Saturday, January 12, 2013

3 Review Writing Tips

2013 Goal: Review Every Book I Read

One of my goals for the year 2013 is to review every book I read even if it’s just a few sentences to say I really enjoyed the story. I find this easy to do at Goodreads with their instantaneous rate & review box that pops up the moment you finish a title.

I am especially grateful for readers who cross-post reviews at Amazon, and I don’t just say that as a writer, but as a shopper. I don’t read reviews at Goodreads, 1) cause there’s a lot of junk on there, and 2) I don’t shop on that site. If a title interests me I go to Amazon and it’s mega helpful to have all the reviews in one place for me to pour over.

Review Writing Tips   h
Here are three tricks that work well for me:

Keep a Journal Handy to Jot Down Notes

I try to keep a journal and pen beside me while I’m reading. The reactions I have as I read will all too likely be forgotten when it comes time to sit down and type out my thoughts. (Not to mention it’s extra work to try and dig up those initial reactions after the fact. I don’t like extra work.)

Here’s a picture of notes I’m making as I read an eARC of Interred by Marilyn Almodovar for a review tour stop here on January 27th.

Start Writing the Review Before You Finish the Book

I keep a Word doc going of reviews and start composing my thoughts before I finish the book. This is also where I type in comments from my review journal. It's much less daunting to finish a review that's already been started.

Here’s something I started for the book The Demon Lover, by Juliet Dark even though I’m only 15% in:

This is like nothing I’ve ever read before. From page one I was pulled in. I mean, how could I not? A demon lover who appears by the light of the moon to ravish women and give them mind blowing orgasms. <fans face>

Write the Review As Soon As You Finish

If I have skipped the above steps, which keeps happening with Karina Halle’s Experiment in Terror Series – they’re just so good I can’t be interrupted! – then I make sure to type out a review as soon as I finish. The more I wait, the more writing the review will begin to feel like a chore. But if I write the review the same day or the following, it's still fresh in my mind.

How about you? Got any review tricks up your sleeve?


  1. Awesome tips!

    If I love a book enough to give it 5 stars, there is no stopping to take notes for the review. I just read it and then write down my thoughts afterwards.

    If I am unsure about what I think of the book after reading it, I give it a couple days to really put my thoughts together on the book and why I did or didn't like it. I don't want to rush and right down the wrong thing.

    Konstanz Silverbow

    1. Good thoughts, Konstanz.

      Some of my 5-star reviews are the most bare-boned because all I really want to do is say I loved the book.

      My Word doc also comes in handy for letting a review have time to formulate. I often update and tweak these before I post.

      Thanks for sharing!

    2. Oh I understand that! Writing 5 star reviews are some of the hardest ones of all! :D When you love a book, you just gotta make sure everyone knows about it right? LOL

  2. I do all three of these things! Well, I don't have a notebook, I have FLASHNOTE open on my laptop where I type down notes and begin my review. I make sure to finish writing the review before I pick up my next book so I don't get behind. :)

    Also in FLASHNOTE, I have a few generic questions for me to think about when writing my review to make sure I don't miss anything.

    1. Electronic notes are a great way to keep organized for the tech savvy! ;) Thanks, Angie.

  3. Thanks for this helpful tip!

    This post is quite timely for me, as I find it hard to write reviews lately.

    I am ashamed to admit it but there are, at least, 5 books I already read that are still pending to be reviewed. But I'm doing best to decrease them bit by bit and once I finish them, I will apply your tips immediately. :)

    1. Glad that helps, Erleen.

      If you're more of a reader than a reviewer (me!) sometimes quickie reviews are the way to go. I'll jump onto Amazon and tap out a few sentences about how much I enjoyed the book. Sometimes part of the review is even me saying that I'm just jumping in quick-like because I want to share my book love.

      No, it's not the most articulate and clever review, but at least I took the time and I know authors appreciate each and every ranking.

  4. One of my goals for 2013 is to write a review for very book right *after* I finish reading it! I have the tendency of finishing a book then going off to do something else and then I dont write my review for a few days (sometimes weeks!) It's really bad, I've gotten to the point where I'm like 10 reviews behind! I've caught up, though!

    So far this year I have only read 2 books...the 1st book I am almost done with my review (I finished that one about a week ago...bad, I know) and the 2nd one I finished last night so I'm hoping to write that one tonight.

    Anyway, thanks for the tips...they're very helpful!

    1. I'm impressed you could go back and write 10 reviews. Sounds like homework to me!

      I don't actually enjoy review all! But I started doing it initially as a pay it forward kind of thing as a shopper who appreciated people who took the time to help me make buying decisions and now, especially, when I appreciate first-hand the meaning of each and every review!

  5. These are all great tips. Of course, I do none of them! ;) I highlight quite a bit if reading on the Kindle, as a way of taking notes. It's not always enough though. Starting the review before I am done with the book would be a great help though.

    1. I'm glad you mentioned highlighting, Ali. I highlight all the time on my Kindle! That's an extremely helpful reference.

  6. What a great idea, on the note books. Lately I've been feeling like I should jot down thoughts of things I would like to talk about as reviewing does feel like a chore sometimes, haha. What a fantastic post, all wonderful tips Nikki! ^_^

  7. Love your ideas Nikki! I used to always write my reviews after reading. I think some of my reviews turned out better because of it, because I was able to use that initial emotion to write my review. But I also think that some reviews suffered from this because I had to allow the story to really stew before I could write a good review!

    I do use the highlighting on my kindle because I like to pick my favorite character moment, and I have found that it really helps to highlight as I go! I also try to keep some notes as I read, but mostly I fail at this!! I really need to try these things!!

    Thanks!!! :)

  8. Great tips, Nikki! I use them in 2013.

  9. I have this bookmarked to remind me! Thank you so much Nikki! :) For some reason, I get too lazy or sleepy to write a review after I'm done with a book. I dunno what has gotten into me lately. Need to get back on the productive writing wagon!