Guest Post: How LitRate Can Improve Bookish Discussions from Ashley @ Nose Graze

Posted August 1st, 2014 by in *Feature/Meme / 4 comments

I am so very excited to be hosting Ashley from Nose Graze! Ashley is here at Once Upon a Chapter today to explain how her Kickstarter project, LitRate, will have a better discussion platform than what is currently offered out there.


Hello! Huge thanks to Stephanie for letting me appear on her blog today. 🙂 My name is Ashley and I have a book blog over at Nose Graze. I’m very excited to be talking about two things today: book talks/discussions on big sites like Goodreads and LibraryThing, and how I think I can improve them. 😉 Big ambitions, huh?

How many book review/cataloging sites have you been a part of? I’ve checked out quite a few and I’ve noticed one pretty consistent thing across all of these sites: the discussion/community area is confusing! I feel like we have it ingrained in our heads that a place to talk about books = groups. But when you think about it, having groups for discussions doesn’t really make much sense unless your goal is to section people off.

Goodreads Groups

Goodreads has “Groups”. My first impression: this is confusing. Where do I go?

Goodreads groups overview

So what if I want to join a group to talk about young adult books? Well, I type “young adult” into the search bar and get:

Young Adult groups on Goodreads

Okaaaay so I guess some of those groups focus on young adult books, but they’re too specific. I just want to talk about young adult books in general! Well at this point I’m lost and confused and never going to look at groups again.

LibraryThing Talk and Groups

LibraryThing has a “Talk” section and “Groups”. The Talk section is just a huge list of topics with no categorization whatsoever. It’s extremely intimidating. I feel like I don’t know where to look first.

LibraryThing's 'Talk' section

Then the Groups section seems more like a list of categories than actual groups. When I think of groups, I think of book clubs and more private topics. But LibraryThing has such general ones, like “Author Chat” and “Book Talk”.

Now it’s possible that I’m not doing this right or just doing something stupid. But the thing to take away from this is that other people will be like me: they will get confused. If people have to spend too much time figuring out how it works, they’re going to give up. You need to make things as easy and as clear as possible for them.

On LitRate—a new and upcoming cataloging site—we aim to take this idea of “discussions” back to its simple origin: a forum.

Introducing: LitRate

LitRate is an idea put together by my husband and I. We aim to create a new book cataloging and reviewing website where users can find information about books, discover new reads, catalog their own books, and chat with fellow book lovers. I know what you’re thinking: “That’s what Goodreads is there for.” We are taking on a massive project, but we’re hoping to make something even better than Goodreads. We want to take this idea, simplify it, modernize it, and ship it out to the world with you. Imagine a site with better searching capabilities, less drama, less spam, and a place where YOU have more control.

Moving away from groups and into forums

When I think of a group, I think of memberships, cliques, and group “owners”. If we’re creating a site where people can meet and talk about books, why do we have to segregate it? And if we allow people to create groups, we’ll probably end up with 50 different “young adult” groups, which will just confuse people. Which one do you join?

This idea of “groups” really boils down to a place to talk about books according to certain topics. On LitRate, we want to bring this idea back to its basic form. What’s the best way for people to talk about something in an organized manner online? A forum!

We plan on integrating a forum into the LitRate community. If you want to see an example of this, check out the forum on You can almost think of it in terms of WordPress categories, sub-categories, and posts. You have your very general sections (maybe Announcements, Reading, Writing, Book Events, and Website Help), then inside those sections you have sub-sections. So inside Reading you might have a section for YA Books, another for Adult books, etc. Then inside those sub-sections, you have the individual topics (“posts”).

But the main thing here is that no one ‘owns’ or ‘controls’ any of these categories. And, furthermore, there are no duplicates! If you want to talk about young adult books, you don’t have to sift through hundreds of young adult groups to find a good one. You just have to visit the forum for “Young Adult Books”. And if someone wanted to fangirl over Splintered, they would just create a new post in the Young Adult Books forum all about Splintered. Then everyone can join in and fangirl with them.

Help launch LitRate

Like what you see? Help make this a reality!

Transforming “groups” into a forum is just one small part of what LitRate is about. If you’d like to learn more and help make this idea happen, please check out our Kickstarter campaign. We’re very excited about this site and can’t wait to get it there into the world. We just need your help getting started!

Thanks Ashley!!

I’ve contributed to the Kickstarter campaign. Each dollar donated gets us one step closer to a much better cataloging and social media site for book lovers. What could be better?!



4 Responses to “Guest Post: How LitRate Can Improve Bookish Discussions from Ashley @ Nose Graze”

  1. Berls @ Fantasy is More Fun

    Yes! OMG – I tried joining some groups on goodreads and got so overwhelmed I just left them all. Half the time I didn’t know what people were talking about – because yeah, the themes are all over the place – and I couldn’t find one that fit. I love this forums concept. Yet another reason why LitRate sounds like it’s going to be fantastic. 🙂

    Berls @ Fantasy is More Fun recently posted: The Thought Readers | Cover Reveal
    • Ashley

      I’m so glad I’m not the only one! LOL! I was a tad worried about this because I think a lot of people are really into groups and I was hoping I wasn’t the only one who thought they were confusing lol. I just think forums make so much more sense and will allow even more people to meet and communicate.

  2. Angie F.

    I actually do like the groups on GR, but agree that they’re totally all over the place! I’ve found a couple that I regularly participate in, but really don’t want to attempt to find others for topics/genres that I’d also like to talk about with others. I do enjoy the forum format a lot though, since it’s much more organized and easier to find exactly what you’re looking for (unless people start creating a bunch of topics about the same thing!).

    Another reason I like groups is because it allows for things like the Seasonal Reading Challenge. I doubt something that huge and involved will appear on LitRate in the beginning, but if someone does want to start it up, I have a hard time imagining it being possible on a forum. Unless it got it’s own board. The majority of my group participation is member run challenges (most of which could take up a single thread, no problem), so I certainly hope there will be a place for that to happen.

    Angie F. recently posted: Stacking the Shelves #141
  3. Amy @ Pages of Starlight

    This actually answered most of the questions I had about LitRate. I actually do belong to a couple of groups on Goodreads – however, I seldom participate in them because 1) they seem mostly dead anymore and 2) it’s almost impossible to find the topic you want to comment on.

    I do like the idea of forums. This way, you don’t have to join a group to comment and, hopefully, the conversations will keep going. It really sounds like LitRate would have a much better community feel than any of our current options. I’m starting to really like this idea.

    Amy @ Pages of Starlight recently posted: Back For Good (I Hope)

Leave a Reply

Enter your URL in the website field, then click here to leave a link to your posts below your comment!