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7 Tips on Writing a Review

I wrote this post a while ago, but have procrastinated in posting it. Truth is – I looooove reviewers. All of them. Book bloggers, wannabe book bloggers, occasional readers…my mother-in-law.  As an Indie author, I am extremely grateful for any review posted of my work, good or bad. Both of which I’ve had my fair share of lately. The fact that someone took the time to read my book is incredible. When they go one step further and share their opinion of my writing with the rest of the world, I am ecstatic.

Just to be clear, a bad review really does sting deep down inside. But after the initial blow, I come to appreciate them. They can provide constructive feedback and they offer a certain authenticity to the book. Besides, any publicity is better than no publicity…right? In fact, reviews I’ve read of other books rant and rave about the decisions a character made. Often, this can mean the reader became emotionally involved, and that is a good thing.

But there are reviews, and then there are good reviews. In my perfect world, this is how reviews would be done:

  1. Be honest, and write the review in your voice.
  2. Don’t start with the books blurb.  On sites such as Goodreads or Amazon, chances are the reader just read the blurb – they don’t need it repeated.  I do see the value in book bloggers including the blurb first on their site, however the review on your site doesn’t need to be a straight cut and paste into Goodreads.
  3. Start with the good.  Many of the reviews on my book start with the bad.  And don’t get me wrong – do include everything you want to say, just say something nice first.  On many sites, just the first few lines of the review is shown unless the reader clicks to expand.  That means when they are just skimming through all the reviews (which is very often what I do), only the first few lines have a chance to make an impression.
  4. Do say something nice.  The book has a pretty cover, the main character’s name is awesome, the author has good use of punctuation.  Pick one.  There has to be something nice you can say – especially if you finished the entire book.  To be honest, a review filled with snide or snarky remarks and nothing at all good to say will often be dismissed by your audience.
  5. Be a grown-up about it.  And this goes both ways – I’m looking at YOU, authors!  Chances are, at some point you are going to write a review that an author or someone else won’t appreciate.  If they choose to respond in a negative way, then they chose poorly.  Be the bigger person – don’t feed the fire.  Let it go; move on.  You have a lot of books on your TBR list anyway.  I have to mention a one-star review I received because of how much the reader hated my antagonist. I just wanted to respond – THAT’S THE POINT . Another reviewer gave me a low rating because the rape scene just wasn’t hard core enough. Wow, just wow, people. To each their own. It took a minute, but I didn’t respond. I moved on.
  6. Give the reader of the review something on which to reference.  Is this book like any you’ve ever read?  Which one?  Does this character remind you of someone?  Who?  If you want the reader to really connect with your reviews, give them something to connect with.
  7. If you are book blogger – get visual! Including the book cover goes without saying. But I love bloggers who take it one step further and include relevant pictures or even action emotions. Make the review fun! It should be as entertaining as the book was.

So there you have it. Bloggers, authors, and reviewers – what do you think? Have anything to add?

From the Mouths of Bloggers

The best way to introduce my series is through the words of book review bloggers!  Because each reader interprets a story differently, I conveyed the story using bits and pieces of reviews by readers themselves.  See the Akasha Series introduction on Ritesh’s blog.

And if you haven’t read my post and voted for your elemental power of choice yet, now is the time!  Read this article and comment!

So…that’s all I really have to say.  Since I feel like this blog post is too short, and because I just figured out how to embed YouTube videos, and because I can’t stop thinking about the Hunger Games – I leave you with the awesome movie trailer. Can’t wait ’till March 23rd!!!

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