When Ya Know, Ya Know

As a blogger, and a person, I have realized that I am always striving to do everything right. I have learned recently that doing everything right doesn’t always mean it’s…well, right. Since I have started this site and began reviewing I have always turned to other bloggers to see what to do. I have done what they have done. Reviewed and rated as they have. I have also been terrified to do something wrong, to say the wrong thing, to give the wrong review/rating.
It’s a hard thing to do sometimes, stand on your own two feet. I was a lone blogger for a few months before I began making other blogger friends, mainly those in Tennessee and some in Georgia. After that I had an amazing group of people all willing to help each other out! Blogging wasn’t such an isolating hobby after all! Even after that I still had such a hard time finding my own groove.
Figuring out the ratings was one of the hardest for me. To me a three star was bad, but then if you head over to Goodreads you will discover that it actual means “I liked it” huh. So now those dozens of books that I felt bad giving 3 stars to so I gave a 4 star could actually have been 3 star and it would have be okay? The first time I gave a three star to a book I felt so incredibly bad. I felt so bad that I actually wanted to rate it 4 stars and but my soul wouldn’t let me. I just couldn’t in good faith give it anything besides a 3 star, but I still felt horrible. So I wrote the review, posted it, and…everything was fine. The world didn’t explode and come crashing down on me like I thought it would.
I made it over that crisis and began rating book on a 3-5 star scale pretty honestly. Then came a 2 star book. Once again I was forced into inner turmoil. Do I attach a 2 star to this book and risk the wrath of the world or do I give it a 3 star and then bring down my rating integrity? What to do!! I voiced this battle to another blogger, Marla, and she told me to rate it honestly. So I did. And again, the world went on.
And then came the dreaded one star. This particular book was almost a ‘Did Not Finish’ but I pushed through and boy was it painful. I have never had a more painful experience reading a book. At times I felt like it was sucking my soul out. So I turned once again to Marla and her words went something like this, “If it feels like it’s killing something deep within you, 1 star. If you feel like you have been better had you not read it, 1 star.” That was it. I agonized internally over whether or not to post a review, the author had sent me this book to review and I am sure she wasn’t going to be looking for a one star review. So I decided not to post it.
If there are any new bloggers reading this right now that moment was a huge moment for me and you will have the same moment one day too. I had to put my big girl pants on do what was right, what was really right. People go to book blogs for an honest opinion. They don’t read blogs to see people sucking up to authors. I could not in good faith give this book a 2 star when I know it wasn’t anywhere near the level that my other 2 star was. I couldn’t bring down the other book by rating it the same as this book. So, I had to give it a 1 star and then I decided I had to post it to keep my integrity. Then I ran for shelter and waited for Armageddon to start. After a few minutes I poked my head out from under my bed, saw my room still standing, and realized that it was fine. I gave my honest opinion, was respectful, and followed my instincts. You can’t go wrong with that.

I am still learning a lot about blogging and how to be successful but most importantly I am still learning to be myself and not copy any other blogger. Lauren taught me that as a blogger it is my job to promote books by posting about them on my website. I don’t have to be super professional or robotic, I just have to promote. And you know what? The first review I wrote after that was one of the funnest ones. I loved the book and I loved the review just as much. I finally felt like it was an accurate description of how much I love the book.

So at the end of this long blathering post I can say that I have finally come to a place in blogging here I am able to be myself, or at least begin to be myself. Hopefully any new bloggers will be able to take good things away from this and veteran bloggers will be able to offer advice. YA book blogging is a really great community and I am so happy to be part of it.

Comments

  1. I actually didn’t post ratings on my reviews for the first year of blogging and I liked the freedom inherent in that, but I did decide to add them for the convenience of my readers. They may not want to read the review right now, because they’ll be reading the book soon, but might still wish to know what I thought. The rating is good for that.

    It does open up a whole other can of worms though. People constantly comment on my 3 and 3.5 star reviews saying how sorry they are that I didn’t like the book. A 3 is not bad, or, at least, not by my rating scale. My ratings are obviously a bit lower than yours, because that’s how my scale goes.

    Reviewers that never post low ratings don’t help me. I have no idea which 4 star reads are actually good, so their opinions don’t carry weight. Yes, I do often feel bad for not being able to rate books more highly, but if I’m not feeling it I can’t say otherwise. Though, I sometimes do by accident and later am like WHY DID I RATE IT THAT WAY?

    To sum up, just be yourself and rate them how you feel. It comforts me to remember that I am rating how good the book was as a book FOR ME, not its general quality. I’m not a reviewer for Kirkus. I’m here to show my personal reactions and speak for no one else.