Topics/Discussion

Review Slump – Do You Review All Books?

For the last half year I’ve been questioning myself about reviews. The usual as others do. Are they good enough? Too long? Too short? Too criticial? Not critical enough? Right format? We all do it from time to time. And while I did change little things in my book reviewing format, most things did stay the same. I’m a creature of habit.

There was however one other thing that I noticed about myself. Despite having a lot of reviews planned in ahead of time, writing reviews stressed me out. Enough so that I didn’t enjoy sharing my thoughts, I struggled writing my thoughts down and I didn’t note down anything about the book or quotes for my review to write. Even books I loved and would normally gush about, I had a hard time writing a review for. It smelled a lot like a review slump. Because even those are a thing.

I’m sure you haven’t noticed as I still post about two reviews a week. Planning ahead is quite lovely in that regard.

I could not keep up

Untitled I think the main problem for me was that I could not keep up at a certain point. I started reading more than my usual average of 7-8 books a month. As I have to be in a certain mood and prefer to be alone when typing my reviews, I would already have read maybe 2-3 books further than that one review I still needed to write. And other books would be added along the way to be reviewed. It would stack up.

I could not keep my own thoughts straight on each one. I’m not a big note taker as is during reading and I was often more focused with picking up my next book than writing down some notes. There have been reviews where I haven’t even mentioned a character’s name because I literally couldn’t even remember. However this caused me stress down the line when I realized I needed to review some of these books.

Forcing myselfΒ  to write reviews because I thought it was expectedΒ 

When you take on review requests and request books on Netgalley, you are expected to review books. That I know and I have no problem with that obviously. But what caused me to stress was the books that were not review copies. Books where people would say, ‘I can’t wait to hear your thoughts on it.’ This is obviously not anyone else that is putting expectations on me. I say this a lot too because I am curious about other people’s thoughts on some books but it is never meant as an expectation for a review. More a curiousity, and that could just be one line or a conversation. But my brain translated this to something different. Why do brains do this? Really, brain, stop it.

I thought it was expected of me to review all the books all the time. Even books I had very little to say about. I feared running out of reviews to put up even though I had two reviews planned in each week, a month ahead of time.Β  This put such a pressure on myself that I lost the fun of writing reviews.

2018, not review ALL the books

Seeing all of this I know I want to change this for myself for next year. Writing reviews should not feel like such a choir. I don’t NEED to have two reviews each week. If I only post two reviews a month I’m sure I’m not going to be kicked out of the book blog club. (Which is also the whole annoying bit about my brain because I don’t think a book blog needs to post reviews to be one.) Untitled

I don’t owe anyone my review unless it is a review request. So I want to push back the need I feel to always review everything. That will be hard. So here are some things to help.

  • If I haven’t reviewed a book in a certain time than it is okay to just let it go.
  • Sometimes it is okay to review a book in a different format if I just want to shout my love about it. Like I did with The Language of Thorns.
  • I also don’t have to review all books in a series seperately. Series reviews are fine to do as well.
  • There is a good chance I’m going to let go of reviewing very popular books on occasions. I read Red Rising in October and decided not to review it as so many have already shared their thoughts. I didn’t think mine would add much and I didn’t love or dislike the book either.

Do you review all the books you read? If not, how do you choose what books you review and which not? Have you ever felt like I did? Do you have any tips on how to let it go more?

39 thoughts on “Review Slump – Do You Review All Books?

  1. Great article Annemieke!!

    I don’t review everything I read, even favorite books, for example,are often not reviewed.
    I generally read like 15 books per month and writing reviews is a really intense and energetic thing for me to do and I work on them for days sometimes, with writing everything down and doing the lay-out since I love to compose pictures and such for my headers or quotes or whatever. And doing those things take up a lot of time as well in between.

    And I have soooo many other Items/Articles on my blog which needs a lot of love and attention as well. So time-wise it’s also just not doable for me to review everything. If I would do that, I know I’d have to make concessions somewhere and it’ll probably then be with the lay-out of the articles and I don’t think I could cope with that haha because I visually want my articles to be attractive, and not only filled with text, that’s just not me. So that would mean, I’d ended up being frustrated that I just can’t get everything done the way I want it to be and that would make me unhappy.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Also, I feel you on the review slump. I have had several periods of time over the past year in which I couldn’t complete any review. Because like I said, writing them costs a lot of energy from me – I love reviewing don’t get me wrong, but it’s just really intense and tiring because I just want to do it ‘right’ for me too – and I haven’t always been in the best state of mind the past couple of years due to my Depression among other things. So it happens often I just can’t concentrate on writing a ‘good – imo – ‘review so I’ll leave it for a while and finish it later on.

      In the meantime, when I have those periods of not writing reviews, I focus on other articles, new Items and such things. Or sometimes I just don’t do anything at all when I suffer a severe Slump. But I have learned to manage these slumps slightly better and learned to let go a bit when I just can’t do the blogging for 100%. there’s still work the be done on the ‘letting it go-part’ but I’ll get there, lol.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you. πŸ™‚

        Yeah combining reviews and other articles can be a struggle.

        Letting it go is the hardest thing to do. I blog ahead so even when I am slumpy in blogging it is hardly noticable. It helps to let it go when I can’t focus on an article to write. Something is coming online still those weeks and the one i’m working on doesn’t have to be online for a while. Reviews tend to work a little different for that of course as those are more short term.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. My main problem is the time spent on just 1 article haha. I spent A LOT of time working on the layout of articles and editing the pictures, adding affiliate links, general links and such. But that’s really not something I can let go because that’s who I am and that’s recognizable about my blog I think; the energy put into the layout of everything. And whereas I definitely need to learn to let go sometimes, this isn’t something I’m willing to compromise in haha.

        But that means I often need several takes to finish an article instead of finish it in one-sitting. So when a slump catches me, it’s risky because I then end up with a lot of unfinished articles. But well.. it is what it is right? If not today, then tomorrow.. I try really heard to set my mind to that mantra haha.

        Like

      3. That is why I have a template for some posts so I just have to copy and paste that and it isn’t so much work to get the lay out the way I want it too.

        I’ve given up on graphics, haha. That helps. I suck at them anyway so I don’t do them anymore and I just spend time on taking my own pictures of the books for each post. πŸ™‚

        And it is what it is. You don’t always have to have a post go up every day or even every week. It is what you make of it. πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I review all books I accept for review and tend to hand write my thoughts as soon as I’m done with the book. Sometimes it takes me a while to write the review itself, especially if I wasn’t a fan of the book, so that helps. I don’t review every book I read though – I try but at times it doesn’t work. I think you should write reviews when you want to and post when you want to – this is supposed to be fun not stressful!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Sometimes I write down a list in a document afterwards when I can’t get myself to write it completely.
      And true. We shouldn’t be stressed about a hobby. πŸ™‚

      Like

  3. Back when I first started blogging I tried to review everything I read, but I soon stopped doing that. It wasn’t a conscious decision, just me being lazy πŸ˜‚ Now I only review those I feel like reviewing. Sometimes I love a book a lot, but I don’t know how to review it and it’s already so popular that I just leave it at that. The less popular ones I do try to review in some way though, because I want more people to read them.
    Hope you’ll feel less pressured next year! Remember, blogging should be fun so if you don’t want to review something don’t worry about it πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  4. haha just the title of your post made me smile! πŸ™‚ I finish only a very small fraction of the books I read so I have to review them because otherwise I would not have anything to post πŸ™‚

    But I often ask myself the same questions! especially… Are they good enough? and YES! writing reviews stressed me out too! I think it’s great you are going about it in a way that is less stressing!

    I’m planning only one review a week in 2018 πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great post! I rarely post reviews, just because I don’t find them that enjoyable to write, but I will occasionally if it’s a book I loved (or hated), just because then it’s easier to get my thoughts out if I can just rant. I also never know how to structure them, because I feel like if I do a detailed review it’s boring to read and if it’s a short review I feel like I’m not including enough or being too vague. Plus, I’m always worried I’ll accidentally include a spoiler, because it’s hard for me to decide whether it it’s classed as a spoiler? I’ve seen reviews that have clearly spoiled the whole plot of the book apart from the end, but not classing it as a spoiler? So it really depends on the person writing the review what they think is a spoiler or not.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. (So sorry, missed this comment)
      I agree that it is easier with a hated book or a loved book. 3 Star books are so hard.
      And yes it is hard to interpret what is a spoiler as I’ve seen people see things as spoilers that I don’t necessarily agree with. So reviews are hard. I completely understand why you don’t do them often. They are a lot of work, haha. I’m trying to change some of my up a bit with books I really liked by making 5 points or so as to why I liked it. It has helped a bit to make it more fun too.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ah no worries! Yes I know, especially as 3 stars tends to come off as me not enjoying a book which isn’t usually the case! Yes, I think that is what I may start doing – posting different review formats, rather than a formal review which I don’t tend to enjoy writing. πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

  6. When I started my blog, I never planned to review every book I read. So I don’t. Like you said, the only books you have an obligation to review are the RCs. If you read a non-RC and don’t feel like reviewing it, don’t! Anytime someone says “Can’t wait to hear your thoughts!” about a book I’m not planning on reviewing, I just respond to their comment by telling them that, and maybe I’ll just give them like a one-sentence description of my thoughts on the book if I feel like it. So I think your plan for 2018 sounds great πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I try and respond to those comments as well, but sometimes they do it when I haven’t read the book or as I am reading it and by the time I have read it or have finished it I don’t remember where the comment is most of the time or it feels weird getting back to it, haha.

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  7. I don’t review every single book I read because I just wouldn’t be able to keep up. I tried to do it for a while, but to be honest it threw me into a bit of a slump because I would wait until I’d reviewed a book before I started the next one. And then I’d put off the reviewing for aaaages and it’d just never happen. Review what you feel like reviewing!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Great post. I can relate with what you have said about reviews. Sometimes it does feel like a chore when it really shouldn’t. In my case, I try and review the ARCs but I don’t always review the non-ARCs. Most of them I just read and set aside. Do what works best for. All the best x

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Sebastian used to review every single book he read. This year (due to a combination of my influence and his lack of time), he decided only to review review copies or books where he really had something to say. It’s been a huge relief, and he hasn’t regretted it!

    I’m not a book reviewer myself. If I feel inspired after a book, I’ll write one, but otherwise I’ll just give a rating or maybe say a few words. In response to “I can’t wait to hear your thoughts on it!” I say if and how much I liked it, if I’d recommend it, and if there were any parts that were particularly noteworthy. I think that’s enough. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is great that you have had such a good influence on him. It is so hard to review every book, especially when you read a lot.

      If you write a review you are a reviewer, Maraia. πŸ˜‰

      Like

  10. I review everything I read! And I do plan ahead so two articles every week gives me enough space for reading slumps like i’m having right now…..

    I force myself to write my thoughts about a book on paper after reading it and that gets on the to write pile! Working like this allows me to go ahead with a new book and not forgetting any details from the previous as soon as I start typing the review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I plan ahead too, I was ahead a month with two reviews a week but it still didn’t give me peace of mind.

      I do need to write down my thoughts more often. Especially with 3 star books, you know.

      Like

  11. I think this is a wonderfully introspective post and very important. We, as bloggers, tend to focus on our readers and content far more than we focus on ourselves, but we must focus on ourselves. Without ourselves there is no blog. So, I think it’s important to reflect and make choices that are important for you. πŸ™‚

    I did a lot of this with my own book reviews earlier this year and realized that I needed to change the style of my book reviews a lot so that I enjoyed writing them. Because if I didn’t enjoy writing them, people wouldn’t enjoy reading them. I think it’s great that you have figured out what you need to do to enjoy blogging and reviewing books. πŸ™‚ And I know many bloggers who do not review every book they read. (I do but I also read super freakin’ slow. Hee hee!)

    I wish you the best of luck with your changes in 2018! πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Ooooh I feel you with this! I used to think the same exact thing. Luckily, I was able to put the kibosh on that and I basically review… whatever I feel like. But I’ll be honest, I almost *never* review books I don’t “have to” review. Sometimes I’ll do little “bookish thoughts” of books I read and want to talk about, but they’re just short little bits about my feelings. And even review books, there are a few that I flat out could not force myself to review for whatever reason, so… I didn’t.

    I think your goal sounds awesome- and will make you feel SO much better in the long run! Plus, think of it this way- only YOU know the books that you read and didn’t review, right? So no one will be any the wiser πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, I need to get your mojo for not reviewing some books. πŸ˜€
      So very true. I’ve already let some reviews I was going to write go or will write them as a series review. It just gives me a bit more head space. πŸ™‚

      Like

  13. Many many authors have told me that they prefer reviews on Amazon, B&N, and Goodreads over blog reviews, and it makes sense because blog reviews are usually the least viewed posts on a blog. That is why early on I decided to only review four and five star books on my blog because I felt that taking time to review books on my blog that I didn’t care for was a waste. Now I hardly review on my blog at all. I also remember reading early on when I first started blogging that shorter was better because the general public will skip over long reviews. Which is true for me on Amazon, and on Goodreads I will only read long reviews from bloggers I know. When I started doing shorter reviews on Netgalley and Edelweiss I started getting featured on the publisher’s pages for the book a lot more. I think people stress out too much about blog reviews. Most authors prefer multiple mentions with Goodreads links in features and tags, from my experience.

    I am being the opposite… I am going to force myself to do one blog review a month, up basically from none, ha ha. I wait to review an entire series with popular books, so yeah, reviewing less of the mainstream books is a good way to cut down because I don’t feel they need our help all that much anyway. I think you will feel much better with your decisions for next year. Great post! πŸ’œ

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can understand why they would prefer those. I would totally place my reviews on Amazon if they didn’t require me to buy from them first which is not going to happen. And I don’t have an account on B&N. For Dutch authors I do post it on a dutch retail website that gets used a lot to order books. But I don’t have time to go to all the bookstore websites and add my reviews there when they are possible.

      And I agree that lengthy reviews get skipped over easily, especially the ranty ones if I look at myself. I try and have my reviews be between 250-500/600 words or so. But especially on retail sites reviews should be mini I think as people just want to see in a glance if the book is what they want.

      Haha good luck. I shall cheer you on. πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I can post Amazon reviews on both the US and UK sites without purchasing. I review all of my ARCs on there. The publishers usually request it. You have to wait until it’s published, but just click on “leave a customer review” all they ask is that you leave the disclaimer about it being provided by the publisher. They have a “verified purchase” indication to identify actual purchases. You have to make a reviewer profile, but it isn’t any different from Goodreads, they don’t want any credit card info or anythng. Infact, you might not even have to do a profile, because I have seen some that just say anonymous. Click on the “leave a customer review” and see what happens. Same with B&N you don’t need a purchasing account, just a profile. I don’t usually post there unless the author stresses it, like Lori M. Lee, because the method you have to follow is complicated and I always forget it. πŸ˜‚

        Liked by 1 person

  14. Ik recenseer niet alle boeken die ik lees. Dit jaar heb ik vrij veel van de gelezen boeken gerecenseerd omdat ik minder aan lezen toekwam en wel af en toe een recensie wilde delen. In plaats van twee per week is het er nu maar eentje. Wat ik soms wel doe is een korte recensie delen van een boek dat ik eerder las of een eigen boek op een iets andere manier bespreken en zo voor wat afwisseling zorgen.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ja het delen van boeken die ik eerder heb gelezen wil ik ook nog wel doen. Maar ik kom er nog niet echt aan toe. Ik denk ook dat ik sommige boeken eerst wil herlezen voordat ik ze nog eens ga delen. En series reviews zijn toch ook makkelijk om te doen. πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

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