With the Blogchatter Ebook Carnival well underway, bookworms and writers are equally ecstatic uploading and downloading their Ebooks. A great week for everyone all round! Our ebook writers are euphoric about the response to their books and readers are busy reading.

But the question is, how do you go about reviewing a book? If you’ve never done it before, of course, Blogchatter came to the rescue with #bookreviews and How to Write Them on Twitter Primetime on May 23, 2018.

As always our enthusiastic Twitteratti came from all over India. Many of the participants have reviewed books on their blogs. Most don’t want to really be critical and like to just put out there what they have read and have given a brief interpretation of the book and have left it to the readers to decide whether they want to read the book or not. Some review books on Goodreads and Amazon and other book websites too.

The Purpose of a Book Review
  • Book reviews provide suggestions to the authors.
  • They help a reader decide whether they want to read the book or not and whether to spend money on buying it.
  • There are two types of reviews, one for authors to get the perspective of the reader and one for the reader to decide whether they will connect with the book or not.

The purpose of writing a review is manifold. Provide a summary, analyse the characters and share your experience about reading the book, what you did or didn’t like about it.  Authors get visibility while a reader is able to connect with the writer. The review should also contain a link to the book, information about the publisher, the number of pages and so on.

Information a Reader is Looking for from a Book Review

Readers don’t expect a book review to be a promotional piece. They want to know whether it’s worth reading.
You should be able to convey to the reader the experience you went through while reading the book so they can answer the all important question “what to expect” from the book.

Reviewing a Book
  • Try to approach the book objectively, to be fair, even if you didn’t care too much about it.
  • Write what genre it is. Ask yourself does the book do justice to the genre it represents?
  • Is it fast-moving or slow, how it affected you the reader? Will it be worth the effort to read it?
  • Review the editing, the writing style
  • Did you like the way the characters were developed?
  • Is the plot too simple or impossible to believe?
  • How could the writer have improved upon the writing, if at all?
  • Give your assessment of the book, your opinion
  • What is the message the author is trying to convey in your opinion? Has he/she succeeded?
  • You can write about what you learned from the book if anything
  • Your review should be balanced between analysis of the style, the content, and your opinion.
  • Readers like to know who the publisher is, because some publishers are known for their quality books. There are people who buy a book because the publisher is someone they trust.
Approaching a Book Review

Every book is different for every reader. Each person experiences a book differently because it is a part of his imagination. The title, the introduction, the book cover, the genre, the viewpoint, the language – every little detail should be considered before writing a book review. It is not about giving a page by page review but a consolidation of everything that a book made you feel.

Never reveal the climax, spoiler, suspense of a book while reviewing it, if you are doing so, write “Spoiler Alert” at the head of the review, so readers who don’t want to know the conclusion can avoid it. Read the book once and enjoy the experience, while making notes. Read it a second time if you need to note more points.

Quoting a particular section will tell the reader of your review what you particularly liked. Do not write just two words like ‘nice plot’ or ‘good read.’ Write what makes it so in your review. If you give a rating, especially the lower ones, writers appreciate it when you point out exactly why you gave that rating. It’s a learning experience for them to improve their work.

Review a book while it’s still fresh in your memory. Your memory of the book and how it made you feel fades with time, so do it immediately. It is very useful to do the review within a few weeks of its release when promotions are at a peak. It is very important to have a review done early especially for new authors.

As a writer take all reviews with a pinch of salt – the good and the bad.

Bonus

Reviewing poetry: Quote lines from the book. See if you can bring out the imagery, whether the technical aspects are on par and whether the poet has entertained you or touched you.

Review of Non-fiction: Non-fiction involves facts and figures. So the questions to ask yourself are

  • Are the points the author makes factual?
  • Are the figures and tables well-planned and legible? The data should refer accurately and sync with what is written
  • Do you need to add to the author’s opinions? Are the footnotes adequate?
  • Are there references given for the facts presented? Are the sources credible?

And there you have it. Our authors have been generous with their suggestions and advice. So go ahead, read that book, make notes and give your honest reviews. Happy reviewing!