Saturday, November 9, 2013

How to Review a Book
With the advent of online shopping came the capacity to compose product reviews. Nowhere is this more handy than on Amazon,  especially for books. We all compare notes, whether about Stephen King's latest blockbuster or finding a gem by a first-time novelist. So today I'm posting a few guidelines for anyone who wishes to share their opinion of a book. 

1)  How were you enticed to choose this story in the first place? Was it the title, the cover, or the blurb of the storyline? Let's use The Wizard of Oz as an example: "I found the notion of a little girl flying through a tornado to an alternate universe intriguing."

2) What did you relate to the most? Could you find yourself in the hero's role? Or was the location so different it became another character completely? Did the author build suspense so well you became completely immersed in the story, holding your breath or feeling tears run down your face?

3) What did you find distracting? What did you NOT like? "I couldn't relate to the flying monkeys. I couldn't help but see those creatures throwing poo as they went and that bothered me so much I had to skip the pages on which they were mentioned."

4) Your recommendation. Would you hand it to your mother to read, or slip it to your little sister with a wink and a nudge? "Next time you see Aunt Eunice coming up the lane on a bicycle, it will be in a whole new light. Trust me." Or were you sorely disappointed? Be honest but there is no need to be ruthless. "I did not like this book and can't recommend it to anyone I know."

Herein come two rules that should always be followed whether you love a book or hate it:
 Be courteous at all times. Remember this is someone's baby. You may not like it, you may think it hideous, but there is no need to be rude. There is also no reason to gush. Calm down, be cool, and articulate your opinion with grace and tact.

There is no constructive reason to include spoilers in a review. At no time, for nobody. EVER. 
People who include spoilers are odious gossips who delight in ruining surprises of all kinds. All the effort an author makes in writing enticing log lines and blurbs is nullified by thoughtless people who expose the ending. If you feel the need to include a "Spoiler Alert" you obviously don't have enough of a word mastery skill set to be writing the review. Quit now and forever hold your peace. I do hope I make myself clear on this point. 

Reviews can be helpful in deciding whether to purchase a book or not, but the decision is ultimately up to the consumer. Give your opinion but let them experience the resolution of the book's conflict for themselves.

Happy reading,

Jude Johnson is a history enthusiast with a penchant for romantic adventure. Her latest contemporary romance series is Save The Last Dance from Champagne Books.
 A Dangerous Dance is now available from all ebook outlets.
 A Wicked Waltz is scheduled for release in December 2013. 
Her website is


Julie Eberhart Painter said...

Well put and all inclusive.

linda_rettstatt said...

This is great. These guidelines should be provided to everyone who wants to review a book on Amazon and other sites. There is definitely a right and wrong way to write a review and,unfortunately, we authors often find ourselves as victims of the 'wrong' way with little or no recourse. Thanks for this post.

Ute Carbone said...

Great post Jude. Nothing better than a well thought out review. Everyone should read your guidelines.

Big Mike said...

Hope you're feeling better JJ. Know you've been having it rough.


Jude Johnson said...

Thanks, everyone! <3

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