Monday, March 4, 2013

How To Write A Book Review

I have most of my epiphanies in the shower and today was no exception. Here's my amazing realization for today:
Non-writers find it difficult to write a review for a book they like. I almost slapped myself on the forehead when I realized that it's probably hard for people to write what they liked about a book if they, themselves, are not writers.They are the blessed readers so why should they be able to write?
And so my friends, here is my blog on how to write a quick review to help support your favorite writers and ensure that they won't spend the week in the fetal position wondering why no one has reviewed the book that took them two years of their life to write.
Short Version:

Fill in the blanks
"I just finished reading___ and ____it."

Long Version:

First, to review, you sometimes have to buy the book, then usually wait a day or two. Amazon has a little old school teacher in a room timing how long it takes you to read a book and won't let you review even if you're a graduate of the Evelyn Woods speed reading course until she says the time is up. When you're ready, go to the book's Amazon page, click on 'like' on anything associated with this author to do a very good deed, then scroll down the page where you found the book for sale and click on 'Write a Review'.

First it asks you to rate how many stars you'd give it. 5 is fantastic and this means that you enjoyed the book immensely. Not necessarily that it will be awarded the Golden Amazing Book of the Universe Award but just that it was a great read for that type of book. Eg) if it's romance, don't judge it by a Pulitzer Winning Novel about World Peace. And remember, you can give anyone you want 5 Stars. You don't have to save just one to give out in your whole lifetime.
3 Stars is a bit of a downer for most authors so keep that in mind if you go to hit 3 but really liked the book. As my mother said, if you can't say anything nice...
I tend to only review the books I really like. The world does not need my rant if I didn't like something. But that is entirely up to you.
Then move on to the box where you must use a set amount of characters to describe your experience with the book. This does not have to be beautifully written and if it is, the review is often removed. Amazon thinks authors should not review each other's books and again, that schoolteacher in a little room will notice a gorgeously written review and pull it before you can sign your name.
In your review of the book you just finished, you can start by saying that you enjoyed the book, it was a fun distraction, a beautifully written novel, made you laugh out loud, loved the characters, related to the setting, the humor, the dialogue, liked the writer's style, look forward to more books from this author who didn't disappoint. This type of feedback is lovely to read, as an author. No need to write something unique. A compliment is always unique. If it's hard to fill up the necessary words, say I can highly recommend this book to anyone who likes______.
Here is a simple, yet wonderful review of one of my books:
"Great Book!"

If you feel compelled to write something negative, then remember the critique rule - sandwich your negative comment between two compliments. Writers are sensitive people and they get the idea if you didn't appreciate one aspect of the book. No need to get carried away. I once read a three paragraph rant about a book that made me want to read it right away (and verbally pummel the person who wrote the review).
You don' t need to use your real name. Choose a user name and be anonymous. (A scathing review written anonymously is considered as a chicken-shit move among authors BTW). Click when you are done and know that you have helped further a writer's career by taking the time to lend your endorsement. I guarantee that for the moment the author reads your positive review,they are thanking you in their hearts and letting out a big sigh to say 'someone out there liked what I did'.
If you are a Goodreads user, copy your review and paste it to Goodreads so the author can be liked over there too.

If you read this blog because you want to write a review, I commend you. Thank you from all the authors out there who check daily to see if anyone likes their books.

Over and out.

Kim Hornsby is the Amazon Bestselling Author of The Dream Jumper's Promise, a three-time award winner with over 65,000 downloads and 223 reviews. She lives in the Seattle area and writes novels while trying to keep a clean house and raise two children to not be thugs.

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