Pressure to Write Reviews as a Book Blogger

Today’s post is sort of a reply, and rant, to Phoenix @ Books With Wings‘s post—I was both inspired and encouraged by her to write this. Phoenix’s post was all about the pressure to write reviews as a book blogger where she talks about how, in the past, she has felt obliged to write reviews she might have had no interest in writing. Which got me thinking about how I feel about writing reviews ever since starting my blog.

One of the reasons I decided to start blogging was because I missed writing essays after getting my English degree. Although writing a review and writing an essay is not exactly the same process, they both force me to think and try to structure all my thoughts in a way that makes sense. Usually when I finish a book and I know that I want or have to write a review for it, I’ll jot down some notes on aspects I want to talk about and from there I’ll try to put it together in a way that I think will make sense. This mental exercise might take a while sometimes—especially for books where either 1) I have a lot I want to talk about or 2) I have very little to talk about. However, no matter how long it takes or how lazy I am to write them—liking something doesn’t mean I won’t put it off—I always enjoy when I finally, in a sense, crack the code.

Another advantage of writing reviews, for me, is that they help me remember a book better. I don’t have the greatest memory—it sucks—so I’ll often forget what happened in a book weeks after finishing it. This is also why I must write down what I want to talk about in my review right before finishing the book or I will definitely forget.

I also use reviews as a bit of a wildcard for the blog if I haven’t had time to prepare a post in time—hence why last week I posted two, heh. Don’t get me wrong, I only write reviews I want or have to write, and they still take time, but since I read more than I review, it does help having those tricks up my sleeve for when they might come in handy. I have plenty of ARCs and ALCs—as well as regular books—reviews that are either ready, drafted, or in the queue to be written.

Additionally, if I sometimes am just not feeling a review I have to write, I’ll opt for writing a shorter one and posting it on Goodreads or do a mini reviews post—which I haven’t done in a while but I have one lined up. I wouldn’t want the obligation to write a review for ARCs and ALCs to take away the joy of getting and reading them, so I’d rather write something shorter and to the point and not agonize over it.

Before starting this blog I had also started trying to write more reviews on Goodreads so, if I’m being honest, this is just a continuation of that goal.

Do you enjoy writing reviews or do you feel like it’s an obligation? What makes you decide whether to write a review or not for a book?

See you next time, Maria

19 thoughts on “Pressure to Write Reviews as a Book Blogger

  1. I used to feel a lot of pressure to review every book I read and to request as many ARCs as possible, but now I only take very few review copies a year and only review the books I want to talk about. Sometimes, I’ll wait and do a “mini review” for a couple books in one go. Also, I have reading experiments now, where I don’t want to review the books on top of talking about them in the feature.
    I guess what I’m trying to say is that reviews have definitely diminished on my blog, but when I look at my stats, some of my most popular archive posts are reviews. I wouldn’t stop doing them and enjoy them, but just don’t want them to be the main focus of my blog.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I also try to only request the ARCs I’m truly interested in and I try not to stress too much about the reviews!
      It’s really interesting that you reviews are the ones getting the most attention because I feel it’s quite the opposite for me!


  2. I enjoy writing reviews, and the discussion in the comments that can follow from others who have read the book. Still, I don’t review every book I read. Some don’t feel like a good fit for the blog. Others I just don’t have time to review. It’s all about balancing real life and blogging!

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  3. I really enjoyed hearing Phoenix’s thoughts on this topic, so obviously, I loved getting your input on this discussion as well, Maria! 😊 Since I already left a monstrous comment on my own thoughts on book reviews on Phoenix’s post and am extraordinarily lazy, I’m just going to refer you to there if you want my full thoughts, but to sum it up: I usually find reviews extraordinarily tedious to write (I mean, have you seen how long my reviews always turn out to be? 😅), but love having them once they’re done! Although I don’t tend to forget a lot of stuff about books immediately after reading them and usually always write my reviews at least a week after I’ve finished a book (I like having some time to gather my final thoughts), a few months later, it’ll be a very different story 😂 So I love having those reviews to look back on – particularly also the parts on how I first felt while reading a book, because, as you know, I reread a ton 😁 Especially my favorites, which are usually the books I end up reviewing in full. So I love having that documentation of my initial thoughts!

    Book reviews are never my “lazy” posts though – that honor would have to go to tags, which provide ready-made prompts for me and which I am so behind on that I am never in any danger of running out of content 😅 Whereas even at university, I was never a huge fan of writing essays… I loved discussing literature, but writing my thoughts down and supporting them with proper secondary sources always felt way more tedious to me than writing more creative texts, which is what I poured a considerable amount of my free time into. And I think I may have transferred some of those sentiments to blogging! 😂 Writing reviews is agonizingly slow work for me, and then I don’t even feel as proud of them as other posts because they don’t include anything I consider to be original and creative 🙈

    Still, for books I am very excited about, reviews must be written! And I do accept a review request every once in a while, too, when the book in question sounds interesting. I do want to support authors, after all! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I find it really interesting that you tend to review favourites because I feel it’s the contrary for me. I’ve tried to review The Song of Achilles and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo after reading and rereading them but I’m always too drained from the emotional rollercoaster and I never manage to do it 😂

      I always think tags are also my lazy thoughts but when I start to write them it always takes me waaaaaay longer than I expect, so I don’t know if I can call them that. Reviews also take quite a bit of time, but there’s something about them that make me feel more accomplished I guess. Oh, and I did like writing essays once I got the hang of it and I got to write about things that I actually cared about, so that’s transferred over.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well, I only ever review favorites after reading them for the very first time, so I kind of get where you’re coming from… After rereading them over and over again I get so emotionally attached to everything that writing a review would simply be impossible – I’d need an infinite number of words 😂

        And yeah, tags sometimes take me way longer than expected, too 😅 But not as long as book reviews, so I still consider them the lazy option! 😁

        Liked by 1 person

  4. As I enjoy writing reviews I don’t feel it an obligation but yes there are some books maybe those I didn’t exactly enjoy, make it a chore to write review. For those, I keep it to the point. I started blog to write my thoughts on books so reviews will always stay major focus of my blog. I like different formats for reviews as well, like 5 or 10 reasons to read the book or reactions while reading the book. They make reviews fun.

    Liked by 1 person

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