It’s the finale of my trio of posts! I’ve also written posts on writing the review and writing the book description if you would like to check that out!
Since I’ve been writing reviews for quite a while, I’ve amassed what, I think, are some pretty good tips that I like to use. Some I use every time I write; some on occasion; and some are very rare, and just in the back of my mind.
Something it’s really important to remember as a book review (but also, y’know, a general human) is that we will always be learning right up until the day we die, so some of what I say in these blog posts might be added to over time, and that’s okay! Similarly, some of what I say may become redundant and just fall into disuse, which is cool, too. Some of the tips, hints, and pieces of advice below are also ones that I myself have only recently learnt/realised, so I’m still very much learning here, too. 🙂
Without further ado: hints, tips, and generic advice. And, uh, a lot of it.
- Please, please, please, always, always, always remember that a negative review is not an attack on the author. Book =/= author. It’s worth remembering this if you ever get any hate for a bad review and need to defend yourself against anyone who is taking it out of context. But… it’s also worth remembering this when you’re writing a review. Unless an author has done something extraordinarily awful that affected your reading of the book, use constructive criticism: eg, “The writing style of really short sentences really wasn’t for me,” instead of, “THE AUTHOR IS A BAD WRITER BLEGUH”.
- Feel free to do something creative with your book review! One of my favourite reviews was my review of One by Sarah Crossan, which I wrote in free verse. You could write it as a letter, or in the style of the author…
- …but remember that just a “regular” review is good, too. 🙂
- Personally, I almost never tag the author in my reviews even if they are positive, but do not tag the author in a negative review. It’s not fair, or kind, to them, and won’t get you any love, either.
- I wrote this in the descriptions post, but you don’t have to include a book description. TBH, I think that without one, your review should be enough to convince someone to go and search the book for themselves!
- Pro tip: write what you want to read. Don’t just drivel if you’re trying to make up the numbers. Make sure you’re writing something with substance.
- Leading on, feel free to do a post of mini-reviews, or just write small reviews with occasional big ones on your blog! Sometimes, I do a post of three mini-reviews, about 200-300 words in length each. It’s well known that we humans have small attention spans, but it’s easy to use this to your advantage. You could always use an app like Litsy if you want to go small and don’t want a blog.
- Include extras, if you have them, and if you want to! Like, an anecdote about the book that has nothing to do with the actual reading; it can be so rewarding for you and your followers!
- Do not feel pressured to review! It’s okay to take breaks. The books aren’t going anywhere. You can always write the review at a later date, or reread and write with a fresh mind.
- Do not spoil or at least tag the spoilers! You can either do asterisk, or on Goodreads use the <spoilers> tag. OR, colour the spoiler in white (or your background’s colour). If people want to view the spoiler, they can highlight the spoiler and it will be mysteriously revealed. It might help to put square brackets around this, though.
- Be honest.
- Don’t be afraid to change your opinion. I’m still forming opinions about some books that have drastically changed after, for example, examples of racism that I and plenty of others missed were found, so I haven’t updated my review/written another one, but it’s still in my mind. You can always take your reviews down, add in a little explanation paragraph, or write a completely new post addressing new opinions.
- Do not be afraid to write something, even if you think it may be controversial. If you are hurt, your opinion is valid.
- However, you aren’t going to change everyone’s opinions. I’m sorry.
- And for the love of goodness, please: have fun. That’s the most important thing of all!
I hope that this mini series and this post especially (this time round, I said this every time!) has been helpful to you. Please, feel free to leave your own book review writing hints and tips in the comments below, because I would ❤ to hear them! (And let me know if this has been helpful! I might do more tutorials/mini series/guides in the future because I love doing them!)
Finally: check out this essay by George Orwell, Confessions of a Book Reviewer.
Have a great day and enjoy writing your book reviews! Feel free to link them to me below. 😉