This week’s Five for Friday is brought to you by Armchair BEA. Those of us not lucky enough to be able to attend the Book Expo of America in New York this week have been able to follow and have our own fun online!
Today’s Armchair BEA topic is: Ask the Experts! We’ve been asked to “Ask a question or share a tip.”
Two weeks ago, I shared Five things I learned as a newbie book blogger. This week I’d like to continue on the blogging theme. What are the most important things to include when writing a book review? Here are a few things that I like to see in reviews that I read on other blogs, and try to include in my own reviews.
Five things I like to see in book reviews
They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but wow, that’s hard not to do. Cover art these days is often one of the most important selling points of a book, since it’s what a potential buyer will see and be attracted to (or not, as the case may be).
I love pretty covers. The magpie instinct is terrible for my bank balance, but I am definitely attracted to colourful ones. I think including a cover image with a review gives the reader a first impression that can draw them into reading more about the book.
2. Links, links, links!
There’s all sorts of external links you can add to reviews as well as linking to sites within your own blog. I’m always surprised when I read reviews and there are no links of any kind within the review, not even to a vendor. Some of the linked information I’m interested in includes:
- Author contact details – Twitter or their personal website
- Other reviews of the same book – It’s nice to know what others thought! I am trying to remember to add this to my reviews.
- Goodreads and purchase links – Sometimes readers want to follow through with the recommendation!
3. Genre/target age group
Genre isn’t always obvious judging by the title and cover, and intended age-group even less so. If you looked at the cover of Fifty Shades of Grey, what would you say it was about? It’s just an added piece of info to better inform potential readers as to what they’re reading about.
4. Keep it fairly short
I prefer shorter reviews rather than huge wall-o-text essays. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t wax lyrical about that brilliant book you just read, just be aware that not everyone is likely to read all of it. This point goes hand in hand with the next…
Walls of text with no paragraphs are really difficult to read! Use subheadings to draw the reader’s eye to the important parts of the review. You can even use bullet points for a super-clean review look – Anya over at On Starships And Dragonwings does this really well in her reviews.
I find light-coloured text on a dark background is really quite difficult to read – and if you colour your text in the post itself, be aware that it comes through to feed readers that colour, against a white background. Sometimes that makes it totally illegible. A pretty site isn’t much good if your readers can’t actually read your posts!
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