Thinking of writing a book review?


This post is aimed squarely at my fellow writers.


Since the act of reviewing a book was made available to every Tom, Dick or Harriet, and before you even think about writing one, there are a few things everyone needs to take into consideration before you hit the ‘Publish’ button.

To begin with, avoid spoilers (giving away the plot) like the plague. Next refrain from mentioning that you found errors in any given book, whether traditional or Indie published. No one likes a smart arse endlessly droning on about it in every review they write, least of all the publisher and author of the work in question. To say the least, it becomes tiresome in the extreme. To that end there’s a highly appropriate saying which goes something like this – “People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.”

If you don’t want to give the wrong impression, especially if you want to be taken seriously as a writer, refrain from incessantly pouring scorn and finding fault with the majority of books you review. As for the content of your review, always ensure that it is error free. In other words, start the review’s title and every sentence with a capital letter. Then make sure that the content of your review is as word perfect as it can possibly be, not forgetting to make it grammatically correct.

So many reviews by writers these days are chock full of appalling basic errors which should have been knocked out of the potential reviewer when they attended primary school. Then there are the totally uncalled for comments where the reviewer tells the world about certain passages in the book they are reviewing that they objected to. All such comments are mostly penned by jealous writers hiding behind pseudonyms on book sites like Amazon, hoping to destroy another writer’s reputation. What they fail to appreciate is that the only person they are hurting is themselves. If they can’t see that, they need serious one on one time with a psychiatrist.

Above all always remember this – no book is ever 100% error free. Not even your own. If all you have to offer is nitpicking criticism then maybe you need to refrain from reviewing. However if you do want to write a review, why not simply concentrate on what you actually liked about the book in question. Trust me you will feel better and your reputation as a reviewer will benefit enormously. Plus you will win the respect of your peers.

One last thing, making apologies for these individuals is not something you want to get involved in. There are no legitimate excuses for what some in our industry believe is their God given right! While we have no say in what the general public say about our work, at least as writers we can set them an example by writing a favourable review.


9 thoughts on “Thinking of writing a book review?

  1. I agree with most points in your rant, but I do feel as though an addendum might be added for consideration: I believe it is common that most books traditionally published follow the 5% rule – there could possibly be up to 5% of the book that has grammar/typo/sentence structure type errors and (as you’ve stated) this is perfectly normal because a normal human isn’t perfect. This is where I add my “however” to the conversation… I will make note of an author’s struggles with finding an adequate editor if there are sufficient errors to frequently pull me out of the ease of reading and losing myself in the story. This tends to happen at the 10%+ range. And as a an author, editor, and reviewer I will write at least one sentence addressing this. I will not belabour the point. I think someone who goes to purchase a book should know if they’re in for a smooth read or a bumpy one. I don’t like the bumpy ones…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks this is very timely I was thinking about have a go at writing one. I agree about being positive and not being a smart arse. However I would take issue about being word perfect. Some of us struggle with conditions like dyslexia. When I wrote a article about if I surprised how many other writers have it. That makes it impossible for a review to be perfect.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. A timely post, Jack. Thank you. We know the many hours and effort that goes into bringing our writing into the public domain. In each review may we be balanced and kind in what we write.

    Liked by 1 person

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