Last month, author Holly Martin posted this photo on Twitter and just the other week, it was half 11 at night at after being up for 14 and a half hours, I was still on my laptop finishing up the current book review I was writing. It got me thinking about how much time actually goes into book reviewing; not just writing the review but the whole process from beginning to end. Especially considering book bloggers don’t get paid a penny to do it.
Of course, this will be different for every blogger, we all have different ways of using out time and making book reviewing work for us but this is the process in which I go through when it comes to reading and reviewing a book;
1) Choosing my next book. This in itself can take a good 20 minutes, so many books to chose from!
2) Updating social media on what I’m reading next. Goodreads helps me keep track of my reads and I like to show other book bloggers what I’m reading next as some of them have probably read it too and can give me some insight into what they thought.
3) Reading the book. This could take anything from 2 days to 2 weeks, depending on how much I’m enjoying the book or whether it’s being reviewed for a publication date or a blog tour.
4) Making notes as I go along. I don’t always do this, but most of the time I do and I find it helps.
5) Updating social media as I go along. Again, not crucial, but I like to update Twitter and Facebook about how I’m doing and what I think so far.
6) Choosing a rating. I don’t want to give it 5 stars unless I absolutely know it was worth it. But is 4 stars too harsh? I’d give it 4.5 but you can’t choose 4.5 on Amazon and Goodreads. Oh, the decisions!
7) Writing the review. This varies from book to book. Some reviews come flying out the end of your fingers like it’s been waiting to escape for decades. Others, not so much. It also depends on the time of day, if I’m tired, if I’m hungry (I can’t concentrate if I’m hungry and thinking about food), if I’m distracted so the act of writing the review can take from 10 minutes to over an hour.
8) Formatting the review. I like my reviews to look neat and pretty so I spend bloody ages arsing around with graphics and making alterations.
9) Choosing my next book. Between scheduling my review of the previous book and the time it’s actually published on my blog, I obviously make a start on my next book and the whole process starts over again.
10) Updating social media again. Time to update everyone again and let them know I’ve finished book X and am now starting book Y.
11) Promoting the review. Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Amazon US and Amazon UK. This doesn’t include replying to tweets/comments.
So if it takes up so much of our free time and effort, why do we do it? Simple, because we love books! It’s such a sense of achievement when you finish and book and write a review for it and our little reviews, although it doesn’t seem like it, really help the author out. Despite the hard work, I wouldn’t change it for the world!
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I’m so glad your posts on blogging are so informative! I kinda want to try it myself, but I’m not sure if I should. On occasion I like to write short reviews for Goodreads (longer if it’s just one of those books, heh), but I think it would be good for me to kinda do it for most every book I read. But do you post the same review you do on your blog, Goodreads, and Amazon for example? I wasn’t sure if that’d give you less readers, or does it actually get more people interested because they can follow you on their preferred format? Thanks again for such wonderful advice!
I’m so glad you find them helpful 🙂 You should definitely start a book blog, if you already love reviewing and have experience of it! I do post the same review on my blog, Goodreads and Amazon. It doesn’t give me less readers because people don’t “follow” me on Amazon and Goodreads is just an extension of my blog. I don’t review EVERY book I read on my blog either anymore; it’s mostly just review copies now since I got so busy but I do leave a small review on Goodreads for every book 🙂
Thank you for the reply! I did start slowly working on one, just the bare bones now heh. Thanks for the information! I felt like I was a different person when I started my Goodreads account, so I may have to switch my username just to get it and the blog to mesh well, heh.
[…] a lot of time and will probably continue to change as my life changes (I wrote a blog post about How Much Work Goes Into Reviewing which ties in with this […]
missed out ‘blog’ there… and I love the look and feel of yours, Jenny in Neverland!
Thank you so much! And I completely agree – sharing the love of books is what it’s all about!
I love to read, so when I started blogging, it made sense to post reviews on all the books I had enjoyed. As a great believer in the system of ‘give and take’, I think we should all share the love. That’s what a good is for!
[…] How Much Work Goes Into Book Reviewing? – Jenny does a perfect job at summing up what it is to be a book blogger. And at the same time reminded me just how unorganized I am when it comes to blogging! […]
Totally empathise with the hunger distraction bit. Just found this on BestChickLit.com. Having a wee share – just so writers who don’t know now do! PS. Those who already do think bloggers are the best. 🙂 xx
Thanks for sharing around Sheryl! I can barely concentrate on anything if I’m hungry haha! xx
[…] brilliant and engaging reviews, so if you have a second pop on over and take a look for yourself here. Her post discussed how much work truthfully goes into a review and I thought It’d be interesting […]
Great post. My review style tends to vary as it just really for me to keep a record of what I have read, (i have a terrible memory sometimes), and because I like the idea of others stumbling on to one of my reviews and finding a book I have reviewed which they go on to read and hopefully enjoy. I don’t really spend much time promoting mine except for the occasional tweet. 🙂
Thank you! I think lots of peoples reviewing style will vary depending on their current circumstances! As long as you do whatever works for you! I’ve read loads of books which I’ve originally found on others blogs and liked their reviews! No-one can say that reviews don’t matter! xo
They really do 🙂 great to look at how other reviewers do what they do so well. 🙂 I admire your dedication 🙂
I’m learning quickly that it takes a lot longer to post a book review than I first realized. I knew it took work, but with three young children milling around (and working full-time), it never goes quite as smoothly or as quickly as a I hoped. As a result, book reviews are left languishing in draft form for a while. But, I’m doing my best and really look up to you and other experienced book bloggers. I also love posts like these. So helpful to a newbie 🙂 Thanks!
I admire you for still finding the time to blog with THREE children and a full-time job! It does take a long while, but I think each individual can make it work for them, you’ve just gotta find a routine that fits in with your personal schedule, because other stuff (like children) will always come before blogging. All you can do is your best 🙂 I’m so glad you found it helpful! Thanks for your comment 🙂 xo
Exactly the process I go through. It’s a tough and long process but I enjoy it so much. Reading books, experiencing the amazing wonders of each individual book and being able to share it with everyone around the world invigorates me and hypes me up!
I completely agree! I thrive on books and reading and I absolutely love being able to talk about them to other bloggers! It is a time consuming process but I would never change it!
[…] read an interesting piece this week (Jenny in Neverland’s blog) about how much work goes into a book review, and she finished up stating why she reviews when it […]
Thanks for sharing!
Jenny! Great post – makes writers realise how much you do. I review books as well as write them, but only my own choices and a few for a book blog, so I do know what you mean.
I just wanted to say one thing. Don’t feel bad about not giving 5*!! On Amazon it means ‘I love it’ and on Goodreads ‘It was amazing’. Please don’t think 4* is ‘harsh’! 4* is a good review – it means ‘I like it’ on Amazon and ‘I really like it’ on Goodreads. And all writers are still delighted to get a 4*!
I give half stars too, and just do the 3, 4 or 5* to whatever ‘feels right’ – it’s hard, though, isn’t it?!
Hi Terry! Thank you for the advice; I like to be really accurate on my ratings and sometimes you need a half star to do that! If I really really love a book but still find a couple of faults with it, I sometimes want to give it 5 stars because I loved it but at the same time want to give it 4 so then other readers won’t go into reading it with the false assumption that it’s perfect. It’s easier to do on my blog, where I use half stars but like you said, it is hard, especially on Amazon and Goodreads. But I’ll keep what you said in mind and won’t feel bad next time I want to give a 4 🙂 I understand 4 is still REALLY GOOD but I always thought there had to be some flaw with it not to give it 5. Thanks for commenting! 🙂 xo
The way I (and most writers, I think) look at it is this: 5* is for books you LOVE, 4* is for books you like, and would still recommend because someone else might LOVE them! Often it’s just a matter of taste, isn’t it :). I go down to 3* if the book is good in parts but not so well written in others.
You’re absolutely right; I think lots of people probably have a different idea of what constitutes a 3, 4 or 5 star book. I sometimes feel I’m too generous actually; and giving a book 4 star when really it deserves 3 but to me, 3 stars seems quite low.
I’ve stopped worrying about having content on my blog, which I used to do obsessively. I think I’m perhaps too lax in the time I spend writing a review, and they could therefore be better.
As for star rating I give 4 stars to ones I love, 5 stars are saved for something above & beyond that stand out for some reason. Great post 😉
Good take on star ratings; I think 5 stars should be saved for those slightly more special books too! Thanks 🙂 xo
Such a great topic to write about. Book blogging does take up a lot of your time. It’s like a full time job next to everything else you have to do, but then one that you won’t be paid for. I love it though, it’s great to be part of the blogger community and to read so many great books that I might have missed if I wouldn’t have been a blogger. I think it’s great that you’re showing people how much time it takes to blog about books. It’s handy for newbies too as this way they know what to expect.
Thanks for your comment! It totally is like a full-time job and I honestly don’t know how some with families, children, full-time jobs amongst other commitments do it! I absolutely adore the community and wouldn’t change it for the world – not being paid to review doesn’t matter at all.
You’re right about new bloggers! I hope that if any do read this they find it helpful and an insight into the world of book blogging! xo
Pretty much the same for me too.
I’ve only just started to take proper notes as I read, and I agree to the comment above that it can take away the enjoyment of the reading but I find when writing the review I forgotten things I wanted to mention.
Great post (wish I’d thought of it first 😉 )
I agree with both of you, it can definitely take the pleasure away from reading somewhat, especially if you’re reading a really good book and have to stop and take notes! Thanks Lindsay! Sorry 😛 xo
I feel like my reviews are not detailed enough or lacking in information but I don’t want to spoil anything so I find it really hard to reiew books without spoilers! I usually write down my review in a notebook first before I post it online so it means that sometimes I’ll post multiple reviews because I don’t have much time to sit and review a book 🙂
It’s good that you don’t want to reveal spoilers! Spoilers are rubbish, especially if you’re really looking forward to reading a book but already know the ending! You don’t need to re-hash the storyline much anyway, which will avoid spoiling anything for your readers 🙂
It’s great you have a backlog of reviews so even when you don’t have time to read and review anything new, you still have posts going up on your blog! Thanks for the comment 🙂 xo
I have a love hate thing with reviews. I’m not good with putting down on paper what’s in my mind but as you say sometimes a review will just write itself, others i struggle for a day or so.
I normally review only ARC’s as i think of the books i buy as relaxing with no pressure to review.
I don’t use social media as much as i should so im trying to change that as most of the time i get no comments at all.
Really enjoyed reading your way of doing it though.
Hi Gill, thanks for your comment! Sometimes it’s very hard to get your thoughts down on paper (on typed on a screen!). I’ve had that problem lots of times where I’ve just had so many thoughts on a book and didn’t know how to format them or turn them into sentences.
That’s a good system, only reviewing ARC’s as opposed to books you buy. ARC’s I do find a bit more daunting to review especially as those are the reviews that could make or break a book.
Would be great to see you on social media more, Gill! 🙂 xo
i do share on Google+ and of course Twitter but thats all really. Must make more effort ;-D
An interesting post Jenny, my reviewing is similar to yours except from the updating on social media – apart from the odd tweet I tend to update at the end. I do often take notes, especially of names and places etc as I am really bad at writing the review straight away and I tend to dive into the next book before having reviewed the previous one! It does take a lot of time as I like to get the post exactly right on the blog page but it is lovely when you get appreciative feedback from the author and publishers and it makes it all worthwhile if you can tempt someone to read a particular book that they wouldn’t have necessarily picked up.
Thanks Karen, I’m a bit of a Twitter Nazi – I can’t keep off it! So updating ALL THE TIME comes pretty naturally to me! I have the same problem, when you finish a book you just want to immediately start the next one don’t you? There’s just so many amazing books to read! But I do always try and get the review done first – otherwise I’ll be thinking more about the new book than the old one.
Getting appreciative comments is one of the nicest things about doing this! And I’ve read a lot of reviews from other bloggers which have made me look for or even buy the book they were reviewing, so nobody can say that reviews don’t count! 🙂 xo
Very good post. I find reviewing very hard work and it often takes me days to get the review right. That is how it should be! On the other hand, I find I learn masses
As long as you put your all into your review, it doesn’t matter how long it takes! And you obviously put a lot of thought into them! 🙂
Hello! Yup, pretty much the same for me, other than I fail spectacularly on updating social media as to my progress- I tend to just talk about the books when I’m done with them…
Sometimes- it does feel like a lot of work, but as you say- other times it comes flying out 🙂 The times I find it really disappointing is when I’ve gone through the process, spent time getting it just right and then there is no engagement or feedback from the author or pub. team at all. That can be a bit disheartening.
I wouldn’t stop reviewing for anything- I love it and hope that in a little way I’m giving back to the book community.
Hello! Thank you for your comment 🙂 I just can’t stop rambling about books so the social media aspect is quite easy for me (plus I’m on Twitter like, 24 hours a day hahaha!)
I TOTALLY agree with you in what you say about getting no engagement or feedback from the author or publisher – especially if it’s a review copy they’ve sent or requested. It is a shame but unfortunately it happens and luckily, most publishers and authors out there love being engaged with book bloggers and those that review their books! 🙂
I feel the same about giving back to the community – it’s apparent that reviews mean a lot to authors so it’s a great feeling isn’t it? 🙂 xo
My “reviewing process” is pretty much the same. I never take notes though, only when BETA reading a book; but it’s a great idea!
As for writing the reviews: I find it really easy actually to write a review for a book I didn’t like all that much: you have enough things to comment on (not all negative of course, I always balance it out), or when you really, really loved a book and you can sum up all the elements you loved. The hardest thing is writing a review for a book you found “ok.”. You don’t have any specific dislikes, but you’re also struggling to pin things you really enjoyed. THOSE are hard reviews to write.
I do enjoy the social media part, ’cause that’s what it’s all about really, isn’t it? Sharing your thoughts and updates… Love seeing what other book lovers are reading as well. It’s a big part of deciding which books to read next. So YES book reviews do help!
Like I said, great post!
Thank you Maryline! And thanks for your comment!
I completely agree about the review part; I find writing bad reviews easier than good ones. And when a book is REALLY REALLY good, I still want to write a professional-ish review but at the same time I just want to GUSH ABOUT THE BOOK! Hahaha. “Okay” books are tough; you didn’t dislike it enough to be a bad review yet don’t love it enough to rave about it.
And social media really is fantastic, especially meeting other book bloggers and chatting about books. I love reading other bloggers posts and finding new books to read from them! 🙂 xo
So very very similar!
I also found that the 1 – 5* is a bit restrictive, so on my blog, I have 3 different levels for each *, e.g. B+, B & B- for 4 stars. It allows me to be a bit more flexible on my reviews, though I have to conform when I go on to Amazon & Goodreads!
As for note taking – I find these useful – especially at key points. I don’t tend to write long reviews, I like to keep them reasonable short and to the point, but you’re right – some reviews flow very easily, and some not so much.
Another informative post!
Thank you! That is SUCH a good idea how you rate books – I can imagine it gives you much more freedom to rate them EXACTLY how you felt about them. Sometimes, when I rate a book 4 stars. it really is slightly less or slightly more. It would be great if Goodreads and Amazon altered their rating system.
I enjoy reading both long in-depth reviews and short and to the point ones – it definitely depends on the book I think! xo
It really does! And you’re right. 5* systems is very restrictive.
Great post! I’m really busy at work at the moment so I don’t have the time to read as much at home as I’m often doing more work or falling asleep the moment I get in & I feel the pressure of not reading. This isn’t helped when publicists or even authors are emailing you asking if you’ve had chance to read. I keep my review format as a standard picture of the book & the blurb just so I can format for upcoming books too as that saves time & is something I can do whilst listening to an audiobook.
Another thing we have to contend with is reading multiple books at a time, this can get confusing too!
Thanks for posting x
Ah that’s such a shame that you don’t have more time for reading; but work comes first I guess? Hopefully things get better soon and you can read more. That’s quite infuriating that publishers and authors are messaging you asking if you’ve read it yet – that really grinds my gears and they need to realise that sometimes other things will take priority. I tend to do the basic formatting of my review before I’ve finished the book too – like the cover and the blurb etc. as it saves a bit of time!
Ooh reading multiple books! I actually rarely do this because as you said, I just get too confused! I’ve tried it before but found I always favour one book over the other and one of them always gets a bit neglected.
Thanks for your comment! xo
Aww, thanks Jenny! Comments like that make it all worthwhile! I’m also thinking if I cut down the review writing time, it’ll give me time to catch up on the backlog, then, when that’s done, it’ll free up more reading time too…the best bit! I’m really OCD about punctuation and stuff too (I wish I was as dedicated when it comes to, say, housework…!) I’m also planning to start an OU course soon, so I do need to be better organised, time-wise! Maybe I’ll finally finish my degree – at my fifth time of trying!!
Wow, I’ve always wanted to do an OU course! What are you studying? You obviously need to keep time aside for your studies because it’s SO important!
Your reviews are so good anyway, making them a bit shorter won’t make them any worse! I wish I was a bit more observant when it comes to punctuation. I, on the other hand, am more OCD when it comes to cleaning! Hahah I love cleaning! Maybe we can swap? I can clean your house and you can punctuate my blog posts? 😛
I’m going to do an Introduction to the Arts course, which will include literature (the posh books!) I figure if I’m reading so much anyway I might as well get something from it; plus hopefully it’ll teach me about analysing books better. I’ve been reading other comments on here – social media, well Twitter specifically, is such a time waster – but if you put it off you might miss out on the chance of a great ARC giveaway, or something! I can waste HOURS on it! My Kindle Fire does have a capacity for making little reminder-type notes when I mark a passage I want to quote, saying perhaps “WTF? Why do this?” etc, things I’ll know what they mean when I come to write a review. I’m bad for multiple reading – I’ve got 11 books on the go at the moment, but one will always capture my imagination and “take over” until it’s done! Then I’ll go back to another one…or start a new one…which takes ages to decide, depending on my mood. I usually lay maybe 5 or 6 out, and have a read of first few pages! I’ve NEVER got books mixed up, until a couple of weeks ago I found the detectives in Eeny Meeny and Silent Scream too similar, so I put Eeny Meeny aside as I’m in no rush to review it! I even have a book in the bathroom (no reading time wasted at all!) And absolutely, you’re more than welcome to come and do my cleaning! Punctuation and spelling are my strong points, and it’s only really obscure grammar I get wrong! My mum used to correct us all the time – “Fiona and I! Not me and Fiona!” (Fiona’s my sister!) Mum’s a real grammar nazi!
You know what, I’ve had a look so many times through the OU courses and I think the one you’re doing is the one I’ve always wanted to do! It sounds amazing and you’re totally right, it all ties in and you should definitely gain something from it!
Twitter is the BANE of my life; I can’t remove myself from it! But you’re right, there’s so many Twitter giveaways, I’ve won a fair few recently because I enter every single one I see haha!
11 books? ELEVEN BOOKS? You are SUPERWOMAN. I can’t even successfully read 2 at the same time holy crap! Having a book in the bathroom is actually a fantastic idea hahaha I may have to pinch that one. Read a couple of pages everytime I go in there 😉
Jenny, coming at your excellent post from an author’s perspective, I hope you ( and all blogger/reviewers) realize how much we appreciate the time and effort you put into your work. Your thoughts help make our books shine for readers and also help writers see where we might need to focus on improving. It’s all good! Thanks for your dedication!
This is a lovely comment Patricia, thank you so much! It’s great to hear things from an authors point of view and we really appreciate authors letting us know how much reviews mean to them and their books! We absolutely love what we do and I wouldn’t change it for anything! xo
I’ve always found when I’ve taken notes they’ve been useless, except for little details like characters’ names! I generally prefer reading “real books” but Kindle is handy for highlighting good quotes. I’ve been spending up to an hour and a half writing reviews – plus I feel I spend too much of that regurgitating the storyline. So I’m thinking of revamping my reviews. Also, I’ve got about 9 books still to review, and unless I get on with it, it’s going to end in confusion…! So, after some thought, I’m going to cut my reviews down as some are 1000 words – no wonder I’m way behind!!
Wow! 1000 words?! That’s amazing! In depth reviews are great but I agree with the regurgitating the storyline part, I find a paragraph maximum is enough because it still shows the reviewer has read the book!
I didn’t know you could highlight quotes on a Kindle… I don’t use my Kindle much at all really, I prefer paperback books too.
An hour and a half writing reviews?! Damn woman, you are dedicated! It’s great you put so much thought into your reviews though 🙂 I love them and your blog! xo
The only thing I don’t do is make notes as I go along,this takes the fun out of reading for me and makes it feel more like a job than and enjoyment. The process is pretty much the same though.
That makes perfect sense and I can totally see why it makes it feel like less of a hobby – in fact, I’ve had the same thoughts before when I’ve been taking notes! xo
Thays a great insight into a book bloggers world and how they do it. I don’t quite have my own blog as yet but I can imagine I would be a lot like you with all the planning and prepping lol It also makes me excited to get on with my own blog.
Is it strange that I spent most of the time flicking up your post to admire the beautiful picture of the books at the top? 😂
You totally should start your own blog Sarah! You love books and would be a fantastic reviewer! judging by your Goodreads reviews! Although it takes a lot of time, I love the prepping part and making posts look pretty!
It’s not strange at all, thank you so much! I love taking my own blog photos! 🙂 xo
I think this post effectively sums up how long it can take. 🙂 I never take notes for the book, which probably lengthens the reviewing process, it is probably something I should do!
And deciding what rating to is problematic especially when it probably deserves a half star rating and you can’t do that on Goodreads/Amazon.
Sometimes taking notes doesn’t work; I’ve written reviews before where I’ve not had to write any notes because the book has been so good, and I’ve read it so quick it just comes naturally! Although for the majority of books I find it does help!
Star ratings are a nightmare! I wish Amazon and Goodreads did half stars, It’s make things so much easier!
Thank you! And thanks for your comment 🙂 xo
hi! 🙂 i recently entered the blogging world coz I want to talk about books. Pretty much everything u listed up there is what i do too. Goodreads is perfect in tracking those ive read and to-be reads. When i started, i just wrote reviews on books that ive recently read and those that i cant contain “the feels”. But now, im into taking notes too 🙂 And hopefully my reviews would get better and help in promoting books and authors. Coz right now, there kind of like a spurt of my thoughts haha and seemed like not too organized. :)))
Hiya! Welcome to the world of book blogging! I hope you’re enjoying it so far? 🙂 Goodreads really is a fantastic site. I was exactly the same as you – when I started I just read and wrote without putting too much thought into it BUT sometimes, those reviews which seem like a “spurt of your thoughts” are the best ones, because you can truly see how much a person loves a book! Thanks for your comment 🙂 xo
All the effort you put in definitely pays off! Love reading your blog!
Aww thank you SO MUCH for this lovely comment! I’m so glad you like my blog and posts! 🙂 xo
My reviewing process sounds entirely similar to yours. I usually don’t find writing the review too difficult, particularly if I’ve made notes as I’ve been reading, although if I’ve not enjoyed the book or if it’s an odd one it can take a bit more thought. My problem is finding the time to write the review as soon as I’ve read the book rather than moving straight on to the next book and then having a pile of reviews hanging over me!
Oh God I totally understand – as soon as you finish a book you just want to jump straight into the next one don’t you? I tend to make sure I write my review before I even pick my next book, so then starting my next one is kinda like a reward for reviewing the last? That sounds silly! Haha. Thanks for your comment! 🙂 xo
Hi Jenny. Interesting post. I’m pretty much like you. I do have a diary as well I write books due for publishing date in so I can look ahead to see what needs reading next. Sometimes life gets in the way of reading and I get twitchy if I can’t read every day lol! X
I agree, I hate having a day where I haven’t read! Even if you only have time for a chapter or two, it always feels so much better doesn’t it? 🙂 xi
Am bit of a newbie with reviews but after using good reads for my books I had already reviewed my best ones when I finished them so guess I don’t do too much however this week I caught up with all from net galley now that was hard work lol great blog !
Haha, I don’t use Netgalley for that very reason! I don’t think I’d trust myself not to request all the books and become swamped with reviews! Thank you, and thanks for your comment 🙂 xo
No probs I am trying only to have one book at a time but … Lol
You have summed up the reviewing process so well for me!
My processes very much similar. I’ve not long started blogging and reviewing so I’m managed to stockpile some books that I want to review over the next couple of weeks, meaning I am able to read books in the meantime without the pressure of getting a review up super soon.
I am loving blogging and reviewing so far though. It’s so great to share my love for books and interact with other book lovers!!
I’m so glad you’re enjoying it so far! I love chatting to people about amazing books because aside from my mum, there’s no one else I can really talk to them about in real life! You have a good idea there, keeping a pile of books you want to read, especially as you’ve not long started blogging. When I started, I read like 1 book every 2-3 weeks so as you can imagine, I didn’t have many posts up! Haha Thanks for you comment! 🙂 xo