Nov 10, 2011

Bookish Thoughts | Consistent Reviews?

I haven't written a review for about a week, even though I have a few books waiting to be reviewed, because I was debating changing my reviewing style. A few months ago I stumbled upon Alison Can Read's discussion post: How to Write a Review. It's a great post about the basic idea on how to write a good review that includes great content and will attract more readers. She included that blog reviews should be consistent. This is what she had to say about it:
"Here's where I don't follow my own advice. I think the best blog has a standard format for reviews, so the reader knows what to expect when she looks at your blog. My reviews are definitely not consistent. As I said above, my reviews range from multi-paragraph essays to numbered outlines to good v. bad. How I write my review depends on what comes to me in the moment."
I've had my blog for quite some time now and my reviews have always followed the "standard paragraph" format. I have always been okay with this and really didn't feel like changing it until now. Recently I read some books that I just felt like writing reviews in list form: good vs. bad, numbered lists, etc. I checked out many blogs and found that not many ever really change up their reviewing style. Most bloggers stick to one style. So I became a little hesitant about actually changing my style because I thought this might steer readers away.

But there are also blogs that mix up their reviews all the time. For example, Juju at Tales of Whimsy writes her reviews a little different all the time. Gianna at A Neverending Fantasy, a fairly new book blogger, recently wrote a book review in a Dear Author format that I really liked instead of her usual paragraph form. Cara at Chasing Words also has changed her reviews over time. Lately her reviews have been paragraph form but here's an example of a review describing what she loved and didn't love. Heather from Proud Book Nerd also writes out what she loved and didn't love in some of her reviews, instead of keeping it her usual paragraph form.

After some thought, I did decide to start to change up my reviews a bit. I like the paragraph style, but I also like the many other ways of writing reviews out there and I try a few new ways of writing. I don't know if this will affect anyone who reads my blog but I will do it because it will make a happier reviewer/blogger. I still want to know what you think about it though.
Do you prefer consistent reviews? Do you/would you steer away from blogs that had different review writing styles every time you read their reviews? Does it make a difference to you at all?


  1. I think changing things up is good! Most of my reviews follow the standard paragraph format, too, but I'll occasionally do a list or outline such as this. I think a different format can really help bring points across by allowing you to emphasize what you really loved or hated. The paragraphs work for me most of the time, and I'll probably continue to stick to them, but I've definitely noticed that different formats allow specific reviews to flow more naturally, if that makes sense.

    I'll look forward to seeing how things change up for you! :)

  2. I like changing things up from time to time. Although I mainly stick to a paragraph format, I sometimes will list my feelings via bullet point, especially when I have strong feelings about a book and am having trouble articulating them. I also like bullet points when I either have only love or only vitriol for a book (although I tend to avoid reviewing the latter altogether). For me, my reviews are mostly just a stream of consciousness thing, so the paragraph format works well for me, but I do enjoy READING blogs that have different formats. In the end, I think it's more about whether or not readers buy into your opinions, not the format. Great post!

  3. I'm glad you ladies agree. I also like seeing reviews changed up a bit to emphasize the reviewers opinion and that is pretty much what I am hoping to do. It'll just be another way for me to make reviewing simpler and enjoyable. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  4. The only thing that I'm consistent with doing on my blog is doing what I feel like doing. Everything on my blog is stuff that I want to do. My friend Holly likes to say, "I do what I want" and that's exactly what I do on my blog. I'm afraid that if I stop blogging for myself (or the way that I want to blog) then blogging won't be fun for me anymore so I continue to "do what I want", hoping that what works for me, works for my readers too.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is that you should blog however you want because something as simple as review styles won't scare me away and I'm thinking it won't scare anyone else away either.

    Do what you want, Cindy! I'm sure you'll rock it out no matter what you do.

  5. Keeping up to just one standard may make your review seems monotonous. It's boring. I somehow believe that most of book bloggers write reviews for fun, let's keep it that way.

    It's your blog, do it your way and make it as interesting as possible.

    Just do what works for you.

    Regards from Indonesia.

  6. I think changing it up is fun! :) I'm thinking of doing more Dear Authors, as well as a new (inspired) concept of I Love This, I Don't Love This. It's kind of like picking the petals off a daisy~

    Fantastic post, Cindy! :D

  7. I think I tend to be consistent when writing reviews just for personal preference. I like that all my reviews look uniform. I guess it depends on the person.