So. The first thing we’re doing after my brief hiatus is a discussion post! Exciting right? (technically the last thing before my hiatus was also a discussion but we are overlooking that). Let’s get started right away!
Most of us book bloggers are reviewers at heart. But review posts are also the posts which require a lot of work from our side, because not only do we have to sit and write an entire post, we have to read a book and form opinions before that! This sometimes causes us to wonder, “are our reviews actually making an impact? like does anyone even care what we thought about a book?”
I personally think that yes, book reviews are really helpful, not just to people who have not read the book, but also to those who have. Presenting… *drumroll* a list (yay lists!!) of reasons why reviews can be helpful.
Ways In Which Book Reviews Help Different People
- For those who haven’t read that particular book: Reviews can be the extra weight required for tipping the scales in the book’s favour (or against it) for someone who is trying to decide whether or not to read the book. In my case, I often find that a book has certain tropes (like found family!), or maybe a very unique protagonist, or a twist-y plot etc etc through reviews, and that makes makes me add it to my tbr!
- For those who have read the book: I don’t know about you, but many a times after finishing a book, I can’t really understand how exactly I feel about it or how to describe it to someone else. So I read reviews of the book and check whether or not I agree with the reviewer in certain aspects. They say – 2d characters? Ah yes I thought so too. They say – amazing worldbuilding? Hmm I don’t think so, it was lacking in several aspects.
Basically what I want to say is that reviews can be a way to assess how we ourselves felt about a book.
- For publishers and authors: This one is pretty obvious. Reviews create buzz in the bookish community, and it is through reviews that people come to know about a book and can read it themselves and appreciate the author’s work.
So we’ve established that book reviews certainly are important. Now, what are some things to keep in mind while writing reviews? How can we write better reviews that make even more impact? Here’s a list of things that has helped me write better reviews over time (i’m still learning though)
note: some of the below tips can apply to all sorts of reviewing platforms like goodreads, but I’ve made this list keeping in mind blog posts, so most tips might be specific only to review posts on your blogs. also, all these are purely my opinion, and I do not wish to offend anyone, because after all, each one’s writing style is different!
Tips On Improving Your Book Reviews
- Share your thoughts on the book, not a summary. Back when I started blogging, my “reviews” were basically a summary of the plot of the book. I realized with time that the audience does not want to know a summary, they get that from the synopsis, rather they want to know how I as the reader felt about the book.
- Form an opinion first. After finishing the book, gauge your overall feelings about it. It would not do to write a review not knowing exactly how you feel about a book because your confusion will show in the review.
- Include quotes, or even creative content inspired by the book like moodboards and playlists! These make your review posts more attractive. Quotes can be really powerful. And Moodboards, for example, can tell you about the vibes of a book through a single picture, and this would be idea for someone who does not want to read long paragraphs!
- Use paragraph breaks and separators. There’s no way I’d ever like to read a review in one loooong paragraph that looks more like an essay. Keep your paragraphs short (some can be even 3-4 lines! shorter paras are better than longer ones) and use separators after making a point, for example if you’ve talked about why you loved the characters of a book in 4 paragraphs, insert a separator before proceeding to talk about how the worldbuilding could have been better.
- Highlight key points. More often than not, people like to skim read long reviews instead of reading them through, so they’ll atleast have some takeaway from your review in the form of those bold sentences. Even if somebody is not skimming the post, highlighted words and phrases stand out to them and they remember those better than the rest of the review.
Other than that, I’d just say be yourself and don’t hesitate to share your opinion while writing reviews!
Do you think reviews are effective? Which is your favourite review you’ve ever written? (self-appreciation is important!) Mine is this one – Book Review: The Ones We’re Meant To Find by Joan He. Drop your links in the comments!