A Simple Approach to Writing Book Reviews for Your Blog or Newsletter

Guest Blogger: Cynthia Morris

In my previous article, I wrote about why it’s a good idea to write book reviews.

Everyone will have her own book review style. You want to express your personality. Your reviews will be one way you distinguish yourself from others online.

Here are a few suggestions for making your book reviews less onerous and more effective.

Don’t feel pressured to write a critical review.

In the past I struggled with reviewing. I thought I had to deliver a highly articulate and intelligent opinion on the work. This pressure made reviewing miserable.

But when I remembered how much I enjoyed recommending books as a bookseller at Capitol Hill Books, I regained my enthusiasm.

Now, with my video reviews, I simply recommend books. I choose one memorable thing about the book and emphasize that. It’s still an intelligent review, but I don’t have to be complex or long-winded.

Share the learning.

What books helped you grow as an artist? Think of each book as a teacher. What juicy nuggets did you get from each one?

Share those as a list in one post, or break the list into a series of posts.

Keep it short.

A written review could be done in 100-200 words. I try to keep my video reviews, like the one featured here, to one minute.

Don’t feel you have to summarize the whole book. Choose one or two points to share.

Check the facts.

Be sure to spell the author’s name and the title correctly. If you’re doing audio or video reviews, learn how to pronounce the author’s name.

Give accurate information about where to buy the book. Use appropriate tags on Goodreads and Amazon reviews.

Try it.

Recall a book you recently enjoyed. Write your review within the next week to practice and find your review style.

What helps make reviewing and recommending books easier for you? What’s your signature review style?

Cynthia MorrisAbout Our Guest Blogger

Cynthia Morris has been coaching writers at Original Impulse for as long as she’s been writing her novel. Set in Paris 1937, Chasing Sylvia Beach is now available for your summer reading. Find out more.

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11 comments to A Simple Approach to Writing Book Reviews for Your Blog or Newsletter

  • I love that you keep your video reviews to around one minute! Many people think it needs to be a long drawn-out process that covers everything about the book, but it really doesn’t. :)

  • Many thanks for this post. I’ve finally revamped my website so as to integrate a new WordPress blog. Extra work and scary, too, but worth it. I feel like it may keep me engaged in the bigger world. I’m not interested in just writing about my art; that would get very boring indeed. I also want to talk about what inspires and interests me, which is often something I don’t know anything about. Your post hits the spot, because there are so many books to read, and your post helps to de-mystify writing book reviews. Again, many thanks!

    • Great, Gerri! I’m glad this was helpful to you for simple and powerful blog content. Reading with an eye to sharing also increases the pleasure of the book. Have fun with it!

  • Glad this is helpful for you, Tanner! It’s a fun challenge to do the 60-second book reviews. They’re more recommendations than any kind of critique, which suits me and my purpose – to share books I love.

    Have fun with your own reviews!

  • I loved this article Cynthia. It takes the idea of reviewing books and makes it simple. I liked this section, “What books helped you grow as an artist? Think of each book as a teacher. What juicy nuggets did you get from each one?” and this one “Don’t feel you have to summarize the whole book. Choose one or two points to share.” I am always talking about books I ‘ve liked on my blog. I’ll be taking your ideas to make my reviews better and more interesting. Thanks.

  • Great, Kate! I’m glad this is useful for you.

    There’s often a lot to say about a book, so much so that it’s overwhelming! I like to think about what I would say to someone in a brief conversation about it. I’d be saying 3-5 sentences. Now I use that brevity to share the books I love.

    Keep sharing the books you love, and enjoy it!

  • Great suggestions for reviews!

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  • Thanks so much for posting! I’m about to write a review and found this helpful.

  • I found this post, Anne, when looking for tips on how to write a Book Review. I have several books that I regularly recommend to clients and thought it would be a great addition to my blog, but I didn’t want to come across as boring. Yes, that was my prior perception of book reviews, and I’m grateful for your advice to keep it short. And the suggestion to focus on one or two points just saved me hours of internal debate!

    Thanks for a great post!