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!  We’d love to hear all about it!

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26 responses

  1. I was wondering what to do about a poorly written book full of typos that I’ve been asked to review. Glad I read your blog post – it’s given me some useful pointers.

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  2. Reviews are a challenge, the more one writes, the more words have to weighed as understanding of language becomes more fluent. I love the challenge of explaining a book and looking for something positive from a negative experience and vice versa. Reviewing was never an issue until I got my first review from an indie author, that’s when I realised that my words and opinions do matter and I am writing about a real person’s work not a huge faceless publishing phenomenon.

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  3. Nonni, this was perfectly put. You touched on very good points. Thank you. My experience is that some people have enjoyed a book, but may not be comfortable writing their viewpoint. Your commentaries make it easier.

    Blessings for a wonderful day,
    Marianne

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  4. Reblogged this on BOOK CHAT and commented:
    Are you a book reviewer? Nonnie Jules gives some great tips to make your reviews stand out.

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  5. Thanks! Shared on Twitter. 🙂

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  6. Bravo, Nonnie! I wish all book reviewers would read this blog post and take it to heart. Great post!

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  7. Reblogged this on Shirley McLain and commented:
    Shirley slaughter-Harris you said this was worth reblogging and I totally agree. I find reviewing books can be stressful especially if they are not well written. These tips will make it easier for all book reviewers. Blessings
    Shirley McLain

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  8. Shirley Harris-Slaughter | Reply

    Reblogged this on shirleyharris-slaughter and commented:
    This is worth reblogging. lol

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  9. Shirley Harris-Slaughter | Reply

    Reviews are tricky and so your points are helpful to keep us on track. I’ve run into some issues that have to do with authenticity of the characters or a situation, when you are using history as a backdrop. There is a fine line between not liking the story and creating a character/situation that is unbelievable because you lack a real knowledge or understanding of the history and the emotional baggage that may be associated with it.

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  10. Re-blogged – reviewing is more art than science at times, just like writing. Delivering a ‘rave’ review has to make sense as well and nobody does horse sense like you, Nonnie! 🙂

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  11. Reblogged this on Jan Hawke INKorporated and commented:
    As always, making good sense (not a rant) about delivering a Rave Review – or a constructive critique where there’s not so much to rave about… the inimitable Nonnie Jules

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  12. reanolanmartin | Reply

    well done, nonnie! this is the way reviews are conducted in master classes. it should be a thoughtful process. do unto others…

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  13. Great advice – for authors and readers. I completely agree that reviewers should critique the writing rather than the themes – I’m currently reading a book which is so well written, but the story line is pretty bleak – still I would highly recommend it.

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  14. Wouldn’t it be helpful if Amazon and the other distributors also produced a one para summary of this lesson to encourage reviewers to reflect on the purpose/impact of their reviews.

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  15. […] SOCIAL MEDIA SAVVY – #RRBC STYLE “Posting The (Almost) Perfect Review” A Book Revi…. […]

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  16. Some great points, thanks for sharing. It’s interesting that Amazon now allows readers to review books by answering a series of questions (“How original was the plot,” “how well-written was the book” etc). I guess they’re trying to encourage more people to review books.

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  17. Nonnie, interesting with good points, and definitely helpful. I agree with you on most points. I feel a review should be honest as well as considerate, including what is liked and what didn’t work for the reader/reviewer written in the most constructive way as possible. A review is an opinion and opinions are subjective.

    So, I’m reading the examples above as an author reading his/her review someone just left and I read this: “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.” This reads a little too harsh to me. Using “author” in the review feels too personal, and I would replace that word with book, novel, or story. The last part about “a little more time spent researching how to write a novel” feels a bit condescending. The words “I feel” takes a bit of the sting out of it. Most authors (not all), I feel do much research of their craft and can still make typos and errors. I would write that sentence more like this: “The story wandered in areas, but I feel with more editing this book could be a top seller.” Top seller may be stretching it in some cases, so instead, maybe “would have potential or “would have great potential.”

    If I post a review, I don’t write a synopsis of the book because I’m afraid I will give too much away. The blurb is there in most places where I post a review. When I put it on my blog, I copy the blurb and the author’s bio, and then add my review at the end. I might put a tidbit of what the book is about but not much. I’m still learning to write reviews though. I don’t usually write a review for a book I give less than a 4 rating but many reviews aren’t bad even when they get a 3. I remember hearing that one review magazine rarely gave above a 3 unless the book was exceptional. Some people are more strict with their rating systems. If I feel the book is 3.5, I will round it up to a 4. Sometimes I mention this and sometimes I don’t.

    One other thing I would like to add because this irks me about some readers writing reviews. If a reader/reviewer doesn’t finish the book because it wasn’t their cup of tea or they felt it was poorly written or the flow was too off for them, I don’t feel they should leave a review at all unless they read most of the book anyway. That’s my two cents and only powerful at home, sometimes at the day job. 😉

    Thanks for this interesting and thought provoking post.

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    1. Hi, Kim! Thanks for taking the time to comment. As mentioned, reviews are just opinions and since that’s all that they are, I may not word my opinions to your liking and vice versa. Where as you feel that my wording is too harsh, I feel that it’s on point without being too harsh, while at the same time, remaining honest. I don’t try to hurt feelings in my reviews, but I also don’t feel guilty if there are hurt feelings because of them. To be in our business, you have to have a VERY thick skin for things you may not want to hear, yet, may need to. I’m not one of those who believe that EVERYONE who has published a book put a lot of hard work, time, and research into it. Amazon has created a forum for ANYONE to publish, whether they are truly dedicated to the art of good/great writing or simply for those who wish to be able to say: “I’m a published author.” Because of that, I think I will continue with my personal process of reviewing, because what’s most important to me, is knowing that I’ve been constructive in my “opinion” without tearing down the author. And, by the same token, I’ve remained true to myself.

      So, there you have it…my take on my reviewing process. I’ve enjoyed hearing about yours so thanks again for sharing 😉

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      1. I understand where you’re coming from, and I guess I haven’t read any books that bad, yet. You know, I don’t think publishers edit books as well as they used to either. I find lots of errors in books from well-known, well-liked, and even famous authors who were published by big publishers. Sometimes I don’t think the publisher even reads them. It’s like it has come down to production over quality.

        I’m going to tell on myself. I posted a promo on my book the other day, and I used the word “pass” instead of “past” and had posted it on a number of facebook groups with the copy and paste feature. Now, I know the difference. Really, I do. One of the things I like about facebook is that you can edit your posts. So I did the back arrow on my computer until I had fixed it on each group where I’d posted the promo post. Sometimes I’m just too quick to hit that “send” button.

        I know I’m my own worse enemy when it comes to editing. I can fix something and make two more typos in the process. I have to remind myself to reread the sentence two more times after a fix before moving on.

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  18. Very useful points there Nonnie. Like I always say, there is always something to learn, and you have given a good lesson there. Thank you.

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  19. Reblogged this on Amy Reece and commented:
    Another helpful post from Nonnie Jules!

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  20. I’ve reblogged this helpful article on my blog https://amyreece.wordpress.com/ and I hope it helps! I’ve had 1 star reviews that totally attacked the story line and I’ve thought, “Well, shoot! I wish they would just stick to the writing!”

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  21. As both a professional book reviewer and a freelance one, I’m sharing what the guidelines for professional reviews are. I have a longer piece on this which I’m presenting at a writer’s Group on Monday. Let me know if you’d like to read the whole 1000 wd piece with a link to Amazon’s new review rules.

    First, let’s examine what a ‘professional review’ is, according to (Author we can’t name/promote here because she’s not a member). Guidelines: a book REVIEWER is defined as one who writes in a professional manner for a publication. A book REVIEW is a brief summary which present an accurate description and evaluation of the book, as well as the reviewer’s opinion about how he/she felt when reading the book. A review is ‘not’ a critique or personal ‘commentary.’ The reviewer’s opinion should always focus on the book itself — never on the author.

    Recommended length of reviews is 250 to 300 words. A review should contain: a synopsis, description, plot of the story. Setting — Contemporary, Historical, Time Travel, etc. Characterization of main players — character interaction and conflict. Description of the storyline without giving away the ending. It is never acceptable to slam a book, an author or publisher. Comments must be directed toward the book itself. Cutting, sarcastic or unkind remarks will be edited out.

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  22. Absolutely – be positive and also clear at what you wish to convey to the author. Like John, I feel that some reviews are so vague that you’re not sure what the reader is intending to say.

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  23. Good point about reviewing the writing. I have seen so many reviews where the reviewer has no clue as to what a reader wants to see regarding a book. Good post.

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