How to Write a Book Review

Do you ever wonder what the best way is to support your favorite authors? Of course, purchasing books, reading their books, and telling your friends about them is the best way of getting the word out.

Another way of showing your support is reviewing the books you read. When you purchase a book from Amazon or Barnes & Nobel online there is a place for you to write a short review. Goodreads.com also provides a place for reviews. Most readers don’t leave one because it intimidates them. People think that there are certain requirements you must have to be a book reviewer. Not true any more.                        animated woman typing

I’d like to give you some tips on how to write a simple, short review that is easy and only take a few minutes of your time. You can read the book in print form and put a review online whether you bought it online or not. Fear keeps us from doing a lot of things. Don’t be scared of writing a review.

Some suggestions:

  • The theme represents …
  • I enjoyed the story because …
  • The relationships between characters demonstrated …
  • It is well written …
  • My favorite character …
  • The story is well researched …
  • Read some of the reviews posted for examples and write one in your own words.
  • A review does not have to be only positive statements, but can include points that you feel are negative. Just be sure that you stick to the subject and the writing, do not get personal about the author.
  • If the writing is not professional, then it is alright to say that.
  • If the research in a historical novel is obviously well done, then mention it.
  • It can be a great story that isn’t told very well.
  • Tell whether you like the book or not.
  • Would you recommend it to others?

I hope this helps take some of the anxiety out of writing a review. I am sure your favorite authors will appreciate your support.

Book Discussion Guides

I’ve noticed that there are more books available in the last couple of years that include a discussion guide at the back of the book. If you’ve published fiction or nonfiction and don’t have a list of questions at the back, then you haven’t missed the boat.

I suggest that you develop a group of discussion questions that are available to readers. Book clubs or discussion groups can have access to the guides and download them for free. Post the documents on your website, put a link on your blog, or make them available on Goodreads.

Did you know that you can have an author page on Goodreads? It’s a great place to let readers know about your books and Discussion Guides.

Let people in your network know that the guides are available. Tweet about them. Talk about them on Facebook and in your online groups.

Examples can be found at Discussion Guides. These are my own new guides. Give it a try. You’re giving added value to your readers and making your books more appealing to Book Clubs and Discussion groups.

Hot Ideas for Book Promotion

I attended a workshop with my publisher last weekend and learned some reasons why my online efforts have not worked as well as I hoped. I realized that I have two target audiences:

  • Writers and Writer Organizations
  • Historical and Christian fiction readers
In order to promote your platform and speaking opportunities you need to decide who your target market is and then provide information, blogs, and workshops for those who are most interested. Many of us make the mistake of trying to reach too broad of an audience. Narrow it down.
If you write a specific type of book then find out who reads them. What genre? Fiction? Nonfiction? Where do your readers hang out? Where they are is where you need to go.
Join online groups that focus on readers. Get an author’s page on Goodreads. Develop your profiles at Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and any other website so that you target your readers. Then, give them content that is valuable to them. Develop relationships, not just someone to pitch your books to. It’s okay to let people know when you have new books coming out or an event scheduled, but don’t let that be your only contact with them or they will feel like all you want is for them to buy your book, not become a fan.
Try these out.

Finding New Books and Authors

I’m a member of Goodreads, a place where you can meet other people who love to read and there are a number of authors there, too. We can recommend books, post reviews and comments, and see what others are reading. We can collect a group of friends and participate in any of a large number of discussion groups. This is a site for all ages, depending on the groups you frequent.

I often try a new author from a book recommended to me. If I like the author’s work, then I tend to read through that author’s books. Series are fun because you can really get to know characters and you get to spend time with them in each book. They become like old friends. How do you find new books or authors to read? I’d love to hear from you all (okay, yes, I live in Texas and sometimes can’t resist “you all” or “ya’ll)