Wednesday, December 6, 2023

How to Write a Book Review

The IWSG question of the month: Book reviews are for the readers. When you leave a book review do you review for the Reader or the Author? Is it about what you liked and enjoyed about your reading experience, or do you critique the author? 

I would argue that book reviews are not only for readers, but for authors as well, and not just for the author of the book being reviewed, but for authors of similar books. They help us get a feel for our readers, what they like and dislike. They help us write better books, and they help us with marketing those books. 

So it’s important to know how to write a book review 

1. Most people would suggest you start with a brief summary of what the book was about, but when reading a review, I generally skip over this part because I’ve already read the blurb. But if you do include this, try to avoid spoilers. 

2. Share what you liked about a book. Did you like the characters, the pace of the story, particular scenes? Did the book keep you guessing or was it an engrossing page-turner. How did the book make you feel? Did it make you laugh or cry? 

3. Share what you didn’t like about the book. I’m guessing most authors wouldn’t like this part, but a well-rounded review has more weight than one that only talks about the best bits. Maybe the book had a cliffhanger or left you unsatisfied. Maybe the book wasn’t what you had expected. Maybe the characters were unlikable. 

4. Would you recommend this book to others? If so, who? 

Reviews don’t have to be long and they don’t have to be eloquent. Us authors appreciate any form they come in. A review is a way of spreading the word about the book. The algorithms of online retailers favor books with many reviews. 

Remember, every review helps.