You’ve just finished a book that you enjoyed (or even loved!). Now what do you do? Maybe you check to see if the author has written other books. You’d like your friends to know about it, so you dash off an email or post on Facebook.
Wait! There’s a step missing (and it won’t take you much more time than that email message).
Write a Review
I know, I know. Back in school, book reviews were homework. They were assignments. Boring, tedious, painful.
You’re all grown up now, though, and surely you realize that book reviews are useful in helping you find books you love. Quite likely, you read reviews of the title (either on the sales page or a blog or social media) before you bought it.
Book reviews are not only important to readers, but they are critically important to authors. As a romance author, I can tell you that I depend heavily on reviews from my readers.
Book reviews not only help others to find my books (i.e., sales), they also help me improve my craft so the next book I write will be even better.
Where to Write a Review
It doesn’t matter whether you purchased the book (print, eBook or audiobook) or if you borrowed it from the library or from a friend. As long as you have an account, online book retailers such as Amazon or Barnes & Noble (and Goodreads) allow you to leave a review (I do it all the time with books I get from the library).
There’s a difference between rating a book and reviewing it. All three websites mentioned above use a 5-star rating system, where you can give a book five stars if you loved it or only one, if you hated it.
These ratings are great, but they don’t really impart any useful information to other readers – or to the author – about why you did or didn’t like the book.
Go one step further. Leave a review. It doesn’t have to be a homework assignment you will dread doing. The review will not be graded. It won’t even take you very long, if you don’t want it to.
How to Write a Book Review
It doesn’t have to be long (just honest), and it doesn’t have to include a synopsis of the book (that’s redundant, as the information is available on the product description page or the back cover).
What readers want to know is what you thought of the book, and why you gave it only three stars instead of four or five. Or what was so terrible about it that you only gave it one star.
We, authors, want to know as well.
An ideal review highlights what the reader found pleasing about the book, and perhaps something that he or she felt the author could have done better. It can be as verbose, or as brief, as you choose to make it. You should be honest, and say what you liked and what you didn’t like. This helps readers and authors alike.
If you enjoy finding more books like the one you just loved, help out the reading community (and the authors) by leaving reviews! Help other readers find new titles and authors. Help us, the authors, to write more of the stories you want to read.