Always review proof your book before okaying it
Five great quotations about book critics

Some guidelines for reviewing a book

Once 240_F_116020220_P7d6vg21T0E6GYXWJ9W3XWj3XJ7eKBGZyou’ve asked someone to write a review for your book, you might be peppered with a few questions: How long should it be? What do you want me to say? When do you need it by?

Consider handing them a copy of the instructions below, particularly if they’re writing a customer review that appears on or Barnes & Noble’s websites or writing a recommendation or Goodreads:
• Length – Any review longer than 250 words is too long if appearing online. Most readers won’t wade through text that is any longer. If a reviewer does write that many words, have them break it up into at least a couple of paragraphs as a large block of text can be hard on the eyes.
• Structure – Write a paragraph like your eighth-grade language arts teacher taught you: topic sentence; three supporting points; an example for each supporting point; conclusion sentence. It’s that simple.
• Content – Focus on the book’s content. That means no profanity, no defamation of the author or other people, and no book ordering information. The first two are in bad taste while the last already is given on the page and so wastes the reader’s time. By the way, don’t give a plot spoiler either.
• Headline – Readers often select which reviews they’ll look at based on the headline. So make it catchy. Use a subject-verb-direct object format as in ‘Twin Identity’ takes reader on tear-jerking romp (‘Twin Identity’ is the subject, takes is the verb, and reader on tear-jerking romp is the direct object.). Avoid using articles (a, an, the) and conjunctions (and, but, or).
• Typos – Don’t write the review in the little box where it is posted on the website. Instead, use a word processing program and run the review through spell check. Then paste it into the box and upload.
• Rules – Be aware of the website’s rules for writing and posting reviews (certain fields must be entered, such as giving the book a rating); others have a minimum age for who can write a review.

A final note: Don’t tell bloggers or mainstream media how to write your review. They already know and more importantly, they have house guidelines – both for writing style and professional ethics – that limit what they can and cannot do.

Need an editor? Having your book, business document or academic paper proofread or edited before submitting it can prove invaluable. In an economic climate where you face heavy competition, your writing needs a second eye to give you the edge. Whether you come from a big city like San Antonio, Texas, or a small town like Toad Suck, Arkansas, I can provide that second eye.


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