Reviews. They’re as good as gold for authors, publishers, agents and potential readers. While some look for a good story or lovable characters, others thoroughly enjoy dissecting and catching every mistake. How do you find the right balance between glowing praise and hateful cynicism? That’s just one of the many reasons I decided to stop doing book reviews. Here are three more reasons why:
1. It became a failed addiction.
I’ve got this annoying tendency to latch on to something and, very soon after, I lose interest. After seeing loads of others on Twitter post their own reviews of books, it seemed like the popular thing to do. I made journal pages and crafted things for Instagram posts. The reality is, I gave myself more work than what was necessary to complete a simple task. Truth be told, I’ve never been one to follow the crowd. I’ll leave others more eloquent than to shine in this department.
2. I couldn’t decide where to get books.
Disclosing where a book came from should never be a shame-inducing thing. Through working in the retail biz for much of my adult life, I’ve become such a people-pleaser. I want to support the authors but exactly how? I can’t always afford to buy directly from the author or from an indie shop. Did I borrow a book from the library? Buy off Amazon? Get a free copy from NetGalley or ARC before it’s released? Once again, disclosing where I got a book shouldn’t be that difficult. It’s always great supporting authors by buying directly, but many understand that libraries are the only source of literature for many readers. The library was a life saver during a time I didn’t have a job. I’ll be forever grateful for it.
3. How can I provide constructive criticism if I know the authors through social media?
Number three boils down to being able to provide unbiased reviews. Transparency is in a major spotlight these days. Let me explain. One of my guilty pleasures is watching “beauty community” videos on YouTube. These videos include reviews of makeup I’ll never wear, “unboxings” of services I’ll never order, and drama about people I’ll never watch.
A channel I watch recently started talking about the aforementioned transparency issue with his own channel. He spoke on how, if you post something that includes an “unpopular opinion,” you’re almost shunned by the crowd for not being, well, agreeable. It also opens the door to wanting to gain attention for something as simple as, well, a book review.
I realized I couldn’t be unbiased. While networking online is fantastic and gets your name out there, I feel many forget what their original intentions are and never finish what they set out to do. I refuse to be a part of that statistic, and possibly losing friends in the process of writing a review.
For every individual who loves to casually read books, there are a dozen more who have the voice to make public their opinions about the stories. While many involved in the writing process love seeing a physical review (the pros AND the cons), formulating an opinion on someone’s blood sweat and tears, and then compiling it into a coherent summary is not for me.
And so, for my last topic-led blog post of 2019, I’ll leave you with this.
No matter what type of reader, or writer, you are: