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So, here goes - in no particular order:
- Make sure you read the book - the whole book - not just the blurb on the back of the book or the first chapter. It's very obvious when someone has tried to review a book having only read part of it or skimmed through it, hoping to pick up on the plot so don't do it.
- Remember to name both the book and the author at the beginning of the review. There is nothing more annoying than reading a review and thinking that the book sounds great only to find that there is nothing to say which book it was.
- Be concise. Don't let your review ramble on and on and on and..... Make sure it has a beginning, a middle and an end. An example might be a brief opening statement about how you felt about the book initially; a brief synopsis of the story (make sure it's your own and not taken from the back of the book); how you felt about the story, the characters, the plot, the author's style of writing etc. and finally a 'summing up' paragraph.
- Don't just write a synopsis of the story. Potential readers can get that from the back of the book. Draw them in and make them want to read the book - or not - depending on how you felt about it.
- Tell readers of the review what you thought about the book generally. Did you find the characters believable or likeable? Was the book well written? Did you like the style of writing? Did you feel you were part of the story or were you left out in the cold?
- Take the time to find out a bit about the author. Sometimes it gives you a deeper understanding of the story and the style of writing.
- Be honest about your thoughts and opinions of the book but don't be brutal - there is no need. Even if you didn't like it much, were there any positives that you could talk about? If not and you really hated it then personally I wouldn't even bother reviewing it.
- Do not give too much away. You want to make the reader want to go out and buy the book. NEVER reveal the ending.
- Make your review interesting. It doesn't matter how great the book is, if the review is dull and boring no-one will want to read it.
- Be professional. Check your spelling, punctuation and grammar. Do the necessary research and take the time to write a review to be proud of.
Those are my top ten tips but I'm sure there are many more out there. I was very nervous when I did my first book review especially as it was a review copy from a publisher but I found that as long as I stuck to my own rules (above) everything was fine. It gets easier.
And so all that's left is to wish you Happy Reviewing!