How To Write A Great Book Review – Research by A.J. Alexander

 

Lately, I’ve been asked by a fellow writer if I read his book and would be prepared to write a review. Even though I know how much work, effort, and heart blood a writer invests into books, I know as well, a writer is honored by a review. I was told this numerous times already. I read truckloads full of books since my childhood and of course, couldn’t review all of them. (Let’s not talk about the school book reports). And I found, even if I didn’t like a book too much, it wouldn’t be nice to ‘rip it to shreds.’ It might not be a bad book – just not the right book to read for me.

I liked what I read this time, and I agreed to write a review. If I only knew how to do so. This needed some research.

I started and found hundreds of articles, books, blog posts and lists. Are they all different? No, more the opposite! They all seem to be similar, some more simple, some more detailed, some complicated and long, with little variations. So I picked what I needed from some of them.

 

  1. The purpose of a review

I find it very important to learn what exactly the purpose of what I’m writing is. What is a review for? One of the first articles, referring to “reviews” in general, more than book reviews, in particular, was written by Karol K, a freelance blogger, and writer. He writes:

  • to learn the pros and cons of a given product
  • to find out if the product is meant for them
  • to find out if the product is of high quality and easy to use
  • to find out about alternative solutions
  • to find out about other users’ experiences with the product
  • to ultimately learn if the product is worth buying.

With those needs in mind, let’s look at what you can do to craft a truly valuable review.

His entire article can be read on: http://www.problogger.net/how-to-write-a-must-read-product-review/

 

  1. Writing Amazon reviews

Neal Wooten, author, writer, blogger, and comedian published an article on the Huffington Post Website, using six tips to writing Amazon reviews and in my opinion did a great job. At least to me it seems valuable, especially considering the “start” use of the Amazon rating.

Additionally, he mentions something quite powerful: The responsibility that goes with writing a review. Let me give you a couple of examples I picked from his article:

What if a car manufacturer was to drop off a brand new car to a person’s home, completely at random, and explain they had 24 hours to drive the car? Afterward, they would take the car to another home at random and do the same thing, and repeat for three months. They only asked that the homeowners/drivers would write a review of the automobile. What do you think would happen?

I suspect most of the drivers would do exactly what they should. They would write intelligent and informative reviews about how it handled, how it drove, gas mileage, the comfort, the power, the sound system, etc.

But there would be some drivers who would abuse this privilege. It’s human nature. Some wouldn’t even drive the car. Some would complain about everything from the visors to the texture of the floor mats. Some would complain about the color of the free car they were provided. Some would get drunk, drive 100 mph, wreck the car, and then write a bad review.

And that sums up Amazon reader reviews. While most are very helpful, many are just people exercising their basic nature to be useless. So here are some tips.

Then his six tips follow. He gives simple, easy to understand and helpful advice. To read his tips, go to http://www.huffingtonpost.com/neal-wooten/tips-for-writing-amazon-r_b_6959118.html

 

  1. What do I write about in my review?

Fran Stewart, the author of the Biscuit McKee Mysteries, writes in her “Southern Writer’s Blog”: Questions to Spark Book Review Ideas 

Her idea is, to ask the reader questions which I can build my review on. Her questions refer to the characters, the settings and the plot.

This, I decide, might be a great start for my review.

To see all of Fran’s given questions, please go to http://southernwritersmagazine.blogspot.com/2015/05/questions-to-spark-book-review-ideas.html

 

  1. Am I scared to write a book review?

You BET! I’m a writer myself, of course, I one day would like to get positive reviews for the book. I want to honor the author, his ideas, his talent, his magic, his story, his efforts, his work and his masterpiece. I want to make others read the book I loved so much. I don’t want to spoil it for the other readers.

Rosie Amber wrote four quick ways to overcome your fear to write a book review. It helped me a lot. If you are suffering from the same fears, read it here: https://rosieamber.wordpress.com/2016/07/25/4-quick-ways-to-write-a-bookreview-and-overcome-your-fears-mondayblogs/

 

  1. Rules for book review writing

These are the ones that are more or less the same all across the internet. One of the blog posts I particularly enjoyed reading, is the one Tara Sparling published:

5 Book Review Rules Which Could Make Writers Hate You Less

I think, the post is very helpful – and a great read too!

 

Oh well, I figure now I’m armed with the basic knowledge of book reviews. Let’s see if I really can get a review that is as helpful as I want it to be to other potential readers!

 


 

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15 thoughts on “How To Write A Great Book Review – Research by A.J. Alexander

  1. Great article, thanks so much for sharing this.
    Reviews are becoming so important in the net community, they may truly make or brake an author. I even know authors who don’t even require revews becaue they are scared it might hurt their book (though I don’t think this is an healthy habit). I’m an author too. I’m always very weary of writing bad reviews, but I’ve discovered something: if you follow Karol K’s suggestions (that’s a SUPER advice) you are normally able to write a review that don’t feel bad (even when you are pointing out things you didn’t like or didn’t work for you) and above all are useful to other readers.

    I think this is what people reviewing books often forget: reviews are supposed to be useful, they are not supposed to be a means to vent your dislike or brag over you likes.
    If we genuinely try to start a conversation rather than just dump our opinions, I think we’re on the right way to write a useful review.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. As a new blogger who often reviews books she’s read, this information was very helpful. I guess I was just responding to books rather than taking the responsibility seriously. My biggest desire is that if I enjoyed reading a book, or at least invested my valuable reading time in it, and was pleased, I’d like others to know about the book. If I don’t like a book (even if I force myself to finish it) I don’t review it. Fortunately, the few authors who might have asked me if I’d review their book didn’t have to ask–I volunteered! Ha ha!

    Liked by 1 person

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