We’ve all seen those “how-to” posts on writing reviews. Do this, don’t do that, make sure you blah blah blah.
I hate those posts. Why? Because there are no rules. There are no guidelines. Your blog is YOUR space, and yours alone. Not anyone else’s! No one should ever, ever tell you how to review (or how not to). I cringe every time I see posts like that. Here are a few lines of “advice” I’ve seen that really annoy me:
Don’t be sarcastic.
Excuse me? Telling me not to be sarcastic is like telling me to stop being…well, me. I am a sarcastic person by nature. I am very vocal about my opinion. When I don’t like something, I will be honest, sometimes brutally so. But guess what? That’s my prerogative, because it’s MY blog. I don’t think it’s okay to be rude and bash the author, but there is a huge difference between sarcasm and bashing. HUGE. I will rant about a book, how much I hated it, how much I hated the characters; but never do I bring the author’s personality into it. You will never hear me say anything like the author is a moron or the author should just not write books because he/she sucks. Ever. Now, if I see horrific behavior from an author, then it’s fair game to call them an idiot. But not because I hated their book. In fact, I know perfectly respectable, kind, friendly authors who have written books I didn’t like. It happens sometimes!
Again, if I didn’t like something, I’m going to complain about it. LOUDLY. (Isn’t that the point of reviewing? To give your opinion?!) This goes hand in hand with the sarcasm.
Along with this one is the “don’t complain that you should have DNFed.” Why not?! I’m not so much like this anymore, but there was a time when I wouldn’t give up on anything, in hopes of it getting better. Yes, I probably should have DNFed in the beginning instead of forcing myself through, but what if there’s a chance it will get better? It’s called hope.
Put your sarcasm in a spoiler.
What?? I have no problem with people doing it, that’s just what works for them. But don’t tell me that I should, too. I reserve spoiler tags for…um, spoilers. It makes no sense to me to cover up my personality in fear of offending someone. If they have such a problem with it, why are they reading the review in the first place? If you don’t like me for who I am, go somewhere else. I won’t be apologetic for that, thank you very much.
The main thing is this:
Don’t ever let anyone tell you how to blog.
If you’re sarcastic, let that personality shine through! Maybe it deters a select few people, but who cares? If they don’t like your voice, then they don’t have to read it. Simple enough.
It doesn’t matter whether you type in all caps, use exclamation marks every sentence, let some snark bleed through, or are completely calm and collected. It’s about finding your style. Do whatever works for you!
Great Post Jessi!
I completely agree. This is your space to do and say what you please. If someone doesn’t like it they can, like you said, go somewhere else.
I know not everyone agrees with my reviews, or my editorial/discussion posts. But as bloggers, we have the right to review and discuss how we like. Our blogs are ours.
I think it’s fine to give people tips about how they COULD write a review, but like you say, there are no rules. There is no right/wrong way (unless you put spoilers in your review without a warning, that’s NOT okay) to review. I love it when people use their real life voice in their reviews, because that’s how you get to know them :)
Love this!! I completely agree.
I agree so much; the whole point of blogging and writing reviews is to voice our opinions about things, whether they’re positive or negative. There’s no right or wrong way to write a review, although I will admit that I have come across a couple of review styles that I’m not a fan of because they don’t really help me, but I won’t go around telling people that they shouldn’t review in that style because it may be helpful or entertaining to other people. Your blog is your own space to say what you want to say, and nobody should tell you how to do that.
it’s like I said, it’s your blog! :) Just be yourself and the rest will follow.
I completely agree! A lot of us are doing this for enjoyment with very little, if any compensation. Great post! :)
I so agree with this post! You gotta make your blog your own and do what feels right! As a new blogger, I’m still figuring out my own review style and voice. I can already tell my writing voice is changing as I become more comfortable with it. I started out being a little more formal in my writing, because that’s what my background is in – formal and technical scientific writing. But as I write more reviews, I’m using a more casual voice that is more real to myself, and I’m learning to incorporate things like ALL CAPS and italics and bolding to convey my feelings. Your blog should be a reflection of yourself and don’t let anyone tell you how to run it!
I agree completely. If you don’t like how I write my reviews, don’t read them.
YES YES ALL THE YES.
Sarcasm has been called “unprofessional” along with “swearing.” While I don’t like swearing a review because it makes me feel weird, I LOVE my sarcasm more than breathing. Sarcasm IS breathing.
And just saying, if I hate a book, most likely I will let that be known. The author shouldn’t ever have their feelings hurt because I always try to write in a way where I talk about the book not the author but it’s honestly so fun to write negs.
Yes! This! I love this post. I actually get really annoyed by some ‘how to write a blog post’ posts, they come off as so patronising sometimes, which makes me snarkier if anything.
I’m naturally a little sarcastic and sometimes I will do that in a review. When I blog, I write the same way I would speak to someone and tell them about the book, which naturally will include a bit of sarcasm. I wouldn’t take it too far though as I wouldn’t want to hurt an author’s feelings, even if I didn’t like their book. As Nova said, when I review a book it’s about the book not the author.
Totally true! The don’t ‘complain rule’ is silly. If you are whining about the book and not giving reasons why, than sure, I will probably move on. But there is a blogger for each person. What may not be for me may work for someone else.
I totally agree! Great post. Review your own way.
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OH MY GOD! I HAVE BEEN SEARCHING FOR SOMEONE TO POST THIS KIND OF DISCUSSION. YOU ARE SO BRAVE. I LOVE THAT YOU ARE NOT ONE OF THE BLOGGERS WHO FOLLOW THOSE “HOW-TO-REVIEW” BLAAAAH!!! THIS IS MY PERSPECTIVE, TOO! I AM SORRY NOT SORRY TO THOSE PEOPLE WHO COULD NOT APPRECIATE MY REVIEW BECAUSE THERE ARE AND WILL BE MORE PEOPLE THAT COULD APPRECIATE IT WHETHER I RATE 1 OR 5 STARS.
I personally believe that each person has an unique writing style,and that even counts for reviews.I’ve seen that some bloggers have different styles of reviewing,some write snarky,sarcastic ones,some make their reviews sound so funny and some keep it professional.
And I think it’s quite stupid to tell people how to write reviews.Is there someone who’s telling the authors how to write?No,right?Then reviewers should be left alone in that case too.
Fantastic post, Jessi darling! Even though we all know it, sometimes it’s good to be reminded that it’s OUR SPACE to do and say what WE want. And OMG I totally want to make sarcasm spoilers a thing ;)
Great post and points. I agree. Blogs are supposed to be a creative outlet we indulge in, celebrating our personal love of books in our own ways. You are so right to just be yourself. Life is too short not to be.
I agree with you! Our blogs are what we want them to be and we shouldn’t let anyone control them. I was once told that I had to stop doing my posts about other things than books on my mostly book blog. But if I want to do a random post about nail polish, basketball or whatever, then I sure can!
I love this post. A few months after I created my blog, I started feeling like I was doing something wrong because people were making it seem that way. Then I went my own way, and I had a publicist tell me that she liked my blog so much that she added me to her mailing list! After that little boost of confidence, I went back to my original way of posting.
I hope more people see this because it it a great piece of advice. :)
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