Wednesday, April 24, 2013

How to write a book review

We've all read books where we think, 'gosh, I could have written that.'

Well, you didn't did you? I'm not saying you or anyone else out there doesn't have a book in them. You'd be surprised at the stories all writers hear from others or have bouncing around in our own heads. Writing for those who do it seriously is a passion. At some point we would all love to ditch our 'day jobs' and make a living writing. If you think you've got it in you, give it a shot.

Until that time I hope you enjoy what you read from other authors who are trying to make it out there in a business that is usually fraught with all effort and little reward. There's a lot of luck involved. With that said, I would offer a few suggestions for those who purchase and read books.

If you like a book, give it a review on the site you purchased it from. All authors need feedback to we can grow in our endeavors. But there are a few things you should keep in mind when doing this.

If the book is good, give it a good review.

Don't downgrade a book just because it has a typo or two. Nearly every book has them, even those published by the traditional houses. Now, if the book is littered with typos and poor grammar, say so. Keep in mind also that some works are written in a style you may not be used to. Just because it's different from your normal reading material doesn't mean it's bad.

Know what you are reading. One author I know was given a poor review because the reader said the book was too short. IT WAS A SHORT STORY! IT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE SHORT! Grade the work on what it is supposed to be, not what you thought it would be.

Review and evaluate the story and the overall work, not the delivery method. Huh, you ask? Another author I know received a one star review because the person who purchased the ebook couldn't load it in his ereader. Okay, how is that the author's fault? You didn't read the book so don't review it.

Most or many ebooks have a free preview called a 'look inside' feature. Most authors who are worth their salt realize this and put as much up front for the reader to 'see' before they purchase the book. Use it so you don't buy a book that would offend you due to coarse language or material you think is offensive. If you are a religious type who is offended by cursing and such, don't buy a book that offends your beliefs.

Anyone can review a book and say this sucks. There is nothing wrong with giving a poor review to a poorly written story. What you should do is say why the story 'sucks' but be constructive about  your criticism. Just remember, authors who can't write well won't be around for long. Don't worry about them; they'll go away.

Lastly, books are about discovery for you and other readers. Whether you liked the book or not, don't give away plots or endings in your review. 'Spoilers' are no fun for others who want to read the story. That's like telling all your friends about the end of a movie none of them have seen yet.

Here's hoping every book you buy is worthy of a thoughtful review!



  1. Reminds me of a Happy Days episode. The Cunninghams were going to see a movie. Each movie they referenced, Ralph Malph gave away the ending. Mr. Roberts: I cried when he died! Howard finally said, "We're going for a walk. Do you know how it ends?"

    1. Nothing worse than giving away the goods!

      Thanks for looking in.