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?