I was looking back this week in my archives, and I stumbled upon the first book review I had written. I almost puked. The sentences were disjointed, run-on, or difficult to understand. I hope to think that I have learned more than I knew a year ago! I decided to compile a list of things I have noticed in the past year about writing reviews, as well as a few pointers I personally enjoy. I hope these tips can help you! If you have any tips for me, just leave them in the comments.
- · Be honest. Please, please, please be honest when writing a review. You can be honest without being cruel. I think being dishonest in a review is like a telemarketer being dishonest in a sales pitch. After reading a review full of praise for an item, people will trust that the item will be beneficial to them. If they end up buying the item, they may find out that it was much more violent then they had read. If nothing else, writing a dishonest review will cost your readers time and effort.
- · Show the good and the bad. This tip goes right along with the last one. You need to be honest about the book, but you still need to say if there was anything, you did enjoy. I have found the easiest way to do this is to have four paragraphs: the first to give a synopsis of the book, the second to say what you liked, the third to say what you disliked, and the fourth to give your overall impression. Make sure to be specific in your likes and dislikes, and tell the truth about how much you dislike something. Be certain to give an accurate account of the good and bad, and do not blow things out of proportion.
- · Keep it simple. Not everyone needs to have a novel-length book review. If it takes more than 5-10 minutes to read your review, it is probably too long.
Don’t do this:
- · Don’t copy the book. Want to know how to irritate me? Copy the book’s description (the one on the back cover of the book) word for word in your review. I have seen this time and time again, and it irritates me to no end. If I wanted the publisher’s thoughts on what the book is about, I would have just read the back of the book. I want what YOU, the consumer, think the main points of the book are. For example, the author may say, “This book is about Jane trying to find a reason to laugh.” You, in fact, think the book is about Jane complaining about her miserable life for half of the book. Just say so! If I take the time to read a book review, I want to hear something about the book that I cannot find out on Amazon.com.
- · Don’t write a one-sentence review. Most blog review programs require that you write 200 word review, and I have found 200-400 words is the perfect amount for a book review. Not too short, not too long. Perfect.
- · Don’t use bad grammar. Please, for the love of English type your review onto a program such as Microsoft word. It is disappointing how many times I see a fantastic post, but cannot share it because of the awful use of grammar. I know everyone makes mistakes, but seriously. At least run spell-check.
If you have a recent book review you have written, leave me the link, and I will make sure to check it out!