Thursday, August 22, 2013

Thoughtful Thursdays: How do you review?

Thursday, August 22, 2013 with 14 comments

Last week, we discussed our reading habits, and I discovered quite a few -- okay, most -- of you are speed readers and about half read a story like it's an audiobook or a movie being enacted in your head. Right on. I love that no two readers are the same.  :)

But that begs the question:  if we all read differently, wouldn't it go without saying that we all review differently? Here's how the typical review goes for me:
  1. Acquire book.  Let it sit on review pile until about a month before release.
  2. Read book.  Highlight (if egalley) or flag with sticky notes (if ARC/finished copy) as warranted.  (I used to keep a spiral notebook just for review notes, but it's probably been since the first of the year since I used that thing.)
  3. Finish book right before bedtime.  Write the best review ever in head while falling asleep.  Wake up and forget everything you'd planned to say.  Attempt to recreate some of that most poignant review using "notes" made while reading.  (It used to take me at least a month to finally write a review, which is why notes were so important in the beginning, but now I usually write my review within a week of finishing a book.  This has helped my stress level immensely.)  Realize only a few passages are highlighted because book was just. That. Good.
  4. Commence fangirling:
  5. Attempt more coherent review.  Hit on favorite aspects of book, most notably the characters, the romance, and the world-building.  Anything else is just a bonus.  Try for clever closing statement; come off as more of a geek than usual.
  6. Proofread review.  Preview review.  Proofread again.  Schedule it.  Realize you forgot to mention something relevant.  Update post.  Proofread.  Preview.  Schedule.
  7. Review posts.  Wait for comments.  Re-read review.  Realize you spelled something wrong, despite all of the proofreading.  Update post.  Congratulate self on an awesome read and an awesome review of an awesome read.  Wonder why no one has commented yet. *shrug*
  8. Remember to cross-post review and update all spreadsheets.  (This sometimes falls to the wayside...I forgot to do this for the whole month of July.  Whoops.)
And that's the general process I go through with each book.  Obviously, it differs with each one, especially when said book is a disappointment and I have to completely skip #4 in favor of snarking on the book.  But you get the picture.

I know there are some people who read a book, take brilliant notes, write their review almost immediately after finishing the book, and then post their review everywhere for the world to see, garnering them much favor in the book blogging and publishing worlds.  And to those people, I say:

But I work full-time and I'm a mother of a very excitable 5yo, and this is just a hobby of mine.  Granted, a hobby that's taken on a life of its own, but a hobby nonetheless.  So, I do what I can and I manage when I can't.  My whole reading and reviewing process has evolved so much over the last two years, and it's made things a lot simpler.  And I hope I haven't just jinxed myself saying that.  ;0)

So, I'm curious, what's your reviewing process like?  Are you one of those fastidious note-takers, or do you write your reviews by the seat of your pants?  Do you write them shortly after finishing a book? And what's the longest it's taken you to write a review?  Do you review everything you read?  Inquiring minds want to know!


  1. Is it sufficient to simply say "ditto!"? :P

    I can basically agree with this entire post. That's very similar to my reading process. The only difference would be that I'm a sllooooowwww reader (not by choice, it's so frustrating!!!) so I don't read nearly as many books as you do. So I would also have to include my complete frustrating at seeing everyone else around me reviewing all the books I WANT to read, but just haven't gotten to yet. I feel like I'm frustrated with my "hobby" more often than not lately, which I don't like. I've honestly been trying to read faster... I feel like that would solve so many of my reviewing issues.

    Other than that... agreed! I read the book, go to sleep and think about my review all night, wake up and can't remember half of it, sit down and attempt to write something legible. Proofread. Preview. Proofread. Preview. Scheduled. Wait for a comment. Check back for a comment. Wonder why there isn't a comment yet. Etc. ;)

    Oh, and as far as note-taking goes... I read far more ebooks than regular books, so I've definitely gotten used to using the highlighting feature on my Kindle. Though honestly I more highlight quotes that I love, more than really anything for my review. I'm one of those "feelings" reviewers that basically writes my review based on how the book made me feel, more than the actual content. I'm very conscious of spoilers since that's such a pet peeve of mine. So while reading I highlight my favorite passages, then I go back and reread them while writing my review to see if any should be included for pure enjoyment's sake.

    Okay, I think I've rambled on enough for your post. I'm really enjoying your Thoughtful Thursdays... I was trying to think of something similar for my site, somewhere I can rant about book-related things. This is all still in the beginning stages, but will hopefully we coming soon. :D

    1. Ummm... so apparently I should also proofread my comments before posting them. Grrr... sorry about all of the errors! :(

  2. I usually review a book right after I read it, unless it's super late at night and I just want to go to bed because I have to wake up at 5am lol. But yeah I will review it right away, won't highlight anything in the book (I mostly do ebooks) and I don't keep notes I just write what I want when I want about what I want in regards to the book. Give it a general plot something about the writing style, a little about the characters, setting and of course the cover. I'm completely a go with the flow person.

  3. I've never tried making review notes before. That's actually something I should get into because my memory is like a sieve and I'm always having to flick back through a book to remind myself of parts when I'm reviewing!

    - Allie @ Little Birdie Books

  4. Besides writing my review within hours of finishing or the day after and having no spreadsheet system I pretty much review like your post states.

  5. Ohmigosh xD This is so awesome! When I review I TRY to write the sentences in order but my brain works faster than I can type xD
    Happy reading

  6. wow you put so much more into than I do. I read the book then I write the review. I hardly proofread because I am generally in a hurry to post. I just don't have much time in my life. Like you I work full time, full time mother and wife and now a full time grandmother too. I wish I had more time to devote to my hobby. i should take lessons from you.

  7. Hah hah, I love this post, Jen, especially the pause for fangirling, sleeping on it, and then revising your review.

    I go through phases with reviews--I used to be really good at posting immediately after finishing a book, back when I was reviewing a book almost daily. These days I'm still struggling to catch up, so I am going back through books that I read earlier to write my reviews. Fortunately in most cases, I've stickered the hell out of them with Post-Its so I can refer back to pages that are important! One of these days I'll be back on my game again. Hopefully. It's always interesting to see what other people's processes are, though.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

  8. 1. Love the fangirling gif

    2. You take notes. I cringe a little every time someone says they take notes, because I always feel like I should. I should bookmark certain passages and back up my assertions with examples. But I don't. So I wish I had YOUR discipline.

    3. I also really want to write reviews right after finishing. I too wish I had that discipline, but I'm just usually riding that book high or too tired to sit down and write my thoughts and months later, the review becomes an item on my to-do list. You and I could encourage each other to write the reviews ASAP, but I think we're both trying to fit our blogs into whatever time we have, so that probably wouldn't work :P. Though if you want someone to fangirl when you do write a review right after finishing the book, tell me and I will :P :)

  9. I take notes about what I want to say in my review as soon as I finish reading. I will not let myself start another book until I write my notes because otherwise I will not remember even half of what I want to mention. And considering that my reviews are pretty short, that's bad.

    I write reviews in spurts, either when I have to, or more rarely, when I feel like writing reviews. I use my notes, and usually check out a few reviews from other people to see if I left out anything important. Then I schedule and view the post in order to proofread. Go back and make updates, usually multiple times. On the day it goes live, I cross-post to Goodreads. And ignore any typos or misspellings that I see then.

  10. I LOVE THIS. I wait forever to review and I hate that I have that habit. But I'm totally like you in the way that I think of great wording as I go to bed and forget it all in the morning! It's really hard to get in the groove of reviewing for me, but when I do start, it goes...kinda...sorta...smoothly. The people who write it immediately get major props from me.

  11. I just read, usually quickly, but lately... not as quickly as I'd like. Before I just had my daughter and she's nearly 8 years old now and when I was blogging really frequently before I took a break, she was about 6 or so and very independent. I could just read, read, read. Now with my son, he's barely over a year old and he's really naughty, so I can't read as quickly...

    Anyway! I totally went into my life story there, sorry! I just basically read and write a review. Sometimes I like to sit on it. If I've finished in the morning, then I usually work on the post set-up and then go back and forth all day looking at it. I don't usually put too much thought into it or worry too much. I most fangirl in my reviews anyway and I'm not too serious. :) I only take notes if I find a quote I really like and want to include! Sometimes I forget though. :)

    Great post! It's interesting to see everyone's comments!

    Liza @ Book Crook Liza

  12. Great post, it's interesting to see how other bloggers handle book reviewing! I'm one of the ones who has to write the review immediately, or at least shortly after reading it, otherwise I will forget about the main parts of the book. I'd normally be reading something else right away too which doesn't help.

    I usually go with my gut feelings about the book and sometimes I bookmark pages on my Kindle. That's about it! I do think note taking during the book will help bring up good points though.

    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence

  13. Loved seeing your process. I read then write review on Goodreads. Much later, I copy review into blog post and start "fixing it up." Then schedule etc.

    Tanya Patrice


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...