Showing posts with label review copy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label review copy. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

How to Rate Books: 6 Things You Should Be Doing | Book Blogging Tips (#56)

Every reviewer needs to find a way to rate their books. A rating scale is absolutely essential, whether you just review on goodreads or library thing or your blog. 

Here are some tips on how to get started rating books.






1. Establish a scale
Most bloggers go for 1-5 or 1-10. Some bloggers also make use of the 0 rating. It's a matter of personal preference, I think, if you have a bigger scale you have more room for individual ratings. 

A huge part of your rating scale is also what you're rating in. It might seem trivial, but especially if you have a themed blog, you might want to consider a very unique rating scale. Instead of rating in plain stars, you could make little graphics and rate in strawberries, books, top hats, whatever you fancy. It's by no means a must and the good old star rating scale works as well.

2. Think of criteria
To some people it may just come naturally how they're rating a book, but I guarantee you, if you're just starting out reviewing things you will not be able to rate something ~naturally~. It's a skill that's built over time, so as a newbie you have to think of certain things that a book needs to have if you want to give it a certain rating. This may sound more difficult than it actually is; let me illustrate:
  • 5 star books: Nothing to complain, you loved everything, the characters are great, the plot is fantastic
  • 4 star books: A little to complain, you still loved everything, the characters are mediocre, the plot is mediocre
  • 1 star books: You hated everything, the characters are terrible and so is the plot.

3. If you're unsure, compare
In my early blogging days I used to always go back to my older reviews and compare the book I had just read and wanted to review to them. Example:
  • You gave BOOK 1 4 stars
  • You gave BOOK 2 2 stars
  • You like book you've just read not as much as BOOK 1, but more than BOOK 2. Therefore BOOK 3 gets three stars

4. Stop being so harsh/generous
Yes, before I've even seen a single review you've written, I can already tell you that you're either giving everything 5 stars or nothing 5 stars. This is a very common thing with new bloggers, and there is really nothing that can fix that aside from experience. I'm one of those people that tend to always be too harsh and very very cautious with their 5 star ratings, which is actually the worse option. 

If you're like me, you're doing more harm with your reviewing than you're helping. Authors and publishers don't want to see negative review and neither do your readers. This doesn't mean you should rate everything great or not review at all, this just means that you have to be REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY sure about your ratings. Are you very confident in the ratings you give out?


5. Look at other bloggers
This is essential. Every book blogger MUST read other book blogs or in the very least other reviews. You have to look at other people to get a feel of what you're doing. If you're always giving everything better or worse ratings than eveeryone you'ree following, you very likely have a rating problem. 


6. Always go back to your older reviews
Even after almost three years of blogging I still go back to older reviews and check with the older review you've written. Either to rework or to compare the way you're rating now to the way you used to rate. You can always learn from your old mistakes, make use of that opportunity!

But always remember: These are only suggestions, at the end of the day it is your blog and you should and have to review the way you want to.


How do you rate your books?




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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

What Book Blogging Really Is Like | #BloggerConfessions





Today I'll be letting you guys in on a couple of secrets about blogging. 

I think we all know blogging isn't as easy as it looks, but what is it really like? 

~ Well, come in and find out ~





  • #1: Obsessing over self-imposed deadlines
90% of the time you won't have a deadline for reviewing a book. Sure, with ARCs sometimes people will say "review before or close to the release date", but in real life any and every review whenever helps. 
The only deadlines I've ever had were those that I invented myself; the more review copies you accept, the more stressed out you get - the more you obsess. Ugh

  • #2: Side-eyeing other bloggers' follower counts and trying to keep up
It's not necessarily a matter of getting jealous, it's more about feeling left behind. Feeling like people surpass you. I definitely do try to keep up with my friends, to look at people's follower counts who have been blogging as long as I have, and it's really not a good habit. Adds unnecessary stress.

  • #3: Cringing at old posts
All day, every day! Sometimes I click through my old posts and cirnge at every single one. I don't think this will ever stop.

  • #4: Having slight breakdowns when all ARCs come at once
Again, this goes hand in hand with #1

  • #5: Refreshing the page 100 times after a new post went online
Do people like it? Did I make an annoying mistake that will make me cringe for 10 hours? Will this post do well? Will people hate it? You bet I'm refreshing my site 3829829 times every time a new post goes online.

  • #6: Really not reading that much
Yes, we're book bloggers, but reading is really not even half of what this gig is about. Maintaining a blog site is so much work from formatting, to designing, to brainstorming, to writing posts, to commenting, to replying to comments and so many more things! 

IT'S REALLY SO MUCH WORK, and in addition to that, many bloggers have day jobs and/or go to school, and there really isn't that much time left for actual reading. Sometimes I go months without reading a single book, but you guys would never know from looking at my blog because all the reviews are queued up as if nothing happened. Muhaa #trickery

  • #7: Wrestling emails
Review requests from authors, requesting books yourself, dealing with regular inquiries - I spend a good hour daily just replying to emails. Book blogging is really a surprising amount of office work.

  • #8: Crossposting until you want to throw out your computer
Crossposting is a must if you want your blog to grow and the bane of my existence. You must crosspost every single post to every social media platform you have, sometimes even a couple of times to give it the maximum exposure. 

Some sites can do this automatically for you and you can cheat a bit with Wordpress widgets, Google+, and Bloglovin, but you'll always always still have some outlets left to crosspost manually to. Sigh.

  • #9: Theme customization until somebody cries (it's probably me)
Just when you think you've reached that point in your blogging career where you're confident with your old posts, your theme, everything about your blog - oh boy, you'll have another crisis incoming.

I don't believe that blog themes are ever complete, I actually just changed something about it yesterday. Who knows, maybe I'll completely redo the entire site next month and then spend another year completely customizing it to my likings! Wow, just the thought of that makes me want to quit blogging!


What are some of your #BloggerConfessions? 

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Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Read Only Popular Newly-Released Books? NAH! Reasons to Read Backlist Books




In the blogosphere you'll often notice that many bloggers seem to only be reviewing popular books. There are many reasons for that, free review copies, the hype around those books, or simply just seeing them in a bookstore and being unable to resist. 

Whichever reasons you may have for predominantly reading new books, allow me to introduce another concept: b a c k l i s t books.

What's a backlist book?

A backlist book is a book that has been out for quite some time. It's typically not promoted as much anymore, and probably not hyped as much anymore.

But won't reviewing "old" books impact my views negatively?

I mean, it's no secret that reviews aren't necessarily the way to go if you care a LOT about your views and only want to post stuff that will possibly blow up and go viral. Whether you review backlist or frontlist books, you won't get a lot views either way. 

But the thing is, not all bloggers are always on the lookout for the newest books. And bloggers aren't your only readers anyway, there are lots of people who read book blogs but don't blog themselves. And they won't have the faintest idea what you recently got in your inbox, what book just got sent out to reviewers and is everything everyone is reading. 

From experience, my own and that of others, I know that most people either go for reviews of 

a) books they have read                   or                      b) books they have heard a lot about. 

And either can be backlist or frontlist. It really, really, really doesn't matter to your readers what you review. If you are still skeptical, go for backlist books that have a lot of reviews and generally have been popular.

But why should I even read them?

Because it helps the authors and publishers tremendously! And we all should generally just stop always chasing the newest hit, this is super boring, don't you think? 
  • Imagine a world in which authors only get buzz in the first year that their book is out. 
  • Imagine a world in which you can't be a successful author unless you put out a new book every year. 
Sounds boring, doesn't it.

Backlist books don't bite, I don't get why this is even an issue I have to address. Do you purposely walk past book stores and not buy what's on sale unless it's a brand new book? C'mon. Stop this. Review backlist and frontlist, guys. 

Do you read backlist or frontlist books or a mix of both?

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Thursday, December 10, 2015

How to Deal With DNFs | Book Blogging Tips (#29)


We've all had it and we all dread it. DNF-ing a book is probably one of the worst things to happen to a book blogger. 

But sometimes you just don't want to finish a book and that's perfectly okay. 

What is a DNF?
A DNF is a book you did not finish for what reason ever.



Why It's Okay
Not all books are for everyone. 
You have to think like this: If you're forcing yourself to finish every single book you start, you'll miss out on a lot of great books while you're stuck reading the shitty ones. Life is too short to torture yourself with bad literature. Don't feel bad because your taste doesn't match with every single thing you read.

I've even DNF-ed books and afterwards went on to ask a friend who read it about what happened next. If you simply don't feel like the writing clicks with you - don't read it. You're under no obligation to finish any book.

When to DNF
  • You don't have any enthusiasm left for the book, you're dreading every page you have to read. When is it over again?
  • You dislike the characters so much that you've just stopped caring about their journey
  • The author pulls an unforgiveable faux-pas
  • The plot is too graphic, too emotional, too violent etc. for your taste
  • Poor langugae makes you have to guess what the author is trying to tell you
  • Copy cats: Haven't you seen this somewhere else? 

As you see, there are millions of reasons to DNF a book. If yours is not on this list I'm not even surprised. You can DNF for thousands of reasons and every single one is a justified and perfectly okay reason to.

What if it's an ARC?

Actually, most publishers I've worked with state in a the package leaflet that it's okay if you dislike a book. You don't even have to DNF it- if you flat out change your mind about wanting to read a review copy , you should send your contact an email. 

Most publishers are very considerate. You can even send the copy to another blogger for review and inform your industry contact. You don't even have to be specific as to why you didn't want to read the review copy after all. Just be respectful and state that the book wasn't for you.

With review copies though I have a minimum of 50 pages for every book to get me hooked. Don't DNF if you've only read ten pages, especially not with review copies, that's just disrespectful. 


How do you handle DNFs?

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