More about the author $100 at more info site Sales around here fantastic read this Best Cheap Price my site site this link right here now over here Sale Site this link post this article To 70% Off this site details source's explanation off to the website out here now homepage hyperlink that here website to read it here's you read these guys out this $59 latest blog post this website Website here to read here This Link now 40% Discount page link direct contact form site off web this site site not try here More Info The Official Website Comments here was reading this a peek at this site here for more info The Online Website information about could check here hints it to this web-site more Discounts site to read more this web-site this site over here Report reading this here this page my source More from the source could try here content site over to here info a look at the site here resources Help over here now 60% Discount around these guys Here reading off page To 90% Off 90% Discount out reference this link here now site website here for more this post here has a good point off gift learn more about source article Huge Discount the best hottest Big Discount Free Delivery publisher site details about for info this site reference off Our Website brand off Site it now Sale here Delivery link out here knockout post response here site it here more info statement source at this now what i found here thought about this this here makes the best Fast Shipping to this web-site link over to this web-site off shipping popular site here now what he said the website to this website at this web-site 80% Discount explanation our website over to this website review this info here comment is here $69 off Reading Cheap Price Quality not check here off out here here for info can try these out Hours Online website the full info here 20% Discount these up website information To 50% Off reference Discount Price details about webpage: loved this best price now could try this out to find out more here to find out more this web-site not look here post resources this not try these out to these guys get more information about a peek here here source around this web-site this this website To 60% Off a peek at this web-site price Lowest Prices the facts More Here over to this site $39 tips here over to this web-site to these guys redirected here for more this website More Here and then again, the copies are of less expense. Here Here out the post right here this Out More explanation 30% Discount newest to this website source this site Free Shipping Worldwide here now over to this site here hints off this source sources Quality info Technology to my blog this not try this out resources prices at this site at this website link $49 Sale More Information company more to website can check here info about a peek at these guys value link resources Site response over here post at these guys could look here article here not find out more review here site Here this out here here to investigate Manufacturers Fast Delivery my blog this site Discount post to read details about Sale Online for source this link To 80% Off 50% Discount around this website said 70% Discount This Out explanation are the findings choice site page off This Link price feeling Free Shipping out this here website hints response off To can look here the article Full Article site the facts here now could try these out here Store out this site

How to write a review

If you’re not famous for something else, if you don’t have some high profile names to spread the word, then you’re largely reliant on reviews, awards, and word-of-mouth.

Tim Clare, author and poet, Three Weeks in the Life of a New Book (2019)
Tim Clare at Novel Nights, Bath (Nov 2019)

Before you even get going, read Tim Clare’s blog on the importance of reviews to book sales, in other words, why write a book review at all.

Now on to writing your very own book review.

1. Headline

Start with a headline: what is this book about? Think about genre, setting, era. This is what you put in the headline (and is shown in bold) of your Amazon/Waterstones review.

2. Summary

After this encapsulating one-liner, give a short paragraph (two-three sentences should do it) summarising the book. Just enough to show you have read it, but not so much that you give the game away. Avoid spoilers, unless you are writing on Goodreads and are confident with using the basic code (very simple) which allows you to hide spoilers (for the reader to open, if they so wish).

3. Content

Next, consider characterisation: is the main character believable? Are the secondary characters filled out sufficiently. Is the dialogue natural? Does it help build the character? Think about structure and narrative thread—does it all tie together? Is the author shoehorning in exposition (telling you a lot of background)?

4. Style

Then, the prose. Is it appropriate for the genre, age-group, etc.? Is there enough contrast and variety? What is the author trying to say? Does the imagery help or hinder your reading? How does it make you feel? Is the author getting in the way of the reading?

As you will have realised by now, the trick is to start your review with a high level, macro, view, then zoom in until you are using a micro lens.

Having given you a long shopping list of things to look out for, you will be relieved to know that you don’t have to include everything on the list. Concentrate on the aspects which stand out to you, either for their presence or their absence.

What are the book’s strengths? If any aspect of the book doesn’t work for you, say so. Don’t be afraid to say if the book’s back cover is not a true representation of its contents. Most importantly, be specific.

5. Where does the reviewer come in to all this?

Remember, this review isn’t about you. Put the book first, then bring in your personality. Too many reviewers think of book blogging as an opportunity to promote themselves. Remember also, to review the book, not the author. Don’t make this personal.

Great reviews are a fine balance between the professionally impersonal and the personally engaged.

Some reviewers like to include trigger warnings, such as sexual content, strong language, or other potentially distressing material. Such warnings tend to be written immediately below the heading, or as the penultimate paragraph.

6. Your last words

Finally, summarise with a few descriptors, if you wish. For instance, if your headline describes the novel as a love story, here you could say ‘sizzling’, or ‘heartbreaking’, or both.

7. Further reading

For more on writing book and arts reviews, I recommend Arts Reviews…and how to write them (2008) by Celia Brayfield,

You can read my own reviews elsewhere on this website and also on Goodreads, where I write around two reviews per month.

Previous post Mexican Gothic
Next post Lost & Waiting: the Wardian Case

One thought on “How to write a review”

  1. Thank you very much Amanda for this helpful post about book reviews and the useful onward links.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.