Like a Book? Write a Review!

You’ve read a novel you like. You tell your friends about it. Word spreads. This is process is probably how most books are selected by readers. It certainly was back in the day.

But more and more, people go to their favorite online site, browse titles, read book descriptions, and check out reviews. I do it. You’ve probably done it. We wonder what the five- and four-star reviewers think, we wonder what the one- and two-star reviewers think, and why. Then we decide.

There are a lot of good reasons to post a book review. Among other things, you want to put your voice out there. Especially with good books, it helps to spread the word. With so many choices out there, why not weigh in? You might also want to let the author know what you think. Many authors read reviews. Most authors don’t get hundreds of reviews. If you’ve read a book by an author that you really like, posting a positive review tells them that in a way that helps others consider the book, too. A positive review helps the author and helps other readers. It is a good thing to do. It’s also easy, once you know how.

So here are a few tips for posting book reviews, starting with the mechanics (the “how to” of it), followed by some thoughts about content.

Mechanics

Most sites are similar for book reviews. Following is a step-by-step about where to click and how the options look for Amazon, Goodreads and Barnes & Noble. Most other sites are similar.

Amazon. On the Amazon page for the book:

  • Scroll down to the “Customer Reviews.”
  • Click the “Write a customer review” button to the right of the star-rankings graphic.

On the page that appears:

  • Select a button for the first four questions (“How is the author’s writing,” “Is there violence,” “Is there sexual content,” and “How is the story narrated”)
  • Select the Star Ranking by clicking one of the stars. They fill in automatically from left to right. So for a five-star ranking (the best), click the right-most star.  (See Star Ranking, below.)
  • Enter your comments about the book by clicking in the text box below the stars. (See The Review Text, below.)
  • Click the one-line box below the larger text box to give your review a short title.
  • Click the “Submit” button.

Amazon will probably give you a message that the review is being processed, and it will send you an email when processing is complete.

Goodreads. On the Goodreads page for the book:

  • Click the drop down button below the book cover and select “Read.” (This option means “I’ve read the book.)

In the popup window that should immediately appear:

  • Select the Star Ranking by one of the stars. This is also a five-star system from one to five, with five being the best. (See Star Ranking, below.)
  • The “Bookshelves/tags” option below the stars should already say “read,” so no need to change that.
  • Enter your comments about the book by clicking the large dialogue box labeled below “What did you think?” Before you enter anything there, you will see in gray lettering “Enter your review (optional).” (See The Review Text, below.)
  • Only click the “Hide entire review because of spoilers” box if your comments give things away about the book that some readers might not want to see.
  • Enter the dates you read the book if you wish.
  • Check the boxes at the bottom right if you want to post to your blog, add to your update feed, or share on Facebook. (Some of these options might be pre-checked for you.)
  • Click the “Save” button at the bottom left, or optionally, click the “Preview” link to see what your review will look like first.

Barnes & Noble. On the B&N page for the book:

  • Scroll down to the “Customer Reviews.”
  • Click the “Write a Review” button to the right of the “Average Review” graphic.

In the popup window that should immediately appear:

  • Select the Star Ranking by clicking one of the stars. This is another a five-star system from one to five, with five (the right-most) being the best. (See Star Ranking, below.)
  • Enter your comments about the book by clicking in the text box below the stars. (See The Review Text, below.)
  • Click the “Submit” button.

That’s it. You’ve shared your thoughts. Other readers will appreciate it, and odds are the author will see it, too.

Content

The two key content components are the Star Ranking and the Review Text.

Star Ranking

The number of stars you give tells others at a glance whether you loved or hated the book. Use your best judgment. If you loved it and think others should read it, a 5-star rank says “the best.” If you think the story could have been better, less than five is appropriate. Be honest, according to your own personal standards. I think of it as analogous to a letter grade in school, where five stars is an “A,” four stars is a “B,” etc.

Review Text

This isn’t a writing assignment. Short and sweet is fine. If all you want to say is “What a great story!”, then you’re done. That is a fine review. If you want to say more, here are some thoughts:

  • Say something about the story: an interesting character, stunning settings, some idea or feature that stands out to you.
  • Avoid “spoilers,” meaning don’t spill the plot or the ending (but you can certainly call it “a surprise,” or “satisfying,” or whatever applies.
  • Share a personal thought or two. Was it a page-turner? A fun read? Enlightening or thought-provoking? Would you read it again? To whom would you recommend it?
  • Be honest. If you didn’t get into it, but think others might, it’s okay to say so.

There are as many ways to write a review as there are readers. It can be fun to let an author and readers know your reaction to the story.

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Promotion, Publication, Reading, Reviews, Writing. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Like a Book? Write a Review!

  1. Excellent blog! Will definitely reblog! Thanks for taking the time to spell it out for those who may simply not know its importance or how to do so!

  2. Reblogged this on Marcha's Two-Cents Worth and commented:
    This is an excellent summary of the whys and wherefores of book reviews and how to do so. Reviews are important to authors. Show your appreciation for their hard work by leaving a review!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s