Reviewing a book is a tricky job because
- The writer is eagerly waiting for the review you’ll be writing. This is true for every newbie writer. If you write a beaming review praising it, the writer will read it again and again and will feel a sheer joy. I have felt it.
- The reader i.e. the reviewer also has invested some emotion into the book and it’d bound to reflect on the review.
The reason this is a very tricky job is that a pretty well amount of emotions is connected to it, and a review is absolutely, completely and definitely a professional business. You may have reviewed a work written by your friend and given a corny, lovely review of that. That’s okay. But once you become a well-know reviewer, you should become more professional.
So, let’s get started, shall we? It’ll be short, I promise.
Reviewing means ‘a critical appraisal of a book, play, or other work’ (ref. concise oxford dictionary) which, upon expanding tells: you read a book and you give honest opinion based on your experience of reading books and the opinion would be such that it’ll help the writer/artist ‘appraise’ his/her work.
In straight words, from your review both the writer and readers must get something of value.
Now, if the book is good, the work becomes pretty easy and everyone feels very happy. What happens if the book is not so good? Read on.
Basically, you have two options here:
- You praise the work anyway and the author gets happy. But after reading your review when a reader buys it and gets disappointed; believe me, he’ll never ever going to read your review.
- You point out the issues point-blankly. That’ll hurt the author brutally. He/She has spent hours creating the book and getting such a review will hurt. When other writers will read your review, many may get scared of your review and will not prefer to get their book reviewed by you. Because your review do affect the sales.
Here is what you should do:
- Point out the good things first. And don’t forget to justify that with required quotes as it’ll increase the credibility of your review(without spoiling major plot-points). Don’t spoil a book in your review.
- Point out what you think of it in context of the current society. It’ll help the reader understand if he really needs to read the book. (for example when I wrote the review of ‘Voices of the silent creek’; I started it like this: The book ‘Voices of the Silent Creek’ tries to bring out raw truth about women hidden behind the curtains of big houses and how knowing their situation, people choose to keep their mouth shut. The hypocrisy of people calling themselves supporter of women empowerment will strike you fiercely in this novel. A very different attempt for a debut novel and definitely deserves a round of applause. Read the full review.)
- While handling critical points, do it honestly but candidly. Never ever underestimate or insult the ability of the writer. That’s the greatest insult a writer can have. For example, if you see the dialogues are not good, instead of writing “The dialogues are very badly written and doesn’t interest me at all”, write, “I believe if the dialogues are constructed tautly, the effect of the story would become more lasting.” Basically, you did the same thing, but the later is more candid.
With that I am listing few quick points that may be of your help in any other review:
- Don’t write summary and spoil the entire story.
- Show proofs of your opinions and justify that.
- More detailed the review, more spoilery it may become. Try to write a review that doesn’t spoil the story but gives enough glimpse into the story to justify your point.
- Personally, I don’t like to rate books, but it’s not a sin to rate a book either. Everyone assesses everything in this world by some certain scale.
- Don’t add blurb in your review. It makes it look less professional.
- Try to learn something from the book because your love for books is the whole point of becoming a reviewer or a writer.
- Don’t promise to review more books than you can read properly. This is very important. Try to review as much as possible by you, not more than that.
- It’s preferable to restrict yourself to your favorite genres. But if you are an avid reader who eats everything that come in his way, then you go for all the genres.
So, that’s it, I suppose. Lately, I was not much active here, but now on, you’ll see regular blog posts. Thank you for reading. Do leave your comments.