Way back in the day I used to know this one person who was obsessed with reading indie books. That’s pretty much the only thing she would read. Before I knew her, I didn’t know Amazon had a kindle app for phones and I had never read an ebook before. I hadn’t really read much in a few years, due to some personal reasons, so I was more than a little eager to get back into it. She forced a few books on me and I devoured them. Then she mentioned to me about how indie authors need reviews to help promote their stuff, so I started reviewing. This was about 5 years ago.
At first I just reviewed on Amazon and sometimes I'd post the review on whatever blog I was reviewing for at the time. Eventually I started cross promoting on Goodreads as well. Then, about 3 years ago, I created and started reviewing regularly on this blog. Last year I cut down my reviews on Amazon because of all their changes. There’s just too much drama involved and it is no longer worth the effort. I almost never review books on there anymore if I'm going to be honest. I typically will only post a review there if I own or was given a book to review. Barnes & Noble always had issue with my reviews, so I stopped posting there a few years back. I will still review and rate on Goodreads though. And on my own blog page, I am definitely still active there. Also, as of a few months ago, I do weekly reviews for Just Another Girl and Her Books.
There used to be a time I felt uncomfortable writing negative reviews. I would even argue myself into boosting a review up to a 3 star when it was really more of a 1 or 2. This is not something I’m proud of admitting, but I was new to the reviewing thing. Even my 4 and 5 starts were boosted higher than they should have been in some cases. Not all, mind you. I still love some of those books I gave high ratings.
I do have a rating guide that I’ve used for the last 3 years. I created it for myself so I would make sure to be more honest with my reviews. I used to refer to it often, when I first created it, but now I’m at the point where I’ll come up with a number as soon as I’ve finished a book. Then I’ll dwell on it for a bit and come up with the final rating after the review is written. The only exception is DNF reviews.
When it comes to books I'm afraid to admit I have read, there was a time, a long while ago, where I felt I had to portray myself in a certain light. This would mean I would hide certain parts about myself, including the types of books I read. For the most part, that was related to Fantasy and Science Fiction, because I was working a job that looked down on people for such things. This is no longer the case. I usually don’t read erotic romance, which I assume is what most people feel they need to hide, but that’s only because it’s just not my thing. I don’t have any issues with it though. And I’ll write a review if I do read one. I guess if I had to come up with something I read but don't review is Harry Potter fanfiction and webcomics, and that’s been my biggest holdout. I love both of them, and read them regularly. For a while I kept this hush because I didn't want the judgement of people who look down on those things, but I've sense realized that I don't give a damn about those haters. The only reason I haven’t started reviewing those on the blog yet is that I haven’t exactly figured out how to do it. But I totally will, eventually. I’m just a lazy bum.
There are some books that I feel I’m not a good enough reviewer to offer my opinions. These are generally non-fiction books. I’ll still do it, but I feel really weird afterward. At the same time, I want others to see that I read the book and see my thoughts on it. That’s pretty important to me, so I’ll deal with the insecurities.
Last thing, I suppose I should actually answer the original question. Why do I write reviews? Even after all this time? There's a few reasons. I enjoy showing off the books I've read and I want to tell people what I thought about them. I want have conversations about the books I review with other people who have read the book before me, after me, and especially because of me and writing reviews sometimes encourages others to contact me. It also gives me something productive to do and keeps me occupied when I'm struggling with depression or anxiety.
That pretty much sums up everything for me.
- What got you into writing reviews?
- Do you post reviews for books you didn’t like? Why or why not?
- Do you write reviews for books you didn’t finish? Why or why not?
- How do you decide what rating to give a book?
- Have you ever read certain books you’re too embarrassed to review?
- Where do you post your reviews?