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.
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 all–Be 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.
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