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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
One of the main reason I switched over to WordPress years was the nifty follow button that shows your follower count and more importantly the ease of new posts showing up on your WP feed Reader. So imagine my surprise when I found that the self hosted WordPress sites do not have the follow button natively?
Of course there is a way to get it added, and it is not too difficult. And I did the WordPress follow button on to my sidebar here and my home page here.
Starting a blog is not a simple task. If you add the yearly goals and plans to it, it can easily become overwhelming. At least it does for me. But it all changes the minute I get a new follower or a comment on my blog. I am sure many of you will agree. Isn’t that what we are all striving for?
One of the major issues that new bloggers face is lower engagement (ie, comments, shares and likes) and that can be huge discouragement, especially when they just start out. We all need those approvals. I was in that position not a long time ago.
New bloggers Checklist
I used spend hours scouring the Internet trying to learn everything and read everything. I still do that, but not for the basic things. So I thought I will share with you those little things that made a huge difference in my blogging statistics and engagement rate.
Here is a new bloggers checklist to ensure you have everything you need to increase your blog engagement and follower count. They are not going to be general advices nor highly technical. These are stuff that you and I can work on. So let us get on with it, shall we?
1) Is your Home button easy accessible?
This may sounds really silly but I have had a few long conversations about the home tab on the menu bar, or the lack of, in some of the blogs with other bloggers who regularly blog hop. If you do not have one, you are losing out on the valuable readers who want to read another post but are not able to.
I know it seems like a small thing but having the ability to go back to your main page matters to blog hoppers and new visitors. While you are at it, just ensure a click on your blog header leads to your home page as well.
2) Are your graphics easily shareable?
It comes as a no brainer that every post of yours should have some image attached, a feature image or a book cover at the least. While how you use these images is up to you, just make sure these blog graphics are easily shareable across the social media.
Some of the places that I recommend for downloading such high quality, copyright-free images are: Freepik and Pixabay. And I use Canva to edit them into blog graphics. Canva even has templates with recommended sizes for each social account.
If you are a GIF lover like me, before you unload a tonne of them on to your post, make sure they are of good quality and will fit to a common size. Having different sized animations or just too many of them for that matter easily annoys the reader. We do not want that, do we?
3) Do you have a follow button?
Be it a blogger or WordPress blog, you definitely need a FOLLOW button. It is indispensable and you cannot skip it.
Be it a blogger or WordPress blog, you definitely need a FOLLOW button. Do you have these essentials on your blog? Check the post!Click to Tweet
Many readers like me will be reluctant to share their email addresses and we are all drowning in the unread mails (okay, it might be just me) and might be unsubscribing after a few weeks. So no, subscription by email is not the same. ADD A FOLLOW BUTTON RIGHT AWAY.
4) Do you include short paragraphs?
As you would have seen in my posts, I love to write or talk to my readers. And my posts are usually long winded and I like it that way. But the Internet is full of studies that tell us what is the perfect post length and I am sure writing 1500+ worded posts are not that.
My suggestion: Long or not, write what you want to write but make it easy for the reader to enjoy them by breaking it up into lot of short paragraphs. I mean paragraphs with 2- 3 sentences. Let us face it, our attention spans are not getting any better.
While you are at it, consider including headings and subheadings to the post. Make them simple. Make them witty. Make them catchy. They can be however you want, but just add them!
5) Do you interlink your posts?
Another simple thing that you can do to make your blog sticky (making readers hanging on for a long time) is to hyperlink to relevant older posts. All you have to do is to add the link to your text and point them to go to yet another of post in your blog, just to keep the traffic juice flowing.
You can also consider including a ‘Related post / You may also like’ section at the end of each post! I do both. Bonus points if you set these link to ‘open in a new page’.
6) Is your blog comment friendly?
A trouble that many new bloggers have is increasing the blog engagement and comments. The blogging community is really welcoming and me love meeting new bloggers. But it goes without saying that you should make it easier for your readers to leave comments on your blog.
I might be biased but I know there are many bloggers like me, who dislike using the Google+ commenting form. It gives very few options to sign in and links back to only Google profiles. Sigh it is quite cumbersome.
I strongly suggests going back to Blogger’s comment forms if you are using Blogger. Disqus is a great alternative if you are self hosted on Blogger.
Since we are talking about things that I hate about comment forms, I do not understand why some themes do not show comment form directly below the post and ask us to open another window to comment. I will add an image just to make what I am saying clearer.
Please do not your readers jump seven hills and seven seas to comment on your blog.
I am definitely not the most qualified person to tell you about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) but I am going to tell you the simplest things that can help you to improve your SEO, that even a #newbie can do easily.
If you are self hosted install the Yoast plugin right away and you can follow the wizard to set everything up. And you are good to go!
If you are not using Yoast, it is still alright. There are smaller things that you can do anyway.
Try to include the keyword (or the word that you want Google to associate with your post, in the simplest terms) in your title and headings of your post. For instance, I can add “new bloggers checklist” as the keyword for this post.
Also mention the keyword in the first paragraph of the post. But the key here is not overusing the keyword. 2-4 times in a 500 post is good enough.
Bonus points if you add in the keyword in the ‘Alt text’ of the blog images. It generally helps the search engine to understand what the image is about.
Okay, I am currently obsessed with Pinterest and have been reading a lot about, and this is applicable only if you are focusing on Pinterest for your blog. If you are thinking if you should sign up for Pinterest for your blog, you definitely should.
Try to images that are well proportioned to fit the Pinterest vertical scheme. Add at least two pinnable vertical images to your post so that you have more pins to be re-pinned.
Do you have all the things on my new bloggers checklist? New bloggers, what are the problems that you need help with? And the experienced bloggers tell me what are your essentials and if I missed out anything. Let us chat.
I love Pinterest. Not just for saving ideas or recipes to try out later, but also for my blog. I am not sure how much traffic that has generated for me yet but it definitely has.
Like everyone around here I caught with the Pinterest train when it came out. But I used it mostly for personal stuff like saving for holiday decor or a hairstyle that I wanted to try out for an occasion.
While I knew about group boards that worked well for so many bloggers, I was reluctant to join them because well I am majorly a book blogger and many of my posts are going to have a book cover as its feature image. That may not be so attractive to the other bloggers. So never joined them.
But then I joined some amazing group boards that are mainly for book bloggers and here I am pinning away to glory. If you are not following me yet on Pinterest, ensure you do right away.
Now that I have established I like Pinterest, though not as much as Twitter, I still hate having to navigate those atrociously huge images in a post. Especially when you have more than one Pinterest size image. There I said it.
For the uninitiated, the recommended Pinterest image size is 735px X 1102px according to Canva, which is definitely huge. I know some of us dislike seeing too many GIFs in blog posts but imagine having to see these humongous images.
What if I say you don’t have to see them at all? In fact all my posts have a pinnable image or two, but they are never visible when you scroll down the post. And it is definitely not difficult.