratings to ARCs, I just use more polite language when doing so.

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