Tips For Reviewing Books You’re Nervous To Review

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I think the first thing with this is figuring out why you’re nervous to review the book.

A few personal examples that I’ll talk about later include:

  • The author is following you and you don’t want them to see the review and hate you.
  • You really don’t know what to say about the book and are afraid of looking like a bad reviewer.

None personal reasons but still legit reasons:

  • You have an unpopular opinion of a popular book.
  • The book has some problems you want to discuss but are worried they won’t be received well or maybe you “misinterpreted” it.

When it comes to these sort of situations reviewing is never fun and is more of a chore than it can usually be but I’ve got a few ideas of things that might help if you’re nervous about reviewing a book.

  • In General

If you aren’t quite sure if it’s a situation above or something else, first try to identify what it is that’s making you nervous to review. If you can figure out what’s making you nervous about reviewing the book it’ll be easier to move forward with how to handle the potential review.

One thing you could do is draft the review to help find out what’s making you uncomfortable about it. No one has to see it just write whatever you want to and hide it from the world.

If you can’t figure out what’s making you nervous then in it may not be nerves. It could be discomfort like something about writing your review is making you uncomfortable. Whether that be the book made you uncomfortable, the authors, your fellow reviewers, whatever.

In any case, remember that you don’t have to write the review. If you’re too nervous to write it at the moment and you don’t know why maybe step back for a bit. Don’t review it, you could always come back to it when you feel more comfortable with what you’re writing.

It’s up to the reviewers what we review and you don’t owe anyone anything. If something is putting you through a state of distress you have every right to not do it. Especially when it comes to something as subjective as reviewing.

And if you’re still nervous try talking to a friend about it. They may be able to talk you through whatever is bothering or help you realize that it isn’t necessarily nerves over something but discomfort about something.

 

Moving on the first case scenario:

  • The author is following you and you don’t want them to see the review and hate you.

Okay, so it was only in like the past year and a half authors started following me. On one hand, I fucking love it, it makes me feel like I’m actually doing something worthwhile like I don’t suck as much as I’m constantly sure I do.

Then there’s the bad. Whenever an author follows me or talks to me my brain automatically goes to “Fuck you have to read and review their book and hype it up and love it!!” And that makes me nervous as hell.

I’m always worried I’ll read their book and dislike it, that they’ll get cold towards me, stop interacting with me, unfollow me, that I’ll hurt their feelings, even worse, come after me about the review.

Yes, I am aware the first three of those five are extremely shallow, but I still worry about it.

Fuck, I worry even if I like their book they’ll just drop me like “oh yeah, another person promoting my book I don’t have to pretend I like them anymore WHOOO!”

Anyways, here’s how I deal with that: I remind myself it doesn’t matter. First and foremost, I review for myself, to get my own feelings down about the book. I started this blog as a means to express my feelings about books unapologetically and I shouldn’t let authors stop me from doing that.

Secondly, I write for whoever reads the blog. Now, I know a lot of readers don’t give a rat’s ass about reviews but nevertheless, it’s my job, with this blog which does has a following a little smaller than my pinkie toe’s nail, to honestly tell them how I felt about the book.

It’s important to remember that it isn’t my job (or your job) to please the author. We please ourselves, we inform the readers of the blog.

If they go cold towards me, if they stop interacting with me, if they unfollow me, fine. I was honest and if they can’t deal with that then it’s probably for the best that they no longer interact with me. If authors are trying to be all buddy buddy and they get annoyed with a bad review from their “reviewer buddy” then they didn’t want a buddy.

Like I’m assuming most authors want, they wanted free promotions. Which is what we do if we like books but it isn’t something authors are owed for “being our “friend”” yes that got extra quotations.

Now, if they come after me because I give them a bad book review…. Well, that’s something I haven’t heard of happening in a while but I have absolutely no doubt the book community would have my back. If I don’t like the writing style or the characters and they’re sensitive enough to try and fight me on that… Then yikes.

Now, if I made an honest to god mistake then yeah okay.

Also, it’s very unlikely that authors will see these reviews but I’m still always worried they will. I just keep in mind the things above.

  • You really don’t know what to say about the book and are afraid of looking like a bad reviewer.

This is literally my problem with every fucking book I read. Whether I love it or hate it, I don’t know what to say about it.

With every word I write, I’m worried I look more and more like an ignorant child who hardly knows the basics of English. With every key I press I worry more that people will think even less of me as a blogger.

But here’s the thing… I started this blog as a hobby and it still is a hobby. Yes, I am very passionate about keeping it alive, yes it does technically have “business” cards but that isn’t the point.

I want to keep the blog alive because I’m passionate about books and I want to channel it into to something other than random people who don’t care about my passions. I have business cards because I’m expected to and they were cheap.

So, yes, this blog is a hobby. I use it to talk about books and spread my love of books, my feelings about books and the bookish community to whoever chooses to read it but it’s mine. It’s my hobby.

It isn’t something I’m doing to try and make a living. It’s something I’m doing for fun because I love it and am interested in it. As long as I’m happy and not hurting anyone then I shouldn’t worry about how I appear while writing up my posts and reviews.

At the end of the day, if I’m getting my thoughts down and out there, that’s what matters.

As long as I’m reviewing books sometimes, I’m a decent reviewer. I’m spreading the word, giving my opinion and that’s what matters, to me at the very least.

And again, I’m trying to please me. This is my blog.

 

Nonpersonal potentials.

 

  • You have an unpopular opinion of a popular book.

Congrats, you dislike a book everyone loves. Maybe you didn’t like the writing, maybe the characters just weren’t resonating with you, maybe the LI was just a little too creepy for you, maybe it was something you couldn’t quite name but you just hated that book. But now you hate that book and everyone loves it.

Well, in this case, I wouldn’t worry too much. People actually seem to love it when others shit on popular books. Fuck, negative reviews and negative posts get SO much more views than any other kind of post.

As long as you disliked the book for legit reasons, I wouldn’t worry. There are people who will protect you from the stans if they descend upon you. You are entitled to your opinion and if you want to tear that book a new one because you think it’s the shittiest book you’ve ever read then rip into it like it’s a fucking birthday present. Smash it with a fucking hammer and if the stans attack you throw the tiny pieces at them and marvel at their senseless rage.

Okay, this probably isn’t the best advice, but honestly, if you’re worried about it, you can always write it and hide the review. If I wrote a bad review I didn’t want people to see I would post it and delete the tweet or the Tumblr post.

I don’t know about BlogSpot or anything but on WordPress, you can post it in days already past fewer people may see it or it’ll be harder to find.

You could also post it in the midst of other posts, like a Top Ten list, a Waiting On Wednesday, or a few discussion posts, maybe among some good reviews so hopefully people will be drawn to those and not the negative review.

  • The book has some problems you want to discuss but are worried they won’t be received well or maybe you “misinterpreted” it.

The book has problems. It made you uncomfortable, there was something problematic, or something else, but it has problems and they need to be discussed… But should you be discussing them? Well, yeah, most likely.

When it comes to people pointing out problems with a book there are always going to be people getting annoyed because how can any books have problems they’re all perfect and even if those problems are real and valid we shouldn’t bring them up, especially if they’re problems that could affect people’s lives, no the only acceptable problems are a few grammatical errors but don’t talk about those either.

Yeah. No.

Here’s the thing, if you know in your gut the book has a problem, tell someone. If you’re not sure, tell someone. Talk about it with them, figure out if it’s actually a problem or if it’s something you should bring up, who you should bring it up too.

If you think something’s wrong with a book but it isn’t in your lane to confirm or deny, ask a friend and even if your friend doesn’t know, they might have a friend who does. If something seems queerphobic but you’re not completely sure, ASK someone (probably better to DM someone) and see if they agree or can check with someone else.

Because if it is queerphobic or racist or ableist or something else shitty as fuck, people should know about it.

If you find out it is but aren’t comfortable going public in saying it is, there are people who will help with that and go public to protect you, especially if you’re a minor or marginalized or both.

If someone says, “I don’t think that’s it” but it still sits wrong with you, make a small note of it or, again, at least talk to someone about it so you’re not the only one who knows.

If someone comes after you for it well they’re shitty. Those are your feelings and this is your review and if you think something is wrong, say it. If you’re uncomfortable saying it and comfortable leaving it out, do so.

If you’re uncomfortable saying it and uncomfortable leaving it out, you don’t have to write the review or you could try and do so anonymously on sites like Tumblr and use tags. Tumblr is known for that kind of thing.

I realize this probably isn’t the most helpful but those are genuine things people can do- and I think I’ve seen people do- in those kinds of situations.

 

Hopefully this post was a little helpful and you gained some sort of insight or aid or mere enjoyment from reading it.

If you have any other scenerios you want to talk about or you want me to talk about comment below.

Thank you for reading and check back later for more content!

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6 thoughts on “Tips For Reviewing Books You’re Nervous To Review

  1. Great article! I can especially relate to the last point. Sometimes I feel like I’m feeling paranoid, for example, if the book has a racist or homophobic character, it makes me really uncomfortable. So what if this character doesn’t represent the POV of the book or the author? It’s still harmful. And I have problems addressing that in reviews. So thanks for this article!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This post was so helpful!! I’m definitely bookmarking it because I know that I’ll need it along the road.

    I’m new to blogging and book reviewing, and I was wondering if you had any tips for newbie bloggers and book reviewers.

    If you have the time, please check out my blog @breenysbooks. I’d love any feedback. Have a wonderful day.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. These are all so great! About a year ago I started to really worry about writing reviews I hated because I didn’t want to come off as mean, and even if the author wasn’t following me I still didn’t want to make them angry or sad. I found that as long as I’m careful with my wording, and when I dislike a book I don’t put the blame of the author for being a bad writer or something similar it was a lot easier to not feel nervous about it.

    Like

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