Sunday 29 August 2021

Nerd Church - Reasons I Didn't Review Your Book


Yes, I'm a book blogger. Yes, I write reviews.

And yes, somehow I lucked out and reviews are some of my highest-traffic content, despite the fact that I write way fewer of them than I intend to.

Open book against a blurred greenery background. Title imposed over the top reads 'Reasons I Didn't Review Your Book'

But I don't review everything I read. Far from it.

There are people who do that - and that's amazing, I admire you so much.

But I can't.

I just can't.

I don't have the energy or the time. And I'm trying not to do the work-myself-into-an-early-grave thing. With varied results.

And whether or not I'll be reviewing your book (metaphorical author who may or may not exist,) will be based on a bunch of factors - because you know that I don't have just one reason for absolutely anything.

(Warning: this post references the affects of Depression/Anxiety)

So let's take a look at some of my reasoning (if it can be called that 😅):

Was the book 'meh'?

I can write a lot about books I loved, and a good amount about books I didn't like. 

But books which were OK - nothing wrong, but nothing special? I just don't have enough to say about it, most of the time, to actually sit my posterior down and write a review.

Bart Simpson: Meh.
Via Giphy

Do I not know how I feel about it? Can I not organise my thoughts enough to make sense?

Some books I just... don't know how to accurately explain what I think. Sometimes I'll even attempt to write a review, and then find that it's just not working. 

I can't form a coherent enough structure to talk to you lovely people about it.

If I can't explain my thoughts on a book, then there's no real point for me to be doing a review.

Did I not have enough time/energy/mental capacity to write a review?

I throw everything into my book reviews - everything. Because they're important to me.

Maybe it doesn't show in my review posts - that's up to you, my dearest nerdlets, to decide - but I like to think it shows in my review stats. 

I'm lucky in that my reviews have always been some of the most popular, traffic-wise, of my posts - and if it was just about chasing traffic, if I could just write reviews at the drop of a hat, I'd be churning them out.

But it's not. They take a lot of my time, a lot of my energy, a lot of (and yes, I know this sounds cheesy,) my heart.

And sometimes, especially with my mental health being the way it is, I just don't have enough of that review-fuel to spare.

Jodie Whittaker's Doctor: No time, Graham!
Via Giphy

Did I forget?

OK, this may be shocking, but book bloggers are human.


And even those of us who (attempt to) use it as an income stream, have lives outside of blogging.

As such, we forget sh**. 

We especially forget sh** if we have conditions like Depression and Anxiety which f**k with our memory function; like I do.

I may totally have intended to write a review -

- but suddenly it's six months later and I can't even remember the title, and refuse to write a review about 'the book with the thing on the cover where a woman did a thing - it was good, I think.' 

...That's no good to anyone.

Did I want to keep my thoughts private?

Sometimes I love a book, but I don't want to write a review.

Because I deserve to keep my thoughts to myself when I want to - simply because I want to.

I deserve to have a life and thoughts outside blogging, and outside my online life. As do you, dearest nerdlets.

 And I don't have to justify that, unless I want to.

That doesn't mean I'll never talk about the book online, or even write a review of it in the future, but I don't want to right now, for whatever reason. And that's OK. 

Because, dear metaphorical authors, I don't actually owe you anything - even if the book was free.

Do you have a reputation as an Author Behaving Badly™?

Book bloggers talk. We pass around when we've had bad experiences with authors, or know other people who have had those experiences.

Some of those stories involve actual threats to personal safety. No, I'm not kidding. I'm not exaggerating. 

Most issues between bloggers and authors are simply unpleasant - but a handful are downright dangerous.

You likely won't get many reviews if you're 'just' unpleasant to bloggers, either, FYI.

If you have a reputation of being difficult (or worse) to deal with, then people won't review your books. Because they'll want to minimise their contact with you, for their own sakes.

Simple lesson: act decently. Even if you already have a reputation, it'll fade if you stop acting like a jerk. And apologise.

Seth Meyers: Oh hell no
Via Giphy

Did you write a demand for a review at the end of the book?

Don't misunderstand me - it's perfectly fine to leave a Call To Action (CTA) at the end of your book being like, 'please consider leaving a review if you have the time!' or something similarly polite and casual.

But some CTAs are downright aggressive. Don't do that.

I have legit. read CTAs which are attempting to guilt the reader into leaving a review because the author somehow feels entitled to one. 

Some have even implied you're a bad person, or somehow stealing, if you don't leave a review.

Not only is that a sure-fire way to convince me NOT to leave a review, it's also likely to make me never want to read another one of your books. 

I didn't sign up for this fluffy romance to be yelled at at the end, k?

When it comes to leaving reviews on a site which isn't here on Dora Reads - i.e. Amazon, GoodReads, etc. - I don't generally do it.

I mean, if an author has a specific request then I consider it, and I have left reviews on Amazon in the past (before me and Amazon UK fell out big time,) but it's a lot of formatting, and I have individual reasons why I don't use various sites for various things.

(Honestly, I could write a whole blogpost or six just on the intricacies of my decision-making re: specific sites, but I'm not sure anyone has the time or energy for that - myself included.)

Quick tip, to finish, for my fellow book-blogging nerdlets: 

If you've committed to writing a review - i.e. told the author/publisher that you will - try to honour your obligations. BUT it's OK if you can't. Just communicate that clearly to the relevant people.


Try not to make promises you can't keep, but if you honestly can't fulfil that promise - even by, for example, writing a shorter review or writing the review a lot later than you intended - then it's OK. 

Just do them the courtesy of letting them know that.

You don't owe them - tell 'em I said so 😉

Do you agree or disagree with my reasons?

Fellow book bloggers: do you review every book you read?

Talk to me! 😀💬

You can follow me on Twitter @CeeDoraReads, on Pinterest, and on Dora Reads @ BlogLovin. For more ways to support me, check out the Support Me page

Previous Nerd Church Posts:

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  1. I don't review every book I've read, for many of the reasons that you cited. Sometimes it's a time thing, other times the book was just meh and I really don't feel like a review would interest anybody. I do think the relationship between authors and bloggers should be a mutual benefit. The authors benefit from getting a review, but we should also benefit from a good use of our time and respect.

    1. Totally agree. :) I know how useful reviews are to indie authors in particular in terms of exposure and hype, but there shouldn't be an expectation that bloggers (or any other readers) will automatically review your book

  2. I agree the meh books that were ok but nothing special are definitely the hardest to try and write a review for.

    I still remember once seeing a CTA that was like, "I'm giving this book for free on Amazon. If you don't review it, then shame on you!" And yep. If I'd been planning on reviewing, that would probably change my mind.

    1. Yup. I'm like, 'It was nice? And... nice?' Lol.

      Wtf are some of these authors thinking? That's not a good way to treat your reader. Smh. <3


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