Thursday, 1 December 2016

How to write a book review

A book reviewer's agenda has one aim - to help a purchaser to choose the best book for their requirements.

Every publication has standard presentation information which includes:

Author’s name
Published by:
Paperback price: Kindle price: 

The number of pages:
Author’s website:

If the book is already published, the above information can be found on the Amazon site for the book (and other reviews might be included which you should read), or you might be asked to write a 'pre-publication' review, which means the book has not yet been published, so your review is very important and might appear on their book launch material.

The author usually has a page on their publishers website that provides information about where they are based, their other books, awards, specialities, whether they offer courses, have appeared on TV, etc. This is of useful information to a prospective purchaser.

There are 2 parts to a book review.

  • The most important part is objective – This states what the book is about. You find this by reading the chapter headings and by reading the book.
  • The subjective part is what you thought of the book. Because authors, publishers and reviewers all depend on each other, everyone wants the best for the book. Seek out the aspects of the book that you enjoy, that are new to you, that confirm what you thought already, and include any pleasant surprises. Consider how the material has been placed together and the knowledge the author has about their subject and whether they transmit their passion and interest to you.
Your name, title and website (if you have one) should be given at the bottom of the page (reviewed by:) Obviously, you would like to be thought of as a considerate person so your review will be positive. Publications do not usually publish negative reviews.  
If you are writing for a print magazine, be economical with words. A 400-500 word review is basic and 500-700 words is usual. 700-1000 words is exceptional, so keep your review tight without any wasted words. If you are writing for online blogs, etc., a longer review is possible but might not be required. Please use standard written English if you can without trendy buzz words and modern idiom or phrases. Many people from abroad whose first language is not English also may wish to read your review. 

Where to publish? Amazon is a favourite but there are a very large number of paper and internet magazines that are seeking reviews. If you have a blog, your can post it there or on other review blogs, such as
Shares on facebook are very much appreciated by the author and publisher. 

Wendy Stokes is the author of The Lightworkers Circle Guide - A Workbook for Spiritual Groups. Available in paperback and Kindle worldwide, order from Amazon or from your local bookshop. Visit Wendy's website:

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