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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Writing Good Book Reviews: by Lori Kasbeer

People often times confuse book reviews with book reports.  Book reports describe what happens in the book.  Their focus is the retelling of facts concerning plot, characters, and the main idea.  Book reviews inform readers what the book is like and whether it was enjoyable or not.  Good book reviews help increase the sale of a book. 

If you review books on your web site, be aware of the type of readers you have visiting and ask yourself if the subject matter will interest them.  For Lori’s Book Reviews the majority of my audience is women between the ages of 20 to 60.  I do have a few male readers, but it is predominately women.  Therefore books I review will cover what I believe will interest them; you won’t find me reviewing book covering war stories because that is not what my readers are looking for. 

When you are offered a book for review, remember that was something the author worked very hard for.  Honest opinion of the book should be offered, but in a respectful manner. 

Tips I found helpful when I write book reviews:

1.    READ THE BOOK. I can not stress this enough, you can not offer a fair review if you only skim the book.
2.    As you read the book write down themes or quotes that may interest readers.
3.    While writing, tell readers about the story as if you are sitting across from them discussing the book.
4.    Give the name of the author and the book several times throughout the review.
5.    Since my tag line is “Reviewing Books with a Purpose” I want to share what insight I found in the book.  How did the book bring readers closer to God?
6.    Express your honest opinion.  A review should either persuade readers to pickup the book or to avoid reading it.
7.    Don’t give any surprises away in your review.

The on going debate right now is “Do Blog Book Reviews Drive Sales?”   Anne Kingman and Michael Kindness, who are Random House sales representatives, reported that more than 30% of their readers at Books on the Nightstand have bought three to five books based on recommendations on the site and 14% have bought six or more, according to the 252 respondents to their recent reader survey. A recent survey of lit blog readers shows that 56% buy books primarily based on the influence of blogs.  I believe publishers like Thomas Nelson, Random House and Tyndale House Publishers have realized this and now offer a blogger review program.

After you have a well written review posted on your web site, be sure to email the author or publishing house and offer a link to your review.  Also post your reviews on or to increase your exposure as a book reviewer. 

If you are interested in becoming a book reviewer here are some links to get you started:

Thomas Nelson (

Tyndale House  (

Lori's Book Reviews:

1 comment:

  1. I've never done a review but I have had my books reviewed before. It's been enlightening to read the process from your side. Thank you.