Most people that read any given book cannot help but wonder what everyone else thought about it, good or bad, this leading them to seek out reviews. Because readers consider book reviews as a reliable source of information about a book, the majority of book lovers rely on them when it comes to what books they want to read.
When considering how to write a book review, the goal of the reviewer is to state their honest, reliable and possibly detailed opinion of a given book. It is just that simple. Anyone struggling to communicate their thoughts in a written manner that resembles a review might be trying too hard. That isn’t to say that book reviews are easy to write; however, they are fairly straightforward. If you take the time to read a book, the chances are quite high that you have something worthy to say about it. Book reviews simply provide individuals a platform through which they can express themselves about the books they have read.
Book reviewing is a straight forward process. Most writers kick things off with a few lines describing the book without giving away major spoilers and plot twists. The positive elements of the book, those things you liked, typically come next. Following are the elements you disliked, and lastly a roundup that concludes your overall thoughts on the book.
Admittedly, there is no one perfect structure that all reviewers must follow in order to successfully review a book. So long as you make an attempt to express your thoughts, you should be fine. Following are a few tips on how to write a book review that you might find useful:
- Endeavor to restrict yourself to books that you can review uniquely well. In other words, you are able to say something about them that no one else has said. Try to stand out. Rather than blatantly expressing your general thoughts on any given book, make an effort to bring your experience, which is only unique to you, to your readers.
- It is imperative that you maintain accuracy at all times. While you are allowed to express your opinions freely about the merits of the book, make sure you get the facts right. This is the only way to build trust with your readers. Rather than trusting your memory, take the time to check every fact you quote. Ensure that character names are spelled correctly and sift for grammar mistakes before posting your review.
- Do not lose balance. Imbalanced reviews have the tendency to either be overly positive or excruciatingly negative. Consider writing a book review that blends the positives and the negatives. By doing so you’ll help the reader make a well-informed book choice without damaging the author’s character or self-esteem.
- Every book is different in some way. Even those books that seemingly blend into one another will bring something new to the table, be it a writing style, character description, atmosphere etc. Good or bad, try to tell your readers why the book you are reviewing stands out from all the others and why they should care. Even if a book doesn’t stand out, that is an aspect worth exploring because it also sets the book (and your reviews) apart.
- Another tip is to keep your review conversational. You are not writing an essay. Express your thoughts as you would when talking to a friend. Before posting your review, scrutinize it carefully and cut anything you wouldn’t say to your informed friends during a casual conversation about the book.
- Add a synopsis. Readers need to know a little about the book before thrusting them into the details of your review. Offering a short synopsis about the book not only grabs the attention of prospective readers, but it also gives you more credibility by showing that you’ve actually read the book. It doesn’t need to be long – a short two- or three-sentence summary to kick-off your review will suffice.
- This goes without saying; avoid clichés. Terms like “must-read” and “send chills down your spine”, are tired. So drop them all together. Just talk to your readers and converse with them about the book as you would a friend.
These tips are far from rocket science. Just focus on the subject of your efforts, and provide an open and honest opinion about what you’ve read. If your opinion happens to be critical, ensure to criticize the book rather than the author. Focus on the problems with the words, plot, characters, etc., and leave the defects of the writer’s character out.