Reviewing a book is more than just summarizing the plot. It’s about sharing your experience with other readers to help them gauge if it is something that they would enjoy reading as well. A good book review includes a definitive opinion, shares your own personal experience, and offers a recommendation on what type of person would like the book.
Before putting pen to paper there are certain preliminary steps that will help you get started writing a good book review.
First, take some time to think about what initially drove you to pick up the book, what kept you reading, and what you want other readers to know about your experience. You may want to spend some time researching book review examples or revisiting specific reviews that drove you to read a certain book.
Next, decide what it is that you want to say in your book review. Then gather specific examples from the book that support your position. The more you can offer a strong, yet subjective position supporting your view, the more credibility you will have with your reader.
Finally, identify your target audience. Since not every genre of book is going to appeal to every reader, you want to be specific about who will enjoy it. Let your readers know who the review is geared towards.
Tips for Writing a Good Book Review
Include General information
Make sure to include all the relevant book information for your audience, including the title, author, genre, and publisher in your review. While not necessary, it is also helpful to include the number of pages, list price, and ISBN number.
Provide a Brief Plot Summary
Your review should be about the book and your experience reading it. Let your reader know what the story is about so that they have context for your comments and feedback, but avoid including any specifics that may ruin the plot for them.
Focus on the Book, Not the Author
Keep in mind that your main job as a reviewer is to share your opinion on the book, not to critique the author. Keep the focus on the story. Avoid referencing pitfalls in any of the author’s past books or what you know about them as a writer.
Be Clear and Specific
It is not enough to just say that you did or didn’t like the book. Let your readers know why. Make your thoughts clear as early as possible. Be specific about what you loved about the writing, what drew you to the characters, or what left you feeling lukewarm about the plot.
Not all book reviews have to be glowing, but they should be subjective. Rather than just saying you didn’t like something, support it by letting your readers know why. We all gravitate towards different things, so what may not appeal to you may appeal to someone else.
Always share if you received an incentive to review the book, got an advance copy, or have any connection to the author. Your readers will appreciate your honesty. Plus, it helps you avoid the negative impact on your credibility if they find out later.
8. Keep It Short
While book reviews can be any length, it is always best to keep it short and succinct. Pull in your reader with a strong first sentence that sets the tone of the review and end with your recommendation. Remember, most people start to scan when something gets too long.
9. Proofread Before Posting
The quickest way to lose credibility is to post a review filled with typos. Make sure to give your final book review a thorough read before posting it and double-check the spelling of any character names or places that you mention. Even better, ask someone else to read it over.
Also, keep in mind that you will want to write different book reviews for different sites. Don’t just copy and paste the same review. Google search engines scan for duplicate content and if flagged, your review won’t appear.
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