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Book Blogging 101 - Review Templates

Spawned from the Big Sis, Little Blog program, Book Blogging 101 was born. Do you have a question? Leave it in the comments section or email me parajunkee at gmail dot com

Q: Should I pick a “template” for my review style?

When I first started reviewing I just sort of went with the flow, I did short paragraph reviews and lengthy 10 paragraph reviews, depending on how I felt at the time. I had no set style and I guess it worked for me then. But devising and refining a review template made my life so much easier and gave me something to start with -- in turn it made me review the book easier. I don’t know about better, but it works for me.

Once I started actively “stalking” other bloggers I began recognizing their styles and the way they handled their reviews. Some I like, some I’m not to fond of, really it all a matter of preference.

The big thing about blogging is finding your voice, you style. If a “go-by” on how you review works for you, go for it. If you are looking to set up a style, try it out.  You can do it any way you like, you can even change it up if you want.

My main PRO regarding a template is it gives me an outline on how to set up my review so I have the first step down before anything. Usually with that first step in place everything comes out easily.

Q: What should I include in my reviews? Is there something that shouldn’t be left out, something that should be left out?

Once again, personal preference. The one thing that I think should be in every review is your opinion and feelings about the book. The reason you are writing this review is because you have some thoughts on the book, right? So what are those thoughts.

Oh and of course, the little bit about where you got the book is required. If the book was given to you for review you need to disclose that you did receive it for review.

i.e. This book was provided for review by the publisher in exchange of an honest review.

Things that can be in a review:
• A synopsis
• Your opinion on the story line
• Recommendations, who would like this book
• Your rating
• Information on how to purchase the book
• Information on the book, publisher, pages, ISBD etc.
• Author bio/info
• Promotional items regarding the book, like book trailers
• The book cover
• Links to the books web page, author’s blog etc.
• Pictures of you reading the book in stunned appreciation
• Skits of barbies and GI JOES acting out scenes from the book..... ;)

What are your thoughts about any of these items in a review? I’ve heard some people rant about a synopsis. I’m not particularly stuck either way. I will usually skip over a regurgitated synopsis (when a synopsis is copy and pasted from goodreads or amazon) and just read the review part. I usually make sure that I surmise the book in my own words - but sometimes this can be hard to not reveal spoilers.

I'm not saying that this post will warrant as much discussion as former posts...but a few posted their own follow-up posts in response to this to make it easier, I've attached a Mr. Linky. If you posted in response to this it up.


Danielle said...

What a great post. I include most of the things that you have listed but I did see a couple of things that didn't think about including (I'm not talking about the GI Joe and Barbie scenes either lol)

Sarah said...

Great post - I wish I'd seen something like this when I first started blogging :o)

The Book Pimp Blogs said...

Great post. I like to give my own thoughts and comments first on the book, and try not to just re-hash the synopsis. I do include it at the end of my review usually in case someone wants to know more about the book. I tend to try and hit the hi-lights cuz I don't want to make the post too long so my readers get bored. And I always try to add a little touch of humour in if I can.

Autumn said...

I decided to include synopsis. At first I tried to write my own, but I decided that was a huge waste of time when they're already written out there for you. I include it because I don't want to assume that everyone reading my blog automatically knows what to book is about. Especially if it's an obscure book. I've been trying to draw in blog readers from areas that aren't other book bloggers and in those cases they might not always be so book savvy.

J.A. Saare said...

Great advice and tips. I'm a go with the flow type of reviewer but I can say this -- I always review the book right after I finish and it's fresh in my head. Sometimes if a book is really good, I'll jot down a note as a reminder to mention this or that.

April (BooksandWine) said...

It's always interesting to me the many different ways people review a book. Now, if there was a blog that reviewed books using LOLcat pictures I would be all up on that.

I like to include quotes from the book that I connected with.

La Coccinelle said...

There are so many ways to review a book. I think the important thing is to find your own style (and not give away too many spoilers).

Missie said...

It is hard to know what to include in a review and what will catch a readers attention. I tend to keep things simple because I'm lazy that way, but I know the one thing I always appreciate is links to where to buy the book. It's the instant gratification thing in me!

Great post, as usual!

Anonymous said...

Each time I do a review I try not to give to much away but sometimes I don't even realize I do it till the post is up.

Stephanie G
Paranormal Haven

Tahlia said...

I think a short synopsis is necessary, but what I find most important it to get an idea of the sort of things a reviewer likes personally. So saying what kind of people would like the book even if it isn't your kind of thing, is helpful. Also mentioning other books that are similar in style etc

It's also good to hear what's good about a book and what's not so good. Are any perfect?

The other stuff is all great.

Did you read ch 1 of Lethal Inheritance yet? See my blog.

Kah Woei said...

Thanks for sharing. This was really helpful.

When I first started out blogging, I included a summary of the plot but I've since discovered that some of my readers don't like this. So, I've been working on putting out less spoilers in my reviews. :-)

GREYZ said...

Great post. I am also a newbie with blogging and doing book reviews. As of the moment, I review books that I am currently reading and books that are on my shelf. Indeed there is no best review but there are styles that people favor over the other. And I must admit, I am still confused. I'm like a baby crawling and wanting a hug. It's just so frustrating sometime.

GREYZ said...

And I forgot, I also joined Blog With Bite. Nice site. :)

Lauren said...

I can relate with the comment by GREYZ because I feel the same way. I still can't figure out how mister linky works and how to join in that way. I'm also checking other book blogs just to see how they do things. I am slowly catching on. Posts like this are really helpful. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

When I started I wrote a synopisis in my own words but I am ashamed to admit I switched to copying from Goodreads. I still will do it sometimes if I feel I can do it well. It is just easier for me to copy and paste and get on with my opinion :)

My anxious life said...

Thank you! I am trying to find a template for my reviews since I am new and will start using some of these tips!


Anonymous said...

Wow, thanks I am learning more from you than anyone else. I found you on bookblogs. Jackie

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