Book Reviews 101 – Suggestions For Writing a Great Review

There is no “right” way to pen a book review. Reading is a highly personal activity, and readers’ thoughts and opinions about a tome reflect who they are and their own life experiences.There are, however, elements of critique that make some book reviews stand out from others. It gives readers a good idea of why the reviewer loved or hated the book and lets them decide if, based on their own experiences, the book would suit their personal tastes. Here are some tips to make your book reviews more powerful:Share your own experiences. Start with an introduction. Who did you feel before reading the book (excited, bored)? What were your expectations? Is this book in a genre you read a lot, or did you venture into a new genre? Do you like the author, or is this the first time you have read him/her? If it is nonfiction, can you relate to it based on your own life experiences, or does it seem out-of-touch?Repeat the title. The title should appear at least twice in the review. You can abbreviate long titles with acronyms or by using one name in the title.Compare to others by the author. Does the author live up to previous standards? Or has the author found his/her stride? If it is a debut novel, does the author succeed in creating a fan for life, or did the debut fizzle?Evaluate how it fits into a series. Can a new reader dive right into the series with this book, or do they need to start from the series beginning? Does the book live up to series standards? Does it set new standards for future books? Where does the book fall in the series? Is it the first or last book, or somewhere in between?Compare to others in the genre. How does the book measure up to others on the market? It it a genre leader or should it have stayed in the slush pile? Does it have long-term potential or a finite shelf life?List good points. Even if you don’t like a book, there are usually a few things the author did well. It could be setting descriptions or character development – or even just the title. Find something good to say in every review.Share dislikes. When you critique an author’s work, be clear about what you expected and how the book fell short. Don’t just say, “I didn’t like it.” Tell readers why. Be as specific as possible.Compare to other authors. Readers know what authors they like – and don’t. Give examples of authors who write similar tomes to help readers decide if it is a must read. For example: Readers who like Janet Evanovich should definitely check this out.Book specifics. Some publications will ask you to list publisher information, including publication date, pages, edition (if applicable) and ISBN number. This is a good idea if you offer a purchase button on a review blog or Web site.Always remember that authors and their publicists are constantly searching for new reviews and will likely read yours. Be sure you are comfortable with what you put in your reviews, because they will live in infinity online.