Writing full blown book reviews can be time-consuming. To make matters worse is the awful truth that even after putting all that effort into writing out my thoughts about a book, my review posts tend to be the least viewed content on my blog.
While I don’t blog for page hits, I do blog to spark discussion and to interact with my followership. I wouldn’t blog if it were just me talking to myself all the time. 😉
So I took to the internet in search of solutions to my problem, because I very much still want to write reviews. But I also wanted creative solutions so that I could face my issue with writing reviews head-to-head.
I found some posts that inspired me moving forward as a reviewer and also helped ignite the idea for todays post.
How to Write Better Reviews
5 Ways to Increase Reader Engagement by Stephanie at These Paper Hearts shared many valuable tips, including my favorite nugget: make your paragraphs shorter!! (I find that I often struggle with this… lol) She was also wonderfully encouraging about the fact that there really is no wrong way to review. Everyone has their own way of doing it.
I agree with Stephanie that there is no wrong way to review. Even grinchy type reviewers who are terribly mean in their negative reviews aren’t wrong in their style of review. It’s not my personal style, but it would be incredibly wrong of me to say that having that kind of personality for a review isn’t right. It’s voice! I love voice! Even depending on the angle, there are times that I actually find those posts entertaining.
Ultimately, regardless of style and angle, I think a great review really boils down to the reviewer’s voice, their passion and the perspective they have to offer in their review.
To snag readers at the offset, it helps to have a post title that is marketing click-bait. There are some pros and cons to this. Pro: you set yourself up for already intriguing your reader. Con: you really got to deliver or risk disappointing your reader.
8 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t #ReadGoldenSon by Pierce Brown by Dani over at Dani Reviews Things had an incredibly creative approach to her review and delivered it stunningly.
Dani’s post was effective for two huge reasons. The first was becuase that title made my heart stop. I mean, let’s get real here, I *heart* Darrow. The second reason her review was so effective was because as she laid out all eight reasons, I found that by the end she had answered the question of “Why should I read this book?”
In our reviews, answering that question in some form or another is the promise we make to our readers who are looking for recommendations. Including whether or not they should even bother with a book I think is part of a great review.
However, what about when the words aren’t coming to you? Personally, I find that it can be hard for me to write up anything when a book gives me way too many feels, the ending was underwhelming or the plot was just too twisty.
How to Overcome Writer’s Block
The Key To Beating Writer’s Block – The Book Reviewer’s Edition by Aentee at Read at Midnight taught me several tricks for how not to get stumped by things like complexity and ALL THE FEELS. Her solution: amply prepare for the review while I read. My response: I will be creating a layout in my bullet journal specific to book reviews to help me keep track of all my thoughts as I read from now on. Thank you, Aentee!
One of my favorite tidbits Aentee offered up to make my book reviews different or to maintain that sense of inspiration was to create an infographic for the book in question. I have done this in the past for my Dahlia Moss Review and for my Leviathan Series Flash Review because I thought it would look cool. However, I haven’t made an infographic for a book since then. I think it is a great way to challenge my design skills and keep things fresh, so I will be bringing this concept back to the blog in the future!
How to Write Tweetable Book Reviews
Thanks to Stephanie, Dani and Aentee’s posts, I learned some valuable tips on how to change things up in my reviews. Moreover, their tips and tricks inspired me to think outside the box.
I got to wondering, if I have such a hard time writing 400-600 words to review just one book, what would it look liked if I flipped that concept on its head? What if instead of trying to pull teeth out of something I’m struggling to put into words, I give myself a hypothetical out?
And in flies Twitter to the rescue…well sort of. Restricted to 140 characters, tweeting and being good at it is the ultimate sign of concise and keeping it pithy. Because of the small space, there are are a lot of factors to think of and condense.
I reached out on Twitter and to some fellow book bloggers to help me come with a list of tips for you today and this is what it all boils down to:
5 Tips to Writing Tweetable Book Reviews
1. To keep track of your number of characters, use an app like Buffer to draft.
2. Write any hashtags you intend to use first. That way you know how many characters you have left to work with.
3. Tag the author for the books that you love!! AND though I think this probably goes without saying, but I know we all make mistakes…DON’T tag authors in tweets on negative reviews, it’s not nice.
4. Use hashtags that have a large audience. Some popular ones to try are #bookreview and #amreading
5. Your tweet doesn’t have to be strictly “review-style”. Just like a regular review, you can go into fangirl mode too. It’s okay. Those in the fandom will love you for it!
Putting it All Together
If you’re still feeling stumped, or just aren’t feeling inspired, try quickly jotting down all the emotions the book gave you, or make a list of the types of characters the book introduces you to, or name some of the main events in a non-spoilery way (if you can) and then compose those elements into a quirky tweet.
Also, try to think about how you want your audience to react when they see your tweet. Do you want them to be intrigued? Feel excited? Feel all *clappy hands* that you finally read their favorite book in the history of ever?
To top the cake, if you can answer the question of “WHY should I read this book?” in under 140 characters, then without a doubt you have absolutely won at the art of tweetable book reviews.
Whether You’re Tweeting or Blogging, Book Reviews Should be Fun
Ultimately, it’s one hundred percent okay if you still don’t want to write up any kind of review for your recent read. You are under no obligation to write a review for EVERY book that you pick up! When it really comes down to it, at the end of the day, blogging and book reviewing is about having fun, keeping a positive attitude (or not if you’re the queen/king of snark), making recommendations and chatting with other book dragons across the world who share your love of books!
What kinds of things do you do to spice up your reviews? How do you keep track of all your ideas as you read? I’d love to hear your thoughts! Share with me in the comments.
Keep Reading and Keep Writing,