When I first started blogging (over four years ago now!), what I envisioned for my blog was for it to be a kind of personal mini-Goodreads. I wanted to review every single book I’ve ever read, and offer my blog as a kind of place for people to see what I thought of each book on my reading journey.
Now, with working and writing my thesis and general life, I soon realised that I simply wouldn’t be able to keep up with writing a full length review for every single book on my shelf. I love reading short reviews too, but when writing them myself, I always feel like there is always more to say still and so, they usually end up on the longer side. Not only that, it also just takes a long time for me to write them. To find the right words, to go over my notes, to reflect on my feelings whilst reading the book.
Sometimes I also couldn’t keep up because I read way more than I managed to review, or I had started the next book already and then the next, and soon I didn’t feel confident enough anymore to write a review and would fall further and further behind from my initial wish of what The Artsy Reader blog should be. I know that many of my blogging friends review every book they read and I find it incredibly admirable. But I knew that I couldn’t do it. It went so far that for a very long time, I hardly reviewed anything. I felt bad for the books I had read a while ago (and the more time passed, the worse it got), and so I couldn’t bring myself to review the more current ones either. A vicious cycle had wormed its way into my blogging journey.
Then, something more important and influential happened. I soon realised that I actually felt very bad when posting negative reviews on my blog. Especially when I was approached by an author with a review request, I almost couldn’t bring myself to write a negative review. This is also mainly because of the way I publish my reviews – I usually post them on my blog and then advertise them on Twitter (and sometimes Instagram – want to start using it more!). However, I realised I don’t feel comfortable saying basically ‘hey guys, here is my review of this book that I hated, check it out and don’t forget to like and RT!’ I want my reviews to be honest and constructive, but at the same time, I didn’t feel like advertising them on social media when they were negative didn’t feel like the right thing for me to do.
Don’t get me wrong, I believe everyone should run their websites and social media channels and review sites in any way they want and feel comfortable with (without hurting others of course, but that goes without saying). For me, I have realised I don’t want to spread any kind of negativity on my accounts. I have realised that I want them to be places of positivity where people can find books that I love and wholeheartedly recommend. Whereas I will use Goodreads as just what it is to me – a rating platform.
So, if you’ve ever wondered why most of my tweets about books I’ve read or am reading always sound super positive and cheerful and bubbly, that is not because I love every single book I read. No. I just choose to only post long, in-depth reviews of those books that I really loved, and want more people to know about. That goes for review requests and blog tours too. I will only review those on my blog that I really, really liked. I want to focus my time and energy on spreading positive reviews, and use my reach (however little or much that is) to spread awareness on books I think deserve to be more known.
However, that doesn’t mean that I don’t write any negative reviews at all. I decided that for those I want to share, if I have the time and feel like I want to use it to write down my thoughts on the books I didn’t like as much, I will use good old Goodreads for those. I actually think negative reviews are very important, and I often read them and also often bought books based on them too – what feels bad for some must not be an issue for me!
As far as my ratings go, I haven’t fully decided where I will draw the line. I feel like that depends on the book, but the 4 and 5 star reviews will for sure end up on my blog.
So, this was my take on a rather controversial topic. I’ve been wanting to write this post for a very long time now actually, and finally found the right words (I think). Again, I’m not against writing negative reviews. Not at all. I’ve just decided that for me, using my blog and social media to spread positive reviews of the books I loved is the way to go. I’ve been doing it like this for a while now without announcing anything because I wanted to see how it feels, and I’ve come to much prefer it to my initial approach.
How do you run your blog? Do you review every book you read? How long does it take you to write a review? As you can see, I’m very curious! Do let me know in the comments or on Twitter!
Thank you all so much for reading!