Getting to Know My Goodreads Review Style | Discussion

Posted March 13, 2017 by Cristina (Girl in the Pages) in Uncategorized / 33 Comments

I’ve been blogging since 2014 and using Goodreads even longer (since 2011!) but I’ve found that this year I am really trying to approach Goodreads with a clean slate. I’m in the middle of massively reorganizing my shelves, culling my “To-Be-Read” list, and updating missing reviews. However, one thing I’ve noticed is that there is a significant difference between how bloggers review on Goodreads. Some post their entire review verbatim as it is on their blog, some post a condensed version, some post their initial thoughts and reactions, and some do a combination of all three! In an effort to make my reviews more enjoyable for others to read, I’ve started wondering if I should rethink my reviewing approach when it comes to Goodreads.

Posting Your Thoughts Verbatim

This is what I currently do, and it’s super easy thanks to the handy UBB plug in that allows me to copy and paste my reviews to Goodreads. It’s nice to know that I don’t have to worry about posting to Goodreads at the same time my review is up since it takes care of it for me (I hate posting my full-length reviews on GR before they are published on my blog). However, I find that these long winded reviews don’t get much interaction (I write a looooot. An average review is 1,000+ words for me, and mini reviews are about 500+ words) and I can see how others find it tiresome to read through that long of a review when looking at a book’s GR page for a high level understanding ofย  how a book was received. However, it does make me feel complete to have ALL of my thoughts listed on both my blog and GR.

Condensed Reviews

Some reviewers take their blog reviews and shorten them to a paragraph or two for Goodreads. While I can see how this can be a smart compromise for some bloggers, I personally would spend SO MUCH TIME trying to figure out what to keep and what to pair down (I was a nightmare when it came to papers with page/word limits in college. I always had TOO MUCH to say). While I do include an “Overview” section at the end of each of my reviews, I find that they make much more sense if you’ve read my entire review and are generally too brief to convey my overall thoughts for GR.

Initial Thoughts and Reactions

I’ve seen a LOT of bloggers who take this approach, and to be honest I feel like these are the reviews I like reading the most. They’re usually just a paragraph or two, feel very conversational in tone, and it’s easy to quickly glean how the reviewer felt. I’ve tried this approach with one or two books lately and while I enjoy it, it also leaves me with a sense of incompleteness. The lack of a formal, structured review makes me feel as though I’m doing the book/author a disservice and leaving my personal GR history incomplete. Does anyone else feel this way?

All of the Above

I’ve seen some bloggers do a combination of some or all of the above. They may have an initial reactions section, dated with the date they finished reading the book, and then below their full length review they have on their blog along with a TL;DR section or something to that effect. I really admire reviewers who have the time and energy to keep their GR reviews so comprehensive, but knowing myself I don’t think I’d be able to spend that much time on my GR reviews.

How do you approach your Goodreads reviews? Do you upload the same reviews that you post on your blogs? Do you write a quicker, shorter paragraph condensing all of your feels? Do you leave GR with your initial thoughts and reactions and point readers toward your blog for your full review? How did you decide to take the approach that you did? Let me know in the comments- I’m seriously conflicted!

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33 responses to “Getting to Know My Goodreads Review Style | Discussion

  1. I’m so glad you shared all of this because I’ve been thinking about how to structure GoodReads reviews lately. In the past I usually haven’t done more than just sharing a star review on GR, but this year I definitely want to start leaving more reviews. I’m leaning more towards leaving the in-depth reviews on GR, and sharing a general snapshot/reaction on my blog since I tend to do my book review posts once or twice a month and group the books together.

  2. I have started copying my blog reviews to goodreads for books I reviewed on the blog in the past but never on goodreads. This just makes me feel more complete now since I had done the work anyway, why not post it to goodreads too. Whenever I wrote a short review right after finishing a book, I just left that and then link to my blog for a full-length review if I have one. I haven’t really decided what I want to do in the future but I actually like seeing my initial thoughts right after I finished a book without really thinking about it a lot, so I’m leaning towards just including my initial thoughts and reactions on goodreads. If I then end up writing a full-length review, I can just go back and add a link to that.

    • Yes, I love seeing my initial thoughts too! I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who is torn on how to best post reviews on GR! I think I’ll try to write down some initial thoughts to GR for now and then add my full length review later when my blog review goes up (I like to try and post my reviews everywhere on the same day!)

  3. I’m a verbatim reviewer, but that’s simply because lately it’s been hard for me to write the original review in the first place! If I’m having a hard time writing anything, the last thing I want to do is write TWO things about the book. One thing that’s different is I leave out my book summary. In my reviews I usually summarize the book in the first paragraph and then write out my review. On Goodreads, I just leave out that first paragraph (I figure there’s already a summary on the page, so why add my own?)

    • SO TRUE! Finding the time to write one review is difficult enough! I actually rarely include any sort of summary in my actual review, since the UBB plug in pulls it into my blog post for me automatically above my review. For GR I usually don’t summarize at all, I just assume people have read the summary lol.

  4. Great discussion! I used to pop over to Goodreads and cut my whole review in there but it was so long for people to read. Now I just pull one or two key paragraphs in and add a link to the full review if they want to see the whole thing. Sometimes I do have to make minor edits so it makes more sense. After I did it a few times it was easier. Every once in a while I do a super short review on my blog, and those I still cut in their entirety.

    • I love your method! I wish I had the time to do something similar, but I rely a lot on the UBB plug in that automatically posts my reviews to GR when they post to my blog. I’m also so afraid that if I pulled a paragraph or two and posted to GR it would just make no sense (I tend to get really long winded in my reviews) but I wish I wrote in a way that made that method possible!

  5. I post them word for word which I’ve also been thinking about changing. I also do it for the simplicity but I do wonder if it stops people from looking at my blog with my full review since they can see the whole thing on GR anyway. But I also would struggle with which parts I would want to post!

    • Yes! This is exactly how I feel! I feel like trying to draft up a summary of my review would be SO much extra work, but at the same time would it help drive engagement on my blog? I feel like some people just have SO much interaction on their GR reviews and I notice they’re often not as long-winded as mine…

  6. My Goodreads reviews are almost always JUST my immediate reaction, maybe a paragraph. I would love to add more to help non-bloggers and/or people who don’t follow my blog, but honestly I’m so lazy haha. I hope my reaction reviews help people who see them! I just like having a small, condensed, immediate reaction. I always go back and look at it when I write my full review too because I’m like “oh yeah I remember that emotion now” haha.

    • I loooove your short reaction reviews because they are such a great snapshot of how you really felt in the moment after a book! I feel like when you have something shorter like that it also incentivizes more people to read it (and then maybe travel over to your blog to get a more comprehensive look at your thoughts?) So I take it you don’t use the post to GR feature that’s part of UBB?

  7. This is such a dilemma for me! While I’d love to just do initial thoughts and reactions (because sometimes I don’t get around to reviewing books until a while later and it’s nice to have that reminder), I also feel like that’s a disservice to the author! I’ve settled for just posting my entire review on GR. Most of the time, they aren’t too long so I don’t feel too bad about it. Great topic, Cristina!

    Laura @BlueEyeBooks

  8. I struggle with this as well. Here’s what I started doing recently– As soon as I finish a book, I write initial thoughts down in Goodreads (could be anywhere from a sentence or 2 to a few paragraphs). I bold them and then later I go in and copy and paste my blog review below it. My blog reviews aren’t that long though– maybe 500 words at most. It’s a struggle!! I don’t have time to make equally engaging GRs reviews AND Blog reviews. But I do see that the popular Goodreads reviewers have a certain style and simplicity about their stuff.

    • I love this idea! However since I use a plug in to send my reviews to GR I think it would overwrite the existing thoughts I originally entered, and I know that I’m too lazy to manually copy and paste my reviews to GR without the plug in, but I love your method!

  9. I struggled with this decision so much when I first started book blogging, but eventually I decided just to copy and paste my review verbatim. Like you, I just don’t have the time or energy to figure out how to condense my review. It’s enough work writing the review in the first place! And also like you, it doesn’t feel complete to me if I don’t post the full thing. I don’t worry about my reviews being too long for GR (even though I sometimes write really long ones too) because I know that some people *like* long reviews. I’m one of those people. When I’m trying to decide on a book, I go read reviews on GR, and I like the longer ones that actually explain all the different things and what they liked and disliked. So just because it’s on GR, that doesn’t mean no one wants a longer review!

    I also do something similar to Michelle. I often will post my immediate thoughts with a note that a full review will be posted soon, but then I just delete the initial thoughts when I post the full thing.

    • I’m so glad to meet someone else who will actually read long reviews (mine can get super long winded, so I’m often afraid that people will TL;DR them) but you’re right, they are super helpful. I use the Ultimate Book Blogger Plug In to automatically cross-post my reviews from my blog to GR, but I find think it deletes any initial thoughts that I manually put into the review field in GR. However, I feel like if I manually updated my GR review so it also includes my initial thoughts…well it would never consistently get done because I would get sidetracked with other things!

  10. I personally look for longer reviews when I’m on Goodreads. When I see that only a paragraph or two have been written, I often find they don’t give me enough to get a good sense for whether I’ll enjoy the book myself or not.

    I also know that my immediate reaction can be entirely different than my thought-out reaction, so I avoid those too.

    All this to say I post my full reviews on Goodreads haha. I usually take the first or last paragraph of my full review and post that immediately, then once my blog post has gone live, I’ll update Goodreads to have my full review.

    • I’m so glad to meet another reader/blogger who ENJOYS long reviews (sometimes I fear I am the only one!) You’re very right though, immediate reactions can be super different than a longer thought out review written at a later time. If I have an inkling that may be the case with a book, I usually wait to even give it a star rating since I’ve had that change drastically for me at times too!

  11. For me it depends on the book. Because I write series reviews, I tend to leave condensed reviews on Goodreads for the first book and mini or condensed reviews on the sequels (depends if the series is chronological or just spin-offs with different leads) and then link to my blog post.

    But lately, I’m starting to leave more “initial thought” reviews because I’m using the mobile apps more and I hate typing on my phone ๐Ÿ˜› And then when I go back to link it to my blog review, I’m lazy and don’t bother updating it.

    • It’s really hard to remember to go back and update things once you are on your computer (I just recently went through and updated my review index since neglecting it since July and it took me TWO HOURS). You’re predicament is definitely super unique though because you focus on series reviews! I’m glad to see I’m not the only one who sort of fluctuates with how they think about their GR reviewing style!

  12. Oooh, I like this topic! I am lazy, so am a HUGE fan of just letting UBB do the work for me. But I HAVE recently started to just jot down my initial reaction on Goodreads. I THINK I’m still going to have my final review override that paragraph or so, but I’m still experimenting ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. This is a really interesting question! I generally post the same review to GR as I do on my blog, although I have noticed that lots of people do it different (and I should say too that I’m not always great at crossposting). I am trying to be better about that this year though. And I have seriously thought about posting condensed versions or even the initial reactions/ super short review version. Although the concern there is would the review flow? So yeah… I can see the conundrum.

    I do think I may try to post somewhat shorter reviews at GR… will be interesting to see how that goes. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Ah yes, I really need to be better at cross-posting too! I think I would find it hard to “condense” my already long and written review to just a paragraph, and it would feel like even more work (and my reviews already feel like quite a bit of work because they’re generally pretty long winded). I’ve been playing around with doing more “initial reactions” reviews on GR, so we’ll see how that goes! Good luck to you in changing up your GR review style!

  14. I hadn’t really given this much thought before, but now that you mention it, I’m really curious if it makes a difference. Right now, I just post my full review to Goodreads and I only send people to my blog for spoilers, but it might make sense to try to have a shortened version on GR. I just don’t know that I’ll spend the time actually doing it. It’s definitely worth an experimental try, though!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction recently posted: My Haphazard Reading Habits. Letโ€™s Discuss!
    • I feel like from what I’ve seen, shorter reviews (not super short, but maybe a well thought out paragraph or so) tend to get SO much more interaction on GR, at least among the people I follow! I’m always afraid people don’t read my reviews on GR because my full length reviews are so long!

  15. I always post my review as condensed or my initial thoughts. For some reason, they are just easier to read for me (I love this type of review when I read others review on goodreads) and convey my initial reaction. That way, when I want to post it on my blog, I always remember how I feel after reading it, and can expand the review accordingly on my blog. I want to try around different kind of reviews on goodreads, but currently this is the one I use and comfortable with ๐Ÿ™‚

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