How to write a review for a book:
- Share a summary of the book without giving away spoilers or too much detail. A lot of people read reviews BEFORE they read the novel. Try to avoid spending too much time on this, because people can read the summary of the book on Goodreads or Amazon. Sometimes when you put too many details, it can lead to unintentional spoilers. Sometimes I will write “This story is a wonderful example of a WW2 novel but with a twist. The narrator is a small girl….” I then end the summary of the novel.
- If you have an ARC, never put in a review about grammar, etc. An ARC is an advanced copy that still had many more editors to go through. By the publishing day, all those grammar errors will disappear. Additionally, never review the publisher by saying a book was delayed for publishing, arrived with damage, etc. It is either the retail chain or the publisher, not about the review of the physical book.
- Go into detail on your overall views of the story. The author, plot, characters, writing style, descriptions, setting, prose, etc. This is the time to start with as much details as you can without giving away spoilers. You can also say what type of reader would enjoy the story. “I loved this novel because I am a history buff. Anyone that is interested in WW2 and historical fiction, should grab a copy of this novel!” You can also say what the book reminds you of (movie, another books, etc.) I sometimes will comment that this is my least or most favorite by this author or this is a different genre than this author typically writes.
- ALWAYS focus more on the likes rather than what you hated. But you can say what you did not enjoy in the novel. Try not to be insulting and at least put one or two things that you enjoyed about the novel in your review. Try never to be malicious. Never attack the author either. I want to be helpful when people are choosing to buy or read a book. A bad review may go something like this; “I did not enjoy the novel. It was a slow burn and drug on. I did enjoy the characters. They were very thought out and likeable.”
- I always type my review in Word before I publish. That way I can gather my thoughts, check my grammar, etc.
- BE HONEST. If you are reviewing an ARC, be honest and fair in your review.
- I take notes when I am reading about things that I enjoyed in the novel, quotes, things that bugged me. This makes writing a review later easier.
- If you did not like something in the novel, stop and think what it about the novel is that you dislike. You can enjoy the plot of a book, but not the characters! So, dig down deep. My notes typically help me out when I am trying to get to the root cause of a novel.
- Read other people’s reviews to assist you in writing your own. DO NOT merely copy and paste another person’s review. Sometimes if I cannot figure out why I disliked a book, other people have had the same dislike to the novel.
Some of the topics to include when reviewing
- Writing style
- Recommendations or similar books/media
- Accurate facts
- BRIEF summary
- Ending (no spoilers) but things like a plot twist, rushed ending, etc. NEVER GIVE AWAY an ending EVER. Book nerd rule #1.
Book reviews are important. Support authors with your reviews. Some authors make about $10,000/year while others do make more. So reviews can help them sell more books. A review on Amazon can help that book be on their newsletters or be promoted. Amazon does this for books that have over 50 reviews.
A review is also a thank you to the author for their novel. But it also tells the publisher to publish more of that author’s novels!
Happy reading, Book Nerds!