You're a writer.
You have a blog.
You have an outside life, paying job and other's who depend on you.
All eat up chucks of your time.
You want to hone your writing skills, be a better storyteller.
So you read. Lots. In your genre and even spread your wings to gnaw on other works outside your writing realm. But that takes up time, too.
Combine the two: Write a Book Review. But how?
There's no right or wrong way, no tell-all process for writing a good book review. But there are areas one should stay true to and probably avoid.
Now, I'm no expert but I've been reviewing books for about six months. My main purpose for getting into reviewing was simple. Condense my actions with my limited time, equaling productivity. I did, however, decide on my goals for reviewing: to give my readers a view into a book they may have not read, yet, to offer my well-educated opinion, and remain as unbiased as possible.
That can work both ways. When you love a genre, sometimes it's hard to read with unclouded judgment, and when you're not as fond of a genre, it's easier to find flaws.
1. When you begin to read the book have note cards available. I usually insert a few between the pages, so I can jot down elements of the book that jump out at me.
2. I pay attention to word choice, flow and pace, character development, structure of scenes, plot and sub-plot plausibility, and overall storytelling. These are what I note on my note cards.
3. Find a sentence that moves you or gives the overall feel of the book. I highlight that as my favorite line.
4. Set yourself in the story, either as a character or simply yourself. Does the story stimulate you? How? I'm always sensitive to how a story/character moves me internally, makes me look at myself. You can ask yourself a million questions. (I'll fiddle with those in another post.)
Writing Up the Official Review
(Like I said, these are not set in stone. Just the way I do it.)
~ Include the book cover/artwork. I list title, author name, genre, publisher & date released, and number of pages. Some folks include the ISBN, too. I don't.
~ State official description of the story. I use the blurb on the back cover.
~ Give your HONEST opinion. That can include positives and negatives. Be fair, but kind. Some reviewers include spoilers. I don't. But if you do, please make your readers aware in advance of the review.
I always try to offer a helpful opinion. Meaning, I don't go into great detail but explain why I enjoyed the read or why I didn't. I list strong points and what I felt was weak.
REMEMBER YOUR PURPOSE. You're giving your readers another book to ponder, another book they may choose or pass on reading.
Lastly, I usually offer links where to purchase the book. If I was asked to review by an author or publisher, sometimes I can offer a book giveaway as well.
I could go into greater detail, but I think I've made this post long enough. So instead, let me ask you: Do you review books? Can you add insight into this discussion? Love to hear it.
Happy Weekend, Everyone!!