I hope you all are doing well and are experiencing some sunshine in your area, empowering you to kick any seasonal depression through the kneecaps.
If you’re part of the blogging or writing community, there are a few debates that seem to always continue to repeat. One popular topic is reviews. Who are they for? Should authors read them? Should authors interact? Should you tag authors in negative reviews? (<– And that’s a firm no there, Commander.) Should you tag them in positive ones? All it takes is one controversial tweet and suddenly, we’re having this discussion all over again.
There are a lot of opinions about this and I can’t pretend to know what is the “right” answer to each.
But that’s not what I want to talk about today.
Today, I want to share why I personally write reviews. It wasn’t something I’ve always done on this blog–in fact, it was something I sorta fell into. And while I can’t speak for everyone else, I can write about how I do it and why I do it.
The Need to Rant or Rave
I mean, that’s why I started writing book reviews in the first place. I was so stunned by the ending of The Broken Eye by Brent Weeks, I just had to write about it, since no one I knew personally had read the book, so my equivalent to all caps yelling and panicking would mean nothing to them. And it’s been really fun to just word vomit about how a book made me feel into a written form. I have tried to be less spoiler-y, though, in my reviews, as I’ve morphed my style, and as the rest of the reasons I write reviews surfaced. But I miss it, honestly, just writing without abandon, no matter how major the spoiler is (with warnings beforehand though, of course. I’m not a monster.).
Helping Authors and Publishers
Though I doubt that one review written by my hand has completely changed any author’s career in a major way, I have had a handful of times where someone enjoyed a review I wrote and said they bought a book because of it. Or they put it on hold at the library, which is really amazing, because I am helping the author when that happens. By cross-posting my review to sites like Goodreads and Amazon (the latter which I still need to more often), I help algorithms push publicity towards those authors. And many publishers I work with talk about how important reviews are, for these reasons and more. And I respect them a lot and what they do, and this is one small way I just want to say thank you for spending so much of their time and energy publishing books I love.
I Want The Author To Know
Honestly, I do tag authors in positive reviews and I do have hopes that they will read it (though, I completely understand why they would choose not to and respect that 100%). But, if I loved your book enough to review it positively, chances are I just want to fangirl with you and thank you for for such an amazing story (and be your friend and potential mentor, because teach me to write as well as you, please). So I reach out by writing reviews and tagging, hoping they’ll read it and it’ll brighten their day. Do I expect it? Absolutely not. Do I hope for it? Every time.
I Love the Community
Once I discovered that book blogging is actually a thing, I was definitely hooked and didn’t want to stop. I love the community and how passionate everyone is. It’s one of the better communities I’ve been a part of and I really like blog hopping, commenting on other’s posts and feeling that connection. It’d be hard to give that up, now that I know it’s out there and my voice can be a part of it.
So, despite the controversy that pops up around them, despite that they are honestly my least favorite and sometimes hardest posts to write, this is why I continue to write reviews and strive to review every book I read. Since they are hard posts to write, I am still trying to evolve my style to find something that truly fits and gets me excited to write about them again, so don’t be surprised if my style continues to change throughout this next year (I just started adding context warnings and diversity rep listings at the start of my reviews, for example!). But I know, even if they aren’t my favorite posts, how important they are, even when the work feels unappreciated and not impactful.
Thanks to everyone who has read one of my reviews and makes me feel heard through them. Thanks for everyone who takes the time to write them and be honest and brave with their opinions. And thanks to everyone who writes books and makes them available to the masses. <3