Every book reviewer has a different process they use to write their reviews. Some people write multiple drafts before they click the publish button, while others take the fly by the seat of their pants approach. I have been writing reviews for a couple of years now, and I thought I would share the process that works best for me.
While I’m reading a book I like to take notes using the app on my smart phone. This is where I jot down my thoughts about the story or items I want to mention in the review. If I am reading a paperback I will jot down page numbers with quotes that catch my attention (ex. page 68, paragraph 2) If I am reading an ebook I also highlight quotes and passages I might use in the review or on a teaser graphic.
Once I finish the book I decide on a star rating. Reviewers have different ways with coming up with a star rating. My approach is pretty simple. I base my ratings on how much I enjoyed the book. I don’t care about typos or other technical stuff unless it is just so bad that it takes me out of the story. If the book made FEEL and I connected with the characters then the book will get a good rating. If the pace is too slow and boring and it takes me two weeks to finish a 250 page novel then the rating will be low. The same also if the pace is too fast and details are missing. I suppose I am considered a super reader and it is hard to WOW me, so when that actually does happen, those books get top ratings. I use a 1-5 star scale.
Once I have decided on a rating and have looked over my notes, then I write the book review. I write it, not type it. Why? After losing several reviews to cyberspace due to glitches on Goodreads or WordPress or the computer dying, I decided to start hand-writing them in a notebook first. This process usually takes 10-20 minutes. Sometimes writer’s block happens and my mind is just blank. When that happens I’ll usually put it away and come back to it the next day.
How do I structure my reviews? My reviews are not super long, usually 3 or 4 paragraphs. I like to talk about how the book made me feel. What I liked about the book and what I didn’t like. Could I relate and connect with the characters. What I thought of the author’s writing style. 95% of the time my reviews are spoiler-free. If I think a minor spoiler is required I always state: SPOILERS AHEAD. I don’t summarize the book in my reviews because I don’t like to read reviews like that. However, I do include the book’s synopsis that the author provides to give readers a general idea of what the book is about.
This is the final step in my review process. I type the review onto a blog post, I add a couple of my favorite passages/quotes, and sometimes if I am feeling inspired I will create a teaser graphic to include in the review using Pic Monkey. Once I am satisfied with everything I click publish. Then I share the review on social media and copy and paste it onto Goodreads and Amazon as well.
I hope this post gives you tips on writing your own reviews. Book reviews are highly important to authors (especially indie authors), so take the time to post one on Goodreads and/or the retail sites even if it’s only a line or two.