Jennifer Gilby Roberts

Women's Fiction/Chick Lit Author

Tips for Writing Great Book Reviews

on November 3, 2013

Popular Soda have written a great piece on how to write effective book reviews.

Their main points are:

  • Show that you bought the book (or explain where you got it)
  • Give examples and details to back up your points
  • Don’t be afraid to criticise
  • Write like you’re talking to a friend
  • Make reviewing a regular thing to give yourself more credibility.

They also include a cheat sheet of things to comment on.

Read the full article.

I’m no expert reviewer, but to me the ‘examples and details’ part is key.  When it comes to fiction, variations in personal taste mean that no book is for everyone, so a simple ‘didn’t like it’ isn’t much help.  The aspects you didn’t like may make the book exactly what someone else is looking for and vice versa.  For example, someone looking for an easy, comforting read may love to hear that you felt the book was ‘too predictable’.

I would also add to this list:

  • Always try to find something positive to say.

It’s rare to read a book you can’t find something good about.  Mentioning it makes your review sound fairer and therefore more likely to be taken note of.

So if you’re writing a review (and I’ll always encourage you to do so), please take a minute to add ‘because…’ and ‘however…’.

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