Wednesday Writer: Five Things to Keep in Mind When You Write a Review

Yeah, I was going to do this post last week, but things got a bit tossed up around here then. Sorry about that.

Two weeks ago, I posted a blog outlining some reasons I think writing reviews is helpful, not only to authors but to readers, as well. You can read that one here if you missed it: 7 Reasons Why Reviews Are Important

Today, I want to give you five tips for writing that review. It’s not really difficult, but I know there are people who say they wouldn’t know how to write a review. So, here you go. Five things that will (I hope) help you to write that review!

  1. It Doesn’t Need To Be Long. If you want to write four paragraphs and include quotes and references, sure, go ahead. But it doesn’t have to be so involved. A simple three or four sentences that state that you liked it and maybe a specific thing or two that especially hit you as good (characters, plot, setting) is enough. You don’t have to be fancy to post a helpful review.
  2. Think About What You Really Want To Communicate. Again, it doesn’t have to be fancy or scholarly to be useful. Approach it from the idea if you were going to tell a friend about this book, what would you want to tell them to get them to read it?
  3. Make It Relevant. Don’t critique things that shouldn’t be criticized. For example, don’t say something like “I am giving this book one star because it’s horror, and I hate horror stories” when the book’s description clearly states that it is horror. That’s not a relevant review. That’s a mistake, possibly on your part. You also shouldn’t let personal feelings dictate your review of the work. If you heard that the author was unkind to fans at times, that can color your opinion of the person, but maybe not the work. There are authors out there who are not the best human beings, but they write decent books. If you read their books, review the book, not the author. If you feel strongly enough about their politics, social stances, or whatever, maybe the best thing is to just not support them by buying their books.
  4. Give A Recommendation At The End. Many people will simply scan a review, looking for the part where you say “Yes, go and read this book! You will like it.” The usual form is to put that statement at the end of a review. If you are so inclined, it can help to add some specifics to the recommend. For example: “If you loved Harry Potter, you will enjoy this book.” Or “Fans of space opera, Star Wars, and a good mystery should check this one out!”
  5. More Than Anything Else, Be Kind. Yes, we have all read books that were just terrible (in our opinion. This is, after all, your opinion.) But you can say what you didn’t like, even if it’s most of the book, without being mean about it. Remember, for the most part, someone worked really hard writing this book. Be honest, but don’t be cruel. If you can express your opinion without being nasty about it, most authors will simply shrug it off as just not a good fit for you. And that’s okay.

I hope these tips will help those who may be hesitant about writing a review of the books they read. Reviews are important to all of us in this digital age. Keep reading, and then take a few minutes to let the rest of the world know how much they need to read this book!

“Crossed Wires and Other Very Short Stories”. Twelve scifi and twelve fantasy short stories that can each be read in minutes. Available now Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Smashwords, and most other e-book retailers. More information here

I have written science fiction, fantasy, and urban fantasy stories. There are novels, novellas, and shorter pieces to fit everyone’s reading time. There are even some free stories, both here on the site and in other places. You can go here to find out more about the books I have published. They are available at Amazon, Smashwords, and most ebook retailers. Thank You!