Book reviews can make or break Indie authors. On sites like Amazon, how many book reviews an author receives for a title impacts how visible their book becomes to someone who is browsing for their next read. The more book reviews left, the more visible Amazon makes the title to those who have bought similar books.
There is no greater compliment you can pay to an Indie writer than to leave a review of their book on Amazon, Goodreads, Barnes and Noble online, and/or your blog. However, many readers do not leave that all-important review. For some, the words ‘book review’ instantly makes them sweaty, anxious, and gives them flashbacks to book reports they had to write in high school. Other well-intentioned readers think that book reviews need to be long and involved to ‘count’ and talk themselves out of writing reviews before they even start.
Book reviews do not need to be lengthy or written by a English Literature professor to be meaningful. Anyone can write a book review. Some readers even get paid for it!
Christine’s tips for writing a book review
Start with a book you really enjoyed. It is much easier to write a review of a book you are excited about than one that was a slog to read.
Be personal. Why did this book appeal to you? Did it remind you of another book you love? Did the author’s use of imagery make you feel like you were there yourself? Was it set in a location you have always wanted to visit? Did the main character remind you of yourself at that age? Mention that. Book reviews often include a brief summary of the book which can be very helpful, but readers also want to know why you, the reviewer, are recommending this particular book.
Be specific. The old adage ‘show, don’t tell’ applies to book reviews as easily as it does to a novel. Mentioning that the author uses beautiful language is great; however, quoting a favorite line or two really illustrates your point.
Be honest. This is important with all book reviews but particularly when you write a review for a book you just didn’t love. The goal is to be thoughtful and truthful without eviscerating the writer. If the book you just read was all poems about baseball and you are not a baseball fan, mention that. Maybe a baseball fan would love it!
Don’t worry about the length of your review. I have read many useful reviews that were just a few sentences long. It is the quality of the information that you are providing, not the quantity, that matters.
© 2020 Christine Elizabeth Ray – All Rights Reserved