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Reviewing on Goodreads and on the Blog: is There Any Difference?

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Hello everyone! ♥

Welcome back to another discussion post 😀 today we’ll talking about reviewing books on different platforms and if there’s any difference between them. A few weeks ago I stumbled across a blogging tip post that talks about the difference between reviewing books on goodreads and on our blog and the blogger said that it should be different. It surprised me a little because I’m that kind of reviewer who practically copies-and-pastes my goodreads reviews to my blog 😁

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Basically this is what I usually do : 

  1. I write review as soon as I finish a book and post it on goodreads (and netgalley if I get the book from them)
  2. I copy-paste the review to my blog, add star ratings, add links too Goodreads, Amazon, and TBD, and break up my review so it won’t seem as long.
  3. Add pictures of the books
  4. Check for typos or offensive critiques and make sure they’re gone before I hit publish. This is probably the ONLY difference because I almost never proofread my goodreads reviews. They’re full of typos and I don’t really care
  5. Post the blog review according to my schedule (every Thursday)
  6. Sometimes if I remember, I put a link to my blog on my goodreads review

But after reading that blog post I started to question my credibility as a reviewer and whether I’ve been doing the wrong things all along :’) so I did some google search for everything I need to know about this topic.

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The first result landed me on Kourtni’s post about reviewing on different platforms. On her post, Kourtni talked about a reviewer who posts significantly different reviews on her blog and on goodreads in which her blog reviews are way nicer than her goodreads reviews—which are pretty harsh and brutal. Kourtni than said that according to that reviewer, it’s because different kinds of reviews are popular on different platforms. I quote :

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.

It’s probably a truth widely acknowledge that on goodreads, the harsher you get, the more popular your reviews become. If you haven’t noticed that, try scrolling through the review section of some of the popular books, you’ll see the top results are mostly harsh reviews. I did more google search and it landed me on Goodreads Review Guidelines. According to the guidelines, goodreads is for expressing our honest opinion about books. Harsh critical statements that apply to the book or the writing in it, such as “This guy can’t write a lick,” or “This book is absolute trash,” is allowed on Goodreads review—as it is an honest opinion.

Now let’s think about reviewing on the blog. As far as I know, there’s no guideline or rules about it. We are free to review the books however we want to, but everything we write is on us. I can’t imagine myself saying harsh things like “this book is absolute trash” on my blog just because it has messy plot or immature characters, that’s just… too brutal and I don’t have the nerve, or heart, to do it. We can’t forget the fact that behind every book, no matter how awful it is, there’s a person who’s done a hard work to write it. I’m not gonna bash them on my blog.

I guess my point is that on the blog, everything we write is our responsibility while on goodreads, we are still protected by the rules and guidelines. Also, I noticed that a lot of goodreads reviewers strive for popularity, that’s why the snarkier the reviews, the better.

HOWEVER, I wasn’t sure if the difference in reviews is simply because of popularity, so I did more research and it landed me on Ashley @ Nose Graze’s post : Goodreads Reviews Can Outrank Your Blog Reviews. I suggest you read Ashley’s post because she understands and explains this better than I could possibly do but bottom line is :

1) If you post identical reviews on goodreads and on your blog, your goodreads reviews will beat your blog in search ranking. This means that if you google your blog/goodreads username and the title of the book, your goodreads review will show up first on google search results. The first thing Ashley did to win back her blog SEO was to change her goodreads username so it wouldn’t be identical to her blog name. In my case, I’d have to remove “Sparkling Letters” from my goodreads user name so if anyone google Sparkling Letters reviews, they will be directed to my blog.

2) If you post identical reviews on goodreads and on your blog, Google would recognize it as duplicate content and pick only one result to display. In which case, see point number one. I admit that this never even occurred to me before! I post identical reviews on goodreads and my blog and the problem is, I post my goodreads review first and then post the same review on my blog a few days/weeks later. So by that logic, google would consider the review on my blog as the duplicate and the review on my goodreads as the original one, right? Scary! I don’t want google or people thinking that I’m the plagiarist one :’)

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Now we’ve reached the point when I ask myself the question : what am I gonna do about it? Based on the discussions above, we could see that there are a few things we could do.

The first is to change our goodreads username so it won’t match our blog name. I already did it. In fact, my goodreads username has always been ‘Puput’, without my blog name behind it. I don’t know if there’s any other consequences if you do this (e.g. branding, recognition, etc) but I think I’m good so far.

The second is to not post identical contents. If you post different kind of reviews on your blog and goodreads, you could kill two birds with one stone. 1) google won’t recognize your contents as duplicate and 2) if you could make your goodreads review a little snarkier, you have the chance to be more popular there. Now this is the problem.

I really don’t have the time to write TWO different reviews for a book. I mean, it’s time consuming enough to have to write one review. There’s other solution to this problem, that is to write a shorter version of your review on goodreads, and then link it to your longer and more comprehensive blog review. This way google won’t recognize the contents as duplicate. The thing is, I… don’t want to do it. I love having my full reviews on goodreads so people (or at least my goodreads friends who don’t follow my blog) could still read my full thoughts on the book.

I’m honestly concerned about the duplicate issue, so I still haven’t decided if I’m gonna post a shorter review on goodreads or not. As for popularity, I don’t really care if my goodreads reviews are popular or not. There was the time when I did care but now, not so much. I’ve accepted the fact that I wouldn’t be famous there and that’s okay. Plus I use goodreads mainly to track my reading 😛

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Alright everyone, those are my thoughts and research results about reviewing on different platforms? What do you usually do? Do you post similar reviews, or do you make certain changes so they’re not the same? Do you care about popularity, stats, SEO, and the duplicate issues? I’d love to hear your thoughts! ♥

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9

The Evolution of My Book Photography Style

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Hello everyone! ♥

If you do book photography—whether it’s for your blog or bookstagram or both, you must have taken some times to experiment with your photography style before eventually finding one that you’re comfortable with. To be honest, this is an ongoing process. You never stop experimenting because even if today you have found your favorite styles, you might find another favorite in the future. Especially if you’re someone who’s always looking for the next best style. Like me 😛

As you’ve seen from the title, today I’m gonna show you the evolution of my photography style 😀

Style #1 : The Simple Flatlay

I started out taking pictures of books long before I created my instagram account. At first I used my phone because it was simple, and I didn’t think I would need more options—the ones that camera provides. My first style was super simple! They’re all flatlays of books with a few of my stuffs. 

That was pretty basic and practically required no effort to set up 🙈 while some bloggers/bookstagrammers could pull off this simple style effortlessly, I failed miserably 😂 I wasn’t satisfied at my pictures. I hated looking at the empty spaces and I always had this urge to fill those empty spaces up, which is weird because if you look at my blog design, it’s all about empty white spaces 😛

Style #2 : The Origami Phase

After realizing the fact that I hated empty spaces, I started to look for props to make my pictures look more cluttered. At first it was difficult because when I looked at those pretty pictures on instagram, everybody seemed to use expensive props like candles, funko, etc. Some bookstagrammers successfully used random items as their props but when I tried using random items on my pictures, they looked like… well, random items 😂 it was very discouraging ahaha that was when I discovered the magic of origami ♣

Spoiler : I didn’t make those paper stars. I can’t 😂🙈 buuut I did make the origami flowers and butterfly. They’re very easy to make! This is also around the time when I started using my brother’s DSLR. I didn’t understand a single thing about it though, so I only used automatic hahaha it was pretty satisfying for a newbie.

Style #3 : The Graduation Flowers Edition

I’d always wanted to use flowers as props but to have to buy them myself ONLY for props sounded… absurd. And redundant. No judging any of you who does, but I’m cheap and I don’t want to spend money on things that don’t last 😂😂 but then the day finally came for me to use flowers as props! Remember how I got so many flowers on my graduation day? Those flowers served as my props, at least while they last 😛

I actually really liked this aesthetic! It’s pretty and I love the colors, especially because the flowers came in so many colors I basically had so many choices.

Style 4 : The Drying Flowers

Like I said above, flowers don’t last. I put them in a vase of water but still, in less than week they started to dry. But hey, drying flowers still make good props, right? So I thought. I started using them as my props and while at first they looked great, I started to dislike them rather quickly.

The thing with using dried flowers as props is they made the pictures looked a lot darker than I preferred. Compare it with the pictures above, you’d see the difference. This was the time when I started to experiment with manual setting, because as you see, the pictures are dark 😂 I wanted to brighten them, but unfortunately (or fortunately?) automatic setting didn’t suffice. So I had to learn to play with ISO, aperture, and shutter speed 😛

Style #5 : The Autumn Vibes

There’s really no stopping the flowers from dying, so one day I asked my friend about what to do with my flowers because I didn’t want to throw them out. She told me to pry all the dried petals and put them in a jar, it would look pretty, she said. It was actually a good idea so I started prying them, but then halfway through it I realized these dried petals would be great for props! I mixed them with my paper stars and voila ♥

I also started to experiment with props and used random stationery items for my pictures. Thankfully they blended well enough and no longer looked like random items 😂🙈 I called this autumn aesthetic because with all the dried petals and flowers, they created an autumn-ish vibe. Maybe. I don’t know, I’m a tropical girl and we don’t have autumn here 😛 anyway, I was pretty content and I stuck with this style for a long time… until something dreadful happened.

Style #6 : The Extinction of the Dried Petals

Sometimes in last September or October, I completely lost ANY desire to take pictures. I can’t remember why, maybe I didn’t have any inspiration, time, or was simply lazy. But I went for a few weeks without taking any pictures. During this brief hiatus, I stored my dried petals in a shoe box and it was closed. Fast forward a few weeks later, I suddenly wanted to take pictures and when I opened my shoe box, the dried petals were humid and covered with mildew. I freakeeeed 😂😂😂 honestly it felt like a step back because I lost a vital prop and didn’t have anything to replace it yet. So I started taking pictures with my usual style—only without the petals.

I really didn’t like this style, I thought it looked so boring. I started using my origami paper to spice things up. It worked, but it didn’t look like my style at all. It only lasted a few pictures before I tried on another 🙈

Style #7 : The Dried Petals Replacement & Return of the Flowers

I spent some time thinking of something to replace my dried petals then one day I went to the bookstore and found some dried wooden skins in arts and crafts section. It was a bit overpriced but I bought it. And while I was at it, might as well buy some flowers, or so I thought. The color is more white with less autumn vibe but it worked so well. I really liked this aesthetic, too bad it didn’t last long because the flowers (inevitably) dried 😂

Style #8 : The Fake Flowers

I was so done using flowers only to have them dried a week later so I decided to buy fake flowers altogether. If I was gonna spend money on it, might as well spent it on things that last, right? 😛 at first it was kind of difficult to set up but after some times experimenting, I started to really love this style. This is actually the style that I still use 😀 I’ve experimented with the set up and props ever since but my general aesthetic remains the same.

So you see, it took me a while to finally settle on this current style. I’m probably not gonna stick to it forever, but for now I’m pretty satisfied with it and have no intention of changing style anytime soon ♥

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Alright everyone, that was the evolution of my book photography style! I went through roughly 8 styles before settling with my current style. Which one do you like best? What about you, did you do a lot of experimenting before finding your perfect style? I’d love to hear your thoughts! ♥

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77

Figuring Out Your Perfect Blogging Schedule

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Hello everyone! ♥

Today we’ll be talking about blogging schedule. I know a lot of you must have had your own schedules, but when I talked about it on my wrap up post last month, a lot of bloggers said that they still haven’t figured out their own schedule and they really want to change that. So here I am, sharing what I learned so far about things to consider when you want to create a blogging schedule 😀 

Before we start, let me make it clear that there is no one right way to blog. You can post whenever you feel like it. Any schedule (or no schedule at all) could work, as long as you’re happy with it. But if you’re a super organized, perfectionist bean like me, here are some suggestions that might help ♥ Continue reading

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Sparkling Letters 1st Blogversary : A Statistical Analysis & Lessons Learned

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Hello everyone! ♥

Last week Sparkling Letters just celebrated its first year blogversary on March 2. YAYYY!!! However, I had no idea how to celebrate and was swamped with work, hence the late celebration. Plus I already had an ARC review scheduled for March 2 🙈

I know everyone says this on every blogversary post of ever but I never thought I’d be here for a while. Blogging has always been my hobby since I was 14 (I’m 22 now) but I did it sporadically. I thought this time would be no different. I thought it was gonna be just another phase that I’d outgrow soon. But last week I hit another big milestone : 1st year blogversary. I mean, IT’S HUGE! A lot of things had happened in a year and I’m proud of myself and my achievements. Continue reading

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Blog Hopping: For Fun or Necessity?

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Hello everyone! ♥

Welcome back to another discussion post! Today we’ll be talking about a topic that has been on my mind for a while but haven’t really talked about to anyone, blog hopping. Since the second half of December, I feel like I haven’t been able to properly blog hop. Sometimes I blame time and my hectic schedules but really, most of the times I’m just not in the mood for. I’m simply lazy, and I feel bad for it 😦

Before we discuss it further, let’s define blog hopping. Continue reading

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Is Bookstagram Community Becoming More and More Competitive Each Day?

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Hello everyone! ♥

A few weeks ago I stumbled across Asleigh’s post about the competitiveness in book blogging & book tube. Upon reading it, I immediately thought of bookstagram and how it is getting more and more competitive each day. So today I’m going to talk about bookstagram and the competitiveness in its community. I’m actually super nervous because chances are I probably would offend some people with my post 🙈 but please know that it is not my intention of writing this! It is simply to talk about things that are happening around us and make us think together 🙂 so without further ado, let’s get started! Continue reading

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6 Reasons WHY You Should Write Discussion Posts + Tips & Tricks to Nail Them

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Hello, everyone! ♥

Today’s discussion is about writing a discussion post, so it’s gonna be like a meta-discussion? 😛 Anyway, DISCLAIMER : I’m not trying to be an expert blogger/writer (though I wish to) but I have an 8-months-worth of experience on writing discussion posts, so I thought I’d share them with you and convince you to write (or keep writing) discussion posts as well ♦ ♦ ♦

Discussion posts are my favorite of all kinds of posts. These are 6 reasons WHY you should 1) start writing discussions if you haven’t already, and 2) write more discussion posts than you already do 😛 Continue reading