Google+ Reading Teen: Why do You do That? Early Reviews

Monday, December 5, 2011

Why do You do That? Early Reviews

I've spent a lot of time reading different book blogs.  Often I come across a post that basically tells other bloggers that they are doing something wrong, and need to change it.  Many times this is based on experiences that the blogger has had in the past, and he/she is trying to be helpful to other bloggers.  Sometimes, however, it is just the blogger's opinion, or it is based on something that used to be the case, but is not necessarily still true.  It's often been the case that Reading Teen is an "offender" according to these bloggers, and so I thought I'd take some time to address these issues in a couple of posts.  

Why Do You Do That? 
Early Reviews

There are many reasons why we have decided to (sometimes) do early reviews on Reading Teen.  Here are some of them:
  • Early Book Buzz:  
    • If there's a book that we've fallen in love with, we want others to read it.  Sometimes the best way to do that, is to get other bloggers to read it.  If we write a review of a book on release day, then our followers will see it.  If we write a review early, other bloggers will pick it up and review it too.  This means our followers will see it, and their followers will see it.  We will all start talking about it, and people will start to get excited for its release, and more Book Buzz is created.  I recently did an early review of Everneath.  The reason I did this was because I really loved it, and I want every blogger to put it on their "request and review" list, so it gets LOTS of buzz!
  • Publishers Sometimes Like It:  
    • When we were at BEA this year, a panel of (big) publishers told the book bloggers there, that they like early and release-time reviews.  They said that having a bunch of blogs who post a review the day of release isn't nearly as effective as having those reviews spread out, creating buzz.  They also said the ideal thing to do would be to have an early review, then a giveaway or something like that around release day.  They said that as long as the book can be pre-ordered, bloggers are welcome to post the review.
  • We are Specifically Asked To:
    • Sometimes publishers or authors have specifically asked us to post a review early.  Whether it's for early buzz, or for a book tour that lasts a month long, we will always honor that request whenever possible.
  • Other Bloggers Ask us To:
    • Most of you know that we provide content reviews along with our book reviews.  Often, other bloggers like to check our content reviews before deciding whether or not they will read or request a book for review.  This is something that we like to be able to do for people whenever we can.
  • We Have More Than One Blogger Reviewing the Book:
    • Reading Teen has 5 1/2 (hi mom!) bloggers who write for the blog.  Often one of us will read a book, write a review, then pass it on to the next to read and review.  We have five reviews of Divergent.  One posted a couple of months before release, one a couple of weeks, one around release, and two after release.  We'll probably be doing the same for Pandemonium very soon.
  • We Still Promote the Books We Loved at Release:
    • If there is a book that we reviewed early, we make sure to promote at release as well.  Whether this is with a giveaway, linked to the review, or a post about recent releases we've reviewed, or just re-posting the review itself, we make sure it is promoted.

So, these are the reasons that we (sometimes) post reviews early.  Other blogs only post reviews at or around release, and that is perfectly great too!  There is no "right" answer.  Every blog and every book is different.  The bottom line is,  you need to do what you believe is best for your blog, and the authors/books you want to promote! 

Happy Blogging!


  1. I totally agree. The early reviews helped put my book on people's radar. I appreciate all the bloggers who took the time to read and review pre-release.

    I'm sure I speak for loads of others as well when I say thanks for what you do.

  2. Great post! It's all so very true and very well stated :)

  3. I like the idea of early reviews, but I have problems with it. In some cases, it just seems like the blogger's bragging. I know it's not usually the case, but there is one blogger in particular that comes to mind with this. I hate the idea that people would brag about ARCs.

    My other problem is that I NEVER read early reviews. Chances are, I haven't read the book but I intend to and therefore, I won't read the review in case of spoilers. Even if I do read it, I'm not going to remember. I've only pre-ordered one book in my life, so I won't do that either. If I haven't already heard about the book just from the publisher's cataolog or scrolling through twitter, the book disappears off my radar until I get the book from the publisher or the release date when reviews pop up and I know I can get the book.

    I usually compromise by writing the review early, scheduling it, and posting it on Goodreads/LibraryThing. But I know how I do things doesn't work for everyone.

  4. Great post, and I'm glad you shared. There are definitely some valid points here- but at the same time, ultimately it comes down to the publishers' preference for me. If I'm asked to post early, then I'm happy to! But if I'm asked to wait until the release date, then I'm pleased to honour that as well. I know all pubs are different when it comes to this, and I'm happy to see that you highlighted this point. It isn't always the same, and there are some guidelines that are better as guidelines than hard and fast rules.

  5. As a new blogger I've actually had this question for a while. In the beginning I would post reviews of future releases willy-nilly but realized that was dumb. Why have a blog of mostly book reviews that people won't be able to read right away? I started paying close attention to how other, more seasoned bloggers handle early reviews and some wait until release day (or close to it) while others don't. I'm still confused.

    It's hard for me because I have to review as I read. I have so much going on right now that if I read books I have to immediately post the review or else I would have a slowly updated blog. There are future releases that I want to read more than some current ones, but I don't want to read them if I can't review them right away. I think I'm not going to review a book more than a month ahead of release date and then retweet the review on day of release. I really like what Lauren at 365 Days of Reading does with her Early Buzz and then posts the actual review around the release day. Don't want to copy her though. :) *sigh* I wish there was one right way to do things. I like to have my decisions made for me. ;)

  6. Love this: The bottom line is, you need to do what you believe is best for your blog, and the authors/books you want to promote!

  7. I pretty much love this post. I love how rational it is. I love how levelheaded it is. I love how you aren't accusatory or mean towards bloggers who do early reviews, because you do them yourself.

    For me, I like seeing early reviews on book blogs because that helps me decide which review copies to get to, I mean, I am only one blogger but I still get sent a ton of ARCs unsolicited, and the early reviews do help me sift through that pile.

    I see it as not only building early buzz, but also acting as a tastemaker. I think a super strong early review absolutely spurs other strong reviews which totally spurs that elusive book buzz.

    So the tl;dr (too long; didn't read) version of my comment: Awesome post.

  8. Very nice post. That was well written and explained things nicely :)

    I try really hard not to do one WAY early but still even if someone does, it is creating buzz about the book.

    Rock On Reading Teen!!

  9. I appreciate early reviews. Like the others have said, it helps get books on my radar and sift through/prioritize the ARCs I already have. I post a mix. Really, it's just whatever I've read and WANT to review. It's my blog. I'll do what I want! ;)

    Great post. :)

  10. I think a lot of "Must Do" bloggers forget that there's a lot of different audiences for blogs. For example, my blog is directed at introducing YA to Adult SF and Fantasy fans. That means they're likely to pick up a YA book on a whim because they like my review but not likely to pre-order them, so I post reviews after or on the release date so that it encourages people to make those impulse decisions. You obviously blog with other bloggers as the intended audience, so having early reviews and news early is important so they have time to disseminate around the blogging community. Both are valid, but some bloggers assume that all bloggers blog for the same reason they blog, or they don't think about their audience when they blog so they don't understand that other people may have different motives.

  11. I love your post. I recently read two different blog sites who had written articles entitled "10 Things I Hate About Your Blog." After reading through them, I did agree with most of what they said...not all by any means...but couldn't they have been positive about it. Maybe "10 Ways to Make Your Blog Better." I have been dallying with the thought of countering their articles with my own. You did just that... Perfect.


  12. LOVE this post. I love early reviews. I do them myself. I like to know what's out there, and sometimes when I'm deciding on a book to request, I'd like to know what a few people thought first. I just like to know what to get excited about!! Why wait?!

  13. Great post! I completely agree. I think people early reviews are helpful, just like later reviews are helpful. If everyone posted their reviews all at the same time I get overwhelmed and don't read them all, but if I see reviews spread out Im more likely to read each one and see what that blogger thought.

    plus I think the bigger point is, IT IS YOUR BLOG. You should be able to do whatever you want. I don't like when people try and say that you are doing something wrong just because that is not the way they do it. Blogs are such a personal thing and they should be run however the blogger wants them too.

  14. Awesome post...full of truth and goodness...keep on doing what you do so well...I love early reviews!!!

  15. I am a librarian reading the blog to decide what YA lit I need to buy. If you didn't post the early reviews, I wouldn't have much of a reason to read the blog, since I would have already researched most of the featured titles and made decisions. Thanks for doing it the way you do!

  16. Personally, I would think passing out ARCs would be encouragement to do reviews pre-release, but maybe I'm all wet there :)

    IMO ReadingTeen does a fantabulous job with their blog (and I'm not saying that just because they like my books ;)) I look at a LOT of blogs, trying to find ones that would be a good fit for reviews, and this one stands head and shoulders above the vast majority out there. Great work, all of you!


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