Reviewing on Different Platforms

In the past, I never thought about the possibility that where you post your review would change how you review a book. However, I recently noticed one reviewer who I followed on Goodreads and her own blog who posted drastically different reviews on these sites. This got me thinking: do people review differently on different platforms?

I personally review a book very similarly on all the places I post my review. I typically write my review on my blog first, then post another to Goodreads and Amazon. The review I post to Goodreads and Amazon is essentially just a shorter version of the one that goes on my blog. These reviews look similar because I’m trying to show my honest opinions of the books I read through my reviews and these opinions don’t change within the short time it takes me to cross-post my reviews.

But going back to the reviewer I mentioned earlier: her blog’s reviews were great. They went into what she liked and didn’t like, what her overall opinion was, etc. It was your typical review and nothing jumped out at me as being unfair. What I couldn’t stand were the reviews she posted to Goodreads. These were brutal. Not only would she post much more negative reviews on Goodreads, but she could get downright mean about them. Books that received normal reviews on her blog received comments like “this book sucks,” “why am I wasting my time on this,” and “who thought writing this was a good idea” on Goodreads. I couldn’t understand why she would post such different reviews on different places.

She then wrote a post on her blog about how different kinds of reviews were popular on different platforms. She felt that Goodreads reviews were more popular and taken more seriously if they were extremely critical, but noted that this was not a good strategy on a book blog, where readers expected a more fair and balanced but honest review. She seemed to change the wording of her review (and sometimes completely change the content) based on what she thought readers were looking for. (Allow me to note here that I’m not saying that I either agree or disagree with this, I’m simply pointing out what she did.)

I don’t really have any interest in tailoring my reviews for the audiences on different platforms. My primary focus is simply to show what I thought of the book. I don’t really care that much about “entertaining” in my reviews (you’ll notice some reviewers add tons of GIFs or similar things to entertain readers in their reviews). Of course, I don’t want to bore the people reading my reviews either, so maybe I should be doing more to make my reviews fun to read and maybe I should be taking into account who the different audiences are on Goodreads vs. Amazon vs. my blog.

What do you do? Do you change the style, language, or even content of your reviews to accommodate the different audiences? Or do you, like me, use more or less the same review regardless of where you’re posting?

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24 thoughts on “Reviewing on Different Platforms

  1. That’s so interesting. I hadn’t even considered that bloggers might change their reviews on different platforms. I post the exact same review, but shorten it and leave a link to my blog on Goodreads (haven’t got round to posting on Amazon yet). I sort of understand why that blogger does what she does, but it’s also not exactly being honest? How will we know what their actual thoughts are on the book?

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  2. As a composition instructor in my past life, I stressed to students the importance of writing for your audience. So I don’t have a problem with a writer writing differently for each audience. What sort of jumped out at me is the meanness you describe of her Goodreads reviews. Why be so nasty on GR and change the opinion so drastically from her blog? Is the audience on GR looking for attacks on the author?

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    • She seemed to think so! lol I remember her making a post that talked about how on Goodreads, people liked reviews that were “snarky” (although if you ask me, her reviews were more than snarky and were just cruel at times). I can totally understand why you would change your reviews to fit the audience but she was so much more critical on GR than on her blog that it was really hard to figure out what she really thought.

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  3. This is so interesting. I wouldn’t dream of being anything but honest in a book review. I understand editing it for length and stuff like that, but to basically post a completely different review? I don’t get it. Really, why should it matter if a certain kind of review is more “popular”? Surely what matters is that you’re actually being honest?

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    • I can understand wanting to make your review more accessible/fitting to the audience of different websites and getting more people to read your reviews. I know more “general” readers may read reviews on Goodreads compared to people’s blogs (in my experience, people who read book blogs tend to be bloggers themselves). But when your review ends up being way different and you’re saying completely different things on different platforms, it gets confusing and kind of defeats the purpose of even writing reviews.

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      • That’s definitely true. I know that before making a blog I mostly relied on Goodreads reviews, and I’d like to think that, regardless of where I’m reading a review, I’m reading someone’s genuine opinion. Otherwise, what’s the point?

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  4. Hm, very interesting. I never even thought to change my reviews for different platforms. I literally copy & paste what I write on my blog onto Goodreads and Amazon as I barely have time to write reviews for my blog. I understand shortening the review, but changing it/making it more critically for the sake of more views/likes/comments kind of frustrates me. I expect honest opinions when reading reviews so this is a little discouraging to hear.
    -Jordan @ The Heart of a Book Blogger

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  5. Wow. I’ve never heard of anything like that. I get the “write for your audience” thing, but that’s mainly a recommendation to consider things like tone, level of formality, and what information you do and do not need to tell your reader. it sounds like this person isn’t just changing things like tone; she’s flat-out changing the content if on her blog she says a book is good and on Goodreads she says it’s terrible. And then to say that she does it because she thinks different types of reviews will be popular on different platforms? I honestly wouldn’t trust her reviews. It sounds as if she’s posting for page views and not saying what she really believes about the book, and who wants to read what’s apparently a bunch of lies?

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    • It definitely made it hard for me to trust her reviews because I just couldn’t figure out if what she was saying was actually how she felt. I still follow her blog because she posts some other really great things, but I tend to skip over her reviews now that I’ve noticed that.

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      • I’m still baffled she posted about how she posts different things on both sties–as if it hasn’t occurred to her people would find it hard to tell what her real opinion of the book is. Or would care what her real opinion is.

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  6. I write my reviews on my blog first, then when they’re published I literally copy and paste them onto the other platforms. Nothing changes, apart from my blog has a photograph I took of the book. I write my reviews exactly how I think of the book, so I don’t think I’d be able to write any other version to be honest!

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  7. (Catching up on old posts and I had to comment on this one because it’s such an interesting one!) I post the exact same review on Goodreads as I do on my blog. The only difference is I don’t include all the summary/pages information ect.. Amazon is usually a condensed version or I have to remove some words because of their “offensive language” thing haha. I totally understan writing for an audience (I write differently on my blog, Tumblr and Twitter ect.), but I DON’T understand changing your opinion for said audience. I know Goodreads seems to mostly up vote (unfairly) negative reviews, but I would never give a fake review just so I could get a rise in stats. Kinda defeats the purpose of being a review, imo. We’re supposed to give our honest thoughts not conveniently change them for whatever site we post on.

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  8. Pingback: Reviewing on Goodreads and on the Blog: is There Any Difference? | Sparkling Letters

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