Bookish people often write reviews. Whether you have a blog, #Bookstagram or Goodreads account doesn’t matter. In some way, we’ve all shared our opinions of our favourite (or least favourite) books! Writing reviews is often a hard thing to do, and can take up so much time! I’m sure you all know how to write a review, but if you’re interested I how I write my reviews, keep on reading!
Before You Start Reading
You start working on a review as soon as you pick your next read. Is it an ARC you need to review? A 5-year-old book you want to reread? Or a new release from your TBR pile? If you really want to write a review, you should figure out whether or not you’re going to put an effort into it. Reviewing starts as soon as you start reading your book! Let me tell you, there’s nothing worse than putting a lot of effort into doing something (in this case writing a review) and then figuring out halfway through that you’re not going to do it anyway. You could always decide afterwards that you want to write a review, but it’ll be more difficult as you probably won’t have taken any notes.
As You’re Reading
I take lots of notes when I read. When it’s a really good book full of action and details, I sometimes write down notes after every chapter! Especially in the beginning. I’ll usually remember the middle and the end, but the beginning can be a struggle! When I’m reading a physical book, I usually take notes on my iPhone, but I really like writing them down in a notebook as well. I’ll also use sticky notes for quotes, things I want to look up later, or simply parts that I like. eBooks are great for this because you can highlight, take notes and place bookmarks anywhere you like. Another tip: if one of your thoughts turns into a quotable sentence for your review, write it down! I sometimes struggle coming up with the right words when I’m actually writing, so it’s always great to have some lines ready to copy and paste.
When You’ve Finished Reading
What I do after finishing a book I want to review, really depends on the book and how I feel towards it. One thing, though: don’t wait too long to write a review! Honestly, I’d say a week MAX. I have a few “rules” as well: 1) Don’t start a sequel before finishing the review. Sequels can change your opinion on the first book, and it’ll affect your review! 2) If you can’t remember half of the book, you probably shouldn’t review it. For example; it took me a long time to read Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik and I lost my notes on it when the book crashed in my app. Basically, my reading experience was a bit wack and I couldn’t properly explain my thoughts. Even though it was an ARC, I decided to postpone my review until I had another chance to review it.
Writing The Review
I personally don’t have one way in which I write a review. It depends on the book, my thoughts towards it, my general mood and well… basically, it depends on a lot of things. I did learn how to write a “proper” review during my time in college, but I’ve honestly forgotten most of the rules. Here’s the thing: we’re writing for personal blogs, write it the way you want to! Another important thing to realise is we all have our own style and our own thing, and even though it’s hard not to compare yourself to others, you should try not to! I feel super inadequate to write this post because I feel like I suck at writing reviews. Which is not true! I just have my own way of doing it, just like others do, too.
Anyway, let’s talk about something useful; where to start? Like I said, I don’t have one way of writing reviews so how I start a review always changes. There are a few things that you should include in your review, though: plot, characters and worldbuilding. That’s what a book is made out of and that’s what I’d like to know when I read a review. If you’re more into other things like diversity rep or writing style or whatever, you should definitely include that. Figure out what’s important to you, and make sure to include in your reviews! I try my best to start with the negative stuff, so I got that out of the way. This way, I always end on a positive note!
As for length, writing style, paragraphs, that’s completely up to you. I don’t really pay attention to my word count, as long as I’ve said everything I wanted to say. However, if I do cross the 1K line, I’ll make sure it’s either a really good review, or I’ll make some cuts. It’s quality over quantity here, guys! I’d rather read a short review that tells me everything I want to know than a lengthy review that keeps repeating itself. Also, star-ratings are SO useful. Not everyone uses them, but for
Practise, Practise, Practise…
When I look at my reviews from back in 2016, I nearly cringe. They’re just so bad! Practise is important. I always scheduled reviews for my blog, but next to that I just started reviewing all the books I read for a while and shared them on Goodreads. I still wouldn’t say I’m the best at reviewing, but I’m still getting better every time. Practising doesn’t just mean writing, though. It means reading as well. Goodreads is a great place to start, but have a good look at actual blogs as well. You can learn so much in terms of writing style, word choice and vocabulary, things to talk about… Etc. You can even learn how to format your review by looking at other people’s blogs. And if you leave some nice comments along the way, it’ll be a win-win for everyone, right?!
I hope this post is useful for all you reviewing bookworms! Do you have any more questions about review-related stuff I haven’t talked about yet? Feel free to ask away in the comments!
PS. If you’d like to read some of my reviews, you can find them in my review archive!