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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Help an Author and the Book by Reviewing

Good Review Tips 
Lisa Lickel

Review are powerful consumer tools. 
We all know about the critics with their thumbs up or thumbs down, 
the critic who either hates or loves everything. 
How do you read the review in order to understand it?

As a reviewer, consider what your review is meant to accomplish. If you've agreed to help an author as an influencer, then you are obligated to write a review that is meant to encourage readers to buy that book no matter what you personally think of it (within reason). If you're simply a fan reading a book by an author you love or one who is new to you, then you can write whatever you like; if you are a professional or semi-professional reviewer, then you need to follow your instincts in a way that helps a reader decide whether or not the book is a good purchase.

When putting a review on your blog or personal review site, make sure you post general information: title, author, copyright date, ISBN, publisher and price. By using the ISBN, potential buyers can use this information to order the book from their favorite bookstore. You can also include purchase links. If the author or publisher has not supplied them, you can go to an online retail site, look up the product and copy the code at the top of the screen. When posting a review on a retail site such as Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, or Amazon, this information does not need to be repeated in the body of the review.

The review is written in present tense throughout, except when referring to past events in the story. This is a reflection of your own writing, so make it clear, concise and use your best skills. Start with the bottom line. What did the book do for you? Write a brief summary that reflects the fact that you have read the book and have a few personal observations. This summary shouldn’t be a repeat of the teaser or blurb on the back but should include setting and plot and what happens without giving away the ending or major twists.

Comment regarding the quality of writing, style, flow, characters, appropriate research or believability, what kind of emotions you felt while reading. Remember, the author has put time into this work and unless entirely self-published, and also has relied on a publisher or editor to stamp the final product. The author doesn't always have final control of everything about the book, sometimes including editing, cover and design. If there are glaring typos or plot errors, try to alert the author personally.

Conclude with a summary statement that may comment about who would like this book and possible market comparisons. If you like the book, you want to entice potential readers to buy it; if you didn't like it, you can be neutral or matter of fact. If you did not care for the book, you should say why. If you personally didn’t care for the genre, then why did you pick it up? Reviews reflect more on you, the writer of the review, than the book.

You are usually required to give a rating when leaving a review on a retail site. If you are afraid to hurt the author’s feelings and automatically give the same high rating for each book you review, it will be hard for readers to trust your reviews.

Fan reviews can be a few phrases long, just enough to share what you really thought about the story. Putting reviews like this on Goodreads and retail sites are a good way to connect with other readers and potentially find new authors to try.


General, reasonable lengths for reviews runs 250-500 words, but that’s simply my suggestion. You should be able to get everything out in that amount of time, and much less than 200 words probably means you couldn’t find much to say. 

Think about what you, a reader, want to know about a book you want to buy, 
and advise accordingly. 
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