Monday, January 8, 2018

How to: Write a Book Review

Happy Monday, everyone, and welcome to my new schedule! At the beginning of every week, you'll be getting a How to post to warm you up for the five work days ahead. These range from Photoshop tips and tricks to basic marketing plans and beyond. Be sure you subscribe to get all the yummy goodness in your inbox! Today is all about writing a book review. Yeah, you're probably thinking how easy it is, but let me tell you, I've seen some doozies. There are people out there who need to read this. Even if you think you have it down pat, keep going. See if there's something you might be able to do better.

Why am I writing this post? Because I saw a thread on FB yesterday where people (authors AND readers) were raging about the way reviewers review books. I thought perhaps I could help. Ready? Let's get going!

There are a few very simple steps to a book review (all of these are optional, of course):
  • Talk about how it made you feel when XYZ happened.
  • Talk about how well or poorly the plot was structured.
  • Talk about the characters and why you liked or didn't like them or what they made you think of. Did you connect with any of them? Why?
  • Talk about the formatting of the book.
  • Talk about the pacing (too fast or too slow).
  • Then talk about what the book left you with. Thoughts or feelings you had when you were done.
And it's that easy. You can even sum this up in just a couple of sentences. Like so:
This book blew me away when it twisted the way it did. I felt like Henry and Gina were two of my closest friends, and I didn't want to see that little hiccup; it made me cry. There was no way I could put this book down once I started! It flowed from beginning to end beautifully and kept me riveted to the pages. Highly recommended read!

Or, if you hated it:
I could barely finish this book. Because Henry and Gina were never given backstory, they felt very one-dimensional to me. There wasn't a single main, or secondary, character that I connected with. This plot dragged on and on, and it felt like the story was never going to end. I was left sorely disappointed.

See? Those aren't long, but they communicate the basic idea. You don't even have to include all of the above, but it sometimes helps people understand why you're rating the book the way you are.

Now, a lot of the people like to sum up the story. I strongly suggest trying to avoid this when possible. I mean, if the idea is to sell the book and surprise the reader, telling the whole plot in the review makes it so no one really needs to read the book, right? Don't talk about the story itself; talk about your feelings about the story.

Writing a book review isn't rocket science. You can do it, and it literally takes just a few minutes to make a lasting impact.

What do you like to see in a review? What do you not like to see?

Come on back tomorrow for one of MY book reviews! I'm playing catch up from this year, and first on the list is Misty Provencher's Weeds of Detroit!

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!

Jo

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