Wednesday, May 1, 2013

How to Write A Book Review Blog Tour


My review: 
I read How to Write a Book Review, in exchange for a honest review from Celestial Book Promotions. The book was written by Rebecca Graf.  I chose this book because I been doing book reviews since October 2012 for a few companies. I also write books and understand the power of reviews--positive and negative I also post book reviews in five locations: Perfect Chaos, LibraryThing, Shelfari, Goodreads, and Amazon. Writing a book review--a generic review is easy, but book review companies don't want a simple  I liked this book. It moved me. The companies and authors want to know why you liked the book and why it moved you? How many stars would you rate it? What do you think about cover design? They also want you to post your review in multiple places, especially a blog and Amazon. Barnes and Noble is also good site, in addition to Shelfari and Goodreads. Librarything is also good place to post reviews. The additional reviews give more people a chance to decide to purchase or borrow the book. Another benefit of posting book reviews on Amazon--that wonderful email, which says, Someone liked your review and found it helpful.

On to the book: 

One of the first, things, which stood out, was the author page. Even though the book is non-fiction, part of the author page says it is fiction and all characters are from the author's imagination.

The first section discussed how a book review is a critique. The reader needs to look at the plot, the characters, dialogue, grammar, structure, etc. Does the first few pages make you want to read more? What do you like? What don't you like? Next, a book review is a recommendation. Would you recommend this book to others? Why or why not? Another thing, which stood out, was not making a review too personal or biased. Reviews still need to be honest, but you don't want to take it too far out there. I read a book review a few weeks ago, where the reader seriously attacked the author, the publisher, and the book. The publisher decided to post the review on the Facebook Fan page. The funny/not so funny part was the reviewer was an author with the publishing company. It may affect his future sales and contract with the company. That review was also shared to multiple groups and walls on Facebook. Third, a book review is a reflection of you. How did the book affect you? Was the dialogue moving? Did it make you cry? Did it make you upset? Fourth, a book review is encouragement to the author. Be positive. Point out what was good and what was based, based on what you read. Fifth, as I previously stated, a review needs to be honest. If you can't be honest, don't write a review. If you did not read or skim through the book, do not write a review.

Rebecca also discusses the purpose of a book review. The purpose is to provide an honest opinion of the book. The reviewer can also give a warning. If the book has too much language or sex, the reviewer can mention this. If the review mentions a sensitive topic, such as abuse, rape, molestation, a reviewer can mention this.  Next, a review needs to be unbiased. The book has nothing to do with the author and vice versa. If you don't like the author, but the book is good, don't attack the author. Write about the book. Keep in mind, the review will always be attached to you. Even if you delete it or edit it, someone may remember your book review. A review can also help the author improve the book (flat characters, plot development, spelling and grammar.. etc).

Another good point is to read the book you are reviewing (completely).   I admit I have not completely read all of the books I am reviewing. Some I read completely, Some I read most of it, and some are still sitting in a bin or Kindle waiting on Stacie to make a move. Rebecca also discussed how reviewers should take notes as they go along (which I do, do).

Finally, I liked how the author discussed how to write a negative review. Sometimes, the sentences don't flow. Sometimes, the dialogue is off. Other issues may be redundant words, confusing plot, and too little narrative. For example, I received an ARC (advanced readers copy) of a book on Netgalley, a few months ago. I have heard of the author, but never read his work. I knew the book had sex in it. The first 20 or so pages, was nothing but the main character discussing what she liked and did not like sexually. No plot, no narrative, no background into the plot of the book. I could not review this book and did not. I also had someone review my book. I mentioned it had sexual content before sending out the book. The reviewer stated the book was too sexual and could not get into it. I understand her point, but it did hurt at first.

Some points to make when doing negative review:

  • Look for the positive. You like the author or the cover. 
  • Explain why you thought the book was bad (but don't say bad)
  • Be nice and polite. Do not attack the author. 

Lastly, the author discussed doing a book review template, if you do regular reviews; where to post reviews; rating a book; and reviewing fiction versus non-fiction reviews. In the end, she discussed book review no-nos--some of which, I am guilty of (do not review the cover). I have reviewed covers before--because I used to attend graphic design school. I love a good cover. Other no-nos:

  • No personal attacks
  • No foul language
  • No hateful words
  • No sarcasm
  • Do not review a book based on preference, instead of quality. if you don't like zombies, do not read or review the book, unless you can put personal feelings aside. 
  • Do not include a review of the cover

About the author: (Copied from media kit)

Rebecca Graf was born in Russellville, Kentucky but grew up in Dothan, Alabama. She graduated from the University of Montevallo with an accounting degree. Given the chance to try her hand at writing, she began writing online articles leading to her first published book, A Gift for a Mouse. From there she ventured into romance, mystery, comedy and drama. The passion of writing was discovered. She currently lives in Wisconsin with her husband and three children.
You can connect with Rebecca here:

Author: Rebecca Graf
Publisher: Silver Tongue Press
Publication Date: Februrary, 2013
Genre: How-To/Non-Fiction

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