Step 1. Understand that there are two camps of review writing.
There are 1) brutally honest, spoiler spilling, swearing filled, harsh yet humorous reviews and 2) there are kind, generally unhelpful, back-of-book, copy-pasted-3rd grade book-summary type reviews. You know the ones I’m talking about.
And sure, there are more review styles but I think they can be mostly summed up in two groups: nice and not nice.
And there’s a difference between giving an honest, bad review versus ripping the author a new one, calling them names and destroying their career as a writer.
I think there needs to be a happy compromise of nice-yet-honest, helpful-but-not-harsh, and no-spoilers-unless-absolutely-necessary (and even then, using the spoiler feature on Goodreads, for Pete’s sake).
Step 2. Find YOUR voice
If you are a sweet and helpful voice, be a sweet and helpful voice. If you are a funny and witty voice, be that! But always be distinguishable and always be consistent.
I like to think I’m helpful for making a decision about a book but if I can insert a witticism here and there, I see that as a win.
Step 3. Use the Goodreads formatting Features
Goodreads has features in their editing box that LOOK way more complicated than they are. It’s really just a matter of copy and paste. By copying and pasting their codes on either end of your sentences or words, you can embolden, italicize or even hide spoiler content that not everyone may want to read. PLEASE LEARN TO USE THE SPOILER FEATURE. Here, I’ll just show you what it should look like.
<spoiler> Insert your spoiler between the two pieces of code. </spoiler>
When you preview your review in GoodReads, it will show you a highlighted word that says VIEW SPOILER.
TA-DAA! AND YOU JUST LEARNED CODE 101. (Say, what!?) Feel free to brag. You’re welcome.
Step 4. Use GIFs
Oh I love GIFS. But GIF reviews are in a category all their own because not all GIFS are appropriate for every book genre. For those that DO deem it appropriate, let us a raise a glass of something delicious and celebrate because THEY ARE THE MOST FUN TO READ.
Sometimes when writing a review, a facial expression is more appropriate than words as a reaction to a character, scene or overall book. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve died of silent laughter only to resurrect myself to keep reading in hopes of more hilarity.
It’s best when it’s a rave review but it can be downright humiliating as an author when people aren’t liking your book. My stance is always to be respectful of a person’s handiwork.
If I don’t like it, I will either a) explain why it wasn’t a good fit for ME or b) explain what may be a turnoff for others. For example, I love a SteamPunk series from a debut author that has a great story but terrible grammar. I can look past it in a self-published author but for others it is too distracting to even get to the actual story part.
Instead of giving it a bad review, I just make a note that they could have used a grammar editor but lost nothing from the story content by the lack thereof. And then perhaps this GIF would be inserted *Shrugs*
In my experience, the funnier, cleaner and more helpful the review for making a decision, the more ‘likes’ of the review I get.
Step 5. Make your post consistent across all platforms.
Take that post and stick it everywhere. Amazon, your Blog, Twitter, Your Facebook group and Goodreads groups.
Now, I like to streamline my review/blog post editing and scheduling workflow to save time only to spend it reading more books. If you’d like to see my EXACT steps for creating a stand out post with GIFs and getting into my Squarespace site, you can DOWNLOAD IT HERE.
What do you think? Do you prefer brutally honest reviews full of funny swearing or do you prefer nicer posts that are still humorous and helpful? What aspects do you consider sharing when you are reviewing a book?
About the Author:
I’m Brit. I’m a reader. I recently discovered that I wasn’t alone in my reading addiction and I realized I had to do something about the epidemic. Then I figured out how to become a QUASI-PROFITABLE PROFESSIONAL READER and with that knowledge came the realization that I could end other people’s suffering by casting off the shame of the book binge and make them proud of it. That’s why in 2016 I have the goal to help turn book bloggers into profitable, professional readers and reviewers by teaching them how to create a profitable book blog to fuel their reading addiction. Let’s read more books together!
Brit is a blogger at She Would Read and an active participant in the She Would Read Society (SWR Society).