Before we jump into possible ideas of what you could include in your reviews, here are some general guidelines around the review system which you may find useful.
When leaving a review
Be generous (but honest).
Remember, we are all here to help one another, not destroy what we have worked so hard to create. We ask all our reviewers to leave honest feedback, but also to consider bumping the ‘star rating’ up a level if they feel the book deserves it. All we ask is that the review justifies the grading.
Provide relevant feedback on different areas.
What did you think of the story? Or the characters? How about that ending? We don’t want essays documenting every single one of your thoughts, but we do want your reviews to show you have engaged with the book on some level.
Three weeks is more than enough time to read a book and post a review. We don’t want to keep people waiting for their reviews and you don’t want to wait too long for yours either. We will offer extensions for one more week if requested, however after that expires the book will be returned to the pool and the Credits will be returned to each party.
Wait for your review to be moderated.
Once you have informed BookRoar that your review is live on Amazon and Goodreads, the author will be notified that it is awaiting moderation. They will be asked to confirm that they can see the review and are happy with its content. After they confirm this information to us you will be awarded a Credit. If the author does not moderate the review within 48 hours then it will be given automatic approval.
Do not take down or amend your reviews.
Once your reviews have been posted, leave them alone. Do not amend them in any way and do not take them down. BookRoar will investigate any reports of unfair practices and will ban people from the community if they are found to be changing their reviews.
Do not copy reviews from elsewhere.
Amazon will know if you plagiarize your reviews and the moderators will let us know. Let’s keep things honest and fair.
We will not tolerate any abusive behavior either on our platform or elsewhere. Criticize the book, not the author.
When receiving a review
Self-moderate the reviews you receive.
BookRoar asks people to self-moderate the reviews they receive. This means checking that the review is live on Amazon and Goodreads and agreeing that the reviewer has engaged with your book and has provided decent feedback. Please do not try to reject a review just because you don’t like the content or the score.
Self-moderate your reviews as soon as possible.
When you receive notification of a review you will have 48 hours to agree that it is live on Amazon and Goodreads. Please check your notifications regularly if you are expecting a review. We like to keep things speedy and fair, so please contact us if you have any issues.
Do not ask us to remove a negative score.
We all want our books to be awarded nothing but five-star reviews whilst we, as authors, are showered in accolades that celebrate our genius. But that is not how the real world works. We know negative feedback can be hard to stomach, but by writing a book you have entered a market where your work will be scrutinized. If you receive a bad review, accept it and move on. The best authors are thick-skinned and you should be too.
Don’t be humble.
You received some great feedback. Come on, let’s shout about it! Tell your family and friends. Let people know on social media. Print it off and pin it to your idea boards. Smile when you think about it. Nothing can beat that buzz.
So what should I include in my review?
Below are some ideas to think about whilst writing your reviews. Jot down your thoughts as you read through the book - you will find most of what you want to say will come to you before you reach the end.
Does the plot move along at a suitable pace? Did it keep you hooked? Does it fit in with the expectations of the genre? Does the book have a definite structure or does it follow an archetype? Is there enough cause and effect or do events happen without purpose?
Does the introduction set the tone? What are the main themes of the book? Are they consistent throughout? Was there any questionable content that made you feel uncomfortable? Do you think there was a good amount of world-building? Is the book too long or too short?
Were the characters likable? Were they believable? What were their flaws? Did you feel empathy or terror as they went along their journey? Did you care about what happened to them? Did they develop in any way or did they have a clear arc? Was there enough conflict? What was the dialogue like? Were the characters consistent and did they make choices based on who they are? Were there any stereotypes that you didn’t like?
What is the author’s voice? Is it unique? Do they use passive tense or rely heavily on adverbs? Is there too much ‘purple prose’ or long descriptions? Were there a lot of distracting mistakes? Was anything confusing, badly explained, or inaccurate? Is the writing style formal or casual, chaotic, or calm? Did anything make you laugh or cry? Was it easy or difficult to read? Why?
Would the cover grab your attention if you saw it in a shop? Does it meet the expectations of the genre? Do you like the cover’s typography or design? If there are illustrations or pictures inside the book then what are they like?
What did you like/dislike about the book? Did you get the closure you wanted when you finished reading? Has the author achieved their purpose or delivered what was promised in the blurb? Was the book memorable? Would you recommend it to a friend?
We suggest that your review should be roughly between 150 and 500 words. Be aware that the list above contains ideas only - it is not a checklist or a comprehensive list of what you could/should include.
Many reviews often follow a simple structure. You could start off by naming the author and summarizing the main themes/ideas/genres of the book, before moving on to highlight what you saw as the book’s strengths and weaknesses. You can also quote certain parts that stood out for you or talk about how the main themes affected the way you think about a particular issue. You could also compare it to other books or authors you may have read. Don’t forget to neatly summarise it in a meaningful and proper conclusion.
One more thing, please do not give bland advice along the lines of ‘show, don’t tell’. Not only is this advice subjective and ambiguous, but the act of ‘telling’ is largely misunderstood by many in the writing community. A lot of people have different ideas of what the advice actually means and personal preferences of when you should ‘show’ and when you should ‘tell’. Don’t be that person!