5 Things to Avoid while Writing Book Reviews

Here comes the second installment in the series – #DoingBookReviewsRight. In the first installment, some able reviewers shared the things to remember while writing book reviews. Some pretty good tricks those were, I must add. Do visit if you missed it earlier.

Let’s begin, shall we?

One thing, readers love more than reading books is – reading reviews. What does the book have for them? Is it promising enough to render sleepless nights? Does it hold between its pages any precious life-changing advice? Has the author shared a bittersweet secret? Or is it simply just another tale?

This is where a book review plays a pivotal role. It can make or break it for the author and with such weightage to your words, a book reviewer must truly be careful and considerate when they review a book.

I won’t be beating around the bush but get down to business right away. Here are top 5 things to avoid when you write a book review:

Don’t write wordy reviews 

While a reader may have enough patience reading with a 500 page book, the same cannot be said for a review. Let’s not test a reader’s patience. Besides, when we promise someone a cake, we do not run them through the baking process first now, do we?

Advice:

Keep it crisp and to the purpose.

Don’t reveal the story

We do this when we are too happy to too mad about the book. But there is nothing more brutal you can do to the author than giving away the hook. Be tactical while sharing the story. Don’t give away the twists and turns.

Advice:

Give the reason to get the book its readers without giving a ‘why’.

Don’t write abusive reviews

That you didn’t like the book is no reason to abuse a work born out of tedious labor. Criticize, yes, but don’t use foul language for the book or the author or their childhood, or their relatives, etc. There’s a difference between a reader and a reviewer. Choose the right hat when you pick up the pen.

Advice:

Be subtle. Even authors have feelings.

Don’t merge buying experience

As lame as it sounds, hearts of many books have been smothered under the weight of a bad buying experience like bad paper quality, faded print, delayed deliveries, awful packaging, etc. Think twice. What are you reviewing – the book or the seller?

Advice:

Segregate your reviews where necessary, like Amazon.

Don’t write biased reviews

Imagine if you have read a 101 raving reviews about a book vs a ghastly experience of the same book. If you are reviewing free books shared by authors or publishing houses, do not compensate your love for the author by misleading the reading community. The worst thing to kill credibility for a reviewer is a biased review.

Advice:

Be neutral. Say what is good or bad, unadulterated.

Readers, what do you think? What are other important things to avoid while writing book reviews. Let’s learn ways of #DoingBookReviewsRight.

In my next article, I shall share the important elements of a book review. If you have a gem of a thought on #DoingBookReviewsRight, do share them below and I shall have them included in the article.

Happy writing, till we meet next.

Until then, carpe diem! 🙂

~~~~~
Asha Seth

 

20 thoughts on “5 Things to Avoid while Writing Book Reviews

Add yours

  1. The first one, don’t write wordy reviews is one I am unsure about. It would depend on the subject matter, or indeed how much the reader got from the book. There are many reviews out there that go for simplicity but never give me a sense of the book itself, that may be in part, down to their writer though. I wonder if the type of book reflects the type of reader who would choose to engage with the review.

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    1. I quite agree with your exploration of point number 1. Most times, I tend to ramble on when I have truly loved or hated a book. So, yes, that can be subjective. But what I really meant is to not beat around the bush, in which case, you lose the reader altogether.
      The book really does decide the kind of reviewer you are.

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  2. Great book review tips. It’s professional to be unbiased and not get personal against the author, who worked hard to bring the book and sharing it. Having a balanced appreciation matters lot!

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  3. Great stuff… Normally I only review books I have read and enjoyed. I usually don’t finish the books I don’t like so I don’t review them either …. But really great tips…

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  4. Great list of things to keep in mind! These are roughly the guidelines I follow in my reviews. I would also add for people that receive free books in exchange for reviews (nooone has sent me anything yet) to always disclose the fact clearly. Someone is going to find out and it will be a major blow to the reviewer’s credibility.

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“I love writing. I love the swirl and swing of words as they tangle with human emotions.” ― James A. Michener

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