Last time I wrote about the why reviews are important, today I want to discuss the how of reviewing books! If you have not already seen that post, you can view it here: http://fictionfulloffaith.com/why-should-you-write-a-book-review/
It received such great responses from everyone, that I asked if they would let me share some of their comments on this installment! Reviewing books does not need to be intimidating or scary in the least! I have talked to so many people who say they don’t do reviews because they are afraid of doing it “wrong”.
This does not need to be the case! A book review can be quite simple, or very elaborate, but the main thing to remember when crafting a book review is to state what’s in your heart! As the reviewer, you shouldn’t really give a complete run-down of the entire book. You certainly wouldn’t want to spoil the ending or reveal any surprises! I am adding some wonderful tips I received from readers, reviewers and authors to this post…
From one author: “Book reviews are a huge help to authors. If I could give readers some advice, I’d tell them two things: 1. Don’t summarize the books in long paragraphs. Either sum it up in a couple of sentences or not at all. Just tell what you like/didn’t like about the book. 2: PLEASE do not give away key plot points. If you do that, a reader has no reason to read the book anymore.”
Here are a few things to think about when getting ready to write a review. Briefly, what was the main genre of the story about? Love story, first time love, mature couple, marriage of convenience, second chance, friends to lovers, opposites attract, etc., etc. The list is long, my friends, lol!
Were you able to relate to one or more of the characters in the story? Did they remind you of someone you know, or love, or maybe yourself? Sometimes the secondary characters resonate with me even more the main ones, and that’s okay!
In your opinion, were the main characters believable? By this you want to think about their mannerisms, personalities, sense of humor – were they over the top in anything, or totally relatable to a real-life characteristic? Did the main characters do anything unusual or extraordinary in the story? Did the story take place somewhere you’d love to visit or have ever been to in person? What were the main characters struggles, issues or major events? Did any of these points hit home with you and your own life?
These are simply starting points to get you thinking about what you want to say, you in no way need to “answer” all of the above, they are only to help you line up your thoughts when getting ready to write a review!
Okay – now, what about the negative reviews you ask….I had a LOT of feedback regarding the pros and cons of the “negative” review. Personally, I will be honest, I have a hard time leaving a negative review, but I am going to share what some readers / authors shared with me:
From S****n: “A negative review can, in fact, help the author judge what readers like and don’t like, but I never base a negative review on whether I’m going to read someone’s book or not. We all have our own particular likes and dislikes in reading. If I can’t give an author a 3 star review, I don’t give any. I don’t see the point in being so negative when someone else may truly enjoy what they’ve read. You’ll find, along with the negative reviews on books, there’s always someone who really enjoyed the story. Just my opinion.”
From K****y: “As far as negative reviews, first I try to evaluate, if it was something that I, personally didn’t like because it just wasn’t my thing. That’s not to say it wouldn’t for someone else. So I either, don’t write a review at all or I just say for me it was not for me. Here recently, when I’m having trouble writing a review that I’m just not sure about or maybe misread, I send it to the author first to try to work it out together.”
From V****a: “The Negative Review. You make a lot of great points about how positive reviews help authors, but it seems like you’ve ignored negative reviews here. I’ve had a lot of readers tell me that negative reviews have helped them to avoid a book that may have looked like it was for them, but in reality really isn’t for them. While authors don’t like them much, I think a negative review is more for the reader than the author, though the author may get constructive criticism out of it too, and thus they have a place in the reviewing world, especially if you take care not to bash the author directly.”
From Author, Autumn: “I think when we put out books out there, authors need to be ready to accept whatever the reader’s honest opinion is, regardless if it’s 1* or 5*. As a reviewer, you have a responsibility to other readers to be honest, and I applaud you for that.
Negative reviews can be an ouch for an author, but a well-written and constructive negative review can be just as much a gift to the author as a glowing 5*.
And far more of a gift to other readers! When considering buying a book, I admit to checking any negative reviews first to decide whether the book is for me or not.
The “Didn’t enjoy the book,” reviews giving no reason why are frustrating! Though it’s way harder to craft a good negative review, a 1* or 2* that doesn’t give the reasons why helps no one.”
Just keep in mind a review does not need to be paragraph after paragraph and detailed to the point you are retelling the story, lol! It can be just a sentence or two even, anything that is a positive review counts! This is an honest to goodness review I left on a book:
“I so enjoyed this first book I ever read of XXXXX XXXXX! It was a very heart warming story, and by the time I was finished, I was down loading everything she has written!”
Just two sentences! I have also left longer reviews on other books, but honestly, the point of a book review is to get other readers to be interested in reading this book as well! I sincerely hope that this information will help those of you who have been avoiding writing reviews on books you have read. next month be on the look-out for my post on where to leave reviews!
Still think you need some extra help? Here is an AWESOME form to help you when writing a book review – Anyone can use this to help when you are writing a review!