This discussion post will be highlighting and basically explaining my own personal set of guidelines/pet peeves when it comes to writing and reading book reviews.
Book reviews are, and I can not stress this enough, vital to the book industry. They promote new releases, help boost book sales, and can be sources of encouragement to many authors. Think about it, how many times have you discovered a new book through a book review? I know that I’ve found so many new books that have become my favorites through reviews. There are occasions where I have either never heard of a book until I read a review or I was unsure if I should pick up an upcoming release and my opinion was swayed by a trusted reviewer. I have recently seen many articles that discuss what to do and what not to do when writing a book review and I decided that instead of telling you how to write that I would just share with you what I look for in a review. I’m going to be highlighting either pet peeves in book reviews and what qualities I look for in a book reviews.
1. The first pet peeve that I’m going to talk about it summarizing the whole book in your review. Umm…The synopsis is at the top of the page where we can all read it, I don’t need to reread it in your review. To be honest that just causes me to skim it or just get bored and leave your blog. Instead, tell me your thoughts about the book. I already know what it’s about since it clearly states it at the top of the page. I want to hear what you have to say about it.
2. Keep your review short or at least to the point. I have absolutely NO interest in reading a review where it’s as long as a short story. Just state your opinion because I, and many other people, don’t have either the interest or attention span to read five paragraphs about a book. Why don’t you just highlight your main points, that way even if your readers skim over your review they will at least walk away with an understanding of what your thoughts are about the book.
3. The important thing to remember when writing a book review is that you write about how you honestly feel. That if an author asked you why you felt that way about there book that you would be able to stand behind your opinions and review. Don’t write a review that doesn’t completely express your sentiments of the book. If you are afraid of hurting the authors feelings then this is obviously not the platform for you to be using to express how your sentiments about a book. People may sometimes not agree with you or criticize your choice of books etc. (but ignore them because you’re awesome :D). Write what you feel, don’t write something that is just to fit in with others opinions or not to hurt someone because at the end of the day writing a review, whether it may be positive or negative, should be about your experience reading. Authors appreciate honest and constructive reviews so there is absolutely no need to sugarcoat it. Your audience and followers are always genuinely interested in your opinion about a book.
4. I don’t like it when I read reviews and the reviewer never address the issues they had with a book. Saying “that I had some issues with this book but other that that it was okay” IS NOT HELPFUL to me, to potential readers and your blog audience. Oh, and also don’t give a book a lesser rating just because you would have liked for it to have been longer, I mean if it was an abrupt cliff hanger then yes, reduce the rating of the book but if you simply wanted more pages, what on earth does that have to do with the quality of the book? We get it, we all want more pages in our favorite book.
5. Be courteous. If you write your review in a considerate and thoughtful manner the author will appreciate your honesty. DO NOT rant about how you hate the book because that only is a poor reflection on you the reviewer and you come off as unprofessional and it only deflects from the point that you are trying to get across. I also think, and this is just my personal opinion, that it’s also just as annoying and unprofessional writing a review that mainly consists of I love it so much and that one phrase is basically rewritten over and over again.
So to sum all up the key points to this discussion post about how to write a book review is 1. DON’T summarize the book in your review. 2. Keep it short and sweet NOBODY is interested in reading a short story about the book. 3. State your honest opinions about a book. 4. Be kind and respectful towards authors and their work.
I hope that this was helpful and if I have missed anything that you would have like to have seen mentioned, please let me know in the comments as I would love to talk to you about it.