Guest Post // Staying on Top of Reviewing8:00 AM
When left to her own devices, Sophia naturally gravitates towards books. This has been proven through countless scientific studies. People in the "real world" know her as a pre-med chemistry major (who is obsessed with fiction reading). People in the "Internet world" know her as a reader of classics and YA (who also happens to be a chem nerd). Accost Sophia on Instagram, Twitter, Goodreads, and her blog, Ravens and Writing Desks!
When Selena asked me to write about how I keep reviews coming even with a busy schedule, I kinda laughed. This post is evidence of my EXCELLENT planning skills – I kept promising Selena I’d write it and only now have finally gotten around to doing it (Selena: aaand, I am just now posting this approximately 5 months later than I said I would. please forgive me of my sins. and my horrible memory). And you somehow think that I am a good authority on maintaining a good posting schedule? Ha!
However, I will try not to entirely disappoint my loverly host blogger, and so I have pondered through my reviewing and posting methods and found some good tips to share with you (though they are few and far between). I’d like to make one point before I begin, though – these are methods that work for me, you may have ways that work better for you. Try these out if you’re looking for help – and, if you have something to add, DEFINITELY give me your own advice in the comments. I’d love it wholeheartedly.
Tip #1: Use Goodreads to Track Your Progress
My biggest issue when writing reviews is that my memory is crappy and so I can remember vague
feelings I have about a book by the end, but not specific reasons WHY. Clearly, a review that says, “This book was fine, but I thought the plotting had issues,” is not a useful review without giving at least some examples of the issues. Was the plotting dry? Full of loopholes? Too twisty? Not twisty enough?
Here is my solution: one of the most useful things that I have found when writing reviews is the tool on Goodreads that lets you track your progress through the book. It’s a status-update-tool. Why I love this is because, when I finish the book, I have a relatively complete list of my reactions as I was reading it.
Yes, it’s rough; no, it’s not at all detailed; but it helps me remember. Here’s an example of my updates from An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir:
Personally, I also like to include a screenshot of these in my reviews, so my blogglings can see my
progress through the books.
Tip #2: Write the Review ASAP
Note I didn’t say have it perfectly blog-postable. Just scribble off a rough draft – I like bullet points – so there’s something to refer to when you return to it to perfect it. I like to make my Goodreads review my rough draft. Some are a few paragraphs. Others are literally just a few lines, like this one for Maskerade by Terry Pratchett:
But no matter what it is, it will give you a good reminder and make writing the nice review so much
(Unless you have a better memory than I do. Which is highly probable.)
Tip #3: Photos Are Your Friends
I love quotes. (Who doesn’t?) And they add so much to a review, I think. But again – cursed by my
crappy memory – I often forget them. And I dislike having to interrupt my reading flow to write them down. Then, one day, I saw Cait mention that she keeps her iPod handy while reading, so that she can take pictures of any quotes that catch her eye.
(So technically, this is not a Sophia-generated tip. It originated with Cait. Shhhh.)
MY LIFE WAS CHANGED. No longer did I have to pause my reading to scribble down a genius quote. All I needed was my trusty phone to quickly snap a picture. (This did, however, make short work of the storage space on my iPhone and now I have no space for the new update. So remember to delete the pictures after you’ve posted the review.)
Tip #4: Prioritize
Some reviews are just more important than others. In my opinion, ARCs are top priority – these I try to get done as soon as I can, because, by getting the ARC, I did promise the publisher a review.
Second priority for me are bigger-name releases, as well as books I really felt strongly about (whether in a good way or not).
Final priority is smaller books that I rated two or three stars. However you choose to prioritize your book reviews, make a list. It’ll make reviewing ALL THOSE BOOKS so much less intimidating.
Tip #5: You Do You
Ultimately, I think it’s important to remember that this is your blog, and you don’t owe anyone anything. You’re blogging for your own enjoyment, right? Large follower counts are nice, but if that’s the only reason you’re blogging – or the major one – seriously reconsider, my friend. Blogging is supposed to be fun! Enjoy blogging for the sheer act of it!
If you need hiatuses, take them. If you just can’t get around to a review, don’t do it. It’s entirely YOUR OWN CORNER of the internet, no one’s telling you how to run it except yourself. And if you’re having fun blogging, it will shine through in your writing and speak for itself – whether you post daily, weekly, or even monthly.
How do you stay organized with writing reviews? Share your own tips in the comments – I will read through them ravenously!
Thank you to Selena for letting me guest post! *blows kisses* (Selena: aww you're the sweetest. *hugs*)