What's in a review?
Reviews help authors get their books readby readers who might not otherwise know the book is available. A positive review for a book from someone whose reading taste is similar to yours makes it easier to pick a book that will provide you with a satisfactory experience. You might also discover an author you adore, and whose other books you will look for. Equally, story tastes differ, and if someone posts a lower star rating than the majority of reviews, you can weigh the negative with the positive to decide if you want to take a chance on that story.
So how do you write a review that will help people find or avoid the books you like to read? Someone recently posted a "cheat sheet" from Instagram to help people get started. What follows is almost exactly as it came from the post, but I did expand on some of the examples. I hope you find it helpful, and I encourage you to post honest reviews about the books you read.
Review writing cheat sheet (adapted from Instagram post)
Keep it short and Sweet
A useful review can be as short as a tweet. Here are a few suggestion:
What type of story or style is it”
Compare it to other authors whose work deals with similar style or story situations
“If you like stories (about marriage of convenience, secret babies, second chances, etc.) OR (that make you swoon, laugh, cry, etc.) you’ll like Title, or “Fans of (name another similar author) be sure to try this author.”
Focus on one thing you liked (style, premise, etc.) ie: “I enjoyed the mature relationship built on respect.”
Don’t spoil it
If you can’t avoid spoilers, be vague or give a big warning that one is ahead.
ie: “Whoa! I never saw that family secret coming!”
Negative comments can be helpful, too.
Not everyone likes the same things. If you didn’t like something in the book, mention it and why it bothered you.
ie: I do not enjoy gallows humor, so this book was not for me.” It helps others decide if they are willing to read it.