Opinion: Reviewing Books as an Author

As you know, I’m an author. I’m also a bookstagrammer. I don’t have many people “in real life” I can talk to about books, so the book community on Instagram lets me do that with artsy photography. It’s a really fun hobby I’m not always consistent with since I only post when I’m motivated, truly excited about a book, and completely enjoying the platform when I’m not having an anxious aversion to social media. (I’m still searching for a reading buddy and/or a book club! I’m remaining optimistic it will happen in the near future when I least expect it.) What people sometimes forget is it’s public. To the whole world. And I’m a writer. I’m careful of what I say.

How I Review

It really comes down to a spiritual, karmic philosophy: I only want good reviews of my books, so I only want to spread positive energy for other books. I generally don’t share books on my Instagram I don’t like anymore, unless they sneak in during an occasional book haul post. Even if it wasn’t a good fit for me as a reader, I will still mention a book I appreciated and was well-written that I can recommend to lovers of that specific genre. I share my full reviews on Instagram, and a star-rating on Goodreads without the written review. For the most part, I don’t review on Amazon that much anymore. Everyone has their preferred “review spot”, and I guess mine is bookstagram. 🤷 It’s just easier and more enjoyable for me right now. That could always change in the future.

When people review a book based solely on how much they liked it, it’s “surface-level”, it’s shallow, and it’s a disservice to the writer and any potential readers. I won’t read other people’s reviews who review this way. Whether you liked it or not doesn’t matter… everyone has different interests. They’re artificially dropping the star rating of a book someone else could really love. Did the author accomplish what they set out to do? Do the characters’ choices make sense based on their personalities and circumstances? Is the story believable within the world created? Etc., etc. I find the criteria I use to review changes with each novel, especially depending on the genre and author’s writing style, and my gut feelings. If I can’t rate it a solid 4 or 5 stars, or I can’t recommend it despite my rating, I just won’t rate it.

With that being said, please don’t go through my Goodreads and think I didn’t like every book labeled “read” without a star rating attached. That’s not true. When I’m between star ratings or my feelings are all over the place, I won’t rate it either. There have been many times I had good feelings about a book and still didn’t rate it because I couldn’t put the words together to review it properly on bookstagram, or it was a 4.5. Seriously, why won’t Goodreads let us do half stars? I’m too honest to round up or down if I’m genuinely conflicted.

A Random Thought

Does anyone else get a weird feeling sometimes to document every book they’ve ever read on Goodreads? 😂 I don’t know why I feel like this sometimes… it’s impossible. I think it’s the perfectionist in me. I’ll spontaneously think about a book I’ve read 5 years ago, and be like, “Maybe I should share that on Goodreads.” 🤪 It was incredibly overwhelming to try when I first made an account, so then I gave up and deleted a lot of them, and only kept my favorites or the ones that really stood out in my memory. Now, I only add the books I read currently, in real time, like a sane person probably should.

Anyways…

If you’re a writer, have your reviewing habits changed since becoming one? If you’re not a writer, do you have a personal reviewing philosophy in general?

Happy reading, writing, and reviewing! 😄

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