How to Become a Good Book Reviewer

Online book review writing is gaining immense popularity these days. Authors keen to make their books popular are also hiring the services of reputed copywriting firms to get enticing online reviews of their texts. Just as a company through blog writing and posting, website content writing and E book writing increases their brand visibility, or makes a particular product or service popular among target readers, similarly good book reviews can make any text popular among its readers. Interestingly, you do not require too many degrees to become a good reviewer. But, you must have good command over the English and know how to express yourself clearly. You need to be creative and descriptive while expressing your opinion. You should have a professional attitude as well. The book evaluation should not be based on your preferences only, but should consider the target audience as well. To put it in simple words, you need to have a balanced view while engaging into review writing.

You can start reviewing a book in many ways. You can write reviews and post them at Barnes & Noble or Amazon, or you can also sign in to LibraryThing.com. You can also resort to website content writing or blog writing and posting for this purpose. That means you can set up your own website or blog and post your reviews there. If you really want to take this seriously, you must begin writing reviews for a well-known publication or sites rendering online book review services.Sites like Feathered Quill Reviews, Reader Views, and Review the Book have professional review teams. Many of these review services allow readers to select the texts they would like to evaluate. Some of these book review services offer money as well for reviewing texts.

As a reviewer you need to understand your knack and find your niche as well. When you are into review writing, you need to know the type of books you would like to evaluate and the kind of texts you can evaluate well. For instance, you may have a knack for reviewing romance novels or thrillers. So it is always better to evaluate these kinds of books. There are several reviewers and bloggers who solely focus on a particular genre.

When you engage yourself in review writing, you would probably have to evaluate few books for free to build up your credentials. But once you gain popularity, you can charge money for your services that is you can join authors’ organizations and earn money for reviewing different books.

Isn’t It Easy To Become a Book Reviewer?

You think it is easy to become a book reviewer? Think again. You are right when you say that anyone with a pen can become a book reviewer, but it doesn’t matter if no one reads what you write. And if you are writing on your own blog it is going to feel like you are writing to absolutely no one for a very long time unless you have some idea of the proper way to become a book reviewer. You need to think of four things: a place, to read, to write, and to promote.

Find an Outlet

Where are you going to write that it matters? Or even if it doesn’t matter, where people will read it. Nothing is more frustrating than writing perfectly entertaining reviews than to have not one person read them. You need to find the best place to share your info.

There are hundreds of places to share your info. The easiest are the free blogging sites like: blogger.com, WordPress.com, Tumblr.com, and many more. These are great for beginners, but you aren’t going to be great with these.

You need your own platform. I always recommend WordPress.org (not WordPress.com, they are different). This requires some investment, but lets you create a custom site that is exactly what you need. You can work with SEO on the site and have it ready to make some awesome content that is easy to share. It also lets you own the URL giving you control. Don’t let someone else control your writing since it belongs in your hands (even if you accidentally delete it).

Otherwise, you can ask other blogs to be part of their site to contribute. I think it is better to have a place all to your own though.

Read

Read the books you love and read only the ones you want. Be picky, be a jerk, be what you want. Don’t just take anything people throw at you. Discriminate so you can write better. Choose what you want. It is so important to be passionate about the book you chose even if you hate it after. Good writing starts with a good book or terrible book you expected to be good.

Write

Write well and write interesting. Nothing is worse than a point by point style of a review (sometimes it is nice to see at the bottom as a summary though). You need to engage the reader with your words and make them see your point. Not only understand it, but feel your feelings. You have to realize you are affecting their buying decision and you want to convince them. Not only is convincing them what you set out to do when you become a book reviewer, but it is what they expect. If you don’t try to convince them to buy or not to buy they will be disappointed. And you will be disappointed by the lack of people reading you blog.

Promote

To become a book reviewer you need readers. So you need to promote your blog. Don’t worry too much, but do it every day. A little everyday goes farther than anything else. Once promotional effort a day is better than nothing.

Twitter: Do it once a day. Use hash tags, for example: #bookreviews #fiction #fantasyreview @author’s name

Facebook: Write something about books every day. Tell your friends, share a review with a specific friend, start a Facebook page.

Other Blogs: Write comments on the same book you reviewed, build a relationship, argue, ask for a link from their site.

SEO: Learn about SEO and ensure your reviews adhere to it since it will help at some point in the future.

Steps on Becoming a Book Reviewer

So you want to be a book reviewer. You love to read books and you think you can make some extra money by writing book reviews, or maybe you’re an author who is a bit frustrated that you can’t get reviews so you decide to start reviewing books yourself, or you think by writing reviews, you might get people interested in reading your books.

Those are all great reasons to become a book reviewer, but how do you go about it, and what standards or guidelines do you need to follow?

Book Reviewer Qualifications
In this Internet age, anyone can be a book reviewer, but some basic qualifications are needed to become established as a reputable and reliable one. You don’t need a Ph.D. in English, you don’t have to be an expert in anything, and you don’t have to be an author. But you do need to have a good command of the English language and be able to express yourself well. You also want to have a professional attitude, be fair, and be thoughtful about how you express your opinion, not only reacting based upon your own preferences but also considering the book’s intended audience and what you think the majority opinion may be toward the book. In short, being balanced yet honest are key qualities for a successful book reviewer.

Getting Started
People get started reviewing books in numerous ways. Many authors begin by swapping books and writing reviews for each other as a way of mutually supporting their fellow authors. You might want to begin by writing reviews and posting them at Amazon or Barnes & Noble’s websites, or any of the reader/book lover sites such as LibraryThing. You might even decide to set up your own blog or website where you can post your book reviews. Today, many bloggers are their own independent book reviewers. If you don’t want to run your own blog, you might connect with bloggers to be their guest book reviewer. Don’t overlook the possibilities of reviewing online or in print-potential homes for your book reviews are endless.

If you really want to learn the ropes of book reviewing, you may want to start out by writing reviews for an established book review service or publication. While print publications are phasing out book reviews, many magazines and newspapers still carry reviews. Some of these publications have an established book reviewer or book review team while others solicit reviews. Send a query to the publication and ask whether it would be interested in a review of a specific book, or whether you can write reviews for them-many of them receive books in the mail that they might be willing to send you. Online review services, including Reader Views, Review the Book, and Feathered Quill Reviews also have book review teams. Many of these services are set up so readers can choose the books they want to review. Some of these services offer monetary compensation for reviewing books while others offer only a copy of the book to be reviewed as compensation. In either case, it’s a great way to get started earning your book reviewer credentials.

Finding Your Niche as a Reviewer
At first, you might want to review any book you can to earn your credentials and become known as a book reviewer, but over time, you might decide you want to become an expert reviewer for certain types of books, such as romance novels or self-help. Several reviewers/bloggers exist who focus solely on one type of book. If you are already an author, you may want to review books similar to yours, whether they are mysteries, thrillers, or cookbooks. If you have certain credentials, such as being an archeologist, a history professor, or a licensed psychologist, you may want to focus on reviewing books in those fields. If you’re a stay-at-home mom, you may want to review children’s books or parenting books. And by all means, don’t forget the self-published authors. Yes, you might like to read John Grisham’s novels, but he probably doesn’t need your book reviews to boost sales, so consider writing a review for a self-published author who just wrote his first thriller and is trying to get exposure. That way, you will both be doing each other a favor, promoting the book together through your review. Self-published authors can be extremely grateful for your help and then refer their friends to you so you can quickly build your credentials and clientele.

Reviewing for Money
When you start out being a reviewer, you probably want to review some books for free just to get your name out there and build up your credentials. You might offer your services to the members of an authors association and give a special low price for a review. Many authors are not going to pay $50, much less $600 for a book review (yes, there are reviewers who charge $600), but they might be willing to give you a copy of their book and $25. As you become known and increase your credentials, you can always charge more. Don’t be embarrassed about charging to write reviews. You are committing your time to reading the book, and it can take anywhere from a couple of hours to more than twenty to read a book, not to mention the time you spend writing the review and preparing it for publication, whether online or in print.

Good and Bad Reviews
Be prepared that if you decide to write negative reviews, some authors and readers will be angry. If you are charging for a review, you may especially have problems here. You will need to decide whether you will only write reviews of books you like, or be honest regardless of whether you like the book. You should always be ethical and not write good reviews just for the money-readers who find you have praised a book that is poorly written will quickly quit reading your reviews. Be upfront with authors and let them know you will be honest in your opinions. You might establish a policy that if you can’t give three stars or higher in a review, you’ll still write the review but not publish it, and that the author can consider the review as an evaluation with pointers for making the book better. You’re bound to have someone not like a review you wrote, but while reviewers should be professional in what they say, reviews are also subjective and understood to be based in personal opinion.

Let the Book Reviewing Begin
I hope these few tips will help you get started on your career as a book reviewer. You will find that book reviewing can be time-consuming, but it can also be enjoyable and enlightening; you will probably become much more knowledgeable about topics that interest you while your horizons expand as you read new books you otherwise never would have experienced. Books can change the world, and by helping readers select the best books to read, you are doing your part to make the world a better place.