> Queer Books Please: Reviewing on Goodreads

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Reviewing on Goodreads

I've been on Goodreads for a while primarily using it as a book finder and catalog of books I've read and books I might want to read. It's not something I've used religiously--I rarely find any consistent  success with these sorts of apps and sites that are designed to organize your life, instead using them half-heartedly until I get bored.

But it has occurred to me that writing some reviews on Goodreads might be a good project for a couple reasons.

1. It will hone my reviewing skills for the podcast AND my writing skills for the blog.

2. If I'm writing reviews that people find entertaining and useful, it might draw some new listeners to the podcast.

3. Reviewing on a site like Goodreads should be useful for both authors who want exposure for their work and readers who are looking for their next read.

That third point is the one that I find most interesting and most challenging as I start to write reviews. Because a review written as a supportive gesture to an author might conceivably read very differently than a review written only with a potential reader in mind. The best rule I've been able to come up with as I write is to try and be as fair as possible. That means giving the author the benefit of the doubt if there's something that doesn't work for me, but also not overselling something to readers who are looking for an honest take on something.

I also don't want to write a boring review, which means there is sometimes an urge to get a little snarky to keep things interesting--that in particular strikes me as not particularly fair to the author. In a podcast, my tone can help soften criticisms. When I talk about romance novels, for example, I will often (I think, I try!) slip into a voice of exasperated fondness for some of the conventions of the genre. I don't know if my writing is deft enough to express my complicated feelings for some of the flaws and failures that occur in generally enjoyable books.

Never the less, I will try! Check out what I have reviewed so far here. I've attempted to friend anyone I'm following on twitter. If that didn't work for some reason, friend me!

Let me know how you approach your reviews on sites like Goodreads and amazon. Are you reviewing as a show of support for the author or a way to help fellow readers? Or both? If you do both, do you risk satisfying neither?

1 comment:

  1. I've definitely picked up readers for my blog by reviewing the same books on Goodreads, so I think it's a pretty great tool for that!

    On Goodreads and my blog, I review for both readers and authors. I honestly don't worry much about 'offending' the author if I have criticisms of the book. In the end, that should be doing them a service. And you need to be honest about the book to keep your credibility with readers (or in your case, listeners)