April 18

How To Write A Good Book Review

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You have just purchased a great book, which has not only connected with you emotionally, it’s like it was written just for you.

The words were beautifully put together, the pace was good, and the story flowed. If it was self-help, it made sense, showed you a pathway through what’s been going on for you, and the steps in the exercises were easy.

So far, so good. You want to leave a review but find yourself unsure about how to write one that does the book justice.

Of course, you may have read a book, thought it was dreadful, and in a fit of pique, felt compelled to warn everyone that this book is fire material.

I believe in a world where you can be anything, be kind and be constructive when critiquing a book.

First things first, your book review is about your experience with it and not about you, so don’t add in your problems, although I know lots do to set the scene. Focus on what makes this a great book that you would love everyone to read…

When working with writers on their books, I always ask them who their ideal reader is, well… The same thing applies here. Who do you think is the perfect person to read this book? Who will get the greatest value – not everyone, as I said previously.

Be honest and authentic. Never be abusive or rude or, as I said, unkind. Being horrible says more about you than about the reader or the author.

Back in 2016, one of my clients launched her book. She had worked hard on crafting this book, I know as I was with her every step of the way. When I looked today, she has over 100 reviews, 77% of which are five stars. The following has been extracted from one of the reviews.

I’m so glad I bought my copy because it enabled me to tune into a part of me that I didn’t really know was there. Thinking about what I wanted from life was such a daunting question, but the inventive ways the author approaches these sorts of dilemmas make it so manageable. For example (and without wanting to give away too many spoilers), thinking about films that moved me and why they moved me helped me to consciously recognise things I always subconsciously valued.

For me personally, the haze is surrounding to clear, and I now have more of an idea of the path that will satisfy me. You might not even think anything is missing or have a conscious dilemma or problem you are struggling with, but I’m sure that anyone who reads this book would come out with a fresh view of their life. I highly recommend it!

Motivate Yourself: Get the Life You Want, Find Purpose … – Amazon.co.uk. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Motivate-Yourself-Purpose-Achieve-Fulfilment/dp/0857086901

Of course, I looked at the one-star review, and my heart dropped. It was rude and abusive and added no value or constructive critique to the review.

On top of that, the whole book is quite shallow and although the author went to considerable effort to draw different pictures and tables to illustrate her concepts, it’s clear that she ultimately struggled to explain how exactly a combination of those concepts helped any of her clients. Examples or case studies given in the book may be real but they are frankly laughable: a passionate biker had an accident, lost his leg, his wife divorced him and boom, instead of becoming thoroughly demotivated and depressed, one day he woke up and decided to use that experience to motivate himself and others as well as find the true love of his life and have a baby with her. Another one: poor Deepak always did what his parents wanted until one day he realised that he is spending all his time working and not enough time with his family. Apparently, motivational sessions with Andro Donovan led him to the life he wanted and now another boom and Deepak is a happy puppy, who has now reconnected with his authentic self.

As I said, I know the author, I helped her to write the book, and we discussed her work at length, and this kind of scathing review is a poor reflection of the possibly jealous reviewer.

However, it happens, don’t be this person.

Tips

Is this a one or five-star book?

1 – computer says NO

2 – yep, you don’t like it

3 – borderline – almost neutral

4 – it’s a yes, but

5 – I love this book!!!

These numbers are important and can mean the difference between the book getting promoted and falling into a pile of poo.

Synopsis

That means a brief overview without the spoilers if it’s a story. Instead, tell people what the book is about and give the reader some context for what comes next.

While this review isn’t a synopsis you get the idea of what the book will help you with.

I had been trying to work out what to do first; advertise, get a website up and running, what I was going to specialise in, etc and I actually got lost in all of the procrastination. I bought this book and what I read was as if the author was speaking directly to me. Instead of making notes on a separate piece of paper (which I usually do when I need to plan things from a book,) I wrote in the book. There was so much that I related to that I just wrote on the pages! I wrote things like, YES, and THAT’S ME! Before anyone judges, I have never done this in books before. I have page stoppers (those sticky arrows) but they are on every page. I am motivated.

Grow Your Private Practice: Amazon.co.uk: Travis, Jane: 9781692305529: Books. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Grow-Your-Private-Practice-Travis/dp/1692305522

Your reaction to the book

When I read When The Crawdads Sing, my reaction was beyond wow, so much so that I found it hard to say all the things that I felt. The book moved me in such powerful ways. It was an honour to read. So, back to Jane’s book, and this is another review.

Seriously, it is written like Jane is talking to you in the room and giving you her personal service on marketing your therapy business. I love it and am a super fan! She gives you all you need and more, for example, her chapter on Imposter Syndrome is a must, everyone will benefit from it and the tips on how to deal with it.

  • What did you love? Why?
  • What didn’t you like and why?
  • Is this your favourite of all time? Why?
  • Was it hard to put down? Why?
  • Were you making endless notes and putting them into action?
  • Was it like wading through treacle? Why?
  • How did it emotionally connect with you?

Give concrete examples, like the story flowed beautifully, there wasn’t too much detail, the exercises were easy to implement, and the writing style was easy to understand.

And, go on, do you love the author, why? Don’t go over the top, or they may think you are their mum.

Length

This one is easy. Keep it short and simple. Lots of white space so that it is easy to read. People want to know whether it is good, should I buy it.

Don’t use the same review

If you are writing your review for different sites, amend the review to suit the site. Search engines don’t like duplicate content, so your review won’t show up.

A big no-no for me is someone who says XYZ is a better book and puts a link to it. I’d rather read something like I loved this book because and XYZ is a great compliment to it. It could be me, but I feel a little suspicious of you ought to read this instead comments.

Be transparent

If you are connected with the author, say so. If you got an advanced copy, say so. If you as an author give a reader an advanced copy, that does not imply that they a) love it and b) will recommend it. I would trust reviews to be honest no matter what the connection is.

Ok, get ready, get set, go…

One of the most important things an author can do for their book is to launch it with a lot of Amazon customer reviews. I’d love your help! I am happy to provide you with a FREE draft copy of REBIRTH if you would be willing to provide an honest review.

If you can help, please join our Book Launch Team. Once you join you will receive everything you need.

Thanks in advance


Tags

book review, review


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