Have you ever been asked to write a review or endorsement* for a book and just don’t know what to write? Did it bring you out in a cold sweat of panic? Did you get a big dose of the review-writer’s block?
It happens to me frequently.
It’s easy to write that scathing product review when the robot vacuum didn’t magically clean up the dog hair from your 5 furry mutts, or the 50kg anvil didn’t arrive on time for your axe making party (we have a forge, this is normal for us, don’t worry!) But a book review? A business book review? People might read it!
Reasons it’s hard:
1. You want to do a good job, but what is a good job?
2. Why did they ask you? Are you even the right person to write the review?
3. It takes time! You’ve probably got a million other things you could be doing (cleaning up dog hair!)
4. You hear your English Lit teacher’s voice in your head giving you a B-: “Could do better, .”
Remember, nobody is marking you on your review, there are no review police. You are helping not only the author, but also potential readers make a great decision – think of the readers!
If you’re the one asking for a review (if you have written a book then you are regularly asking for reviews!) then make it easy for them, the delicious, wonderful, time-starved reviewer!
How to make it easier for the reviewer:
1. Tell them what you need
Be specific: “Can you write a couple of paragraphs, focus on chapter 3 because that’s the bit that helped you the most when we were working together.”
2. Give them some examples
This is especially true for endorsements for a pre-published book, because there are no other review crib sheets on Amazon! Consider writing 3-5 review snippets and let the reviewer select one to work from and make their own.
3. Give them a deadline & remind them!
Nothing kills review-writer’s block better than a deadline! Or a glass of wine (also, bribery might help!)
How to make it easier on yourself to write a good review:
Sometimes you just need to scrap the ‘art’ bit of writing a good review and stick with the scientific formula**!
Step 1: Read some previous reviews of the book (if available) and jot down notes of interest. Look for things you can agree with, build on, or put into personal context.
Step 2: Read the book, if you have time***. Make notes of great ideas that jump out to you. Are there phrases that make a lot of sense (hopefully)?
Step 3: Use the book review formula (that I made up)
1. Headline – main benefit YOU found in the book:
“All furry mutt owners need to know how to reduce shedding, this book will save you hours per week!”
2. Put it into CONTEXT of you, try a “Before, Magic from the book, After” routine;
“I had always dreaded shedding season with 5 big dogs in the house (BEFORE). Then I read chapter 5 and started doing the dog massage techniques (MAGIC). Now my house is spotless, even my mother in law is impressed! (AFTER)”
3. Select upto 3 things from TOC:
“Ace Ventura’s simple 3 step technique is great for busy mutt-moms. I love how he explains how to catch your dog first.” You don’t have to review the whole book, your English Lit teacher isn’t watching!
4. Final line can be a Call To Action:
“Buy [this book] if you want to get the promise from the headline”
This is just one way, it’s not a rule, you can write more or less, add your own flair.
But it could help you get over review-writer’s block
Would you like this as a handy cheat sheet (Book Review Cheatsheet: A simple formula for writing great book reviews & endorsements) for the next time someone asks you to write a book review? Pop me a message and we’ll get asset creating for you!
Finally, thank you to everyone who has ever written a review for anyone! The process of writing (a book OR a review) isn’t to be sneezed at (bloody dog hair!)
Ciao for now,
* Reviews and endorsements (think: advance reviews, shorter, sometimes called blurbs) are a little different from one another, but the process of panicking is the same!
** I made this formula up, it’s not scientifically proven, but it could save you a lot of time and hassle!
*** You might be thinking: “Surely I have to read the whole book before I can review it!?!” If you have time, yes! But you can still write a great review on a chapter or a concept from the book – the author will love you for doing it!