How to write book reviews – a guide

May 20, 202030 comments

You have just finished reading a book. Now what? Why not write a book review on your own blog or other sites, so that the author and the other readers might benefit from it? Here is a quick guide on how to write book reviews to help other readers decide whether they should read the book or not. 

Here is a quick guide on how to write book reviews to help other readers decide whether they should read the book or not.Β Having a template saves you time too! Click To Tweet

Also if you are already a book blogger, you might have heard that the book review posts do not get much engagement from other bloggers, and that might be putting you off from writing more book reviews. If it is so, this guide can help you on creating a format so that you wont have to spend too much time on writing book reviews. 

How to write book reviews

So here is how you can write book reviews in a way that it will be useful for your readers and yet you can write them fast.

Again, writing them quickly doesn’t mean you can do a half baked job. Having a template ensures that you will not miss out on any important detail from your review post.

Write a short introduction to the book

You might start with all the relevant details like 

  • Author name and link to their website
  • Their other books
  • the name of the publisher
  • the year of publication
  • ISBN or ASIN of the book
  • Genre of the book
  • Target age group 
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Do not forget to include the book cover and link to the purchase page. 

Keep the plot short and spoiler free

Instead of copying the plot summary from the blurb or Goodreads, summarize the plot in your words. And keep it short and to the point. 

Most importantly keep it spoiler free, because you are trying to get the reader pick the book (or not, depending on the review) and giving away the plot is not the right way to do it.

How to write  book reviews -spoilers
Credit: Giphy

Add the relevant disclosure

If you have added any affiliate links like Amazon, B&N in the post, please mention that to avoid the legal issues. 

This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

Mention if you received the book received the copy from author or publisher for reviewing. 

Any books, products, or compensation received in exchange for review or promotion will be clearly stated in individual posts. This does not affect my opinion; opinions expressed are honest and entirely my own.

Also mark as spoiler if your review has anything that might be considered spoiler to the book you are reviewing. We do not want to spoil others

Add your rating and explain your scale

After the disclosure and before starting your detailed review, add your rating for the book. It can either be a number scale (say, 3/5) or a pictorial representation showing the rating, like many other bloggers do. 

Either way ensure it is visible distinctly as soon as the readers open the page. Insert a sidebar text box explaining what your rating scale means, say 

  • 5/5 – Wow, favorite book 
  • 4/5 – great, would recommend!
  • 3/5 – good but can be better
  • 2/5 – It was ok, wouldn’t miss it if I had not read
  • 1/5 – it was so bad that want my time back
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Also, rating a book on your blog is not absolutely important. Here is my stand on why I do not rate books on my blog.

Pen down your personal thoughts

Here comes the main part of your review – writing down your thoughts on the book. 

Make the review personal and tell your readers about how did the book make you feel. Or be objective and talk only about the positives and negatives of the book. Your choice. 

How to write  book reviews - feelings
Credit: Giphy

Here are somethings that you can talk about in your review 

  • Character development of the protagonists
  • Character development of the side characters
  • Main plot and the sub plots
  • Did you see the twists coming?
  • Author’s writing in terms of the style, pace etc
  • Representation, if any
  • Triggers, if any

Conclude with a strong summary of whether you recommend the book or not. You can mention the specific set of people who may enjoy the book or should avoid the book. 

Other sections that you can include in your review

  • Pointers on what you liked or disliked in the book
  • Quotes from the book 
  • Relevant GIFs and images to convey your emotions
  • You can mention other books that might be similar to the book you are reviewing.
  • Add links to Goodreads book page, if you are not adding purchase links.

I hope this guide helped you in knowing how to write book reviews. If you are looking for some inspirations, take a look at some of my newer reviews.

This is the format I use to write book reviews

  • About the book
  • The plot
  • My initial thoughts
  • Things that worked for me
  • Things that didn’t work for me
  • Bottom-line
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Here are some more pointers to improve the engagement in your book review posts

Previously on blogging tips for book bloggers

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How to write  book reviews - pinterest

Let us talk

Do you like writing book reviews? Or do you feel it is not worth the time spend on writing the book reviews? Do you prefer emotional or analytical book reviews when it comes to deciding whether to read a book or not? Let us talk.

30 Comments

  1. Whispering Stories

    I think most book bloggers have their own style for writing reviews and their own rating system judging by some ratings I’ve seen, such as a 3 star review and yet in their write up they mentioned the book being the most amazing book they had read that year. I couldn’t work out their system.

    Reply
    • Gayathri

      Ha ha! I agree the star ratings of many bloggers are too complicated.

      Reply
  2. DJ Sakata

    I think I break most of these rules, all the time… except for spoilers, at least I don’t do that πŸ˜‰

    Reply
    • Gayathri

      But your reviews are still super interesting!

      Reply
  3. Bianca

    Great post!

    Reply
    • Gayathri

      Thanks!

      Reply
  4. Ashleigh

    Great post with some great tips

    Reply
    • Gayathri

      Thank you!

      Reply
  5. Kate @ Bitch Bookshelf

    Absolutely stellar advice! I don’t do all of these things and will remember your tips.

    Reply
    • Gayathri

      I am glad to be of use!

      Reply
    • Gayathri

      Thank yoU!

      Reply
  6. Stormi

    This is a useful post. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    • Gayathri

      Thanks!

      Reply
  7. Robin Loves Reading

    Thanks for the tips. I love writing book reviews. Written about 1100 in the past two years.

    Reply
    • Gayathri

      OMG that’s such a big deal!

      Reply
  8. Lark @ The Bookwyrm's Hoard

    Good advice, Gayathri! Thanks for the reminder to explain your rating scale; I keep forgetting to add a sidebar widget for that.

    Reply
    • Gayathri

      That is rather an important one. Please do it.

      Reply
  9. Sophia @ Bookwyrming Thoughts

    I like writing book reviews, but sometimes it can be exhausting to do so. I think that’s usually the case with books that I don’t have much to say in my usual enthusiasm or hate – probably the ones that are around 3-3.5? I’m definitely an emotional reviewer though! Sometimes I’m analytical, and I try to incorporate that if possible (but also if I do that, I could write for days on end about the potential purposes of one scene or another).

    Reply
    • Gayathri

      Oh I love reading your emotional reviews, Soph. And I can understand why it is hard to review the books with average ratings.

      Reply
  10. Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    Great advice here. My reviews are a lot more relaxed than they used to be (I do a lot of bite-sized reviews these days), but I definitely started out doing all of these things. πŸ™‚

    Reply
    • Gayathri

      I love your bite sized reviews.

      Reply
  11. Lashaan Balasingam

    Great post encapsulating all the key elements to a thorough review. It is fun to see how everyone brings a twist to their structure though. Thanks for sharing! πŸ™‚

    Reply
    • Gayathri

      Thank you. Yes, I love the customization bloggers bring in.

      Reply
  12. Linda @ (un)Conventional Bookworms

    Awesome post, Gayathri! The only thing we don’t do is including the ISBN or a purchase link. We don’t get any kickback from anywhere, so we just link to Goodreads… maybe I should get Brandee to look into that.
    Writing my own synopsis is something I started doing way back when I started blogging, then for a while, I used the official synopsis, but I’ve gone back to mostly writing my own again this year.
    I hope you’re having a fantastic week! Stay safe and healthy πŸ™‚

    Reply
    • Gayathri

      Yes I dont add the purchase links as well. The commission is not worth it, IMHO.

      Reply
  13. Davida Chazan

    That’s about right. I don’t usually add all sorts of technical things like the ISBN number and I almost never put anything about the author in my reviews, but that’s just me.

    Reply
    • Gayathri

      Neither do I. I just don’t have the patience.

      Reply
  14. Kymber Hawke

    One of my favorite things about your book reviews is where you tell us what worked for you and what didn’t. I always look forward to seeing what you thought about what you read.

    Reply
    • Gayathri

      THANK YOU SO MUCH. It means a lot!

      Reply

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Hello there!

Gayathri loves reading, recommending books and talking about bookish things in real life. Her blog is just an extension of that habit. When she is not reading books or creating online content, she freelances as a beta reader. She lives currently in Dubai.Head over to meet me

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