Book Blogging 101: Tips for writing a great book review.

Our little part of the blogging world is based on one main function, writing reviews. In order to keep the readers coming back to read our reviews we have to structure them in a way that makes sense and conveys concise information.  But a lot of us get frustrated and find ourselves at a loss as what to include and what not to include. Here are some tips and tricks. When I structure my own reviews I don’t always use everything here, this is just tips…find the ones that work best for you.

Writing Book Reviews Quick Tips:

  • After finishing the book, quickly jot down a few points that you want to mention in your review.
  • Keep a Reader’s Diary, a book that you keep with you while reading. Use your diary to jot down page numbers for quotes, character names, thoughts, feelings etc while you read.
  • It is suggested that you write your review two to three days after you’ve read the book, this gives you time to process the book in your head, but not long enough that you forget pertinent information.
  • Put some personality into the review. Write within a tone of voice you would use when relating your opinion to a friend. Keep things friendly and maybe add a bit of flair that makes things uniquely yours in the review.
Photo Credit: iStock

Photo Credit: iStock

Writing Book Reviews What to Include:

  • You always want to mention the author’s name, instead of using pronouns. You also want to mention the book name, instead of The Book. This keeps bringing your readers back to title and author and keeps them focused on what the review is about.
  • Summarize the book in a quick, short fashion, usually at the beginning of the review. Try describing it yourself. You don’t have to go into every facet of the story, just a quick summary.
  • If you feel something about the book, explain why you feel that way. If you dislike something explain it, same if you like something about the book. The key point of a review is that it is YOUR OPINION. But, you have to back-up your opinion with proof.
    • i.e. I liked the main character because he was relatable and genuine.
    • I did not like the back-story because it was based on environmental facts that are false or embellished.
  • Use short quotes, one or two lines from that story to emphasize points in your review. This also gives readers an example of the author’s writing style.
  • Did the book make you think of another author? You can also mention other authors that are similar.
  • Was there a topic in the book that should be discussed, like a political thought, or religious belief? What were your thoughts on this topic? Did you agree or disagree?
  • Always include a conclusion. What were your final thoughts on the book overall? What was the main impact it had on you?
  • Who would you recommend this book to? Is there a certain age range or niche group?

Questions to Ask Yourself When Reading to Help You Better Review:

When reading a book, there are a few questions you can ask yourself that will lead to a more analytical review.

  • Is the book labeled a particular genre? How well does it compare to others within the genre?
  • What POV is the book written within? Does it stick to that POV and maintain cohesive POVs?
  • Does the author stick to a style? Is it a witty novel, or fun writing style? Does this style maintain throughout?
  • Is the language clear and makes sense? Everything defined and laid out in a manner that makes sense to you?
  • If the author provides factual information is it correct and accurate?
  • Is the story or ideas convincing? Do they feel real to you?
  • Are the characters of the book realistic?
  • Who was your favorite character?
  • Who was your least favorite character?
  • What was your favorite part of the story?
  • Do you find yourself relating to anyone in the story?
  • Do you share any experiences with the characters in the story?

Things to guide you before you start:

  1. Aim for fair, not nice.
  2. Criticize the book, never the author.
  3. Never review a book from a genre you do not enjoy reading.
  4. Do not review your friends books.
  5. Do not review an author you hate.

Parajunkee, Urban Fantasy, Blogger Tips

Reader Question of the Week:

“I’m really upset lately with book blogging. I found my review plagarised on a site that I follow and talk to the girl on twitter. She didn’t even credit me, she put it up like it was hers. I emailed her about it and she just ignored me. She’s been around a lot longer then me also, so I’m scared if I come out with it she’s get all her followers to attack me. The thing is that after I contacted her I noticed she changed the date to her review to be posted before my review went live. Like she’s waiting for me to come out and say something. And she’ll claim hers was up first and I plagarised her. I don’t know what to do. I want to quit blogging now. I didn’t know that people did stuff like this! And she has advertising and a lot of friends. It makes me wonder if she does this a lot. It is just downright wrong and I don’t want to be in a community where there are people like this.” – Ella

Ella, I’m flabbergasted. Do people really do stuff like this? Me, personally, I would post about it. Use the internet archive to look at her site and see that she changed the date of that post. That could be significant proof right there. Or did you take a screen shot when you first noticed the theft? I urge everyone who finds stuff like this…SCREEN SHOTS! Right there, the fact that she post-dated her review is proof positive that she has nefarious intentions. Take the bitch down! People like this should not be in our community profitting off of smaller blogs! You shouldn’t let stuff like this make you want to quit blogging it should energize you to STATE THE TRUTH, honestly and with purpose. If you quit blogging SHE WINS. She’ll just do it again to another start-up blogger because she knows she can get away with it. I’m dying to know who this is…email me if you want this to come out Ella. If the proof is there, I would have no qualms to post about it. And if this has happened to ANYONE else, don’t be afraid…you have to let people know about it. I urge everyone to come forward. If you are afraid of repercussions or lack of an audience to get the word out…find bloggers like myself and ask for their assistance. There are a lot of great bloggers out there with experience and follower backing that would be happy to help. XOXO — hang in their Ella. I’m sorry this happened to you.

Parajunkee, Urban Fantasy, Blogger Tips

Book Blogging News:

Last week’s BB101 comes to life.

Last week’s BB101 was based on facts that were occurring in the Book Blogger world. Theft of images is happening a lot and it was happening to one of my blogger friends. She posted about it and how she discovered it here. The reason it should be known is because the offending blogger runs a Blog Tour company and is promoting authors with stolen images. It was a very bad business move for the blogger and something that could reflect negatively on authors associated with the tours. What a shame. This is something all authors should keep in mind when they hire someone to promote their book. That person’s ideals and how they go about promoting your book can make a negative impact if done incorrectly. {source}

Parajunkee, Urban Fantasy, Blogger Tips

More Amazon Insanity

There has been a rash of author posts that go like this:

Hello all my readers! Just an FYI. Amazon is REMOVING all reviews that mention that you were given an ARC by the author. This has happened to a TON of my author buddies. So don’t mention if I gave you an ARC when you write your review in Amazon. XOXO

For a few of us, these posts send up red flags, because isn’t it FTC regulation that we have to disclose that the book was provided to us for review? Yet, argument aside, what these authors are stating is false. In fact that probably have no idea why the reviews were removed, considering that Amazon specifically has in their guidelines:

Full disclosure: If you received a free product in exchange for your review, please clearly and conspicuously disclose that that you received the product free of charge. Reviews from the Amazon Vine™ program are already labeled, so additional disclosure is not necessary.

So, if they are asking for you to disclose — why are they removing reviews that did disclose? I do believe this is a case of one author writing a post that says OMG don’t do this…without getting all the facts straight and a ton of other authors jumping on the OMG bandwagon. Which in turn might get more reviews removed because of the non-disclosure. Read the Amazon Reviewer Guidelines, stick to it and you shouldn’t have a problem. {source} {source}

Parajunkee, Urban Fantasy, Blogger Tips

Plagiarism Sucks and Mega Imps

Because of the drama that went down last week regarding the Up-To-Date-Reviewing plagiarism drama, a few of the victims have gotten together to do a Plagiarism sucks feature. Bloggers involved Sparkles & LighteningAuntie Spinelli Reads and Book Haven Extraordinaire relate their accounts of what happened and the not so fun response they got from the offending blogger. The posts paint a good picture on what a stupid Copy & Paste move can do to a lot of people and the havoc it can cause. {source} {source}{source}

Happy Thursday. Talk Less. Read More. Blog with Integrity.

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