As an author, writing book reviews for others can be equally as important as getting those reviews. In her craft book, Bird by Bird, Anne Lamott says, “What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you. Books help us understand who we are and how we are to behave. They show us what community and friendship mean; they show us how to live and die.” Books also show us how to write. As an author, you should be a reader first, and as voracious as possible. But reading alone isn’t enough.
You need to think critically, to dissect, to learn. Writing reviews offers a natural process for engaging with a book at a deeper level. The commonality among all great writers is that they read. They read widely and critically, and often, they write about it. Don’t believe me? Look into your favorite authors, independent and traditional, and odds are they are reviewing what they are reading in some manner (here are examples from a couple of my favorite indie and traditional authors). Okay, now that you are totally convinced and ready to start writing, let’s talk about what makes for a good book review.
What makes for a good review?
Don’t worry, you don’t have to have loved the book to give a good review of it. You can dislike it and still leave a useful review that respects the author and benefits other readers. Kaisha and I got into this in detail during a recent Read.Write.Repeat podcast episode, but here are a couple of basics to consider--
About Kelsey Stone:
Tibetan Lemonade is devoted to all things writing–from tips and tricks to creative pieces from a diverse number of authors. The blog is run by Kelsey Stone and regularly features guest articles from authors in all stages of their writing career.
Kelsey is a speculative fiction author known for her dark sense of humor, wildly inappropriate ideas and occasionally foul mouth. She’s currently working on her Masters of Fine Art in Fiction at Oregon State University. Nothing gets her more excited than a well-written line, and she spends the bulk of her days agonizing over the lines she writes. Kelsey is always looking for authors to work with and support on her blog.
Before launching her writing career, Kelsey dabbled in law enforcement and teaching, finding both simultaneously rewarding and devastating and she continues to be passionate about both. At 0200 hours on Wednesday, August 26th, 2015, she woke up in the midst of a panic attack because she realized she wasn’t getting any younger. The fear that she would never realize her dreams drove her into a frenzy of creation that has lead to countless paper cuts, one concussion, the loss of her beloved Spock necklace, and her husband nearly declaring her missing.