Thinking of getting into book reviews? Want to develop your book reviews further? Here’s five tips
How To: Write A Review
I want to start off by saying I don’t think there is one good way to write a review. All reviews, if they allow you to express your view and discuss it with others, are good. These are just my tips and advice for creating a serious, detailed, structured review.
- NOTES. Try to write notes as you go. It’s far easier to write a review which reflects the full variety of your opinions if you keep a record of what you thought.
- RATINGS. Work out your rating system. If you can stick to the same rating system throughout, it means you’re more consistent with your reviews.
- FEELINGS. You’re allowed to take into account how you feel – it doesn’t have to be entirely about the writing style, plot and characters. An author can have a technically perfect novel that you hate.
- TALKING POINTS. You may have noticed that my reviews focus around some key points such as plot and character. This was how I started writing reviews with a better structure, and I decided to leave the categories in the review in order to maintain that sense of structure. It also helps me generate ideas for what to talk about if there has been a gap between finishing the book and writing the review. This leads me onto…
- STRUCTURE. Don’t just throw all your thoughts onto a page and publish it. While this is a good way to get your thoughts into one place, go back through and put these into paragraphs. Explain why you have this opinion – it may be difficult at first, but practise will ultimately make you a better reviewer.
- RESTRAINT. Flooding a review with GIFs isn’t a review. If I’m reading your review I want to know what you think, not what you’re communicating via GIF. Here it’s important to make a distinction: I’m not suggesting you can’t use GIFs to communicate in general. I’m saying specifically for a true book review, you need to be able to write it yourself. Reaction GIFs on twitter, absolutely, go right ahead – but if a ‘review’ to you means a lot of flashing text and TV show clips, you’re going to put a lot of people off.
- PROOFREAD. Make sure you’ve spelt stuff right, used correct grammar and have deleted any notes you may have made during editing.
- SHARING. Good job, you’ve written your review! These two parts apply if you’re publishing your review on a blog. You’ll need to think about ways of sharing it – the only way to get your reviews read is to publicise it as much as possible. I have all my social media linked together – when I post a review to my blog, I cross post it on Goodreads at the very least. Both of these sites then link back to my twitter.
- KEY WORDS. Finally, think about how you’re tagging your reviews. Site navigation may rely on what you tag – for example, I always tag the author/s and book title. I’m also going to be working on a system for tagging genre, too. Have categories set up for book reviews based on rating, genre or both. Make it easy for people to find the review on your site!
What do you think about this advice – did I miss anything? Disagree with something? Have tips of your own? Let me know in the comments!
Want to keep up to date with what I’m reading? Check out my goodreads.