Posted in Book Reviews, Books and bookishness, Home, Miscellaneous

How to Write a Book Review Like a Pro

Read anything good recently? Or perhaps you have to review a book for school? Recently discovered your individualism? Whatever the reason might be, a book review is a priceless gift you can give back to authors who slaved days and nights to produce that book. Read on to find out more! 

So basically, a book review is a criticism of a piece of literature: it can either be formal or informal, depending upon what tone you’d like to set. It basically includes an analysis of the writer’s language, the flow of the book, general vibe, etc. Being a voracious reader myself, I’ve reviewed quite a few books on Amazon and Goodreads and I see a lot of crappy reviews everywhere that don’t really help a potential buyer make a decision. Your one-liner complaints may destroy an author’s whole writing career. So choose your words wisely.

The general format usually begins with your summarization of the literature in question. It should be crisp and concise. Then comes the general content. This is where you have to tread carefully. I have one golden rule for this. Always remember,

In the literary world, ambiguousness is the root of all evil.

You can’t be neutral. Don’t just say that the book was nice. Mention the aspects. Point out trivia that helped you connect with the book. Be yourself. For example, saying that the characters were really good won’t make a difference. Say that the characters were raw, complex, real. Make the reader feel what you felt. The author’s not the only one with the writing skills there: the best reviewers have a very earthy, succulent way with words.

But that doesn’t mean you have to use big words and be ashamed because you aren’t Nathaniel Hawthorne. You just have to describe your experience, in your way, with your own words. If you can give that much truthfully, then voila! you’re the reviewer every author dreams of having. So just keep these 5 quick tips in mind for when you finish reading your next book:

  • Don’t be too frivolous with the star ratings. Most people throw out 5 stars like it’s candy on Halloween. If you rate a poor book ‘excellent’, what are you going to rate a genuinely excellent book?
  • Avoid using the words ‘superb’, ‘fantastic’ and ‘perfect’. We both know you don’t really mean them. Keep the praise (if such is the situation) low key. But don’t be neutral either!
  • Fashion an eye-grabbing title for your review. If you’re looking to increase your Amazon Reviewer rank, this is especially important. On an average, books have 10+ reviews and you have to make yours stand out in the crowd. So write accordingly.
  • Don’t just start talking about the characters’ story out of the blue. It can be a spoiler for some, and even be off-putting if you’ve dug deep and the potential buyer doesn’t understand a word of what you’re blabbering about.
  • End with a recommendation. For what target audience do you think the particular book would be best? For me, that’s the part of the review I’m really interested in. It’s kind of a condensation of all those lengthy paragraphs you typed above.

    Of course, you could just type it in short using the pros-cons system of comparison. That’s actually quite a trend nowadays.

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Author:

Seventeen year old blogger, writer and interviewer. Also a voracious reader. My interests include classic books, archaeology, world history and politics. Staunch advocate for wildlife conservation and animal adoption. Debut novel to be out soon!

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