Thursday, December 29, 2011

How to leave a book review.

The GOOD, The BAD and the UGLY!
If you are a writer, a book review is a big deal and if you are a reader and want to leave a review it can be a daunting task. What do you say, how do you say what you want?

First off I want to talk about bad reviews. I have talked to the old school authors and it was a rare thing to get a bad review as most people who left a review was because they liked the book. But with shows like American Idol, the public thinks that what they think matters.

I say this with a bit of a evil grin as in the end most opinion's are not worth thinking about as it may burn brain cells. But, now we have a problem and online more and more bad reviews are popping up as being mean and speaking your mind is glamorized. If you are mean and cruel it must mean you are cool, yet I bet you not one mean reviewer would tell the author to their face the same thing.

So if you want to leave a bad review, remember, this is a person, be nice and talk about the book and the good and the bad, what you liked and didn't like and keep the personal comments out. Pretend that this is your mother, or best friend, how would you talk to them? Would you say "You suck and should go hang yourself?" Some reviews are this bad, and very personal. Remember, writing is Art, if you do not like it, that is on you, some other person may love the book. If you hate a painting do you blast the painter? No, you may just "Not get it" or may just not be for you.

Good Reviews:

You read a book and liked it, what do you do?
First, leave a review. To combat the bad review crazy people, it is even more important for you to give the gift of a good review if you liked the book.

But what is a review for?

It is to let people know if they should buy the book. Do you think other people would like it and what would they like about it?

Leaving a review is not you endorsing the book, it is telling people what you liked and even what you did not like.

Don't worry about how long it is. You can just say, "Great book for Teens and I loved the story." you do not need to write a long review, if you want, go for it but even a one liner helps for other readers as they read to make a choice.

I had a blogger who is very wise read my book and she did not like it, but she saw that it was just not for her, she liked my writing and knew of other people that would love it. So now she knows who to recommend the book too. See, it is not about if you loved or hated it, who do you know that would like the book? I have read books that were not for me but I would pass them to someone who i knew would like that style or whatever.

This is what a review is for. Who will like the book? Teens, Women, men? Think about who is the perfect reader and try to lead your review to speak to them.

I know being honest is a good thing but do not be honest and mean. We have so much hate and piss poor people in this world that spreading it around more is just lame...yes, #Lame. Hashtag that!

Hate a book? Leave a NICE review that is HELPFUL and not just proof that you need more lovin. If you love the book, leave a HELPFUL review and make sure you take the time to do it, every review helps even the bad ones if they are done in a spirit of kindness.

I hope this helps and get out there and read, and share. Reading is a wonderful thing. Have a great day and if you do not agree with me... leave me a comment and practice being nice and say how messed up in the head I am! =)

P.S. I forgot to mention, don't leave a UPDATE review. "I am reading your books and so far I love/hate is, I will leave more as I read..." And leave 3 stars based on how far you are in the book. Really? Come on... read the book! And on that note, if you do not finish the book, don't leave a review, you did not finish. And if that means it sucked, well what if the ending made up for the suck? But you do not know cuz you did not read the whole book. Again...#Lame

Author Aaron Patterson: Blog: The Worst Book Ever.


  1. Great post. I agree: it's perfectly acceptable to not like a book and to say so, but there's no need to get nasty about it.

    Sharing :)

  2. Very well said, Aaron!! I agree with everything that you said. Help target audiences find books that you think they will enjoy and if there is ever a criticism - remember constructive criticism is the way to go not rip-their-heart-out-and stomp-it-into-the-ground criticism.

  3. Well said and thank you leaving this insightful post.

  4. Writers who want to put their stuff out there for public consumption need to grow thick skins.

    That said, flames are always inappropriate. I trust people to recognize and discount the words of the idiots and the trolls. ;-)

  5. Good point, a thick skin is a must. People will be mean and it is what it is...and having some bad reviews is good, it means your reviews are real.

  6. I have had to write a few bad reviews and I hate it. I hate telling an author I did not like the even tho I will say why I didn't like it I always try to put in the good points of the books also. I have never came across a book that didn't have at least one good thing I could write about.I also always mention that while the book wasn't for me, it may be the perfect book for someone else.

  7. I disagree that a DNF review is invalid. I do agree about not being mean and I make it a point in all my reviews to imagine the author reads them (although I don't actually expect very many will). It is rare for me to DNF a book but I feel as long as I explain what worked for me and what didn't and allow that the book may have got better (but for whatever reason I could not bring myself to care) I feel I have been fair. I don't expect that my experience of a book will be the same as anyone else's necessarily, but a DNF can be quite a valid reaction to a book and just as valid as 5 stars, IMO. It will be up to those who read the review to decide whether it was helpful to them. If my opinions don't mesh with that reader I expect they will either buy and enjoy books I do not like, or (more likely!) dismiss the review as irrelevant to them.

  8. I agree... I am not saying not to leave a bad review. I am saying to leave a helpful review, good or bad it should be to help other readers decide if it is a book they will like or not like. It should not be a time to rant or get personal with the author. All reviews 1 or 5 stars are good to have.

  9. Sorry, I must have misunderstood the final para of your post. I thought you were saying don't review it if you didn't finish.

    Reviews are about the book not the author so I'm totally on board about keeping personal attacks out.

  10. Very interesting and pretty logical. Love the comment about American Idol!

  11. Great post Aaron! Where other book reviewers and I disagree is 'bad reviews'. Do I love every book? Of course not.

    Do I tear it apart? Never. BECAUSE, even if I HATED it- someone put blood, sweat and tears into that book. So who am I to virtually shit all over it? Not my place. Period.

    I will of course give my honest opinion and say what was good and bad. Now in the very RARE case there was nothing good about the book- and I'm talking maybe TWO of the HUNDREDS of books I've read- I don't even bother writing a review. Why should I? I'm not into negativity. Especially if it's not a review book... I'll give it -x- amount of stars and call it a day.


  12. Great post, and it's very appreciated by me right now. I am building a blog for reviewing books, and want to tap into the Indie author's out there.
    One thing I have found over my time as a reader (and now, up and coming reviewer) is that some people who leave reviews have a difficult time separating the book and the author. Meaning, what the characters in the book say and do, MUST be who the author is. So, if a book character is racist, that MUST mean the author is as well - (where oh where is the sarcasm font when you need it?). I also see a lot of bad book reviews because there is "profanity" in the book or (gasp) sex!

    It has become frustrating reading reviews like this for books that are actually written and edited very well and that have a great story to tell.

    I do disagree about DNF's though - especially for an up and coming author. There may be an awesome story that is being told, but the grammatical and spelling errors distract so much from it. I think in these types of instances it's OK to leave a DNF especially if it's written constructively.

    Review what you like to read. If I tried to read and review science fiction, it would be a stack of DNF's for me - it's just not what I love to read.

    Thanks for a very informative post!