[LET’S CHAT] Who Are Reviews Really For?

 As book bloggers, we’re usually expected to write reviews.

I’ve talked a lot about reviews in the past few months – whether they should be subjective or objective or if we should even be writing them – and I feel like there’s always been a constant chat in the book blogosphere about how unpopular book reviews are and how some of us just really don’t like writing  them. Which begs the question, “Who are we writing reviews for if we feel like no one’s reading them?”

Of course, we’re the ones who write reviews, so they can be for…

Ourselves

Obviously, since we’re the ones who write reviews, sometimes, we might just be writing them for us for a multitude of reasons. I know I personally have the worst book memory in the world, so it’s nice to have my thoughts on a book recorded somewhere so I can always go back to it if I need some reminding. We, as bookworms, also really enjoy tracking what we read, whether it’s because we have certain yearly goals we want to meet or reading challenges we’re doing or you just want to know how much you’re reading per year. Reviews can definitely help us keep track of what we’ve read for the year. We can also see how our tastes have changed over the years, especially if you blog for a long period of time and see that as the years go by, you’re diving into different genres or not into the same genres as you were before.

Of course, whether you post your reviews on your blog or on Goodreads or on Amazon or any other reviewing type site, you will quickly realize that other people will read them, which means that reviews could be for…

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When you post your reviews for the world to see, it means that, eventually, someone will stumble upon it somehow. There are some bookworms who want to get several other people’s opinions on a book before they decide to check it out at the library or buy it, so reading reviews is helpful for them. It can also give a sense of community with other book nerds. Whether you like or dislike the book, I’m sure you can find a kindred spirit who will feel the same way, and want to rant and rave about the book to you, and that’s what’s so much fun about being a book lover. And I know there are some people who appreciate being warned about things that can trigger them in books, so having a community behind that and reviewers who do those things is always nice for those who need them.

But, of course, regular old fangirls and fanboys aren’t the only ones who are bookworms! Reviews can also be for…

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I’ve talked about this a little bit in a post last month where I talked about authors. Some people say that it’s okay for authors to see the reviews we write, but some say that our reviews aren’t for authors at all. There’s also been warnings against tagging authors in negative reviews of books, which is basic common courtesy. Personally, I’ve never had problems with posting negative or positive reviews, but I’m sure we’ve all heard of some sort of drama where an author reacts badly to a negative review and it causes lots of backlash against them, which might make some bloggers or reviewers feel uncomfortable. I’ve also wondered if authors have ever read my reviews, and I don’t mean when I tag them on Twitter, but if they ever just stumble upon my blog. If they do, EXCUSE ME WHILE I BRIEFLY PANIC.

Not to mention our reviews might get people to actually buy an author’s books or check them out at the library, and promoting an author’s books if they’re not very popular is always a good thing! We obviously love to promote the books and authors that we don’t think are getting enough attention or love.

But, of course, authors wouldn’t be around if it weren’t for a certain something. So, maybe our reviews are truly going towards…

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Of course, with this whole business of receiving ARCs, our reviews definitely, in someway, go towards publishers and publicists alike. Most of the time, when a publicist decides to accept your request on Netgalley or Edelweiss or they send you a package of ARCs in the mail, they expect you to give them some sort of publicity for it – whether it’s just telling people you have it on Twitter or taking pretty pictures of it for Instagram or reviewing the book on your blog and cross-posting the review on Goodreads and Amazon. As anyone will tell you, it can definitely cause pressure, especially when you end up requesting a lot of books that you get approved for, and realize that it seems like all of them are being published at the same time and you’re not in the mood for any of them (YES, I still regret requesting all those damn summer Netgalley books. WHY DID I DO THAT?). But, in a way, our reviews are a type of payment for them for giving us a book for publicity!

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Obviously, we as book bloggers write reviews for various reasons.

I think we all have different expectations for our own reviews and who we write our reviews for, so I definitely want to hear who you guys write your reviews for.

(Also, completely unrelated, but I’m getting braces today, AND I AM NOT EXCITED. Hopefully, it goes well.)

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Let's Chat

Who do you think reviews are really for? Who do you write reviews for?

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36 thoughts on “[LET’S CHAT] Who Are Reviews Really For?

  1. A really interesting topic. I generally think reviews are for everyone you mentioned, except the authors. I feel like whenever I write a review, I never write it with the author in mind. I am not saying anything that they should be taking into account. I am always oriented to pointing stuff out that are important for readers primarily. But even if I talk about problematic stuff or stuff that is really important, I feel that that is always directed towards publishers, and not really the author. Except if the author wants to be educated by a random person online. An interesting topic to think about though! Great post as always! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I talked about in an earlier comment when I mentioned that when I write reviews in mind and point out things, it’s more directed at other people and not at the author (and maybe for the publisher, but so many people have complained about things such as love triangles and insta-love and those stories are STILL published, so who knows if they’re listening)! 😂 Thank you! 😘

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  2. I write reviews because I enjoy talking about books. Typically, other than on my blog, I don’t have a lot of other places to discuss books. (My friends/family aren’t into books as much as I am.) I like to share my opinions, give feedback, and prompt further discussion. Even if I don’t like a book, I am not one to rip it up and say really awful things about it (or the author), but I do like to contribute some constructive feedback. I actually look at reviews and ratings on Goodreads before determining whether or not I want to purchase a book. If I am on the fence about it and then see that it has a really good rating, I am more likely to get it. For me reviews seem like a beneficial tool when navigating the seas of the million books that are out there.

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  3. AGAHAHAHAHHA SOOOOOOO WHY IS ARE YOUR POSTS SO AMAZING??

    I write reviews (not ARC’s) mostly for myself. I review every book I read on GR 674
    seconds after I’ve read the book so it helps me log my thoughts on book and it also helps e practice articulating myself so my reviews get better and better. It’s really nice to look back on old reviews and see how far you’ve come or what you thought on certain books. However, most reviews stay on GR.

    The ones that go on the blog are definitely for my readers TO READ THE BOOOOOOOOOOOKKK because it was amazing or tell them TO NEVER READ THE BOOK BECAUSE IT’s horrible or just give my opinion on a hyped book.

    Authors…I definitely only @ them in positive reviews, and I just really want to them to know how much I loved their book. If i’m lucky they reply which results in me FANGIIIRLLLLLINNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNGGG.

    I think ARC’s are soley for publishers really. Myself and readers a bit but mostly to do what you’re supposed to do.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. THANK YOU YOU ARE TOO KIND ILSA! 😘

      I don’t have Goodreads, but pretty much every book I read is reviewed on my blog. Except for school reading – because I usually hate it lol – and adult gay romance novels – which are just because this isn’t a romance blog haha. 😂 I know I usually publish reviews for my followers who like them (I don’t like writing reviews) or for publishers because I do want to get ARCs!

      I never tag authors; I’m just too nervous to do so. And if they ignored me, I’d be decreased, so I just don’t! 🙈

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  4. I write reviews for myself (so I remember what I thought about a book) and for other readers (to help them decide if they want to read the book). I don’t mind if an author reads my reviews–they can do what they want, though I think it’s helpful for them to be aware of their own ability to deal with possibly reading negative reviews–but I am not in any way addressing them.

    I know some people think reviews can “help an author improve their writing” or whatever, but reviewing and offering editorial feedback are two totally different things. In a review I can say “I didn’t connect with the main character.” If I were actually trying to address the writing of the book, I’d have to say WHY I didn’t connect and then offer suggestions for how this could be fixed (add dialogue that does x, introduce the character in chapter 2 instead of chapter 12, etc.) But, at this point, the book is published and written. I don’t really know why telling the author why I didn’t like it would “help” them because they can’t change it–unless there’s some characteristic that carries across ALL their books that they might want to improve in future books.

    I know publishers *can* make some last-minute changes to books based on reviews of ARCs but, again, at that point the book is basically written and ready to go to print. The publisher isn’t going to have the author totally overhaul something unless it’s a really, really big problem. So I don’t really see ARC reviews as providing feedback to the publisher/author either. They’re mostly publicity/marketing tools. The publisher wants me to review the ARC so other readers hear about the book and get excited to buy it. Its a visibility thing more than constructive feedback for the author.

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    1. Yeah, I think I definitely write reviews more for other people since I don’t really like writing reviews! I rarely ever tag authors in my reviews or in photos of books. I’m too terrified to do it!

      It’s funny, because I don’t regularly assume that big time authors read their reviews that much. Maybe they do, but it’s just never something that’s crossed my mind, so when I read a negative review, I’ve always thought it was more directed to other people rather than the author, like if I say I hated the fact that a thriller had a romantic plot, I’m more directing it at people who will read the review and agree or disagree.

      Yeah, I feel like the only time that’s really happened was with The Continent, where everyone was talking about how racist it was, and they pulled it and said it’d be released later. The Black Witch, which came from the same publishing company, got the same type of backlash, but they didn’t care that time, so that interests me. 🤔 But, yeah, I’ve never though that there would be a huge different between an ARC and a finished copy!

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  5. Ahhh braces aren’t fun, but believe me by the time they’re removed again it’s definitely worth it! And the amount of time you wear time feels like nothing looking back 🙂

    Anyway, this is a really interesting topic! I don’t really think about the publishers or authors (unless the author reached out to me for a review), so mostly I write it for me and for other bookworms. Like you I have a horrible memory so it’s nice to be able to read old reviews to see what I thought of it haha. But I also love sharing the love, especially when it comes to diverse and/or underrated books.

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    1. Yeah, I have them right now, and they just feel weird. 😝 It hurts to eat any food though, which sucks because that eliminates all the foods I love, but I’m hoping it gets better after a couple of days!

      I have the worst bookish memory! Even for books I love, I sometimes forget them because they’re so underrated, no one talks about them, so it’s nice to have a reminder somewhere! Yeah, same! I love talking about books that I don’t think get enough love! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ahh yeah I remember that! Every time I went back in to get them adjusted I would live on liquids because I couldn’t eat, but most of the time you can eat almost everything so it should get better!

        Haha yeah same here! One time I stumbled upon a book on my Goodreads shelf that I had rated 5 stars and I didn’t even remember it 😂 (I didn’t review books yet at that time)

        Liked by 1 person

  6. What a great post! I feel like I, personally, write reviews for all the above mentioned! First and foremost, for myself, since I don’t have anyone too really sit and chat with about books at home. That leads to me writing them for my fellow bookworms to incite discussions and share and contrast opinions, but I feel like I write them for authors too to show them how much I loved something. And, obviously, ARC reviews are for the authors and publishers benefit.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree! I don’t have many people to talk to about books, so it’s nice to rant about my opinions somewhere so I don’t go crazy with them in my mind! 😂 It definitely is nice to have people to talk to about them! I wish I had the courage to tag or talk to authors more, but I definitely do not.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I don’t think I have ever had any friends I could talk to about books. My husband hates reading lol. It’s nice to chat with the blogging community!

        You should branch out with the authors. You would be surprised how awesome some of them are. Kerri Maniscalco is very interactive on Twitter and IG. Alison Goodman interacts occasionally. I’ve had Lisa Maxwell chat on a tweet, and J.D. Netto (author of The Whispers of The Fallen series- I’m on his street team) is incredibly interactive with us. Victoria Schwab seems interactive on Twitter and a lot of bloggers say she is so sweet in person!

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  7. I absolutely relate in that I also have bad book memory. My confession is that I sometimes forget whether or not I’ve even read a book from a few years back. It’s kind of embarrassing to point to a book and say “I think I read that…. oh wait maybe I didn’t”. There are some that stand out but others blur together! So part of the reason why I write reviews is so that I will make a conscious effort to process the book after reading it 🙂

    I personally like reading reviews by other bloggers. It gives me an idea of what to expect from a book. Also before I joined the blogging community, it was always a struggle to find a book to read! Not anymore!! Because of all the reviews in my newsfeed, I now have a growing tbr. Now it is a question of choosing which one to read next, which I very much prefer!!

    Love this post and thanks for sharing 🙂

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    1. Yeah, I feel like I have this weird thing where I won’t finish a book, but I’ll still talk about how much I hate it even though I barely made it through it. Guess it made an exception?? 😂 I definitely have faves that I forget are my faves – not because they aren’t good, but just because they’re not mentioned enough. I have some adult thrillers that I adore but just never talk about since I’m always bombarded with classic popular YA series and new thrillers everyday, so there’s that!

      Haha, I never had that dilemma before blogging! I think it’s because I got into YA late, so I had so many series to catch up on and discover! 😂

      Thank you! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha I know what you mean, since I just dnf’d a book which I only read 1/3 of, and I want to shout out to the world how much I hate it! I’d like to think it’s justified because if I dislike a book in the beginning, usually I will continue to dislike it until the very end. My opinion almost never turns around xD

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  8. Love this post! I’m writing reviews for every book I read (or at least trying to…) and posting it on Goodreads. Ever since I started reviewing, I’ve become more critical and also already beginning to write the review in my head, so why not write it down on paper (or the computer screen…?) too? Also, I quite like writing reviews — it’s just the forcing-myself-to-actually-start-writing-it part that’s hard. 😂

    I also write reviews for others as well! I mean I don’t have a large following on Goodreads, but some people still read my reviews… I think. 😜 And I’ve just started requesting ARCs so I might end up writing reviews for publishers soon!

    (Ooh, braces! How are you feeling now?)

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    1. I don’t think I’ve gotten more critical, but then again, I was on Goodreads reviewing books, so I there was that! I think I still stay the same (I don’t know how other bloggers perceive me though – I once had someone tell me that they were definitely going to read a book because I didn’t give it 5 stars often, and I was like, “I don’t???” so that was interesting).

      Oh gosh, I don’t write reviews in my head! I mean, I’ll rant in reviews, but it’s definitely not the same level I would in my head, but that’s because my thoughts while reading are nonsensical, and I want my reviews to be more out together. 😂

      (I HATE THEM. They feel weird, and I can’t eat anything I love because it hurts to chew. Discovered I could eat pancakes today though, so that was a relief. 😩)

      Liked by 1 person

  9. When I began pleasure reading again, I would just rate my books on GR, but I was reading a lot of books from indy or hybrid authors, and the reviews are really important for them. So, if I loved a book, I would write something about it on GR and crosspost to Amazon. This evolved to wanting to talk about my reading experience for every book, and I write something about every book I read in GR now. So, it evolved to become a total selfish reason why I write reviews — they are for me to log my feelings and perhaps, ignite a discussion.

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    1. Yeah, I think it definitely depends on the author! Some people think reviews aren’t for authors at all, but I think there are some authors that got popular BECAUSE of this reviews (Adam Silvera and V.E. Schwab come to mind), so I think it can be for both sides. Yeah, I basically review every book I read on this site save for romance books and books I read for school, so it is a great way for me to keep track of everything in one place! 😄

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  10. I think reviews can be for anyone but the writer of the review will write them based on who THEY want them for. If that makes sense haha Like my review can be helpful for authors, publishers, or for people to make a decision on whether to read the book or not. But *I* write my reviews for myself AND for fangirling/venting purposes. I don’t do any sort of critical analysis or write eloquently (as if a publisher might read it), I write mine in a way that I hope someone will relate and just chat with me about the book in the comments. I seriously have no idea if any of that made sense hahaha I started my blog just to have a place to talk about the books I read because no one in my “real life” read – so my reviews are just me talking lol

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    1. It does make sense! 😄 I also don’t think I do critical analysis or write too well, it’s more just me either ranting or raving, simple as that! 😂 I don’t have people to talk to about books, so I definitely relate with you there; blogging is the one place where I can fangirl about books, and people understand what I’m saying!

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  11. I can’t think of a group of people I wrote reviews for other than those you mentioned! As an aspiring author I would say that reviews are incredibly important for them, so they know how rheyir readers are reacting to their books! I read other bloggers reviews primarily if I’m interested in reading a certain book, or if they are reviewing a book I already read!

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  12. Good luck with the braces! I hope they have gotten better since I had them- technology has to have improved them a little at least, right? 😉

    But yeah, this post asks SUCH a good question! And I’ll be honest, I don’t think I fully know the answer, even for myself? Well- okay, when I first started blogging, I suppose reviews were just for myself, because no one else read them haha. And I knew this, and was fine with it. Now, I’d say they’re probably 30/70 for publishers and other bookworms. Most of the books I review at this point are ARCs, so on that level, the reviews have to be a little for publishers. But, ultimately I want my reviews to appeal to other readers, because at the end of the day I guess that is who I direct them to, who I am speaking to when I write them.

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    1. Ah, they totally suck! 😂 I can’t chew anything, so there goes my favorite foods! I’m hoping they get better soon; it’s torture! 😩

      That’s a good point! I know there are some blogs out there that purely just review ARCs, and when it’s positive, I guess it’s a 50/50 situation for publishers and other bookworms – publishers because they get good praise and bookworms because they know what books to buy! I definitely do tend to target to my audience for sure when it comes to reviews! 😄

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  13. REALLY GOOD POINTS.

    I definitely think that reviews can be for publishers sometimes! But for my readers- I feel fine if it generates at least a little bit of support for the book 🙂

    Also, apparently reviews are really good to read if you completely forgot what the book was about XD

    But yes, reviews can also be for publishers to receive ARCs! ARCs, although sometimes over-hyped, are something that are really nice to have- and they can be sort of a “payment” for blogging, I guess?

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