As authors, we want others to review our books, but getting people to do that can be challenging. You can ask and often people will enthusiastically say “yes!” but after reminding them once or twice, it starts to get awkward. How many times can you ask? Therefore, it’s time to use another strategy. “You have to give to get,” is a great mantra to live by, so write reviews for other authors. They may in turn be willing to actually write a review for your book as well.
Writing book reviews will help you to gain visibility since you can use your name and title of your book when you sign it. Plus, it will help you to build relationships with those other authors. Some might even become partners in a future campaign. With that in mind, here are some tips on how to write a great book review:
Read the book.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many people try to write reviews without actually having read the book. If you want your review to be taken seriously, you need to have read the book from cover to cover. And don’t just skim it—really pay attention and take notes as you go along. That way, when it comes time to write your review, you’ll have plenty of material to work with.
Make sure you’re familiar with the genre.
Before you can really dive into writing a helpful and informative review, you need to make sure that you understand the basics of the book’s genre. If you’re not familiar with the specific genre, take some time to read up on it so that you can properly talk about the book.
Take some time to think about what you want to say.
Once you’ve finished reading the book, take a few days to mull over your thoughts and feelings. What did you like about the book? What didn’t you like? What did you think of the author’s writing style? Trying to answer these questions will help you formulate your thoughts and opinions into a coherent review.
Look at other reviews.
Once you’ve decided what you want to say in your own review, take some time to read what other people have said about the book. Seeing how others have responded to the book can help give you some perspective on your own thoughts and feelings. Just be sure not to “borrow” anyone’s work. You want your review to be yours alone.
Take a tip from professional book reviewers. Even if you really love a book, there may be something you question or didn’t really care for. It’s OK to include both. In fact, too many glowing, 5-star reviews without any thoughtful questions or observations can cause review readers to question not only the book, but if the author is only having their friends write the reviews. When you share positives, and maybe a small negative, it appears more thoughtful.
Stick to the facts.
When expressing your opinion on the book, be sure to back up your claims with specific examples from the text. This will not only make your review more credible, but it will also help other readers understand why you feel the way you do.
A good rule of thumb is to keep your review under 500 words. That may seem like a lot, but trust me—it’s not as much as you think it is once you start writing. The key is to be concise and focus on the most important points. Remember, readers don’t want a play-by-play of the entire book—they just want to know if it’s worth their time (and money).
Use proper grammar and spelling.
This also seems obvious, but unfortunately, it bears repeating: please use proper grammar and spelling in your reviews. Nothing will turn off potential readers faster than seeing a review full of typos and grammatical errors. So take the time to proofread your review before hitting “submit.”
Some readers love spoilers, while others avoid them like the plague. Either way, you should err on the side of caution and avoid spoilers in your review. If you must include them, clearly mark them as such so that readers can skip over them if they want to.
Writing great book reviews for authors can help your own marketing efforts, and may inspire those authors to review your book as well. It isn’t rocket science, of course, but there are definitely some things you should keep in mind if you want your review to be read and taken seriously. Remember to fully read the book, be familiar with the genre, be honest, concise, clear, and spoiler-free, just as you would want others to be for you. The Golden Rule strikes again. Happy reading – and reviewing!
To your success!
P.S. Well, it finally happened! Media Darling: Shine Through Every Interview has finally made its debut. And, if you feel like doing a review…well, I would be honored. I hope you like it!
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