Wonder Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jessica Baker @ A Bakers Perspective (@bakersperspect on Twitter, @abakersperspective on Instagram), who says:
If you go around to different book blogs, you learn lots about books. I mean, that is the point. But what do you really know about the blogger? Not a whole lot, unless you know them personally. This is a place where YOU, the readers, can submit questions to US, the bloggers. This is your chance to get to know us better! Sure, we can answer book questions…but maybe there’s other things you’d like to know as well. Use the google form below to submit your question. And then join me every week as I answer your questions! And if you’re a blogger, I’d love for you to join me every week!
Well… not every Top Ten or Top Five Tuesday inspires me, but some of these questions do, so why not give them a try, right?
This week – June 23 – the topic is: Do you have tips for writing a good book review?
This is only my 2nd time doing this meme, so… be gentle, okay?
I think most of my readers already know that I follow hundreds of book review blogs, and I’ve been writing book reviews for many years – long before I started blogging. I think that over the years I’ve come up with a formula for my reviews, and that I might have some ideas that could be useful for others who are just starting out. So here are a few tips that might help you.
I always try to condense the plot summaries of my book reviews into only ONE paragraph. That way, I don’t go on and on about the action of the book, and I have plenty of room left to write about what I did or didn’t enjoy about the book. Lately, I’ve just taken the most important bits I can find on Goodreads or Amazon and use those, rather than breaking my head about how to summarize the essence of the story. All told, my reviews are usually in the 700-800 word range, all things included (but not including the paragraph of where you can buy the book, after my star rating).
Remember Your Audience:
Remember that old adage: “No two people read the same book.” That means that not every person is going to agree with your opinion of any book. Some people will love books you disliked, others will dislike books you loved. What I try to do is think about this, and describe why something worked or didn’t work for me. I never assume that a deal-breaker for me will put someone off of that same book. I also never assume that the thing that puts me into ecstasy about a book will turn someone else on. That’s why I try to be as objective as possible, even though I know that the essence of any book review is my own, subjective view. I’m not sure how to explain how I do it, but one way is to say “I’m sure other readers…” somewhere in most of my reviews.
Make the Review the Star:
I cannot tell you how many times I’ve had to close a book review because of an over abundance of GIFS and pictures and animations that distract from the review itself. They simply give me headaches, and make reading the review difficult for this dyslexic brain. We come to your blog read about what you thought of this book. I suggest you concentrate the bulk of your review on your opinion of the book. If I were you, I’d keep those bits for fun for posts like these – the memes, book tags, lists, discussion posts, etc. That said…
Seeing is Believing:
There are a few book bloggers I follow who seem to never put a picture of the cover of the book they’re reviewing. Sorry, but I don’t get that. Is there a problem with downloading a copy of the cover from Goodreads or Amazon or some other site – even the publisher’s site would be fine. Yes, I know, we aren’t supposed to judge a book by its cover, but… we still do, so don’t forget to add that to your review.
A New(ish) Feature on my Reviews:
Many bloggers open their reviews with basic information about the book they’re reviewing, and I decided to adopt that practice. My readers will notice that after my summary there’s a line where I set out the categories. By this I mean:
- Age: What age group is the book intended for? Usually that means adult, new adult, young adult, middle grade, or children.
- Genres: Is it literary or genre? Is it fiction or non-fiction?
- Settings: Is it contemporary? Is it historical? If historical, what era does it cover? Also, where in the world does the book take place?
- Other Categories: this is where I include sub-genres like women’s fiction, or biographical fiction, or maybe its a coming-of age story, or if it is a vintage or classic novel – that sort of thing.
I hope that my readers find this line helpful and I make sure put this “above the fold” so that it is sure to appear in the emails of those who read blogs that way. I also hope that if it is a book that is just not your thing, you can easily just delete the email and move on rather than waste your time.
Well… that’s the bulk of it… I hope it is helpful to someone.
What about you? Do you have any tips for writing a good book review?
This post also qualifies for the #LetsDiscuss2021 challenge and giveaway for June 2021: