“What’s the best way to write a book review?” is a question we’re asked a lot. Whether you’re running a book blog, have a bookstagram account or just enjoying sharing your thoughts on what you’ve read every now and again, is there a particular way you should be writing your review?
The answer of course, is that there is no “right” way, but I’ve been writing reviews for the last couple of years, and so I thought I’d share a few tips that work for me!
Blog posts tend to be longer pieces of content, so this is where you can be much more detailed with your review.
I tend to start off with a short summary of the book, and for fiction books, I include a star rating for the plot, the characters and the ending. I used to just give an overall rating, but I found people liked having a bit more of a breakdown – there were so many times where I absolutely loved the characters of a book, but didn’t like the ending!
I also usually start off the whole thing with a quote from the book – often when I’m reading I’ll spot a phrase that I want to use and make a note of it on my phone.
Then the review. First off for me is a big one – no spoilers. My general rule is that if it’s in the blurb, then it’s fine to mention, but if you are planning to give anything plot-related away, put a very clear disclaimer in bold at the start of the post!
I tend to talk about the writing style, what I liked and didn’t like about it. I then go on to talk about any particular characters I really liked or related to most. Obviously I never want to give away the ending, but I will say what I thought of it.
I love sharing reviews on Instagram. If it’s a book I really loved, I tend to share it as a grid photo with a mini review underneath.
Obviously with Instagram you can’t have a really in-depth review like you would on your blog, but it’s an amazing way to share your thoughts. I don’t share as much of a synopsis on an Instagram feed photo, maybe just a line or two and then share my thoughts. Star ratings are always good here too as anyone scrolling will be able to see quickly if you loved a book or not.
Here’s an example of one I shared on Instagram – by starting off the caption with the capitalised REVIEW and the star ratings is great for encouraging people to click and read the whole thing!
For Instagram stories I share almost every book I’ve read, even if it’s not one I particularly loved. I often create a graphic on Canva with an image of the book, a brief synopsis, star rating and short review. I keep the review more succinct – my thoughts on the plot and writing style, something I loved about it and maybe something I wished had been better.
To tag or not to tag? My general rule for tagging on Instagram is that if I loved the book, I’ll tag the author and publisher. Not a fan? Don’t tag them. It’s just mean!
Review ASAP – If you’re planning to review books regularly, I’d suggest writing the review as soon as you’ve read them. I used to read my books, then sit down at the end of each month and attempt to write up everything at once which never worked!
Want to make notes as you go? One of our lovely book club members Kate, has a brilliant Book Review Pad on her Etsy store, and don’t forget – subscribing members get an exclusive discount!