Writing Good Reviews

Writing Good Reviews
May 16, 2016 1 Comment Book Reviews, Writing David Wiley

quotescover-JPG-74We’ve all been there before. We finished reading that book, the one that blew you away and now you want to share the news so that others know to pick up that same book and read it. So you decide that maybe it is time to try your hand at writing a review. After all, you’ve read a few on Amazon while considering purchasing an ebook and found them to be helpful. You sit down to write the review but you don’t know where to begin, other than “This was a great book!” and, after a few attempts at writing something, you close your browser window and decide maybe you’ll write it later. Only later never comes.

If this sounds like something that has happened to you before, you aren’t alone. The best part about reading books is, of course, reading the books! Telling your circle of reader friends used to be enough to generate momentum for a book to do well, but in today’s world, it takes a lot more for a book to get noticed. There are so many books out there to read, and so many ways to spread the word, that a great book can be lost among the wilderness and receive far less attention than it deserves.

Why should I write  book reviews?

One of the best things that a reader can do to spread the word about a book is to leave a review, as many places (such as Amazon) are rumored to display books more often in those “Recommended for You” advertisements if a book has reached a certain number of reviews. So if there is a book that you really like and want others to read, the review is one of the best ways to help it to be seen and read by others. This is especially true with books published by smaller presses or self-published by the authors themselves.

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What should I include in my book review?

So how does a person go about writing a review? There are many approaches, and all of them have merit. Here is how I personally sit down to approach writing a book review:

Rather than summarize the plot of the book (after all, isn’t that what the book’s blurb is supposed to do), I try to begin globally with my overall reactions to the work as a whole. From there I dive into two or three things in the book that really stood out, whether it is the characters, the setting, the story itself, or something completely different. This should be something that is achievable in nearly all books, as even the average book does some things well. After that I try and mention one thing in the book that I felt could have been improved to make it a stronger story for me, since no book is absolutely perfect in every regard to every reader. While a large publisher or an older book may not see or benefit from this, the smaller presses and indie authors will see it and hopefully be able to use that to help guide their future writing. Finally, I like to close by recapping my initial reaction as a whole and then making a small set of recommendations to the types of readers who might particularly enjoy reading that book.

Where should I post my book reviews?

The best answer to this question is that you should post the review in as many places as possible. While the majority of potential readers will turn to Amazon or Goodreads to find out what people are saying about a book, there are other places that could still generate the traffic, such as Barnes & Noble or Smashwords. Posting the review on a blog or website can also help generate additional exposure for the book, and, of course, filming a video review to put on YouTube is also an added bonus. Typically, most authors would like to see at least reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, with Barnes & Noble being a common third location.

How can I find new books to review?

Our Write Side has a team of reviewers who are able to select books to review each month. The offerings change each month, and there are several different sections of review teams based upon genres so, depending on your reading preference, you could have quite a few books to choose from each month. It is completely free, and you can find a link to sign up to be a reviewer by clicking here!

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Remember that reviews are critical for the success of a book and for an author. If you find a book you love, the best way to help others find and read a book is to leave an honest review. It is your way to give them a virtual high five or a hug, a way to show your appreciation for the stories they told or the information they worked hard to compile. Writing can feel like a thankless job at times, but I have seen the sheer joy expressed from authors when a new review goes up. It matters to them, which is why leaving a book review is one of the best things you can do.

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David Wiley David Wiley is an author of science fiction and fantasy stories, choosing to write the stories that he would love to read. His short fiction has previously been published in Sci Phi Journal, Firewords Quarterly, Mystic Signals and a King Arthur anthology by Uffda Press. David resides in central Iowa with his wife and their cats and spends his time reading, writing, and playing board games.
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    How to Break Into Book Blogging - Our Write Side

    […] areas will you rate a book in? What information will you include in your review? A few months ago I wrote a post on Our Write Side about writing book reviews which goes over a lot of information to get you started. Here is a sample […]

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