In addition to being a help to readers, book reviews can be a selling tool for an author. They can also be the bane of an author’s existence.
And I’m not just talking about good reviews (as in “I loved this book”) versus bad reviews (“I hated this book”).
Authors want an honest review as much as readers do. By keeping a few things in mind your review will shine – whether you loved or hated the book you’re reviewing:
1. Include your personal opinion AND explain why you feel the way you do.
For example: “I didn’t enjoy this book because the characters were boring, the plot lacked high and low points and I hated the ending.” vs. “I hated this book.”
Or: “This book was wonderful because the characters came alive in my mind, the plot kept me on the edge of my seat and the ending came with a surprising twist.” vs. “I loved this book.”
* Don’t get me wrong, as authors, we love to hear those words, “I loved your book”. But when it comes to a review, a little additional information helps the reader and the author.
2. Provide a short synopsis of the book but don’t give anything away. Avoid spoiling the whole story, the climax, or the ending. If you absolutely have to include them provide “spoiler alerts” for people who want to read the book and be surprised.
3. Show the author respect – even if you hated the book. Authors give their blood, sweat and tears to their books knowing that not everyone is going to read it, let alone enjoy it. Please consider this when writing your review. Authors often talk about their books as their babies (right, wrong or indifferent). Don’t just tell them their babies are ugly. Give solid reasons why their baby was ugly to you.
4. Don’t review books in genres you know you don’t like. If you hate westerns, don’t review a western. If you despise science fiction, don’t accept a sci-fi book for review. If you decide to give romantic suspense a try (even though you rarely read it and don’t really like it) then end up hating the book, think twice before reviewing it.
5. Be honest. For more on this see number 1.
6. When it comes to reviews, snark isn’t nearly as cool as it’s made out to be. See all of the above for more info.
Reviews are an important part of our business! Well-written reviews pack a triple whammy – they help the reader, the author and the reviewer.
Feel free to add to my list or disagree via the comment box below.
Thanks for dropping by and have a great day!
Sweet Talk Me
A Contemporary Romance Anthology
Available November 15th, 2011