Thoughts of a Book Review Blogger

August 27, 2013 Uncategorized 13

Thoughts of a Book Review Blogger ~ Annie

When I started blogging I had no real goal, ideas of grandeur, or plans for being friends with authors.  Honestly, I didn’t really have any expectations or long term plans at all.  I just wanted a place to voice my personal opinions of books I loved, or did not, whatever the case may be.  Being able to talk to other book addicts is a complete added bonus and the joy I have gained from blogging has far surpassed anything I imagined!

At first I just posted book reviews and after awhile I realized you can do author interviews and you start engaging with authors.  You might even start attending book signings and/or conventions more often.  The next thing you know POW you realize you KNOW and ADORE these authors for more than just their books.  You like them as people and maybe even a friendship forms.

Some book review bloggers, including myself,  are part of “Street Teams”.  If you are unfamiliar with this term the short of it is that you support and help spread the word about an artist (including authors).  This can be a very nice thing for readers and authors alike.  But, as a book review blogger could you have a conflict?  Of course you could!  The real question becomes, what are you going to do about it?   Do you avoid posting the review?  Do you look for extra reasons to nudge the review or rating a little more on the favorable side?

This is where the true conflict can present itself.  What happens if you don’t like a book an author friend has written?  I have been lucky and so far I have not truly disliked anything author friends have written.  Yet, I will admit this fear exists and acknowledge the potential remains for this obstacle to present itself.

I know, at times, I struggle with not giving authors I love “perfect” ratings.  Luckily, I have yet to come across an absolutely terrible book from any authors I like.  To me, If I rate your book a 3 or 3.5 it is not a bad rating.  I know some authors and bloggers would probably disagree, but I don’t think admitting flaws exist in the book make for a bad read or that I would not recommend it.

I just try to stay focused on my original goal and life mantra – BE HONEST.  It helps that I am truly a terrible liar.  I will say that I never bash an author no matter how much I dislike their book in a review.  To me, it is just mean and distasteful.  I try to follow the same rules across the board.  Be respectful and say what you didn’t like – it is really that simple.  This makes it a little easier as I feel my reviews remain consistent in tone.

Although I am very snarky and sarcastic in person, I tone it down for the reviews.  Everyone in my real life should be extremely proud of my ability to do so and just don’t expect it to carry over to real life.  😉

The question is – do readers take reviews and opinions as 100% unbiased if you are admitting you are a general supporter of one specific author?  I honestly don’t know.  I know that most of the review bloggers I network with or know always seem to post honest and fair reviews, but this is only a sliver of the book review bloggers out there.

My friends in real life know that I am blunt and honest.  If I am asked a question they KNOW they are going to get an honest answer.  I hope that my author friends will come to expect the same from me and not hate me if one day I post a negative review of your baby.  I cannot love everything and there is even some chocolate I don’t like.  I mean, if I can dislike a piece of chocolate, I can certainly dislike a book others might love!

I have to admit that I wrote this post some time ago and have been holding on to it afraid of the feared “blogger suicide”.  However, this subject came up in several different ways during the Authors After Dark Convention both with fellow bloggers and authors.

Many reviewers feel that only positive reviews should be given.  Especially when it comes to the dreaded 1 star or DNF (did not finish) reviews.  I certainly post these, although luckily it does not happen very often.  I know we all have different views, but if a respectful negative review is given I think it provides great feedback and information for readers and authors.

Booked & Loaded was created as a platform based on honest reviews and I feel that this does include negative or low rated reviews.

So, I have a couple of questions for you.

#1.  Readers – When you read a review from a Blogger that is a Street Team or open supporter of one specific author, do you assume the review is 100% accurate?  

#2.  Bloggers – Has this day of hell happened to you?  Have you posted or refrained from posting a negative review because of the relationship with the author?

(added)

#3. Authors – You are welcome to comment as well!  What do you expect from Street Team members that are also book reviewers and what do you think about negative reviews?

 

13 Responses to “Thoughts of a Book Review Blogger”

  1. Nix

    As a blogger, I have posted a less than favorable review of an author I loved and I STRESSED about it for days before and after I posted. Luckily the author in question is an awesome lady and just let it fly over her head. I know that this is not always the case.

    In terms of street team members. call me cynical but I don’t fully believe reviews from street team members that I don’t know. If I know the blogger and know they are fair and balanced? I tend to be OK.

  2. AH@badassbookreviews

    I think that honesty is the best policy. This doesn’t mean that if you absolutely hated the book that you should go out and snark about it. Generally, I try to find something I liked about a book regardless. The thing is, that as bloggers, we usually choose books that we know that we’d like. As for blogs that only give out 4 and 5 star reviews, I’ve started culling them from my blog reading lists. There is no way that a blogger could love every single book they read. I appreciate a blogger that writes what didn’t work for them in a book. Books are subjective. You may love books about cats and I may hate those books. There is no right answer.

    As for being caught up in drama about a review – thankfully, I haven’t had to deal with that nonsense and I hope that I never will. A review is your opinion of a book. Even the best selling, most loved books get 1 star reviews. A book will not appeal to everyone.

    • Annie Slasher

      Exactly. I have some authors that I have read for YEARS before I even started blogging and they have had books that I just didn’t like. Everyone has their own quirks and not everyone can like everything.

  3. Jenese @ Readers Confession

    I’m on a few street teams and I have left lower end 3 star reviews for books and there have been ones that I flat out didn’t like. Even if I love the author they can’t please me ALL the time, although that would be awesome! LOL.

    Reading reviews from other street team members, I take it with a grain of salt like I do all other reviews.

    Authors that I’m friends with and I didn’t like their book I may chose to just NOT review it. Maybe it’s a cope out but if I don’t have a lot to say I just won’t bother. I won’t lie and say I loved it I will just keep my mouth shut.

  4. ronnie c

    As a member of a few street teams I am very honest with my reviews. When I read reviews from street team members I read them and hold the same opinion as non street team members. I would post all reviews negative and not to a blog regardless of how I felt about the author.

  5. Booketta

    Great post, very useful for other bloggers to read like myself. I have been bloggin for roughly 3 years and still sit on the periphery. I have hosted both author and blogger interviews on my page as well as reviews. Last year I accepted too many review requests and basically by the end of the year I was done! I have only just started to review regularly this year this month! I must admit I haven’t reviewed books I haven’t finished as for me, it would be unfair and I did chicken out of some on books that I really did not like at all (only non requested reviews). I try to be honest and as you say I do neutralise my comments so as not to hurt author’s feelings. I think a reader can tell what floats my boat and what doesn’t as I tend to effuse about the books I like. I haven’t come across street teams before. Stay honest and true to yourself. Happy blogging 🙂

    • Annie Slasher

      I got in over my head too and it is very overwhelming at times! I cut back guest posts and interviews as well because I just didn’t have time to read!!

      I also will say that the few times I have done a NDF – I posted links at the end of the review to other reviews with different opinions. I left that this left the reader a choice to see another view points.

  6. Jess Haines

    I don’t have an official street team, but I never hold negative reviews against my blogger friends.

    As a reader, I post a few negative reviews myself. I much prefer to see what someone really thinks of a book and to have them spell out what did and didn’t work for them rather than to only read glowing reviews. It helps me decide whether the book will work for me, too.

    <3,
    -J

  7. Marcia Bookswagger

    When it comes to blogging I do not think there is a right or wrong way I believe you just do you and be true to yourself. I myself do not like to post less than a three star review but then I do not see a three star review as negative. I am the only reviewer on my blog and I do not see the point in writing about something I do not enjoy. Although others feel differently I am sure but with so many good books out there I am coming from a place of why bother. I also do not feel a DNF is a bad review because it is not a rating, the book was not finished. I know sometimes I jumped in the series to late, not that there was anything wrong with the book. Now as for as the great reviews, I have giving some blogs the side eye when I see they have an interview or they are on a street team and there is a glowing review and it is something I have read and did not find that great but that just goes to show we all find something different in the books we read and to them they might just love that book that much and sure there relationship might color it a little because we are human but I expect if they hate it they won’t gush about it and half the time I have no idea who is on what team. The only time I really notice is when they have an interview with the review. But I said all that to say this I think the people who respect and believe in the blog they are viewing interrogatory will respect the place they are coming from when they choose to visit their blogs and if not they have plenty of choices to find a better fit.

  8. Belinda G

    You asked: When you read a review from a Blogger that is a Street Team or open supporter of one specific author, do you assume the review is 100% accurate?

    I went back and forth about responding to this but the more I thought about it I decided I would. This topic is one that as a reader I feel quite strongly about.

    In my opinion, street teams are not really a fair judge of how great a book will be. Street teams are in some sense bribes for good reviews and goodwill. I believe in most cases the readers would give good PR and feedback without that prompting. It’s becoming more of the norm. :/ It’s annoying to readers not being sure the review is a true and accurate depiction of the work. I have seen great reviews from street teams but when you see reviews from other bloggers or readers they are not that great. I know everyone will not like everything released by an author but when you see a majority of reviews that are not favorable about the work and it’s not bashing the author, you have to believe there is a big disconnect.

    I have been approached by many authors to be on street teams because I give thoughtful feedback on books that I read. I won’t do it because of some of the horror stories I have heard about the aggressive expectations of some authors. It’s not worth my time or stress.

    I tend to read all reviews, good or bad. I like to know what people are thinking but I make up my own mind about the book. Knowing outcomes, endings, resolutions, etc. of a book have no effect on my enjoyment of the book. I’m not sure why people have phobias about this. It’s the same as watching a movie over and over even though you know how it ends. We all do it! You just like the movie. I feel the same about books!

    When all is said and done, Annie, truth will out. If you like the book, say so. If it needs some work but still enjoyable, again, say so. If it sucked but there were some really great moments in it, be honest and say so. Your honesty is much appreciated by the authors. It gives them areas where they can improve. NO BASHING THE AUTHOR!! When I read those, they anger me. They are not constructive, mean and unfair. They also make me think they are contrived.

    What it comes down to is how much you respect yourself. Is it worth compromising your ethics, your values and your personal repetition? Something you really shouldn’t have to think about.

    Thanks for the opportunity to share. 🙂

    Belinda G

  9. Midnyte Reader

    Your first few paragraphs mirror my experience coming into blogging. I had no clue what was out there and then things opened up. I think a lot of it depends on the blogger and how well the follower or reader knows that blogger. If you give a book 1 star and another trusted blogger gives it 5, I will take both people opinions into consideration. Anyway…in answer to your questions:

    1) I think this can be a difficult question. My first response is to say no. It may be the cynic in me, but I “may” assume the blogger is doing more of a promotion. However, this goes back to knowing the blogger. If I trust them, I will consider their opinion is accurate. I love what you said about it being okay for a book to have flaws – that doesn’t mean it can’t be awesome.

    2) No. I don’t think I have a close relationship with any author…so maybe I’m lucky in a way. Sure there are authors I adore and I feel bad/guilty if I don’t love everything about their book, but that is also unrealistic. (However, this is why I don’t often take books for review.)

    Great post!

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