Monday, January 12, 2009

Reviewing for Beginners

After reading a book:
-Digest it and really think about what you’ve read. Was it good? Was it bad?

Writing a review:
-The way most reviews are set up is like this:

(book title)
First paragraph –the first half-: (the summary of the book)
Second paragraph –the second half-: (what you thought of it)

Some people combine the summary of the book while they are writing about what they thought of it. Whatever you feel is best for your reviews, go for it.

*example of a "combined" review here, example of a two-paragraph review here.

-The main things to remember while writing a review is:

keeping your voice (You don’t have to sound professional. Your audience is a wide range of ages. What about that 10-year-old who wants to read a 600-page book? Don’t let him or her down. Write simply so that everyone can understand it.)

the cons (I know hurting feelings isn’t something that you may look forward to as a reviewer, but if there are cons in the book that you’ve read, you have to mention them. It’s not the author you are writing against so don’t worry about hurting any feelings.)

the pros (If there are pros in the book that you’ve read, make sure to describe them, pinpoint them. Your readers are looking for reasons to read the book that you are suggesting to them. Make it worth their while!)

the length of the review (Be extra careful with the length of your review. If it’s too long, let’s say 500-words, people won’t read it. But, the main thing is: the summary of the book and what you thought of it should be the same length! I have seen in far too many reviews that the summary is always longer. Readers can read the summary anywhere! What they really want to know is if it’s good or if they should skip out on it. Make it clear!)

Q: How many words is a review?
There is no specific word amount for writing reviews. But I think they should always be at least 200 words long with 100 words in the first paragraph and 100 in the second.

Q: What do I do with my review when I am done writing it?
There are special websites that you can become a member of so that you may post your own reviews. Good sites to check out are GoodReads and LibraryThing.

Q: I heard that you could get free books to review. How does that work?
Publishers want feedback and readers want books. The easiest way for publishers to get publicity is through websites. That’s why they give away free books. They want people to talk about their books so that more people become interested and buy them. Most of time, you have to return the favor with a review of the book. It’s not so hard really! HarperCollin’s Children’s First Look Program only wants a 20-word review so that means you get to keep your free ARC!

Q: What are some sites that have free books that I can review?
See these posts: Part One and Part Two. There are always extra opportunities around the web so keep an eye out.

Q: I’ve been a little hesitant to ask, but… what is an ARC?
An ARC is uncorrected proof of a book that is not yet published, which means it’s a draft of the actual book. ARC stands for “Advanced Reader’s Copy”. An ARE is the same thing but stands for “Advanced Reader’s Edition”. When my sister became a reviewer, she got a free ARC in the mail to review. I asked her what an ARC was and was so embarrassed. But there is no need to be. You have to begin at the starting line before you can reach the finish line.

1 comment:

  1. Great tips! I've been wondering what ARC is for a long time now...thanks for explaining!


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