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Sunday, February 16, 2014

How to Write a Book Review

This is just going to be my take on how to help authors you like sell more books. This is not going to tell you how to write a thousand-word analysis for your English class.

Why should you do this? Books with a number of reviews have clearly been read. Whether people liked them or hated them, a group of reviews is an indication of sales. And people love to associate with winners.

1. WRITE A REVIEW Point one- people aren't going to know what you think unless you do write one.

2. SHORT IS FINE Your book review does not have to be long. You don't have to spend an hour of time and agonize over every word.

3. WRITE IT SOON If you review a book within a few days of reading it you're more likely to remember what you thought and felt, which parts moved you, and which parts didn't.

4. BE HONEST Don't give a four-star book five stars. If you look at popular authors, not all of their books will have five stars, not even most of them. A good solid four-point-something stars is wonderful. Personally, I wish the systems had ten start, or half stars. I like to keep five for the best of the best, but a number of books could easily be 4.5.

5. COMPARE WITH LIKE WORKS Don't knock a thriller because it's not literary fiction, or a cozy mystery because it's not complex intrigue. For example, I read a review of a book today that gave it only one star because it was formulaic woman-in-jeopardy. Well, that was the genre. Of course it was going to have that scenario.

6. GIVE YOUR REACTIONS You don't need to do a complete synopsis of the plot, and don't include spoilers. Do tell how the book made you feel.

7. NOTE WRITING QUALITY Did the author develop the characters? Did you feel as if you knew these people? Was there good detail? Was it believable? Of course, there may need to be some acceptance of twists of fate, lots of murders surrounding one person (if the book is in a series), etc. It is fiction, after all, not journalism. Unless it's non-fiction... in which case, you want honesty, engaging telling of the story, good backstory, etc.

So, support your favorite starving artist, or even a successful, well-paid author. We never get tired of hearing what people think.

1 comment:

Polly Dot said...

This is so useful Joan. It is much wiser to have a template of best application for people to follow than for someone to spend quite a fair amount of time and sometimes perhaps not achieving what they originally set out to do.

I always find it annoying when too much of the plot is revealed by a review - even when this is applied to an old classic - especially if it was one I had been looking forward to reading. So your guidelines are spot on.