Behind the Scenes of a Book Blogger

Behind the Scenes of a Book Blogger


When I first started Sarah’s Book Shelves, can you believe I’d never read a single book blog? By the time I started reading other book blogs (well after I started Sarah’s Book Shelves), I still didn’t know what terms like “TBR”, “ARC”, and “galley” meant. I resorted to Google to figure it out because I also didn’t have any book blogger friends yet to ask!

Earlier this year, I learned that over 70% of my blog readers are not bloggers themselves. And, you all may be a lot more savvy with all these blogger terms than I was, but I thought a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the lingo many bloggers use and how many bloggers run their blogs just to make sure no one is as confused as I was might be in order!

This post contains affiliate links (plus: here’s your Amazon Smile-specific affiliate link).


  • Affiliate Links
    Many bloggers participate in various affiliate programs (Amazon is the most popular one), which means that the blogger will get a small (and, when I say small, I actually mean minuscule!!) commission when you make a purchase by clicking on one of the blogger’s affiliate links. This a great way for you to support your favorite bloggers at no cost to you!
  • ARC (aka Advanced Reader Copy) or Galley
    Publishers send bloggers copies of upcoming releases, so bloggers can read and review the books prior to publication. These are called ARC’s. Bloggers are not required to review every ARC they receive, but publishers do pay attention to whether or not bloggers actually publish reviews…and publishers can decline to send a blogger future ARCs due to a poor track record. Bloggers are also not allowed to sell these ARCs (although it happens constantly!).
  • Auto-Buy Author
    When you will read every single thing a certain author writes, no matter what. Some of my auto-buy authors are Meg Wolitzer, Anna Quindlen, Ann Patchett, John Irving, and Pat Conroy.
  • Backlist
    A book that was published before the current year. Let me tell ya…I’m TERRIBLE about fitting backlist books in amid all the shiny new releases that grab my attention. I promise myself every year that I’ll read more backlist and I rarely keep that promise.
  • DNF (aka Did Not Finish)
    When you quit reading a book before you’ve finished it. People tend to either be DNF’ers or not. I used to finish every book I started, even if I didn’t like it. Then, I saw the light. I’m now an unapologetic DNF’er. There’s just not enough time to stick with a book I hate!
  • Edelweiss and Netgalley
    Two websites where “professional readers” (e.g. book bloggers, book sellers, media, etc) can request ARCs (see above) they’re interested in from publishers. Publishers either approve or decline the blogger’s request. If approved, the blogger can download an e-galley. This is how I get most of my ARCs.
  • Free Range Reading
    Reading whatever you want, whenever you want. Many bloggers (including me) choose what they read based on the ARCs they have and when those books will be published. If you’re not a book blogger, all your reading is probably free range reading…and, I’m a little bit jealous of you! However, I do set aside the end of November and all of December to do some free range reading.
  • Reading Hangover / Recovery Book
    When you read a book that blows your mind so much that nothing you read next could possible live up to it. My strategy to recover from reading hangovers is to choose your follow-up book (aka “recovery book”) wisely. I usually pick something that’s completely different from the book that blew my mind…so, any comparison would be apples to oranges. See my Alcohol & Advil posts for this in action!
  • Reading Slump
    When you’ve read a couple books in a row that you haven’t liked all that much. I dread these and can feel them coming on sometimes!

Reader Questions

I asked the members of my Superstars Facebook Group (support Sarah’s Book Shelves on Patreon to get access to the Facebook Group) to share their burning questions about the life of a book blogger.

Q: I’d like to know what you like best about reviewing and blogging about books and what you like least. I’d also like to know how long you’ve been doing this and what, if any, changes you’ve seen as time has progressed.

A: What I like best…definitely all the reading! I love recommending books to people. I love being involved in the book world. I love all the people I’ve “met” through blogging and having these people in my life that love to talk books just as much as I do. I love the excitement of figuring out what new books I’m interested in reading and finally starting a book I’ve been anxiously awaiting. And, I love the feeling of having something of my own amid all the mothering.

What I like least…making graphics! Yes, really. My design eye is terrible and I’m never happy with how my graphics look…or how long it takes me to make them. If I could hire someone to handle certain blog-related tasks, graphics would be at the top of the list. Also, social media. Sometimes I wish I was a millennial so it came more easily to me. Instagram is especially tough since I read mostly on a Kindle…so, I don’t have lots of beautiful book covers lying around to photograph. 

How long I’ve been doing this and what’s changed…I started this blog 5 years ago and never in a million years would’ve thought I’d still be at it and enjoying it. The single biggest change I’ve seen is the rise of #bookstagram and book bloggers whose blogs are almost secondary to their Instagram accounts. I’ve also seen many book bloggers come and go. Many of my favorite blogs from a few years ago either don’t exist anymore or are now inactive. And, many of my current favorite book blogs didn’t exist a few years ago.

Q: I’ve heard some bloggers say they won’t review a book on their blog that they didn’t like or the ones they DNF. So all their books are typically 4 star reviews with an occasional 3 or 5 star one. Others will post negative reviews. Not ones that trash either the book or the author but honest. Some bloggers I’ve learned not to trust their ratings because I don’t see how they can 5 star love every book they read. As a reader I learn as much if not more about negative reviews than positive ones. Does getting “free” books influence your opinion at all? Does having a blog and wanting a good relationship with publishers and authors skew your rating more to the positive side? Even unconsciously a little bit?

A: This is such a great question…lots to unpack here. I’m going to take it in parts.

Bloggers Not Posting Negative Reviews
When I first started blogging (and reading other people’s book blogs), I was so surprised to find out that some bloggers choose to say nothing about books they didn’t like or didn’t finish. Now that I’ve been around awhile, I’ve discovered that there are two general camps…bloggers that do post critical reviews and bloggers that only talk about books they like.

I’ve heard a couple rationales for not posting critical reviews:

  • Authors work so hard on their books that bloggers don’t want to diminish the authors’ effort.
  • Bloggers are concerned that their readers will see a book on their blogs and not remember what the blogger actually said about it. For example, a reader is browsing in a bookstore and sees a book she saw mentioned on my blog. All she thinks is “Oh, I saw that on Sarah’s Book Shelves,” but doesn’t remember that I actually didn’t like that book and wouldn’t recommend it.

I’m sure there are some bloggers that choose not to post critical reviews just to keep publishers happy…ensuring they continue to get ARCs. But, I don’t think I’ve ever actually heard a blogger admit to it.

I always share my honest thoughts about the books I read, positive and/or negative, and I also share my DNFs in my Monday update posts. I always share my feedback with publishers and, so far, it has not affected my ability to get ARCs. I will say that I request most of my ARCs from Netgalley or Edelweiss (see above), so I’m sort of dealing with a faceless website. The very few times I’ve requested ARCs directly from actual people at publishing houses, I did feel more guilt posting a critical review. I haven’t requested a book directly from a publisher’s representative in almost two years because I didn’t like that feeling.

Skewed Ratings
My ratings are absolutely skewed. But, not because of relationships with publishers. My ratings are skewed high because I DNF a lot of books. I rarely finish a book I’d rate less than 3 stars. I don’t rate the books I DNF, so most of my ratings end up being 3 stars or above.

Q: I would like to know how you choose which books to recommend to a reader looking for something different/new to venture into. A new genre or author they might never have thought about – getting out of their comfort zone. 

A: I try to recommend books that would be considered “crossover” books (i.e. books in a certain genre that have very broad appeal…even to people that don’t normally read that particular genre. A few examples: Station Eleven for dystopian/speculative fiction, Dark Matter for Sci-Fi, You Think It, I’ll Say It for Short Stories, The Devil in the White City for Nonfiction, The Hate U Give and The Takedown for YA. I also try to get a sense of some common threads the reader gravitates to in his/her regular reading (e.g. characters he/she can relate to, plot vs. style, a vivid setting, dual timelines, etc) and apply that to some books outside of his/her comfort zone.

Q: I would like to know how you built your number of followers.

A: Oh Lord…I wish I knew! I also don’t feel like I have that many followers. Especially when I look at other bloggers’ Instagram accounts.

Over the past few years, I’ve been putting most of my energy into Pinterest and growing my email subscriber list. I also try to pay attention to SEO (search engine optimization – the tricks to getting your post ranked in Google’s search results). I can’t say if any of these helped me grow my followers more than others, but they’re just where I’ve focused the most energy.

What other questions do you have about the behind the scenes of running a book blog? And, fellow bloggers, chime in on these questions in the comments section!

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  1. What interesting questions! I’ve only been blogging for 4 months, so I don’t have very many readers, but I think the few readers I have are all book bloggers (and my family ha ha).

    As far as not posting negative reviews, I’m in the camp of not talking about books I don’t like at length on my blog. The only reason for this is that I don’t finish books I don’t like, and I don’t feel like like I could fairly write a full-length review for a book I didn’t finish. I still say that I DNF the book and why in my weekly wrap-up, and I give feedback on Goodreads and NetGalley. It just doesn’t get its own dedicated blog post.

    Posted 4.24.18 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      I bet you have more no-blogger readers than you think! I tend to think a ton of my readers are other bloggers b/c they’re the most vocal in the comments section, but I did a reader survey and found 70% of my readers are NOT fellow bloggers…they’re just quieter!

      Oooh – I get what you’re saying! I don’t write actual reviews of books I DNF, I just share what I thought of what I did read in a few sentences in my weekly round-up, so it sounds like we actually do the same thing.

      Posted 5.1.18 Reply
  2. I agree that the best part of book blogging by far is the reading, but I also enjoy the graphics part, though I wish I was better at it.

    The posting of negative reviews is so tricky. I’m willing to post a negative review, but I always feel guilty doing it. I just finished a book I thoroughly disliked and it wasn’t an ARC, so a big part of me feels like I shouldn’t waste time on my blog for a book I can’t recommend to anyone. Sometimes I save those types of books for some sort of mini-review post. I bury them!

    And social media? Ugh!!!

    Posted 4.24.18 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      OMG – you like graphics?!! Want to do mine if I do something of yours?! Haha!

      I will review a book I didn’t like (or didn’t love as much as some others did) that wasn’t an ARC if it’s a hyped book…like Eleanor Oliphant or Gentleman in Moscow. And, I’ll generally give those full length reviews…they tend to be the ones that wrack up the pageviews via Google search for months or sometimes even years!

      Posted 5.1.18 Reply
  3. Gwen S wrote:

    While I’ve been on a sort of reviewer’s block hiatus for a couple of years, my blog is has been around for over ten years.

    My one comment on negative reviews is that you have to up your editing game than ever. A misspelling, grammatical error, whatever, and fans, authors, or even PR people from for the book are possibly going to be all over your rear end, in my experience, at least.

    My experience might be skewed slightly since I tend to review nonfiction and sometimes small print house nonfiction so they watch/monitor mentions and reviews of their titles more easily and closely. My policy is to double check is one of the above points out an error, fix it if the comment about the error is valid, and then continue to stand behind the overall review, yet not engage further. Other than that, I try not to hold back as long as I can put into words what I didn’t like and it isn’t a personal thing like I hate all characters named X, so this book sucks. That’d be silly and unfair. Lastly, if I do have a direct relationship with the publisher, PR person, or author, I will often send them a draft beforehand so they can have a head’s up and we can work on any miscommunications if there are any.

    Also, I’ve stopped reviewing the books of authors that have become friends, it’s just awkward all of the way around. I’ll read them, send editing notes, give them an honest rating on Goodreads, yet no actual review. I have a few exceptions to this and that is because they publish their books in another language before it’s released in English. While I can’t speak Spanish or Italian, I can read it and will jump on them ASAP to compare and contrast the translations once they come out and because I’m just mad about their work. Haha. Being able to get them that much earlier is the ultimate in ARCs for me and works in translation can lose a ton of the nuance that I do not want to miss.

    There have been many horror stories over the years of authors having meltdowns on reviews and it’s like watching a train wreck, you can’t look away even though you feel pity for seeing them get so petty and go bezerk. I also feel bad for the blogger until they start to feed the beast and reap the viral rewards of it.

    As to my hiatus, there are many of us that lose our mojo for one reason or another, often not even related to books. I’ve tried a zillion different ways to get my mojo back and they’ve all failed.

    The last few months I’ve been trying to slowly get back in the habit by posting more complete reviews on Goodreads (or your chosen book tracking site). My hope is that I’ll get back in the habit and then start expanding on them and posting to the blog again. It’s working so far, yet is a process. Also, I read a mass amount of books every year, which would be overload for anyone to review them all, so I make sure to constantly alternate my personal choices with ARC’s to lower the pressure somewhat. If it’s a non-ARC, I can review it if I feel like it or I can give myself a break.

    Also, mix it up if you feel burned out, with new genres, new age groups, new people to get reccomendations from, the top borrowed lists from your library, etc. Expand your horizons.

    Posted 4.24.18 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      This is great perspective! I think things have changed over the past few years..either that or no one is paying attention to me! I’ve never had a publisher say anything to me about a critical review and I’ve also never sent a critical review to a publisher in advance. I’ve only had one author contact me about a critical review and, while annoying, he wasn’t irate or crazy and only contacted me that one time.

      And I think not reviewing books of authors who are friends is a good policy. I don’t do that either. My college friend recently published her debut novel and I didn’t review it. Instead, I did a Q&A interview with her and put her in touch with a couple of my blogger friends to get galleys and review.

      And I hear you about losing you mojo or it going in waves. I can kind of feel myself sliding into a slump right now. The ideas aren’t flowing as well, the unique words to describe books aren’t flowing as well, and some new ideas I was excited about haven’t taken off like I’d hoped. But, I realize my life would be worse off without the blog too, so I’m just pushing through and not putting too much pressure on myself about it.

      Thanks for your thoughts!

      Posted 5.1.18 Reply
      • Gwen wrote:

        Keep pushing, you’re doing great and have some really creative ideas!

        I had to giggle about you only having one comment from an author. For a long time, I published reviews for various print publications, some of which did “sponsored” reviews. There was one of those that not only was the book crazy, the guy ended up tinfoil hat bonkers as well. Luckily, my publisher got most of the blowback, yet I did have an online stalker on my reviews for a while until someone else got on his nerves. I think that was the last sponsored book that I ever reviewed, though it didn’t make me dismiss self-published books out of hand like many bloggers/reviewers do. I’ve come across some amazing books and authors that way that later land a contract. It’s a cool feeling to think that my review may have had a teeny tiny part in helping make that happen.

        Perhaps it’s experiences like that and that I’m willing to give a gander to self-published books that have shaped how I deal with critical reviews the way I do. I like to avoid the tin foil before it gets public!

        Also, I totally get what you mean about finding unique words and ways to describe books. I think that part of what saved me from that for a long time was that I was writing reviews for various publications and my own site, different audiences wouldn’t notice at all. Now that I’ve cut back on reviews for publications, it’s a real challenge.

        One thing that I’m trying out now is in connection with my volunteering for the local Friends of the Library. I’d love their newsletter to include a review or two of the latest since our book groups tend to plan so far ahead that the books are old news by the time they are covered. Seriously, this month is Henrietta Lacks, I read it when it came out and now barely remember anything other than the important details! (Since I’m taking over as editor of the newsletter, well, I’m going to have more control of that. Bwhahahaha!)

        If that works, I’ve approached the Librarian about a shelf tag here and there with short reviews from various Friends members. There are a few kinks to work out with that, think we will work it out though.

        At the end of the day, for me, it’s all about our love of books and getting them into people’s hands. How that happens feeds my creative side and that’s wonderful!

        Posted 5.1.18 Reply
        • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

          Thank you and glad you’ve found something that’s feeding your creativity and love of books!

          Posted 5.12.18 Reply
  4. The book blogging world is probably confusing for people who are on the fringes of it. I’ve worked for publishing companies, so I knew a lot of the common terms before I started my blog. I also hate social media and making graphics. I wish I could just read and blog and let someone else handle all the tedious stuff.

    Posted 4.24.18 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      I know, right?! I’ve sort of thought about trying to find some high school kid that will do an unpaid internship – ha!

      And I’d love to know all the behind the scenes stuff about the publishing world – I never worked anywhere close to it and find it fascinating!

      Posted 5.1.18 Reply
  5. Angela wrote:

    This is so helpful for bloggers and non-bloggers alike! I DNF quite often, and I don’t rate DNF’s. I do post negative reviews, though, but nothing less than two stars (I feel like if I made it through the book, it deserves that). Social media is something I have not gotten into yet, just FB and I use Pinterest quite often.

    Posted 4.24.18 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      I agree – if I finish a book, it’s usually at least 2 stars.

      And FB and Pinterest are social media!! Well, FB is at least. I think of Pinterest as more of a search engine than a social media network.

      Posted 5.1.18 Reply
  6. Ann Marie wrote:

    Like you, I’d never read a book blog before starting my own. Big mistake on many levels… I still feel very insecure about posting negative reviews but feel they are a necessary part of the “job”. I get a lot of books sent to me and I never know if I should respond with a link to a less than stellar review. On the one hand, I don’t want to NOT send it to them as I don’t want them to think I didn’t read the book or that I’m ungrateful. On the other hand, it’s not very comfortable to send the link knowing they will be disappointed. On the other hand, (Yes, there are 3 hands here!) it’s posted and they will see it anyway if they are inclined to look. So, what’s a book blogger to do?

    I’ve recently started DNF’ing more books. It’s very liberating. If I live to be a million years old, I will never get to all the books I’d like so why waste time on one I’m not liking?

    Awesome post, BTW!

    Posted 4.24.18 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      Thanks so much! I actually think not reading other blogs before starting my own was both good and bad. There are some very obvious things that I’d have learned from reading other blogs that I didn’t do for a long time that would have helped me grow much faster. But, there are also some things I do a little differently than other bloggers that were there from the beginning…and I probably wouldn’t have done those things had I been reading other blogs (and not seeing these things).

      Posted 5.1.18 Reply
  7. Jan wrote:

    Sarah, great post and loving the comments as well. I don’t have a blog but I do get review copies from NG and EW, with a few paper ARCS from publishers. I hate to leave a negative review but have done it cautiously, and I hope kindly. If it’s a DNF I send the publisher a note saying I didn’t finish and would not be reviewing.
    So many times a negative review on a blog has made note of issues that let me know it’s not a book for me so I don’t waste my time. As a reader that’s invaluable! I wish there were another word for it….negative has such a, well, negative connotation! Not every book is for every reader.

    Posted 4.24.18 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      How do you have access with NG and Edelweiss without a blog?! Is it because you review on Goodreads? Good to know if you can get those accounts without an actual blog!

      I try not to be mean in my critical reviews…try to keep the negative aspects as critical feedback rather than bashing.

      Posted 5.1.18 Reply
      • Jan wrote:

        Sarah, when I made my profile on NG I made it as strong as possible and added links to my accounts on GR, IG, and Twitter. I also started slow and make sure my feedback ratio is kept at least 80% (and preferably over). I don’t get approved for every title but enough to keep me busy. Some have advised downloading a few “Read Nows” to get some reviews under your belt before requesting popular titles but I didn’t do that. Life is too short to read books I’m
        not interested in.

        I don’t know what the secret on EW is…. some books are immediate downloads and I’m often surprised at the titles. For instance, Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng was a download without requesting. Sometimes I’m denied on EW and approved on NG or vice versa. I don’t know what the magical formula is!?

        I’ve also had publishers contact me a few times on GR to offer me ARCs. That’s pretty exciting to me!

        And no, I’ve never seen harshness or meaness in your reviews. I think you’re very fair and state simply what didn’t work for you.

        Posted 5.1.18 Reply
  8. Gabby wrote:

    I’ve actually thought recently about writing about negative reviews, because there do seem to be people who don’t like to write them. I actually enjoy writing negative reviews, though…strong feelings, for the bad or the good, tend to bring out the most enthusiasm for me. The reviews I struggle the hardest to write are the books that were just fine but not special.

    Posted 4.24.18 Reply
  9. Wendy wrote:

    Such a great post– I always love these behind the scenes kind of posts bc I learn so much. 2 comments: Since I only review running books, I have NEVER found a running book on Edelweiss. Boo. But NetGalley has come through for me multiple times. I owe them. Second: I have struggled with the negative reviews. Several of the running books I have reviewed were sent to me by an author and let’s just say they were not good. I tried to find positive in each of the books and I did voice concerns about the books, but it’s hard to say anything negative when you know the author put their heart and soul into the books. I have learned to be much more cautious about accepting solicitations from authors. Fortunately, publishers are contacting me now and I’m getting much better books (altho a recent one was a disappointment…)

    Posted 4.24.18 Reply
  10. Madeline wrote:

    If I look at Goodreads when determining whether or not to read a book, I only read the negative reviews.

    But, overall I get very frustrated reading Goodreads “reviews” as they’re more book reports than true reviews. But I find the negative reviews actually say WHY they didn’t like it. Positive reviews just summarize the book and then go to general praise.

    I wish more bloggers would review books they didn’t like. A blogger I follow, who reads a TON, loves everything. That’s hard to believe. These reviews should be for the reading public, not to hurt a publisher’s feelings. I have learned to “read between the lines” with some bloggers but why should I have to?

    Posted 4.24.18 Reply
  11. Allison wrote:

    Great post! The only term I hadn’t heard was Free Range Reading–but I think I’m still in that camp, because I’m trying to work through the books on my shelf before moving into the world of ARCs. I’ve only recently started to get requests for reviews from publishers, which is fun, but I still want to feel like I can read and blog about what I want (with the time I have), so I need to figure out what direction to go with those.

    Social media is the part I dislike the most. I’ve never much liked Twitter, so I tend to use it in fits and starts and am not very effective. I think I would like Instagram, but I’ve avoided it because I don’t need another time suck right now. I do like Pinterest, though.

    Posted 4.24.18 Reply
  12. Carrie wrote:

    This was such a fun post to read! The blogging world (no matter the niche) is such a unique place. I started my blog in 2012 and it’s gone through many stages and alot of growing. But I completely agree that most of the bloggers that made me want to start blogging are no longer a part of the blog world.

    Posted 4.24.18 Reply
  13. Good post. TBH, I have no idea whether non-bloggers read me at all, and I used to worry about that, but then I realized that I’m in this for me, and I enjoy this community A LOT, so I mostly just care about interacting with THEM, so it’s probably okay.

    As for negative reviews – I do it a ‘third way’ you didn’t mention. I do post my negative reviews, but only on Goodreads. I don’t post them on my blog – reasons are because I read too many books to post them on the blog. Also, if I post a negative review, I won’t want to spend 3 hours on it formatting it and making it funny or long enough – and I won’t put a short snippet on the blog as a post – that’s below my standards. So that and the fact that a lot of reviews have to get pushed by weeks to FIT in the blog calendar means that I blog about books mostly 3 stars up. I don’t read care about people thinking I post reviews of bad books or even publishers (at all, cause they kind of font care, I think). What I care about is not making even MORE work for myself and bloating my blog with books I don’t care about. If that makes sense 😀

    Posted 4.25.18 Reply
  14. Brittany wrote:

    Enjoyed this “insider perspective”.

    Re: Auto-Buy Authors, I saw a Pat Conroy at a book sale recently, and almost bought it because you’ve mentioned him so frequently. But it wasn’t a title I recognized, so I didn’t 🙁 Regret it!

    I’m grateful that you do post your “negative” thoughts on books! I don’t like it when bloggers only post the “good” reviews. I also appreciate the fact that you’re so transparent with your affiliate links. Bloggers in general, and even a few book bloggers, can be a bit shady with the affiliate links, but I think you handle it really well!

    Posted 4.25.18 Reply
  15. Here’s how I look at posting negative reviews on my blog: I see myself as a thoughtful and discriminating book recommender, not a book critic. My actual job is that I’m a bookseller at an independent bookstore, and when customers come in to the store, they’re looking for recommendations for great books to read. My blog is an extension of those personal conversations. Of course, if someone picks up a book I didn’t like, or didn’t finish, I’ll be honest and tell them my thoughts, always keeping in mind that that might be a great book for a different reader. There are few books I find so offensive that I feel the need to shout my opinion from the rooftops! I do keep a list on my blog of ALL the books I’ve read, with short (1-3 sentence) reviews; quite a few of those reviews are neutral or negative. And I post my honest, and often negative thoughts, about ARCs on Edelweiss.

    Posted 4.25.18 Reply
  16. Catherine wrote:

    Wow, two things I didn’t know before: the term auto-buy author and you’ve been blogging for 5 years. Congrats!

    I don’t go out of my way to write negative reviews but as a reader I want to know if a book I’m interested in is good or not so I do write critical reviews. They’re not personal or disrespectful to the author but they’re honest. When I do I always get appreciative comments from readers. Plus, personally I don’t trust bloggers who rate everything 4 or 5 stars. It makes me think they’re either catering to the publisher or they aren’t very discerning.

    Lastly, if I’ve read enough of a book when I DNF it, I’ll rate it. Usually a 1 or 2 because I read enough to know I didn’t like it.

    Posted 4.26.18 Reply
  17. I love this! I completely agree with the person who asked the question — I learn more about a person from what they don’t like than what they do. Plus, from a blogging standpoint, I probably have just as much to say about a bad book as one I loved. There’s definitely a balance to it, I wouldn’t want to be ALL negative.

    Posted 4.27.18 Reply
  18. RK wrote:

    Excellent post, loved this behind-the-scenes look! I really appreciate how honest you are with your reviews and that’s one reason why you’re a go-to recommendation source for me.

    And like one poster mentioned above, when I’m deciding whether to read a book on Goodreads, I also focus on the negative reviews.

    Posted 4.27.18 Reply
  19. Torrie wrote:

    I loved this! I just found your blog through a weekly link roundup on Mind Joggle, and I’ll definitely be browsing around! Although my blog is much broader in scope, I do try to keep books and reading as one of the main things I post about regularly, so I found all this pretty fascinating (and learned quite a bit, too).

    Posted 4.29.18 Reply
  20. Such a great post! I actually have a HUGE list of book blogger terms that I posted way back in February of last year (you can find it HERE if you’re interested). This reminds me that I should update it—and I hope you don’t mind if I add a couple of these to the list!

    Posted 4.30.18 Reply
  21. Haha, I can’t believe you don’t like doing graphics, because I love the graphics you put together so much. I also really like where you’re going with the blog. I’m getting into a bit of a rut, writing almost exclusively review posts myself, and I find your post ideas inspiring 🙂

    Posted 5.4.18 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      Oh Lord…well, thank you! I always feel like my graphics look so unprofessional compared to some others.

      And thanks for your sweet words about the blog’s direction! I’ve tried a bunch of new things this year…some worked and some didn’t. But, I’m finding a groove again 🙂

      I love your nonfiction lists!

      Posted 5.16.18 Reply
  22. Meredith Bunch wrote:

    Do you have to block time out to actually read? With all the time it takes to have a book blog, I can imagine it makes it hard to actually find time to read all the ARCs and others on your list.

    Posted 3.2.20 Reply

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