I am terrible at Goodreads. I have never had any illusions about this. I will probably never be good at Goodreads. In fact, this post is a desperate cry for help: I need you all to MAKE me good at Goodreads, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and related sites, so please leave your advice in the comments.
But that is not, actually, what this post is about. This post is about the amount of work behind the scenes that goes into book blogging. Let me break down what I've been meaning to break down for a long time now: how long it really takes for me to review a book.
Time spent earning money to buy books, thinking about buying books, going to the library, on NetGalley, entering giveaways, going to BEA, and otherwise acquiring books: The biggest variable, but it's pretty clear that for every book I buy/borrow/receive for review, I spend at least 1 hour thinking about it first. (I'm a poor decision-maker.)
Time spent reading the book: Another big variable. Anywhere from 1-4 hours, depending on the page length but let's, for the sake of argument, say 2 hours.
Time spent ruminating over the book: At least a day, though to be fair, it is a day I can spend doing other things as well. I never review books right after I read them, partially because I am very lazy and have a massive review backlog I always feel I need to get through "first" before I can review a book, and also because I have a tendency to write stupid things sometimes and like to think things through, first.
Time spent actually writing the review: I have knocked off reviews in 20 minutes (when the Muse strikes me), but on average, I spend about 1 hour on every review I write.
Time spent posting to Goodreads, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, etc.? Like I said at the beginning of this post, I'm terrible about doing this, so let's not include it in our final calculations. But when I do it, it takes about 15 boring minutes per book.
That's a total average of 4 hours of work into every review you see on Maggie's Bookshelf. Seeing as I have written 159 reviews (and, like Bitterblue, enjoy multiplication), that is a total of 636 hours of free, labor-of-love work, just on reviews, just on this site. Which does not include Twitter time, "think post" time (which is what this is), or any of the other behind-the-scenes stuff, and definitely doesn't take into account other blogs that do far more than me.
So all of this has just been a really long way of saying how much I freaking love reviewing books, which is why I spend so many hours doing it. And it's also a way of saying that sites like Stop the GR Bullies, while well-meaning, ultimately get things wrong. Because yes, there are nasty people writing nasty reviews on Goodreads, but no, we don't get to stop them. Because there will never be a definitive way to tell the difference between a negative, critical review and a nasty review.
And hey, let's face it: if you have a book blog or a Goodreads account, there's a 99.99999% chance you love books, the good ones and the bad ones. We're a small enough community as it is. Let's respect the time and effort we all take to love books together.