The Perfect Book Review: How to be a Book Blogger
This article is part of our series on blogging about books. Keep an eye out for the rest of the articles in this series for more tips and tricks on book blogging.
Book reviews are the bread and butter of every book blogger. They’re the simplest way to display your extensive knowledge of books, are evergreen, and they’re a great tool to engage your audience. This is why we’ve compiled a list of tips to help you write the perfect book review. You’ll notice that we’ve divided them into two sections: content and format. The first details what you should write about, while the second focuses on what your review should look like.
Before diving right in, here’s some valuable advice: it’s important to keep on posting articles and experimenting in order to find your own voice and online personality. Many bloggers might be discussing the same topics as you, but having your own writing style and tone of voice is the ideal way of setting yourself apart. Now let’s jump into the basics of writing a good book review.
The Content: What does a good review contain?
In this section, we discuss the essential points you need to tackle in your book review, in chronological order. This will help you hook your audience, while relaying the necessary information.
1. Introduce the book
Start off with a quick paragraph that presents your readers with a comprehensive rundown of the title’s basic information:
- The full book title and, if available, the subtitle
- The author’s name
- The type (fiction, nonfiction, biography, etc.)
- The genre (fantasy, historic, YA, etc.)
- The name of the series that the book is a part of, if relevant
- The book’s release date
This paragraph is about giving enough context to get your readers interested. As such, if you’re familiar with the author’s previous work, you can provide your opinion regarding this book in comparison to others. However, avoid clutter. Keep it simple and include information that you think is essential in introducing this book.
2. Summarize the story
Before jumping right to your critique, give your readers a short overview of the plot line - minus any spoilers, of course! One option is to add the book’s official synopsis by properly quoting and referencing it. Alternatively, we recommend writing your own brief description of the story since you want to provide readers with information that they can’t read on any other website. Outline the exposition, the conflict, the characters and hint at how the story ends without giving away too much.
3. Analyse the book and share your opinion
This is the very heart of your post. The biggest value of a book review lies in your ability to analyse the story and relay meaningful insights. Don’t be scared to share your personalized opinions regarding the style, the plotline, the book’s different themes, the overarching message, the characters, etc. Did the writing style compliment the story? Did the outcome have an impact on your view of a certain topic? Does the conflict mirror current social themes? Did the author’s character study make sense? Did you find the ending satisfactory, or would you change something about it? Tell your readers about what went through your mind while you read the book and what is going through your mind as you write this book review after taking a step back. The more insights you give your readers about your experience and analysis, the more likely you are to get a reaction out of them.
4. Recommend the book - or don’t
Your audience has clicked on your review because by the end of it, they want to know whether they should read the book, or not. So it is important to let your readers know: to read it, or to skip it. The more specific you are about your recommendation the better. For example: This book is a good fit for adventure lovers; it is as hypnotizing as the Harry Potter series! Or a great beach read!
The Format: what does a good book review look like?
In this section, we give an overview of what an enticing book review should look like.
1. Utilize a rating system
Displaying your opinion in a visual rating system is beneficial. This is a great way for you to inform your readers of how much you liked, or disliked the book, right off the bat. The most common way is to use a 5-star system that’s displayed at the beginning of your post. Stars might not fit into your blog’s style, though. So you can opt for a numerical 1-to-5 or 1-to-100 rating. Or you can go completely nuts and use hearts instead of stars. It’s all about customizing your book review in the best way to reflect your blog’s personality.
2. Break your post down into different paragraphs
The majority of readers tend to skim through anything they read online. So no matter how long (or short) your book review is, it’s vital that you break it down into paragraphs. Think of pairing these paragraphs with straight-to-the-point titles, such as “Plotline”, “Setting”, and “Main Characters”. Once you’ve formatted your articles, you will allow your followers to have more control over their reading experience, while making your posts more appetizing in the process.
3. Don’t settle only for text
Spicing up your book review with attractive visual content is a simple way to bring the book to life for your audience. The first obvious visual you’ll need to include is the book cover. You can grab it from any online library or marketplace, like Bookwitty.com, and embed it with the link in order to avoid copyright infringement. You can then strengthen your blog post with other content. These can be funny GIFs that represent your reactions, fan-art depicting the book’s characters, or even better, the official book trailer.
4. Include useful links
Last, but most definitely not least, enrich your book review with links to relevant pages. If you happen to be part of an affiliate program, this tip helps you kill two birds with one stone. First off, distributing your affiliate links throughout your post helps you get more link clicks and, hence, more conversions. Second, this helps your passionate readers learn more about the book’s author, series, or genre. So what counts as a “useful link”? Providing your readers with an online purchase link; embedding the author’s name with a link to their profile or personal website; or maybe even linking your readers to a Booktuber’s review of this book that you found insightful.
We’ve broken down the basics of Writing a Good Book Review, by taking a look at the content and its container. Following these steps will help you write intriguing book reviews that will have your readers coming back for more. On a final note, don’t forget to sprinkle part of your personality throughout your reviews because at the end of the day you can’t write “book review” without “iew”.