When I first started reviewing books, I refused to share them publicly, other than on that big old anonymous River #Amazon. I mean, who would want to read my reviews, they are not wordy literary critiques and who really cares what little old me thinks anyway. Besides if folk seen them they would just laugh at them wouldn’t they?
So when I set up my blog I didn’t share it or make it public, I just left it sitting there in the ethers of the t’internet world, after all, it was just a load of waffle really, wasn’t it?
Anyway, then I discovered online book clubs and was amazed at the interaction between authors and readers! Wow I thought, other people are keen to hear thoughts and views on books, whether it’s as a means of recommending a book as a reader, constructive feedback and that well needed pat on the back for authors and their publishers (and there is nothing wrong with that – as an employee it is always good to be told you have done a good job or to be given some constructive feedback on how you might develop further). So I started reading other people’s reviews as a means of finding new books to read (like I really ever needed to expand my TBR pile!) Wow, I thought, these are like just ordinary people writing just ordinary words about the books they have read – nobody seems to be laughing at them and they are getting great feedback about their reviews – and they are not academic literary masterpieces full of jargon and references (my uni days are long over and I don’t really want to go back to all that!) Hmmm, wonder if anyone would like any of my reviews I thought?
And then I took the plunge and shared one of my reviews from my blog – guess what – nobody laughed, people even liked it and commented on it, some folk even shared it…and other bloggers said “Well done you, good job” and that was me….I was hooked!
So how do you write a review – search google and there are pages and pages upon answers but every one of us is different and how we review is different too. So from looking at other blogs and reviews I developed my own preferred way of writing a review and I thought that I’d share it with you (hopefully you don’t laugh!)
I always try to cover the following themes in my reviews:
Plot – a summary of the novel without giving any spoilers – I usually start my review with the blurb from the book (and acknowledge that it is the book blurb and not my words) I add a few sentences of my own to start of my review – but never ever give any spoilers…they are a #NoNo. Is the plot easy to follow or too complicated? Is there resolution of the issues? Are there parts that make no sense to the plot and seem surplus to requirements.
Pace – how does the pace feel, is it nail-biting, measured, too fast or too slow in places? is it too wordy or do the scenes move along at a good speed to keep you engaged?
Place – the setting – has the author shown you a believable setting; do you feel like you can see/are in the location; too much description of the setting or just right?
Character – are the characters well-developed – do they have a past, fears, dreams and hopes or are they flat and bland? Do you feel a connection with the characters and care about what happens to them?
Themes – what is the book really about? What are the underlying themes – the ideas behind the plot? Are there too many themes?
How does it make you feel? Why did you enjoy it or not enjoy it? Why would others enjoy it? Did it provoke any strong reactions or emotions in you?
The only golden rules are:
- no spoilers – ever sat down to watch a film and your friend tells you how it ends! Just don’t…please just don’t do it!
- no personal insults about the author – if you don’t like the book that’s ok – just make your review constructive and not a personal attack on the writer – would you like someone to walk up to you at work, in public, and say very loudly – you’re crap at your job!
So there you go, it’s really not too hard…give it a go…even if you start off with just a few sentences and focus on how it makes you feel then that is good, that is enough! The most important thing is to write it down and post it – share on Amazon, GoodReads, Book clubs on-line – find your own way of writing them, there is no right and no wrong way – just your way!
And I promise – nobody will laugh at you!