Writing a Book Review: What NOT To Do

Apr 12


Tanisha Williams

Tanisha Williams

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Writing a book review is a skill that can be helpful in influencing book choices for readers. For this reason, book reviewers are sought after in the writing industry by both authors and readers. However, in order for you to gain a good reputation as a book reviewer, there are certain areas to be avoided. Here is a list of NOT-to-do’s as a book reviewer.


If you’re not quite ready to make the final leap into becoming an Author,Writing a Book Review: What NOT To Do Articles consider getting your feet wet as a book reviewer. Book reviewers tend to attract a lot of recognition in the writing industry because they have the authority (arbitrarily speaking) to influence the opinions of scouting readers. Another appealing benefit is that there are no barriers to entry for becoming a book reviewer.  In fact, a simple browse through Amazon will affirm that millions have tried their hand at writing a book review.  So for you, the goal becomes distinction.  You have to make yourself stand out amongst the masses; and here are a few tips of what NOT to do in your quest for differentiation.


DO NOT Neglect to add a synopsis

Very often reviewers tend to start writing a book review without providing a short synopsis of the book. This is not the best approach.  Readers need to know a little about the book before thrusting them into the details of your review.  Offering a short synopsis about the book not only grabs the attention of prospective readers, but it also gives you more credibility by showing that you’ve actually read the book.  The overview doesn’t need to be long; a short two-three sentence summary to kick-off your review will suffice.  In the end you’ll find that not only will readers look forward to your book reviews, but Authors will come to recognize and appreciate the thoroughness of your work. 

DO NOT Give away the ending

Everyone hates spoilers! Still, there are reviewers that have a habit of giving away the most intriguing details of a book in their reviews. Try not to make this mistake.  If you give away the conflict, climax and resolution when writing a book review, then you’ll leave nothing left for the reader to look forward to. Instead, try and highlight what the reader can expect to gain from reading the book.  This can be an emotional benefit or something insightful and educational.  Your review becomes valuable when you’ve given readers an idea of whether or not the book can fulfill their own personal needs. 

DO NOT Provide a superficial insight

Don’t be superficial in your reviews by simply providing a basic idea of the plot and characters. If you start rambling too much about characters, there is a good chance the reader won’t know what you’re talking about anyway (unless of course it’s a sequel). Your job is to dissect the book’s deeper meaning and transfer your analysis into a comprehensive review.  You can even personalize your review by sharing what you gained from reading the book.  The more insightful you are, the more you’ll stand out from other reviewers.

DO NOT Lose balance

Imbalanced reviews have the tendency to either be overly positive or excruciatingly negative.  The overly positive reviews have “this is my relative” written all over them, and the brutally negative reviews scream “I’m a miserable loser”.  Consider writing a book review that blends the positives and the negatives. By doing so you’ll help the reader make a well-informed book choice without damaging the Author’s character or self-esteem.


All-in-all you’ll be able to differentiate yourself from other reviewers by providing readers with an insightful and balanced review of what you’ve read, without giving away all of the book’s juicy details. More importantly, when writing a book review, keep in mind that your primary goal is to help the reader, not hurt the Author.