6 Easy Steps to Writing a Great Book Review

Yes it really is quite easy, and quick, to write a great book review for your favorite authors!

I always love to hear from people who have enjoyed my books. But when I ask if they’ve left a review, a surprising number shudder, or shake their heads. It’s all too daunting, too time-consuming, and does it really matter?

In a word. YES!

If you love an author's work ... show them by writing a review :)
If you love an author’s work … show them by writing a review 🙂

Honest reviews – written by everyday readers like you – help other readers work out what they might like to read, and could encourage someone to try a new author for the first time. With so many e-books available on Amazon, every review is an affirmation that this book is worth the investment in time and money.

Reviews make such a difference for authors.

We love them much more than you might realize! Just a sentence saying  you enjoyed the story is greatly appreciated. If you’d like to write a great review, one that helps other readers, I think you might find it surprisingly easy to do!

Before explaining how I write reviews, let me divert to why I’ve decided to start publishing them.

I read a lot, and I write genre fiction – dark paranormal / urban fantasy / paranormal suspense. I made a policy of not reading in these genres while I’m writing in them. I felt as if I needed to avoid reading other writers. I’m not sure why. Perhaps to prevent other people’s writing styles overwhelming my own emerging voice, or to prevent an unconscious following of someone else’s ideas and phrasing, that might have made me read like a fan club leader rather than myself.

My current reading pile is full of historical mystery’s, crime novels, a few memoirs, and a good many writing craft books. Several of the craft books are about book marketing, and especially about the importance of getting reviews for independently published books.


In a defining moment, at about 2am a few weeks ago, I asked myself – how many reviews have I written for authors whose books I’ve enjoyed?

I’m ashamed to admit, the answer is too few.

That needs to change! How can I expect readers to write reviews for me, when I rarely spend a few minutes creating reviews myself?

I’ve decided to do two things: firstly to start writing and publishing reviews for authors whose works I enjoy; and secondly to start reading more broadly in my own genre’s again. (Very soon I will post a review for a book from a fairly new author I read last week)

6 easy steps to writing a great review

But first – here are 6 easy steps to writing and posting a great review, even if you are short of time and technically challenged 🙂

  1. When you’ve enjoyed a book, jot down some notes as soon as you can while your memory is fresh.
  2. Try and organize your notes into the following categories, you don’t need to go overboard, just a single sentence on each is enough:
    1. Think about the characters and how well you related to them. Did the main characters feel like real people? Did their journey or growth in the story mean something to you?
    2. Think about the pace of the book. Did it feel sluggish in parts, a bit too fast for comfort in parts, or just about right from beginning to end.
    3. Think about the language used in the book. Did you enjoy the writer’s narrative voice? Enjoy their use of words? Revel in sparkling dialogue?
    4. Lastly think about the writer’s description of settings, the story overall. How did it leave you feeling?
  3. Give each category a score from 1-5, add them up and divide by 4 to get an average. For example:
    1. You might have really connected with the characters and score that category 5;
    2. The story might have been a bit fast and muddled in parts so you score it 3;
    3. The writer’s narrative voice, language and dialogue kept you interested and intrigued so you give it 4;
    4. Overall the book entertained you, you enjoyed it so much you couldn’t put it down and you start looking for other books by the same author, 5.
  4. IMG_1997Now for some simple maths: 5+3+4+5 =17; 17/4 = 4.1; your overall score is therefore 4 stars and you have jotted down four sentences. You have a perfect review ready to post!
  5. Amazon.com is the most important place to post your review.
    • (Other places like Goodreads, Ibooks etc are all helpful, but Amazon.com is where the majority of ebooks are sold.) To write a review you simply go to the book within Amazon.com, scroll down to the area where the reviews start and click on ‘Write a customer review’.
  6. A new window will open. Login with your Amazon account (you need to have purchased something on amazon, but not the specific book you want to review) complete the questions, click on 4 stars, and post your four sentences.

It really is quick and easy – as I’ve discovered myself now that I’ve decided to start reviewing books I’ve enjoyed 🙂

I’d love to hear your thoughts on writing reviews. What are your suggestions?

Kim Cleary, Author

Kim Cleary

Kim writes paranormal stories with a intrigue, suspense and a hint of romance. She loves all animals, especially her dogs; and thrives on coffee and chocolate while writing and researching.

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