Hi everyone! I’ve got a new topic that I’d like to discuss with you today and that is editing ratings and reviews of books after they’ve been published on your blog/Goodreads/etc.
Should you edit your rating and_or review of books after publishing them?
Short answer: Yes!
Long answer to when you should change it:
It doesn’t reflect your current opinion
In my opinion, if you want to change your rating or review you should. If you feel like the review and_or rating doesn’t accurately reflect how you feel about the book, then change it.
You didn’t realise that there was problematic representation and_or content in it
No one is an expert in finding problematic representation for the vast amount of marginalised identities that we have in the world. Nor is anyone able to pick up on every single type of problematic content: e.g. romanticisation of toxic relationships; forced coming out.
I might not realise that a book has problematic content in it. I am also certainly not an expert in discerning if representation is problematic, especially when I don’t belong to that marginalisation. Sometimes, I’ll think that a book has good representation and then I’ll come across some #ownvoices reviews, where they discuss how harmful/stereotypical/wrong/bad the representation is. This isn’t something that only happens when I don’t belong to the marginalisation with the problematic representation. Sometimes, I might have internalised -isms and don’t realise that the representation has issues until another member of the same marginalised community tells me about it.
This situation directly affects the above situation because problematic representation and content always influences my opinion of a book.
You thought that the representation or content was problematic but it wasn’t
Sometimes you might be certain that a certain representation or content is very problematic. I find this is most likely to happen when someone is reviewing a marginalisation or content as a non-#ownvoices reviewer. I try to stick with finding reviews by #ownvoices reviewers and linking to them, but this is not always possible, especially with ARCs. In that case, #ownvoices reviews may be published after your post and you might realise that what you thought was problematic representation, wasn’t actually problematic.
You didn’t include all the content warnings
I am more likely to include content warnings for content that I would like to be warned about because I am also more likely to realise that this content is in the book. However, there are certain types of content that I forget to include because I didn’t realise they were potential triggers while reading. If I come across these warnings on other reviews, I’ll update my post to include them.
But what if you don’t want people to be angry that the review and_or rating changed after they read it?
In the case of your opinion of the book changing, I feel like that’s your choice if you want to edit the review and rating. I decide to edit it because I don’t want people coming up to me and telling me that a book that I recommended was awful (or vice versa). I want them to know how I really feel about the book. Of course, sometimes, your opinion might change and your readers have already bought the book, but that is a risk we all have as book bloggers.
However, in the case of unproblematic/problematic representation and content warnings, I feel like it is my responsibility as a book blogger to let readers know about them. If you find out that a book has these issues or actually didn’t, you should add them to your review and if you use a rating system adjust the rating.
How should you make it clear that you have edited your review and_or rating?
Now this is just my way of editing the post. You can use a totally different method. You can just change it without making it clear to the reader that you used to have a different opinion, which is what I did right at the beginning of my blogging experience, because I was still unsure the way how I was blogging.
I use a different font colour for the new text and insert the phrase “Update:” before that text passage. I also strike through the parts of the review that I don’t agree with anymore. In the case, of me being wrong about problematic representation and_or content, I would explain what made me uncomfortable in my update text. I also write an explanation if I’m changing the star rating, and state what rating I had given the book before the update. I don’t make it clear that I’m adding new content warnings though, since that is part of my ongoing process of maintaining my book blog.
I also use the Add to my update feed function on Goodreads, and Twitter to inform my followers that I have edited reviews. I will also start mentioning the reviews with updates in my future monthly wrap-up posts. I didn’t do this before but I will do so from now on!
I also make sure that I update the changed review and_or rating on every platform on which I’ve cross-posted it.
In my opinion, we bloggers owe it to our audience that we inform them of changes in our opinion, problematic/non-problematic content and content warnings. Readers might be influenced by these aspects of a book and if we find out that our review and rating doesn’t fit to reality, they might end up buying books we wouldn’t recommend or not buying books that we would recommend.
I’d love to hear what you think about this topic? Do you agree with me? Do you think bloggers should change their reviews and ratings after they’ve published the post? Do you change your review and_or rating? If you do, do you signal that you have done so to future readers?