Writing a Review

Review Points of Consideration, Key Questions to Ask Yourself:

Amazon requires that you disclose that you got a book (or any product) for free if you are reviewing it, so it’s important to note that in your review.

The idea behind this is one of transparency so that reviewers know that you were given a free copy and they can decide for themselves whether they think this might have any influence over your review.

Amazon does allow reviews to be written on books you got for free, those reviews shouldn’t be given in exchange or in return for the book.

NOT ALLOWED: “I was sent a free book in exchange for writing this honest review.”

ALLOWED: “I was sent a free book and am voluntarily leaving this honest review.”

It’s a subtle but important difference, so while you should add that disclosure in your own words, just be careful in how you phrase it.

The following are points to consider as you read the book that you are going to review:

  1. What’s the general field or genre? Does the book fit that genre?
  2. From what point of view is the book written?
  3. Do you agree or disagree with the author’s point of view?
  4. Can you follow the author’s plot or common thread?
  5. What is the author’s style? Formal? Informal? Suitable for the intended audience?
  6. Are the concepts well-defined? Is the language clear and convincing? Are the ideas well-developed? What areas are covered and what areas are not covered? How accurate is the information?
  7. Is the author’s concluding chapter (or summary) convincing?
  8. If relevant, make notes about the book’s format such as layout, design, binding, etc. If there are maps or illustrations, are they helpful?
  9. How does this book compare to other books by this author?
  10. Review your review, and check your grammar and spelling, as you want the review readers to take you seriously.

One crucial piece of advice for the novice or experienced book reviewer is always to make notes as you read the book. You will likely want to include passages from the book in your review. And as every good writer knows, hook the reader with your opening sentence—it will set the review’s tone.

Some of my reviews of the many children’s books that I have had the pleasure to read and share with my granddaughter.