Hello everyone! Today I’m bringing another discussion post. This time I want to talk about reviews, and discuss whether it’s good or bad to post negative reviews on a blog, plus reviewer’s reliability and how both topics correlate. I have seen many bloggers struggle with this, so I’ll share my opinion and I hope to know yours as well.
One of my favorite bloggers, who posts content in Spanish, has been called out in the past for posting only positive reviews in her blog. And yes, if you take a look, she only has reviews about the books she absolutely adored. She made a post about how she writes her reviews and when I read it, I almost did a standing ovation.
She basically said that just because she writes only positive reviews doesn’t mean that she’s biased, but she doesn’t feel motivated to sit and write a whole post about a book that she didn’t enjoyed. And I related to that on a personal level.
I think there’s only one answer to how you should manage reviews on your blog: however the hell you want to. Just because you post positive AND negative reviews does not make you a better blogger than those who only post positive reviews, and vice versa.
In my case…
I don’t decide which books to review based on how much I loved or hate them, but on how much I have to say on them (of course this doesn’t apply to ARCs, because I have to do reviews on those). As I read, I write my thoughts on the book if I feel like it, and if the page is full, I go ahead and write a review post. I’ll probably do an entire post on how I write my reviews in the future (let me know if you’d like me to!)
Why is important to read BOTH positive and negative reviews?
The good thing about this resides in that all blogs are different and that the readers will find exactly what they’re looking for: the two sides of the coin. When I’m interested in reading a book but I feel like I don’t know enough about what to expect from it, I look up for reviews. And I always end up reading very positive, very negative and neutral reviews of most of the books I search. This gives you a better perspective on whether you’d like to read a certain book or not, because not everyone likes or dislikes the same things in books.
For example, I have read reviews that go like this:
“X book was amazing but I didn’t like the fact that there wasn’t enough romance.”
If we’re talking about a fantasy book, that factor has little importance for me, so I might give it a try despite having read a review that’s under 5 stars. But someone else might not enjoy a book without romance in it, so this might give them a reason to skip them.
Negative reviews also highlight aspects that may make you skip certain book because it has problematic content, or it just doesn’t suit your taste. In my case, if a review from a reliable blogger* says that the pace was too slow, the worldbuilding too plain and the romance outshined the plot; chances are I’m not reading that book.
Positive and negative reviews are essential to guide you in the direction of those books you might end up loving, and away from those that are probably not for you.
What makes a reliable reviewer?
If you read book blogs regularly, you may have a small (or not so small) list of favorite book blogs. Most of the times this is because you like their content, blog aesthetic and blogging voice, but another very important fact is their reliability.
I can’t speak for everyone, but most of the books on my TBR are there because of blogger recommendations. I’ve found amazing books thanks to the blogging world and those people that introduced me to those books are reliable to me. But what works for me may not work for you and vice versa. Therefore, finding a reliable reviewer is very subjective and basically based on the reader’s personal taste, and there aren’t guidelines on how to be a reliable reviewer. You just have to be honest with your thoughts on the book, always coming from a place of respect, and that’s enough.
So, let me rephrase the question…
How do I find a reliable reviewer?
In other words, how do I find one or several book bloggers to trust blindly on?
Two magical worlds: build connections.
I’ll assume you have a very clear idea of what you like in books. Not only on genres, but also on the elements I mentioned before: tropes, worldbuilding, plot, character development, etc. What you have to do is look for bloggers that have a similar taste than you in books; that read and review books you’re interested in, and last but most importantly read some of those books. It may take some time, but you’ll see if you actually like the same books as the blogger does and be able to trust their opinions from then on.
If you don’t, that’s okay. It doesn’t make the blogger any less good. It just means you just don’t share the same (or similar) bookish opinions, and that’s fine. But if the blogger helps you to find a book you happen to love, let them know, and support them in any way you can, whether that’s a comment, a follow, or any other way you see fit. Let me tell you that nothing makes me happier as a blogger than someone reaching out to me to say they decided to pick up a book because of my recommendation and ended up loving it.
Even when not all bloggers like to post both positive and negative reviews on their blogs, in the grand scheme of things, it’s very important to have both of these in the blogosphere to have a better perspective on the content of a book, and whether that book could be for you or not. As long as you write reviews in an honest, respectful way, you’re good to go. But more than that, it’s important that you’re comfortable with the content you bring your readers. If that means doing positive reviews only, that’s fine too.
If you want to find bloggers you trust in with recommendations, then it’s time to stop reading the reviews that pop up first in the google search page and start building connections with book bloggers. It won’t only help you as a reader, but the engagement will help us bloggers stay motivated.
That’s all for this post! Do you like reading both positive and negative reviews on the books you want to read? How do you manage reviews on your blog? Let’s talk in the comments!