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Feature: The Newbie’s Guide to Book Blogging Part 4 – Writing Your Reviews

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When you’re reading, take a few notes about the book, whether that character got on your nerves, or if the dialogue bored you to tears. Take a moment and jot it down. It’s up to you whether or not you can remember the book’s contents, but I for one made the mistake of not writing reviews right after I read it, and completely forget the entire plot. That was one mistake I learned from.

What is a review?

A review is your honest opinion about the author’s work. Be sure to respect their writing and do it in a way that isn’t personal. Be critical, but not to the point in making fun of the author or their usage of words. That’s just attacking the author and nowhere close to reviewing the book. Instead argue as to why you didn’t think the plot worked and why. Explain why the main character got on your nerves. Describe that you thought the main love interest’s actions were cheesy. Sometimes you just don’t like a character and it’s okay to state that, just be sure to back up your answer with a reason.

Be sure to write spoiler-free reviews

Most people appreciate that their reading experience will not be spoiled. If I write a statement that indicates I wrote a spoiler, I make sure to include a warning label so that before visitors read my review they know that a spoiler is in it. It’s up to them to decide whether or not to read it. You did warn them after all.

20 Questions to Answer in your Review

Sometimes it’s hard to write a review. You can hit a writer’s block and you have no idea where to start. Or you might have read the book eons ago and forgot what happened. To help you, here are some questions that may help you along.

  1. In your own words, begin with a basic summary of book without spoiling major plot points.
  2. Elaborate on the characters and their personalities.
  3. Comment on the setting and the world building.
  4. What did you like? What did you dislike?
  5. Did the title suit the book?
  6. Did the cover attract your attention?
  7. Did the cover match the plot of the book?
  8. Was the pacing too fast or too slow?
  9. Were minor plot details too much or too little?
  10. Was the dialogue easy to understand? Hard to understand?
  11. Was there too much emphasis on one thing? Not enough emphasis?
  12. Did you agree with the main character’s actions and thoughts? Or did you disagree?
  13. Who were your favourite characters and why?
  14. Who were you least favourite favourite characters and why? Did you dislike their personalities? Their actions? Their dialogue?
  15. What did you feel after reading the book?
  16. What was your favourite part of the book? What was your least favourite part of the book?
  17. Did the author convey the right message?
  18. What kind of emotions did you go through while reading the book?
  19. Explain why you liked/disliked the book and why.
  20. Will you recommend this book to others?

Include some book details

Always make sure the spelling of the author and book title is correct. (I’ve had the author’s name spelled incorrectly and it was quite embarrassing when said author pointed it out!)

  • Author’s name
  • Book title
  • Book cover
  • Book trailer (if applicable)
  • Format (hardcover, paperback, ebook) and the number of pages
  • Illustrator’s name (if applicable)
  • Publication date
  • Publisher or Imprint
  • Quotes
  • Source (where you got the book)

Publish it!

Read over your reviews, and make sure to check for spelling or grammatical errors. When everything looks good to go, post your review to your blog then publish it. After posting your review, the one direct way to get people to read it and comment on your post is to market it. How do you do that? Well through social media of course. If you created a Twitter account already, you should be active and tweeting other bloggers, and even authors. Simply tweet the book title, the author’s name, and add in your link and that’s it, you’ve promoted your review via Twitter.

You should also start checking out some of your fellow book blogger’s blogs by visiting their site and commenting. Read their reviews, and comment on them. This is one of the best ways to introduce yourself to the community. It takes a lot of time and effort, but it’s worth it. These die-hard book bloggers can also be your friends, and you will definitely have loads to talk about.


Types of Blog Posts

There are many types of blog posts, a book blogger can write about. If you have a vast knowledge about social media, write about it. It can help your fellow book bloggers out. Another great addition to your blog can be giveaways. They can increase page views and drive a lot of traffic.

Reviews

This is the standard post for your blog. It contains your critical opinion of a book.


Tutorials

Lots of people need help, so this is a great post to write about. Examples could be a tutorial on “Creating WordPress Themes” or maybe even as simple as “How to write a Post in Blogger.”


News

Post the latest news from the publishing world that includes press releases, book titles, book trailers, and more. A great example of a blog that publishes bookish news is MTV’s Hollywood Crush where they debut book covers, and book trailers.


Lists

A list of several things that involve a specific topic. This can include characters, book covers, book trailers, authors, and even publishers. Some ideas may include:

  • The Top Ten Dystopian YA Authors
  • Five Must-See Book Trailers
  • Ten Indie Publishers You Need to Know Now

Interviews with authors or characters

A quick question and answer interview with an author. Sometimes an author can answer from a character’s perspective.


Profiles

Some blogs feature a profile on a selected blogger. Basically you interview the blogger and ask them questions.


Comparison Posts

In the book blogging community, book covers are compared and why not? Every country has a different cover and showing the difference between the two is fun. A lot of readers like to view the different covers from different countries and compare which is the most favourite.


Rants

Rants occasionally pop up when there’s drama in the blogging community, so it’s all right to write your say. When you rant in your posts, make sure to do so in a respectful manner and do not swear. It does not look professional. Remember that if you do rant, people will respond in the same way. Don’t write something you’ll regret.


Research

Run a survey on your site and publish all the results on your blog. A nice info graphic to display the results will better suit the visitor’s needs and will highly likely be shared within social media.


Memes

A meme is something all visitors can participate in and replicate it in their own way. Some popular bookish memes include:

  • Waiting on Wednesday – A weekly event, hosted here, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.
  • Stacking the Shelves – All about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!
  • Feature and Follow Friday  – Gain new followers and make new friends with the Book Blogger Feature & Follow!

Series Posts

You take one topic and break up the posts so every day there will be fresh new content on your blog. For example this feature is a series post. Others may include:

  • Blogging for Beginners
  • 30 Days to Building a Better Blog
  • 5 SEO Practices You Must Start Now

Cover Reveals

You can sign up with blog tour hosts and they’ll send you the information for the cover reveal. On a specific date, you post the book cover, book title, book description, publishing date, and whatever else the host has given to you.


Blog Tours

A host blog does a sign-up for a book that’s about to be released and gathers all the blog that are participating together. Sometimes the blogger is allowed to choose what kind of post they’re hosting. They include: Excerpts, Playlists, Interviews, Guest Post.


Discussion Posts

Visitors send in a question, and you do your best to answer them. It’s a great way to involve your audience.


Guest Posts

Have someone write about a topic on your blog. Sometimes blog tours hold guest posts and the topics include subjects that are relevant to that author’s book.


Blog Hop

Publishers will send emails to bloggers and invite them to participate in a blog hop. Basically, you and other bloggers will review the same book, and even host a giveaway if possible. Visitors can hop from blog to blog reading the reviews and entering the giveaways.


Giveaways

You can give away some of your old books, a box of ARCs, duplicates, set of books, new releases, swag and even eReaders. It really depends on your budget since you can’t afford to ship all over the world, opt for shipping in your country.


Check out the rest of the series:

14 Comments

  1. Gerry

    October 2, 2017 at 5:50 PM

    Hello Giselle,
    Thank you for sharing this! I am switching gears from a Frugal Living blog and am in process of putting together a plan for book reviewing. It’s great to have such honest, first hand knowledge during the planning stage.

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  4. charargaez

    February 19, 2015 at 3:06 PM

    This is such helpful advice. You answered exactly what I was looking for: can I giveaway books I already own? It’ll be a great way to increase traffic to my very new book blog. Thanks for your insight 🙂

    • giselle

      February 19, 2015 at 10:50 PM

      You’re so welcome! I’m glad you find it useful

  5. Caitlyn Banfield

    October 21, 2014 at 11:23 AM

    Super helpful. I find myself just repeating the same garbled mess every time so this really helps me put in more content and focus.

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  13. Bheiy

    February 26, 2014 at 5:22 AM

    Thanks so much for this post. I’m a new book blogger and really have no idea at all. Everything is new to me. This really helped me a lot. Well, you’ve got a new stalker! ^_^
    Bheiy recently posted…Amber Rain by Alyssa & Celesta Thiessen Book ReviewMy Profile

    • Giselle

      February 26, 2014 at 10:30 PM

      You’re welcome Bheiy <3 hope it helps you out

  14. Kelsey

    May 30, 2013 at 4:38 PM

    Thank you so much for writing the 20 questions, Giselle. It really helps me organize my ideas and not have them fly all over the place!

  15. Melissa

    September 10, 2012 at 9:20 PM

    Thanks so much for writing this series, its so useful and really helps with knowing exactly what you need to do to start up a book blog and all the details involved… I’ve always wanted to start a blog but had no idea how to start it

    Love this post especially, because I too go write reviews in Goodreads in blind and end up with very basic comments

    Thanks so much!!!

  16. Stella C

    September 9, 2012 at 11:37 AM

    I love this! I usually go into writing a review on Goodreads blind. I write whatever comes to mind and I find I often forget a lot of things. Having the 20 questions to guide me through is REALLY useful.

  17. Jenn@OwlReadIt

    September 7, 2012 at 12:10 PM

    Sometimes I find writing reviews difficult, I agree with reviewing right after finishing the book, if you don’t, and you start another book, sometimes you could forget something about the book you were going to review. That’s the case for me I guess, which I’ve been doing a lot lately unfortunately.

    Broken computers suck.. lol

    Another great post! I wish they had of been around when I started blogging!

    • Giselle San Miguel

      September 7, 2012 at 10:29 PM

      I always get writing block too..I get stuck sometimes and then I end up reading other people’s reviews WITH spoilers because I forgot what happened.

  18. Tiff

    September 7, 2012 at 10:35 AM

    Thanks so much for doing this, Giselle! So helpful for newbies like me!

  19. Kiss @ kisskitkatey

    September 7, 2012 at 5:37 AM

    AWESOME!! ♥

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