When I was writing the previous good post I found that I was writing a lot of advice for writing reviews. It is something now that I have been doing for nearly a year (with a short break for illness). Some people think I am a good reviewer and I have had a couple of people ask me to give them tips on writing a review. Now I don’t consider myself an expert, far from it – I love books and reviewing is just the natural next step on that road. There isn’t any real rocket science to writing one. However I do stick to several key items when writing reviews however and here they are.
1. Be Honest
Honesty is the best policy my mother always said and that is the number one fact. There is no point in telling someone you love the book when you didn’t. For starters if it is really a bad book, people will find out and your reputation will be shattered. Do everyone a favour and be honest with yourself and the author.
2. Write in detail
I hate reviews that are one sentence that simply say – “Loved this book” or “Worse book ever”. For starters the second comment is unsubstantial (see point 3), unless you’ve read every single book ever written: just to read the Amazon catalogue it would take you 850 years to read every single book (and that is if you didn’t sleep, eat, drink, go to the toilet). But to really make the point – you loved they book? Why?
3. Substantiate your claims
So you didn’t like the characters. Why? The main one was like a wooden peg, why? If you are going to say something back it up. Was there a scene in which you felt was unreasonable, explain that. By giving a concise reasoning behind your review will make it shine against all the others.
4. Write in English
I’m not being funny here – how many times have you seen: “I luv dis book – gr8 read”. Write in Standard English – much easier to understand for all of us.
5. DON’T USE CAPITALS TOO MUCH
Was that enough of a hint? You aren’t shouting your review across at the reader, you are gently telling them about your experiences with the book. That is always done better with a softer whisper and a lower case.
6. Write about the book not the author
I see so many people who write about the author and not the book. You are reviewing a product, stick to that and don’t wander off the subject. If the book has spelling mistakes, say the book has spelling mistakes – don’t say the author can’t be bothered or didn’t run it through a spellchecker or editor before releasing it. You don’t really know they didn’t.
Hopefully this list has been some help to you. If you would like to read some of my reviews, or a review by my colleague Jess Mountifield you can visit our review blog here.