Writing Tips

The Do’s and Don’t’s of Writing a Review

Reviews are important.

There is no debating this fact, there is no arguing this point, and there is no downplaying their importance. Reviews are crucial, especially if you are an up-and-coming author attempting to establish yourself in the writing community.

This being said, a lot of authors are either craving reviews or writing reviews themselves. It’s a way for authors to give back to their communities. In my own experience, the majority of reviews come from other authors as opposed to readers. By writing reviews, authors support one another. I’m doing so, there are some key tips and tricks to writing a good review that we all can remember.

Image result for book reviews help authors

So, here are Kayla Ann’s Top Do’s and Dont’s of Writing a Review:

Do’s:

Write a review. Yes, it is awesome to receive star ratings on Amazon, Goodreads, etc., but star ratings are not enough. If you can take your time to leave a star rating, please leave a review consisting of at least one comment. Here are some good one-liners that elevate a simple star rating:

  • “I couldn’t put it down!”
  • “The plot was great.”
  • “The characters were so relatable.”

Write a decent summary. People want to know what the book is about. You can do this is 3-6 simple sentences that may paraphrase the book’s blurb or your own summary.

Give a general rating and explain why. It is not enough to just put a rating, you should give your readers an understanding of why you chose to rate it that way; both the good and the bad.

Write an honest review. (Say it with me): WRITE AN HONEST REVIEW. Guys, I cannot stress this enough. Honesty is the best policy.  When you are honest, the author is given a clear understanding of what was liked and what needs improvement. When you are honest, the reader goes in with a clear and realistic understanding of what they are getting. When you are honest, it solidifies the review system. (See further explanation under DONT’S)

Dont’s:

Don’t write a fake review. Don’t encourage services of false reviews. What do I mean by that? Don’t offer to give 5 star reviews in exchange for money and don’t accept that deal either.

Don’t give away too much in the summary. No one wants you to spoil the end of the book. If you give everything away, why should another reader pick it up?

DON’T lie in your review. Maybe you are trying to sugarcoat the truth because the author is your friend or follower. This helps no one. When you write a dishonest review you are negatively impacting both the author and future readers while undermining the whole reviewing system. The author will be given unrealistic expectations, the reader will be frustrated by the biased review, and the reviews on that book will no longer be considered trustworthy. Please. Just, don’t. If you are not going to write an honest review, do not write one at all.

Now that you have some basic guidelines, get out there! Start reading and writing your own reviews to support the community of authors.

Support an Author

Do you have any DO’s or DONT’s that should be added to this list?

Leave a comment below!

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22 thoughts on “The Do’s and Don’t’s of Writing a Review”

  1. Do you think that it would be important to add context as to why someone liked or didn’t like a book? For example, Reader X reads a fantasy novel and there’s a romantic scene in it that puts off Reader X. They then leave a review saying “I didn’t like it.” Reader Y, who doesn’t mind romantic scenes then sees the review and doesn’t pick up the book because they assume the book as a whole is bad.
    The same goes for positive reviews, if you flip the above example around, where Reader X ends up buying a book based on a positive review, but is put off by the thing that they wouldn’t like about it. Something that may have been avoided if Reader Y mentioned “loved the romantic scene in it”.
    This is a very specific example, I just wanted to get the point across. A little more context as to why someone rated the book the way they did without spoiling it of course, might benefit a lot more people.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This post was super helpful! I always rate books on Goodreads as I read them, but I think it’s time I start writing a quick review, too, just because of how much it helps the author. I wanted to avoid writing negative reviews, but I think you’re right — constructive criticism is good so the author knows what to change.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Madeline, thanks for commenting, I’m so glad you found it helpful!
      Even one sentence will help any review. Whenever I write “negative” reviews I always do my best to remain professional and courteous and to find one good thing.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Michael! It really is such a crucial point although I’m sure not everyone loves me for saying it ha.

      I feel like I haven’t seen you in awhile my friend! I’m gonna go check out your blog to see what I’ve missed 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I like to know what genre of novels the reviewer usually reads and loves to feel more comfortable about the review. I remember reading terrible reviews for Dan Brown’s novel Angels and Demons and thought never to read it. But when I bought the book with another one of his book as it came in a pack of two, and read it, I loved the book. Same with 50 shades. The girl who recommended me loved romance novels and I’m usually a fantasy and thriller type of person. So you can see how much that book could have angered me.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m not great at leaving reviews (outside of my blog anyway!) on things like amazon. I feel like I normally read only the ‘popular’ books, but I’ll try to leave more reviews – and find more smaller authors (for ages I wanted to be an author growing up and would write my own short stories and far too much twilight fan fiction…)

    But I think the idea of leaving even short comments is something I’m going to take into the blogging world. I only like to leave comments if I can leave a few paragraphs, something that allows for discussion and hopefully adds some value, but then even a ‘really enjoyed this post’ can mean a lot.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey there 🙂 I would definitely encourage you or leave small comments on Amazon, goodreads, and yes even your blog. You never know how the simplest sentence can make the biggest difference to one person.

      Like

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