SOCIAL MEDIA SAVVY – #RRBC STYLE: “Posting The (Almost) Perfect Review” A Book Review Lesson

Are you new to book reviewing?  Did you read something that was so incredibly good that you want to share it with the world?  Then, today I’m going to tell you how to post the (almost) perfect review.  Now, I am in no way saying that every review you post should be a 4 or 5 star one.  BUT, I am saying that even in the not-so-great reviews, there is still a process.  Below you will find 6 little tips on how to post reviews.  You all know I always like to interject my little two-cents in the most constructive of ways, so here goes:

1)  When you review a book, PLEASE don’t give any SPOILERS.  And don’t give any “SPOILER ALERTS” either, because just as soon as you type the words, the reader’s eyes have already moved across the line and read the SPOIL.  Don’t do that again.

2)  Don’t tell what happens throughout the book and ruin it for the next reader.  If you give the reader of your review a play-by-play, what reason will they have to go out and get the book?  Then you’ve spoiled it for the reader AND the author who missed out on a sale.

3)  Book reviews are either critiques OR raves about a book.  Don’t say, “I didn’t like this book because the girl got raped”, OR “This book wasn’t good because I don’t like reading about children being hurt,” OR “DON’T read this book because all that fantasy/Harry Potter-type stuff is boring”.  {Well, we all know that a lot of somebodys liked Harry Potter, didn’t they?}

When you review a book, you review it on the WRITING, not the storyline the author decided to write about, but the writing. Did the “writing” captivate you?  Was it written so well you couldn’t put it down?  Were the characters written and described so vividly that you felt as if you could almost see them standing right in front of you?  Simply put, WAS THE WRITING GOOD? or WAS THE WRITING GREAT?  And here’s where it can sometimes get a little tricky and a little uncomfortable for some….WAS THE WRITING POOR?  Because honestly, sometimes that has to be told, too.

4)  If you have to write a review that does not warrant a 4 or 5 star rank, please don’t do it in such a manner that you are attacking the author.  Don’t say, “This book was written so poorly that I almost lost my lunch when I started to read it.” That’s a no-no.  And don’t even say, “I don’t like this author because there were too many typos and mis-spelled words, it was hard to get through the story.”  Although I’ve felt these feelings quite often after reading a book, I would never post that publicly.  AND, although I do believe in posting ONLY totally HONEST reviews, if you have to give a review that you THINK warrants a 1, 2 or 3 star rank, then be tactful and kind.  I would say something like, “What I liked about this book was (because there’s always something good you can say.  Dig deep.)” OR, I might say, “What I didn’t like was that I felt as if the author should have edited the work a little better,” OR “The storyline didn’t flow as well as I would have expected it to.  The author started to wander off in some areas, but I feel that with a little more time spent researching how to write a novel, he definitely has the potential to nail it better the next time.”  Reviews are only opinions, people.  And although there are some opinions that you should value more than others, it all comes back to someone’s opinion.

If someone posts a poor review of your work, take the time to tip over (if you can) and check out their written work, or some other reviews they’ve posted.  If you find that their work is poorly written, pour yourself a glass of wine and take a long, hot soak in the tub, while thinking to yourself, “THE NERVE OF SOME PEOPLE!” And this brings me to my next tip…

5)  When posting your reviews, please ensure that you have no mis-spelled words, no punctuation hiccups and that your sentences make total sense.  I’m not going to take seriously the opinion of someone who has left me a review and each sentence of their review holds typos and hiccups.  How can you critique someone else’s work, when your work clearly shows that someone should be critiquing yours? Please “proof & review” before you hit “POST REVIEW.”

6)  I will never post a review under NONNIE’S “RAVE” REVIEWS with a rating of less than 4 stars, but that is not to say that I won’t post a review with 3 stars or less on Amazon, B & N or some other forum, but in all my postings, I WILL offer praise as well as constructive criticism, if warranted.  I will never use my words in a review to tear down, or discourage someone from writing.  Was everyone born with the GIFT OF WRITING?  NO.  But, I do believe that if you work hard at it, you can become skilled in that arena.   And it’s true, EVERYONE CAN’T WRITE AND SOME SHOULDN’T WRITE, not unless they’re willing to put in the time and effort to make it good enough that book lovers want to read it.  Don’t go saturating the market with junk. There’s enough of that out there already.  Take the time to hone your craft and ensure that everything you put out is worthy of the highest of praise. Because if you didn’t take time with it, and I accidentally pick it up, I might not be all that happy -____-

I hope this has helped you as an author as well as a reviewer.  Just my two cents, but you know, they carry a lot of weight in some parts (mostly at home with my husband).

So, tell me, do you have a review process?  If you do, please share it with us!  We’d love to hear all about it!


5 responses

  1. I’d like to add one suggestion that can help the author of the book you’re reviewing. Give it a short, catchy, title they can use on Twitter. I look for them when I copy a “Look Inside” for a PushTuesday or BOM book, and they can take some finding. I have very few reviews with meaningful titles. You can’t compare “A great read” or “Loved it”, however nice, with one of my latest: “A Dynasty of Dreams and Deception”. That says so much in a few words. It was a 5 star, but I have a 4 star I often use “A rollercoaster of passion and steamy desire”.


  2. When readers or would be readers get offended they often post unfair and unreasonable reviews. These reviews bring down the rating of the book unfairly. Most authors, good or bad, get some of these unfair reviews. Also, readers who like a book (and will buy the next book) are much less likely to post a review than the dissatisfied reader. Thus almost all author’s books’ ratings are being dragged down, especially for controversial topics. For this reason, I never give a book a bad review. If I didn’t like or love the book I just don’t review it.


  3. Hi Nonnie, this is a very good resource! I also don’t believe in writing critical reviews because they serve no purpose. A lot of books just aren’t my cup of tea, and I can still recognize when they are well written and have merit; the only problem I have is that they lay outside the scope of my interests. I’ve also noticed how some reviews will just reduce an entire novel down to the one detail they didn’t like, and judge an entire book by that detail. That is brutally unfair, and I’m glad you noted that. I’m often surprised sometimes by some of the scathing reviews of books that I found were really good. I wish more people would abide by your guidelines, and maybe that wouldn’t happen. I’m tweeting this!


  4. Dear Nonnie, your review policy promotes kindness and common decency. Like you, in my blog I only post 3,4 and 5 star ratings. I haven’t come across a book that deserves less as yet but when/if I do, I will make any constructive comments only privately as to provide assistance. Trashing someone’s work publicly is plain nasty and I think it would be harmful in the long run also for the reviewer as well as the author.


  5. Shirley L. Slaughter | Reply

    Reblogged this on Motorcitywriter and commented:
    Lots of good information here. #RaveReviewsBookClub


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