How To Write A Helpful Book Review

By on April 23, 2017
How To Write A Helpful Book Review - Writer's

Writers need to help one another out, and where they can do so, with very little effort on their part, is by writing each other book reviews.

Whether you have been asked to critique a fellow writer's book, are leaving a review on Amazon, or are reviewing a book for a writing club or group, knowing how to do so helpfully will not only give the author useful feedback, but will help your fellow readers too.

So what should you include in a book review? Here are some useful ideas:

Make notes as you go

Make sure you write down important points and things that strike you as you read the book. It will be difficult and probably quite annoying to try to remember it all once you are finished, and the more precise you can be and the more examples you can give, the better.

Think about what is fact and what is opinion

Let’s be honest if you are a die-hard romance fan and this book is an intense thriller, you are already setting yourself to dislike it. Try to review books you would be genuinely interested in reading and think you would really enjoy. You should approach the idea of writing a book review rooting for the author not already feeling as though this won’t be a book you’ll like.

Be thorough but don’t nit pick

There are several points you should pay attention to:

The language and structure
The plot and how it develops
The themes of the book
The characters and their development

Have some things say about each, but don’t go on for pages and pages. Try to summarise and be concise but also try to explain your opinions so other readers can get a sense of where you are coming from and decide for themselves whether they would agree with you or not.

Be both positive and negative

Regardless of whether you completely adored the book or thought it was the worst thing you’ve ever had the misfortune of reading, try to include both positive comments and more constructive criticism. No book is perfect, similarly, there must be something positive to say about every story - so try to keep your review fairly balanced. If you find yourself feeling strongly that you don’t have anything good to say, perhaps it’s best if you don’t write a review at all.

Finish on a high

It’s nice to finish your review on a positive note if you can. This will leave the author feeling as though your review was fair and they will be more willing to take on any advice and criticism you have given them.

Writing a book review for your fellow authors can be tricky, but done right can be very helpful too! Use these tips as a guide to writing a good book review - one that both authors and readers will appreciate.

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

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