May 31, 2012

Early Reviews: Love'em or Hate'em?


...but I didn't have anything better to use for this post. (Source)
Note: this post has way too many footnotes, I don’t know what happened (1)

Early reviews are my biggest pet peeve (2). One of the reasons I read book blogs is to find new stories and authors. My book buying habits are quite random, some books I buy after reading just one review or the blurb, others I buy after reading tons of reviews and lots of second-guessing. I’ve bought books just based on one person tweeting about it (3); I’ve had books sitting on my wish list for years. But in general I am an impulsive buyer. That’s why when I read an awesome review I want to be able to get the book immediately. So it’s no wonder that I hate early reviews.

If reviews are for readers, why talk about books readers can’t get? Is it because authors and publishers ask for them when they send the ARCs (Advance Reading Copy)? This has never happened to me (4) but I can see how early reviews can be good from the authors and publishers’ perspective. So even if I don’t like reading early reviews, I don’t think it’s wrong when blogs do it. Unless they post reviews more than three months in advance, then I’m just dumbfounded. What’s the point? Even if it sounds like a good book, chances are I will forget it, and if it’s a truly remarkable story, having to wait won’t make me happy.

Maybe a blogger has the opportunity to read a truly remarkable book and wants to let everyone know about it so they can get it on release day, preorder it, etc. I think that’s a perfectly valid reason. But when I keep seeing early positive reviews, I wonder if there are other motivations behind it. If the review is there for reasons beyond informing readers and book discussion, then it makes me question the blog’s intentions and weary of those reviews (unless the blog has a policy of only reviewing books they like, hence the positive reviews). If early reviews are there to share the blogger’s excitement (or disappointment) regarding a book, then I’m fine with it. But if that review is there to serve a different purpose, things become muddy. Publishers and authors may request the review to be posted earlier (though I would expect this to be more of a suggestion than an imposition), but if this becomes a recurrent practice it would appear that the reviews are aimed towards authors and publishers instead of readers. And that is just plain wrong, needless to say, reviewers do not work for publishers and/or authors. 

Part of our review policy is that we do not post reviews before release day. I admit that at times I want to talk about a book so badly I even feel like writing an early review. I might talk about it on twitter, but I usually refrain from doing it. I no longer participate on the Waiting on Wednesday meme because it was torture. A pile of great books that I have to wait for, frustration at its worst. 

Having said that, there’s one instance in which I look forward to reading early reviews: sequels and series. I want to know everything there’s to know about the upcoming book without spoiling the plot (5). I want to know if other fans liked it or not and why, I want to talk about the book and the series as a whole. I figure that since I’m already jonesing for the book, the early reviews won’t make me crave it even more (6).

I would like to hear your opinion on the subject as a reader, but also as a blogger (in case you are one). Do you like early reviews? Do you hate them? If you’re a blogger, do you post early reviews? Have you received positive feedback regarding them?

I’m adding a poll (7) so we can vote on it. I’m really curious to see the results so vote and let me know your thoughts on the comments.

(1) Maybe they got wet and started multiplying. 
(2) Lie: my biggest pet peeve is noisy eaters. 
(3) My credit card hates Twitter.
(4) Confession time: I’ve only once requested a book from a publisher, and they only give review copies after release day, so no problem with early reviews there.
(5) Lie: I love spoilers! I seek them, read them, and then hate them for spoiling the book for me (it’s a disease). 
(6) Lie: of course I crave it more after reading the review!
(7) Yep, this whole post was just an excuse to test the widget.


25 comments:

  1. GREAT POST! I am also an impulsive buyer. If I read a review and then realize the book is not available for purchase yet, I get beyond irritated. I also think it's really uncool for bloggers to post ARC reviews and not put ARC REVIEW in the title. That is just common courtesy for readers. Pubs send out ARC books to make sure reviewers have time to read and write up a review prior to release day, but it does them very little good to have reviews up 3 months in advance. The most important postings for them have a PURCHASE LINK. So that readers can buy the books. Creating pre-release buzz is only so effective.

    I can think of at least 3 ARC reviews I read that I wanted the book, it wasn't available yet, and I totally forgot about it and never got the book later.

    So, to answer your question....Hate 'em! ;^)

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    1. You make a great point and what you propose is a good compromise. Post the review as early as you want, but warn your readers so they can skip it. Some of the blogs I follow do this, they write Early Review or ARC Review, so it's a good warning, though they usually post these reviews a couple of weeks before release day, which isn't as annoying as blogs that post them months in advance and with no warning. Those, I unfollow right there.

      The buy button is another good point although adding several links to different retailers can be annoying (to the blogger). I used to add a link right at the end with the book's info, but it was disguised as the title, so you had to click on it to go to the Amazon page. At first I didn't want to seem pretentious, you know? Like I was assuming that people would want to buy the book after reading my review. But as reader I do want the buy button, so now I add a buy from Amazon link. Don't add different links because honestly, uploading the post sometimes feels like it takes more time than actually writing it....

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    2. I put a link to Goodreads....that way, the readers can see other reviews, and have links to all the purchase sites at one place. I don't think it's necessary for reviewers to add the purchase links to their sites. But if I see a review I like, I'll go right away to Amazon to buy the book. If it's not there......that was a big waste of my time. Irksome!

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    3. I also like it when blogs put direct links to other reviews, especially when those other reviews disagree with them. Gives the reader more options and a variety of opinions.

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    4. I agree! That's why I also link to Goodreads...you can see the whole variety of opinions about a book, plus the summary (which I don't do), plus info from the publisher, etc. I'm a Goodreads Ho, baby!

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  2. Great post.

    As a reader, I like early buzz about a book. Tweet me or put a few words on Goodreads and let me know yay or nay. I'm a total impulse buyer too. If I see a tweet from a reader I trust that says - omg this book is so good, it also comes out 3 months from now, I'll totally pre-order and then forget and have a surprise three months from now. All of that is fine with me.

    As a blogger though it is a different story. I've never once had a publisher or author ask me to post a review early. Several times I have notes from the publisher in arcs asking that I don't post a review until a certain date. My personal rule is that I don't post a review until the Friday before it releases. For big releases, I think it is fun to post them a few days early - to get people to start talking about it. For smaller/newer authors I try to post it on release date or later. I don't understand blogs that post an actual review weeks and weeks early. Why? Bloggers have to remember that no one else has read this book, so how can there be a good discussion on it? I just received an arc yesterday that comes out 9/4. Even if I read it today, I will wait until at least 9/1 to post the review. I might tweet - hey y'all, keep an eye on this book and rate it in GR (I love an early rating in GR) but don't post a review until the week the book comes out.

    *longest comment ever*

    *I demand you always include several footnotes in every post*

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    1. I don’t even like early buzz LOL! Although I do use it to preorder or wishlist a book. If it’s early buzz about an anticipated release, I’m all for it. Like with Tangle of Need, I kept stalking people on Goodreads to read their cryptic early reviews, I couldn’t get enough. I love the early ratings on GR as long as the reviewer has actually read the book, don’t get those who give stars to books they haven’t read yet, it messes with the average and if that book ends up sucking sweaty balls, then the overall grading can be deceiving.

      As a blogger, well, I already made my point. I have seen that publishers usually ask the review not to be posted before X day, but that doesn’t mean that you must post it the day after! I don’t post early reviews, and in fact, posting them on release day isn’t as great (although is what I usually do) because as you said, not everyone gets ARCs so there won’t be discussion, which one of the points of book blogging, right? And waiting can be hard, last year I read Julie Garwood’s newest book 4 months before release day and not being able to talk about it was driving me insane. Now I know more bloggers so I can always email them and tweet at them to talk about it. But waiting can be hard even if you’re waiting to discuss a book and not just to read it.

      *longest answer ever* (1)

      (1) Yes ma’am!

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  3. I like reviews close to the release date. Too early and I will either forget about it or lose interest. Also, if it is too early and LOTS of reviews come out I wonder if the author/publisher is trying too hard for a mediocre book. But I do spend on blog reviews. I NEVER rely on amazon reviews, too many are "bought" or reviewed "for" the author and not really honest reviews.

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    1. I too tend to rely on blogs and Goodreads instead of Amazon, although the people I follow on Goodreads often have blogs as well. On Amazon I go for the reviews that give the book less than 3 stars.

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  4. Great topic, Brie. You and I have talked about this on Twitter. And I agree 100%. I try not to post a review more than 2-3 days before a release. Sometimes I get them months in advance, but if I can't wait to read something, I just write the review and schedule it to post near the release day.

    I rarely read ARC reviews, unless I have already read the book myself.

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    1. I do the same thing, if I read a book months in advance, I just write the review, schedule it and forget about it. I'll talk more about the book after release day.

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  5. i don't want to read a review longer than a week before the book is out. i won't read a review of a book I know i'm going to read and/or review myself until after I read the book, anyway. i wouldn't mind seeing a quick blurb like "it's great, you should read it!" or "4/5 stars", but nothing too in depth. ~dixie

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    1. I try not to read reviews of book I'm going to review, but it can be hard. And gushing reviews that give no details are completely useless.

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  6. I agree it can be frustrating to read great things about a book and have to wait three months for it to be released. That is annoying. But I don't mind the early reviews and early buzz if the book will be released within the month.

    I think I have about the same buying habits as you. Sometimes one review has convinced me, other times a few or more. Great discussion post.

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    1. I think most of the readers are like you, they don't mind early buzz as long as is within the month. He! We have random buying habits, I think it's more about the book than the reviews.

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  7. Great topic. I don't care for reviews that are months and months away from a release date. It makes no sense to me. Also - Some of the publishers on NetGalley request that bloggers NOT post too far out.

    I wrote about it here: "Best Practices for Book Bloggers" - http://www.thebooksnoop.com/2012/05/best-practices-for-book-bloggers.html

    I'm no expert or authority, but I think we should follow the publishers wishes.

    Jenna

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    1. That's a really cool and helpful post, and I agree with it. I'll make it clickable so everyone can check it out more easily. Thanks for stopping by!

      Clickable Link

      Delete
  8. You know, I never really thought about it before. I usually don't know if a book is an early review or not. There are so many details I don't pay attention to in posts (ooopssey!). I'll know if it is a series I'm currently reading, but other than that I don't notice. Which leads me to my second point, I am an impulsive buyer too but I don't usually buy new books. I think I'm a little more skeptical of positive books of newly released books I guess.

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    1. Ha! You don't have that problem then... Maybe the blogs you read don't post early reviews so that's why you haven't noticed before.

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  9. Great post, even with all the footnotes =)
    I love early reviews, gets me hooked and looking forward to release date!

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    1. He! I don't like getting hooked, that's my problem!! ;-) That's such a cute dog, BTW.

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  10. Let me chip in with an author POV. Many reviewers have huge TBR piles, so if you can put your book on it a couple months before release date, you have a better chance at getting reviewed on time. Your publisher sends the book to some review sites, you send them to others. I always include the publishing date in the submission email, but I have no control over when the review will go live. Too early reviews worry me too.

    As a reader I don't like getting hooked on something that won't be out for months, but if it is available for pre-order on Amazon, I deal better.

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  11. Late to the party ^_^;

    I'll agree with people, I like early reviews only when it's near the release date. That's why whenever I request a book from Netgalley, I try to review it on the release date. For me, it works because I'm really on the look-out for new releases. I like to know what is coming out and when and therefore, reviews can help me decide whether or not to get a book in the end. The only problem is people who usually post early reviews, well those reviews are usually glowing. So you have to sieve through them ^_^;

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  12. You know what I hate though? Those people who are are saying: "Read ________, it was amazing!!! Review to come soon." It's one thing to read it early, but please, don't rub it in our face.

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  13. *I know I'm late to the party*

    I agree with you, Brie! It's the biggest turn off to read an awesome review for a book we've been expecting for ages and not being able to get our hands on it! I never post a review before a book is published, sometimes at the same day, but always after it's available, Sometimes I even wait till the book is not only available at the publisher's website (for small ebook pubs) and my reader can buy it on amazon, ARe and other options.

    For series, oh gosh, my OCD! I usually wait till there are a few books out, cause to wait an year between books is so cruel, LOL!

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The books reviewed here were purchased by us. If the book was provided by the author or publisher for review, it will be noted on the post. We do not get any type of monetary compensation from publishers or authors.