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Book Reviewing Do's & Don'ts

Writing a book review is easy, but writing a good one is considerably hard. Especially if you're a newbie and have no prior experience. Most people make mistakes, but if you want to be in this field or choose it as a full-time career, you need to know the basics. 

There are different kinds of reviewers; some like to talk about the plot. While some want to pen about the author's decisions and focus on story dimensions and characters. Other reviewers write just about the things they loved throughout the book, while others rant about what they didn't like. 

Although there is no explicit direction on how to write a book review? But there are a few things that one must avoid at all costs while reviewing a novel.


1. No Spoilers -
The whole purpose of writing a book review, for the most part, is to give a taste of the story to the potential readers who are wondering if they should read the book or not. Therefore, writing reviews and explaining all that you've encountered while reading is fine as long as it does not reveal the whole story or ending because it would defeat the idea of reading the book. 

They won't be able to experience their first "ooh"s and "aah"s while reading it because, thanks to the spoiler, now they already know what's going to happen next. Thus, it's essential to note how much you reveal when you talk about a book.


2. Too Wordy to Understand -
Ever heard of the phrase, less is more? That's precisely what you have to do. Keep it simple while describing the books you want to review. 

Sure, using beautiful, poetic words that sound music to the ears can look ideal, but simple words are easier to understand and give your audience a sense of reliability. 

You are probably writing a review because you like books, and you want other book lovers like you to engage with this particular read you found. Your focus, thus, should be on promoting and critiquing the book, not and adequately how intelligent your sentences sound. 

Using too wordy language in your review might also cause confusion for people to get what you're trying to say about the book, which, again, defeats the purpose of writing the review. So, it's best to keep it casual.


3. False Review and Rating -
People read reviews before buying or using any product to get an honest understanding of what the product is about. That's because people trust a familiar person's idea of feedback and see how their needs fit with the product. 

But what if reviewers are not honest? Often, unintentionally, book reviewers may send out a biased rating and feedback instead of what they genuinely feel about the book just so they don't have a silent falling out with the author. Or maybe because they follow a specific ideology towards the book that many might disagree with, which makes them ashamed to put their feedback out, in all honesty. 

It's one of the top few mistakes to avoid while writing book reviews. It's imperative for a reviewer to be honest about the product or the content they consume so that the person reading and contemplating through their analysis can make a good decision.


4. The Buying Experience -
A book review can be a lot of things. It can be the basic plot summary of the book you are reviewing. It can be your personal reading experience or fun facts about the author when they were writing about this book but merging your buying experience or how the shipping got delayed is not something you would want to include in your book review.

Book reviews deal mainly with the bookish details that would greatly interest other readers before buying the book. In contrast, a buying experience does not add value to anything that any other potential reader of that book would want to know, as that experience is personal to you.


5. Subjective or Biased Opinions -
We all have favorites, don't we? Favorite authors, favorite tropes, favorite genres. Sometimes this favoritism can lead to subjective opinions that add no real value to your book review. For example, maybe
 you don't like a particular trope, so you didn't like the book you are reviewing; in that case, it would be best to keep in mind that some other person might like the particular trope you hate. 

Doing your review is all about what you are subjectively biased about will not interest or add value to people who read your book reviews, and thus, it needs to be avoided as much as possible. 

Of course, writing a review also means talking about your personal views, but it's best to not make recommendations based on those personal opinions and have instead the reader decide.


6. Insults and Abuse -
Some books can get outrageous, for they may not follow what you believe in, but insulting and writing an abusive review to the author is not a professional way of dealing with things. It does not help either of the persons involved. 

It is one of the enormous mistakes to avoid while writing a book review. If you don't like a book, you don't have to be rude; instead, you can always politely explain all the reasons why the book did not work for you.


7. Lack of Clarity -
Book reviews are best for both potential readers as well as authors whose book you are reviewing. It's a great way of knowing what the audience likes and what they don't. This calls for clarity in writing book reviews. 

You can't be complaining and praising about a particular aspect of the book just simultaneously. Transparency will also help the book's potential readers who would read your reviews know and decide whether to engage with the book's content based on what you write. Still, if your review is not comprehensible, it once again defeats the purpose of reviewing.


8. Repetitions -
Some things that we read get us overexcited, making us want to mention it more than once. Repeating what you had already discussed in your review will only make the people reading your review feel bored and might lead them to lose interest in a potentially good book.


9. Grammatical Errors - 
While writing your review, make sure it is error-free. Many reviewers post the review with typos, double-space, spelling mistakes, etc., which leads to a bad reading experience for both your readers and the author. 

Many times, reviewers think that this is insignificant, but trust me, it is not. It'll make or break your reliability as a book reviewer. Because if the reader knows that all of your work is filled with mistakes all the time, they will not come back to your platform. So always spend a quality amount of time editing before publishing the review.


10. Plagiarism -
Plagiarism is a considerable offense you must avoid at all costs while creating any type of content. Many people copy and paste someone else's work as their own; it is unethical, and if the content is subject to copyright, then you'll get into legal trouble as well. 
It is a serious issue and should not be entertained at all. Always remember to be original. 


Conclusion -
There are many ways of writing a good book review that might inspire other people to read; however, there are some close limits that you must not cross and should avoid at all costs. Hope you could take something informative from this article and use it to avoid writing a bad book review. 

Good luck reviewing!


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