The most important thing you’re trying to achieve when writing a book review is to give a sense of the story and characters by building a picture of what the reader can expect. It’s not to give away spoilers, which only puts prospective readers off buying the book. Would you want to read a book where you know what’s going to happen and where there are no surprises in store? Naturally you don’t, neither will the people who read your book review.
Take notes if you wish of character or place names. If the time period the book is set in changes then maybe you might wish to note these down, too. You will need to find a way to share the atmosphere of the book and subtleties hoping to compel a reader to buy and therefore read the book and go on to review it themselves.
Allow yourself a little time to mull over what you thought of the story and characters, what you thought of the book as a whole. Ask yourself how it made you feel as you read it and also how you feel once you had finished reading it. Don’t leave it too long though before writing the review because you might lose a little of the emotions that the story inspired in you.
Ensure your review contains the correct names, place settings – as above – the genre, when it was/will be published and the price if you’re going to include these. You might also include the length of the novel.
Make sure you do this. There’s no point in writing a book review if no one is going to read it. You’re reviewing a book because you wish to support the author. Think about where you will be sharing your review. Places for this can be your website or blog, Goodreads, Netgalley (if it’s a Netgalley arc). You can review on the platform where you bought your copy of the book, for example, Kobo or Amazon. If you post a review on Amazon.com it won’t automatically be posted on Amazon.co.uk, so you’ll need to copy and paste your review there too, to get the most exposure.
Share the link to your book review and also link to the author’s name on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest together with the book cover. On Instagram you can post a picture of the book cover and share the link of your website/blog in a Linktree and add the Linktree to your Instagram profile.
Most people on discovering a book want to know the basic premis of the story, have a sense of what to expect, ie the age of the characters, what sort of conflict they’re up against and also what it was about the book that the reviewer enjoyed. Making the review itself too long will either mean the reviewer is sharing too much of the story, or they’re waffling.
The first paragraph describing what the book is about and the second saying what happened in the story, should be the largest of the two paragraphs. The second paragraph might end up becoming two or more paras, depending on how complicated the story is and how much the reviewer feels they need to convey. The third (or fourth) paragraph should précis what the reviewer enjoyed about it and the final paragraph should be whether the reviewer recommends the book and a short sentence or two that can be used by the author or publisher to promote the book. It’s a satisfying feeling having your quote used in promotions on sale platforms like Amazon, or Kobo and even better to see your quote printed on the front or rear cover of a paperback.
If so mention this. Was this their best book yet?
You might discover that there was a better way of saying something, or that you had a grammatical error, or several typos and you won’t want to leave those for readers to find.
If readers don’t have time to buy a copy of the book immediately, or want to think about whether or not to buy it, then at least if they already recognise the book cover when they see it again they will be reminded either to buy it, or that they have bought it but might not have read it yet. Or, later on it might remind them to write their own review that they can then share on social media.
When you head up your book review, be sure to include the author’s name.
Your review should be an honest one, but do remember that not everyone will like every book and so while your review is bound to be subjective, think about the impact of your words and try not to get too personal. An honest review written in a constructive way, rather than one which simply attacks the book and the author’s writing, will carry more weight. Try to find positives even if you didn’t like it. This is the author’s livelihood and they are likely to have poured heart and soul into this book for months on end – if not years.
Finally, don’t forget to enjoy reading the book. You might be reviewing it for others, but the experience of reading the book should also be a pleasurable one for you, too.