Monday

5 tips for writing book reviews

I adore writing book reviews. They're not my most popular posts, probably because each review is only relevant to those who have read or are thinking of reading that book, but I love them so much that I keep writing them regardless. Funnily enough, we've just done a topic on book reviews at work so I thought I would use some of those tips to write a post on how to write book reviews.

As always, this is how I write my reviews and is based on the kind of reviews I like to read. You do your own thing! 

1. Give me some background
When I read book reviews, I want to know some context. Why did you buy this book? Was it a gift? Is there an interesting story related to it? This is especially true if it's an unusual choice. 

2. Summarise the plot... but keep it mysterious
I can't count the amount of times I've read a book review only to find it's given me the whole story, including the twist at the end. Spoiler alert, buddy! Even if it's a really popular book, bear in mind that there will be some people who haven't read it and don't know the details so try not to give anything away. It sounds obvious, I know, but it's something a lot of people forget. 

NB: This is much easier with non-fiction as you just need to tell me what it's about. In this case, I love seeing pages of the book to get a more clear idea of what it's like. 

3. Keep it balanced
Surely any book you read will have positives and negatives. I want to know both sides. Maybe you hated the unconventional style of dialogue, but that might be exactly what one of your readers is looking for. Alternatively, the non-linear timeline may have been right up your street but others find it confusing. It's important to balance your review so readers can build up a clear picture of what the book is like and whether it's suitable for their literary needs. 

4. Explain your opinions
Why did you love it/ hate it? A book review without an opinion is like those Lush reviews that say "This smells really nice": Completely insubstantial. What was so great? Is there anything you hated but think others may like? Saying "I loved this book because it was funny" is a lot less powerful than a review that includes the funniest quotes. Think substance. 

5. Share some similar reads
This is something I've just started doing and I don't know why I didn't think of it before. You know those LinkWithin boxes at the bottom of your post? This is just like that except you have complete control. Have you reviewed a book that's similar? Post a link! Not only is this helpful for your readers but it also gives a chance of increased page views. Hello, lower bounce rate!

Easy, right? The key things to remember are substance and balance. Cover all angles and give your readers a really clear insight into the book. If those two things are solid, you can't go much wrong! 
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16 comments :

  1. Some lovely tips here! I have two books to review so will work on those pointers!

    zaras-bowsandpearls.blogspot.co.uk

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  2. I think the last tip is a really great one, and it's not something I've thought about doing when I've done book reviews in the past. I'll definitely try this out next time! xx

    Sam | Samantha Betteridge

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  3. I love book reviews and they always remind me of ones I used to write at school :P They were always one of my favourite things to do! I might have to start doing them :)

    hellomissjordan.blogspot.co.uk xx

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  4. Couldn't agree more with the 5 tips, I love writing book reviews on my blog especially because I value those who write them to help me decide if I will enjoy a book. One thing I like to add is what I learnt from the book, if there were any life lessons and how it made me feel.

    The Night is Wild

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  5. Some really good tips and certainly some I could work on! I also enjoy doing book reviews (and films too), I've actually just written a review post so I'll bookmark this for the next one :)

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  6. I love reviewing books too, I'm hoping to do it more often when I finish my degree and am reading for pleasure more often :)
    Megan x
    London Callings

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  7. I haven't written a book review in months. I'll try to follow these tips for my next one. Thank you for sharing :)

    www.holadarla.com

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  8. Some great tips here, thank you for posting!

    Also, I'm very much enjoying the Murakami books in the photos. He's my favourite author! :)

    - Shaunna @ Books Over Bros x

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  9. Thank you Becky! This is exactly the kind of post I've been needing lately. I made a Goodreads account last month, do you have one?

    Kindness is the best accessory,
    Rebecca - RebeccaKelsey.com

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  10. I write a lot of reviews and agree with everything you said. I also find it really useful to mention any other books by the author that you've read and what you thought of them.
    Love Hayley,
    Water Painted Dreams

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  11. Great tips! Been looking for a post like this, I love writing about books but I wasn't too sure how to lay it out :) Thanks! x

    http://raierinrose.blogspot.com.au/

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  12. I've just written my first book review post and I found it so hard! The main problem I found was not revealing any spoilers. as you said, as I hate that too! This is really useful and I will definitely try your tips for my next post

    www.jessicainyourear.com
    xx

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  13. This is so helpful!! I'm going to do a book review on Monday and I'll definitely be coming back to your page for tips. Thank you for sharing!

    http://fleurdelailis.blogspot.co.uk

    Laila xo

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  14. I'm reading a book at the moments and I was starting to stress what to talk about while reviewing it. This helps a lot, thank you!

    -Irem | http://hallcyon.com/

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