So you want to write book reviews? Good! But there’s more to it than just saying “this book was good” or “this book was bad”.

A review shouldn’t be just a summary of the plot or outline of the chapters. Reviews should tell what the book is about, NOT what happens. A subtle, but distinct difference. Think about some of the conflicts and issues the characters faced. Is there a theme at the heart of the story? Does it offer a lesson or caution? Does it deal with issues that have relevancy today? Does it take a moral stance? Ask yourself these and other questions as you read the book, then try to answer them as you write the review.

No spoilers please! Although you should talk about issues and conflicts the book deals with, don’t give away the story. Hard to do, but if a review gives away too much of the plot, it will ruin it for potential readers.

You need to take a stance in your review; tell whether or not you liked the book and make a recommendation. Try to think of the type of reader who might like the book even if you didn’t: “The technical science here is sure to appeal to fans of hard science fiction” or “The ideal reader for this book is a fan of whodunit mysteries.” Even though you should take a stance on whether or not YOU liked it, you should still consider other readers who might like it even if you didn’t. Offer opinions like “Although it wasn’t quite my cup of tea, this book would have definite appeal to Stephen King fans.”

Part of taking a stance is offering an overall rating. Some review sites want you ton include a numerical rating, such as from 0 (worst) to 10 (best). Other review sites use stars, or thumbs up, or some other indicator. Justify your rating. If you think the book is one star, great, but explain WHY you think it’s one star. If a book is bad, it’s bad, but it’s bad for a reason. You should provide that reason. And if it’s good, you should give that reason too.

Many review sites don’t offer any form of compensation other than the satisfaction of seeing your name on the byline and the knowledge that you’re sharing something you enjoyed with others who might enjoy it as well. There satisfaction as well in knowing you might have steered readers away from what might be a waste of the time and money.

If you’re an avid reader, give some thought to trying your hand at a few reviews. It’s a great way to share your passion for books with others.

About the Author

Lynn Louis is an avid reader of sience fiction, fantasy and horror books. You can read some of her book reviews at SFReader.com