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Thoughts on writing reviews

Writing reviews sounds intimidating to a lot of readers. Some of the things I've heard from them is, "I don't know how to write a review!" or "I haven't done that since college!"

And then they proceed to email me an incredible review that I wish they would post on Amazon (or at least Goodreads). I have received some of the kindest emails from readers that totally make my day. My God, the email I received last week from a TikTokker made me almost cry it was such a kind, sweet, encouraging review. So yes, you do know how to write a review.

Reviewing has changed over the years. When I first entered the book world about fifteen years ago, I came in as a blogger. I ran a highly successful book and lifestyle blog all through High School and college, (not "the lifestyle," just life as a creative young person) and had thousands of hits on my book reviews until I shut the blog down for my own personal reasons. I participated in blog tours, ARC-trains (which are apparently a thing of the past!) and read around one book a day, posting an average of five reviews a week, sometimes more. I reviewed indie books, and mainstream, and was on the ARC list for all the major publishing houses.

Now, it's completely different. Book blogs are still out there, but people don't read blogs nearly as much as they used to. TikTok is the big player right now, and so is Instagram. Blogs are almost moot. Promoting books has changed, and Amazon has drastically changed their policies on who can write reviews and what you can include (which is annoying AF).

But reviews themselves have not changed that much. There are, I find, three categories of reviews:

#1 - Here is a full, detailed, exposition on the book and all the themes, components, and insights I can offer. These reviews tend to be long, insightful, and honestly incredible to read. I love seeing how other people relate to and interpret my work. However, I find that even though authors love these reviews, most readers don't. Who wants to read a book report on a book before you buy it? Now I would never ask someone not to write this kind of review, because I love them. What I am saying is, don't feel pressured to write this kind of review and think it's the only option out there. They're a lot of work. I almost never write them myself.

#2 - One-sentence anecdotes that increase the number of reviews, but not the quality. I won't say these aren't valuable, because they absolutely are, and I honestly appreciate anything, even if it's just "I liked it, it was good." Seriously. If this is all you do, do it. If that is all you're willing to do, do it. If you're on my ARC team and every single ARC you get you leave this review, it's going to irritate me... but I'm not going to tell you to stop.

#3 - Here is the plot in my own words. This isn't a review. It's a blurb. I have no problem with you posting this on social media, but it's not a review. It irritates me when I send someone a free copy of my book and they end up leaving a 3-star rating with nothing in the text except a summary of the book. And I don't think it's very helpful to potential readers either.

#4 - I liked it/didn't like it, and here's why. These are the most valuable. 3-10 sentences about what you liked, what you didn't, and how you felt while you read it is what makes people decide on their purchase. You don't need any catchy one-liners, or fancy phrases (unless you're hoping to get quoted, in which case, fancy it up, babe.)

The fourth one is honestly the most valuable kind of review, in my opinion. As a reader, they're the ones I tend to read myself because they're short, consumable, and to the point. As a writer, I find they sum up the pros and cons pretty well. Not only that, if you ask yourself the right questions, they're not hard to write, and anyone can write them.

That being said, here is a list of questions that, if you answer them, you will have a review you can post about any book. Feel free to use any/all of these questions when formulating your review!

  • Did you like it? (I know, kind of obvious, but I like to start with this)

  • Was there something about it that could have made it better?

  • Was there something about it that irritated you and took away from the book?

  • Was reading this book a good use of your time?

  • How did you feel during reading it/after reading? What were the emotional side effects?

  • Did you enjoy the writing style? Did it add to, or take away from the story and overall experience?

  • Did you like the characters? Were they relatable?

  • Did you think the characters made decisions that made sense? Were the choices they made realistic?

  • Was the plot realistic within the world/genre?

  • Were the plot twists believable?

  • Did the story keep you reading, or did it drag?

  • Were there any surprises at the end that you enjoyed? Was there supposed to be a surprise at the end that wasn't as exciting as it could have been?

There are many more questions you can ask, but this is a good list to start with. If you have any others, leave them in the comments and I will add them to the list!

Are you interested in joining my review/street team? Check out the form here.

With love and spankings,


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