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How to Write a Book Review.

How to Write a Book Review

One of my Mottos here at Lit World Interviews is ‘Read a Book, Write a Review’. Nice idea, huh? How do you write a review? Scary thought, isn’t it?

Trust me, it wasn’t easy my first time, and not my best. I was afraid I would say something wrong and perhaps dissuade someone from buying a book.

You’ve heard people talk about the KISS method of things. Keep it Simple Sweetie. For me I at times like to say Keep it Short Stupid, but stupid is like a profanity word around here and it really isn’t a nice word, but I was using it for myself. My having just explained all of that shows you WHY I use that definition at times, right?

Let’s give Keep it Simple Sweetie a shot.

But first;

Why Should You Write a Review?

The more reviews a book gets the better it is seen or listed on sites like Amazon. Even if you buy a book at local store, go to a site and write a review. It only takes a few minutes. Some Authors give away books and it would be kind of nice to simply write a review to help out. Free book, why not a review, right?

Okay, back to the Review Writing.

One thing above allBe Honest. This does not mean that if you hated the book that you go in and write a rant. It means you go in and give a few reasons why you didn’t like the book. Preferably intelligent reasons, or at least expressed in an intelligent manner. You don’t have to be vicious. In truth, many people will disregard your review if you are just completely one way or the other in your writing. If you are totally raving over the book, then people might look and think that you are a friend of the author or you are just too nice. If you are totally negative, people will just think you have issues. You need to give reasons.

Yes, I write reviews for friends if I have the book, but I make sure I am honest when I write them. I don’t always give the highest rating.

Even when giving 5 out of 5 stars I say why, and even give areas I would improve upon. I’ve never come across the perfect novel. Why? Because we all have our own opinions. But you don’t have to have read a perfect book to give a 5 out of 5 stars rating. If you enjoyed the book that much, then you enjoyed the book that much. That’s the real purpose of a book.

How do I write my reviews?

I like to use the sandwich method. I like to start off positive, the could have been better parts or what I would have liked parts in the middle, and then end it with something tasty as well.

Recently I did a review of a book where I started off by explaining that even though I didn’t think the book would be my kind of read, I gave it a chance and liked it. That I had let my stereotype thoughts of what a Romance of its kind was supposed to be like. I admitted I was wrong.

I gave details, that were not revealing of the full story itself in as far as giving away too much, to show I had read the book, and then gave reasons I enjoyed the writing style of the book.

Then I went into some things I would have liked to have seen such as the use of certain characters more, or the length of scenes. For this particular book there was very little to complain about. And in all honesty considering it was not my ‘kind’ of book, I was surprised. The writing was that good. I’ve spoken to the Author since reading the novel and she said, thank you but you have to remember, that is like the fifth revision you are reading, it didn’t start out that good. Encouragement for this future best selling Author, I must say. (Meaning me.)

Finally I ended with why I liked the book overall and whether or not it would make me want to read more either by the author or hope for another book in a series of the same characters.

I also gave a reason for my star rating.

A review can be as long or short as you want it to be. But it should be helpful.

The Parts of the Review

  • Show you actually read the book and why you liked or did not like the writing style
  • Were there things you would have liked to have seen differently, more of, less of
  • What did you like about the book as far as content of the story, any connections to characters, message of the book, would you read more by the author
  • Explain the reason for the rating (Optional)

Yes, if you just completely disliked the book, you might not be able to use the sandwich method, but remember to stay professional and use the review to help not only other possible readers but to also give feedback to the authors. They do read them and they want to know how to improve. They KNOW they are not perfect.

One last thing is to lable/title your review in the given field. Something that reflects your feel for the book and why you liked it.

You can read my Amazon Review here.

And as always, remember . . .

Read a Book, Write a Review.

Much Respect

Ronovan

Ron_LWI

2014 © Copyright-All rights reserved by litworldinterviews.wordpress.com

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40 thoughts on “How to Write a Book Review.”

  1. I guess each person will have his/her own method for reviewing, but it’s also important to remember not to tell too much of the plot (the dreaded spoilers), particularly if it’s in a genre that depends on it…
    I agree I’ve read quite a few reviews that show clearly the person did not read the book and regardless of the number of stars I will ignore those. I’m more interested in the content of the review than the stars (as those are subjective but sometimes the reasons why somebody does not like a book could be reasons why I would like it and vice versa). Thanks Ronovan!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. As a former graduate student in English lit, I wrote many analyses of books, so that is the approach I generally take – writing more of an analysis than a review. Sometimes I write a shorter version for public consumption (on Amazon, etc.), and then use my blog for a more complete analysis. This is particularly true when I want to present my thoughts on a classic book or established author. Sometimes in those cases I don’t even do a public review. And if I thought the book was really awful, I generally don’t review it at all. No point in making enemies.

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  3. Excellent post. I just wondered why explaining the star rating is optional. I find it a bit frustrating when a four-star rating accompanies a perfect review. I want to know the reason for the rating – whether it’s my book or one I’m thinking of reading.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Rosie Amber, it would be appropriate if you actually read the books before leaving a review. Your email to me actually admitted that Jill was beyond her capabilities to write a review and had struggled to do so. This did not deter you from publishing an inadequate review with spoilers, typos and without ratings or ranking. No temper tantrum just an amazed reaction to such an unprofessional attitude.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sorry about this dissatisfied author who asked for a book review, which 2 reviewers on my team had issues with, the more important being typos and errors and everyone’s opinion is there own, we are agreeing to disagree, I post all book reviews when others have given their time freely to read a book and write a review, all done in our own time and for free, no where do we offer a paid professional service.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve got to write a review today actually. I like getting books, but I am sometimes too nice. That makes review writing difficult, but I try to be honest without being cruel or insensitive. I needed to read this today. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Many of my friends think “book report” when I ask if they could write a review. Really, only a sentence or two will suffice. I think Amazon has a minimum requirement of 20 words, but I always tell people to explain what you liked or didn’t like, and if they’d recommend it. I like longer, well-written reviews, but does the average person sit and read through them?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think that if the person is interested enough to look at the reviews then, yes, they probably do read the reviews that will give them the real information they are looking for. I write mid to long reviews depending on what needs to be said. So far so good as far as their being helpful. There are several ways to write a review. One thing is to have a good title for the review. If that catches the eye then the person is more likely to read it.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I write short reviews because I feel people don’t read the whole thing if it is too lengthy. If I really don’t like a book rather than giving it a bad review, I contact the author (if he/she asked me to review) and explain why I am not posting the book without trashing the book or the author. I’ve only had to do this once or twice. Most books have enough redeeming qualities that I am able to write an honest and fair review. Writers put too much blood, sweat, and tears into their work to have someone tear it down completely.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Exactly. If I ever see a tearing down review when I am looking at something, I toss it out. It can be a competitor, someone who just shouldn’t have been reading the genre, or just a person trolling and trying to start ‘junk’ for people.
      I’ve rarely come across a book that I just could not finish. If I can finish it then I can find something about it to be encouraging about.
      I have one book now that I just can’t get past the few couple of chapters, but I keep coming back to it in the hopes it will start something. I know it should be good, but I am waiting for it to happen.

      Good points about contacting the author if you just can’t do a decent review.

      I might update my article and mention that with credit to you for the thought, if that’s okay with you.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Two weeks ago I finally came across ‘the book I could not finish’ for the first time in my life. The degree of excruciating attention to minutia was painful to read. I returned to read it again & again but finally stopped.

        Thank you for an excellent article. I learned I likely was making my own too long & using too many quotes. I appreciate the valuable pointers.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I truly enjoyed this post for the advice and the insight. I’m an author and I love reviews not only for the learning of how to write better but just to know someone is out there and felt enough to write a review. It’s been said so many times but it is so true: writing is a lonely life, solitary, exciting life that feeds on readers. Thank you. I’m going to reblog this post because you said it so well.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Reblogged this on Dannie C Hill- The writer and commented:
    This is a re-post from Lit World Interviews by Ronovan about the importance of reviews. This subject matter has come up ever since book have been written and to the writer it means so much. Writing is a lonely, solitary, exiting life that feeds on readers and what they think.Please enjoy.

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  9. I’ve just posted an article about authors reviewing authors that you may be interested to read. http://ukartsdirectory.com/terry-tylers-literary-blog-29/#comment-28950 ~ it provoked a LOT of response. I have heard of several instances of book bloggers being bullied by authors for not posting glowing reviews about their books. Disgusting behaviour – if you ask for your book to be reviewed on a blog, you can’t add the proviso ‘but only if it’s a great review’!!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Excellent post. Ranty and gushy reviews tend to go mostly unread, where a good, professionally structured review can be valuable for both the reader and the author who gets intelligent feedback from it.

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