7 Steps to Writing a Book Review

Authors beg for reviews. Of course, they do it in a nice way by saying, "If you like a book, please leave a short review."

That's code for, "Please, please, please leave a review on my book."

We ask for reviews because we know how important they are for an author's success. Good reviews help other readers find our books.

Why Is It So Hard to Get Reviews?

Some readers think it takes a lot of time. No, it ony takes a couple of minutes to type a couple of sentences saying what you liked about the book.

Some readers think other readers will jump on them for having a different opinion. No, normal, sane people realize others have different opinions.

Some readers may not know what to say, or how to say it or how to post it online. Not to worry. I'm here to help. That's why I post a how-to review blog every year. I want to help those who are just venturing into review territory and remove the anxiety and the fear factor from the process.

Trust me. Just read this, and you'll be able to post reviews like a pro. Feel free to pass this post link on to others.

Reviewing Is an Easy to Learn Skill

Writing a book review to post online is a learned skill, and it's easy to learn. It's not like writing a book report or writing one of those reviews you read in magazines or newspapers—yes, those still existt.

An online book review is like having a conversation with friends about a book you just read. 

Imagine you're getting together with friends for coffee, and you start telling them about this amazing book you're reading. That's the way you write a review—the way you talk.

How To Say What You Think

Don't try to be someone you're not. Be yourself. Tell what you like according to your personality and attitudes in words you normally use.

Many reader and/or user reviews are thoughtful and helpful. Some are snarky and funny. Some may sound like chatter at a cocktail party which is fine if that's the way you talk to friends. You don't have to imitate any of these unless that's the way you talk. Be yourself.

Some reviews are so downright mean you think all the Mean Girls of the world got together for a party. That's the one method I'd ask you to avoid because authors are real people. Say what you think without wounding the recipient.

Step By Step Guide to Writing Review

You don't need to summarize the book. That's already been done in the Product Description on the book's webpage. Here's a step by step process.

1. Make notes.
This if for those who read tons of books and sometimes can't remember which book was which. Make notes on your computer or cell phone if you feel you need to do that so you can answer these questions.

What was the book about? Did the story pull you in or was it a slow build? Did you like the main characters? Were they people you'd like to know? Did it end in a satisfying way? What was your emotional response at the end of the book? Would you read something else written by that author?

2. Read over what you wrote.
Keep it simple. Does it convey what you really felt about the book? Is it in an easy conversational style as if you were telling a friend about the book?

3. Check for grammar.
If you wrote it in one of the most common document apps, it's easy to spell check and grammar check.

4. Go to the book's webpage. Open a tab in your browser and navigate to the book's webpage. For example, if you bought the book on Amazon, go to the Amazon page for the book.

5. Copy and paste your review.
On the book's webpage, scroll down until you see Write a Customer Review. Click that. When the form opens, paste your review into the space allotted. Give it the number of stars that reflect how you felt. I've read reviews that raved about a book, but the reviewer gave it only 3 stars. 3 = average. That doesn't make sense.

6. Preview your review.
When you're finished, you always have the chance to preview what you wrote in case you'd like to change something.

7. Click to Submit the Review.
Yes, it's really that easy.

A Few Things to Avoid

Don't panic. This is simple.

1. Don't include “spoilers,” elements of the book that are meant to surprise the reader.

2. Review the book as it is written, not about how you think it should have been written.

3. Do not allow personal prejudices or attitudes about the author, the premise of the book, the theme of the book, the manner in which it was published, or anything not related to the writing to intrude in your review.

4. If you normally do not read the genre, but you received a free book like a romance for examle, and you didn't like it because it had sex scenes in it or whatever, please do not review it and denigrate the aspects of the genre you don't like. Make it a policy to review books that reflect your reading taste.

5. Please don't make personal remarks about the author, i.e. anyone would have to be a moron to write a book like this. Or, the author must be a pervert to write sex stuff like this.

Takeaway Truth

That's the review process in a nutshell. Easy. Right? Go forth and review. Please.

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