Friday, May 28, 2010

Armchair BEA: Writing Book Reviews That Reflect YOU!


In this crazy book blogging world that I've happily become a part of there are many ways to get out there and meet authors and other book bloggers. The biggest annual event is Book Expo America. The problem for me is it is in New York mid-week and I just couldn't afford the cash or the time off work. So there was this fabulous group of book bloggers with similar issues who designed a similar program for those of us to 'participate' from home called Armchair BEA. Awesome! This way all of us can contribute useful ideas in whatever way we can that help teach each other just like as if we were there, only we get to do it from the comfort of our home.

I thought I would discuss the art/science/whatever of writing book reviews that reflect YOU, because let's face it, ultimately your book blog is a reflection of you. It is great if you get a huge following and no, you are not there to slam the author, but the only way that people will respond to what you are writing is if you are writing something that is a part of you. People always respond to honesty.

Everyone has their method but if you don't or are working on developing one then maybe I can offer some tips and tricks to help get the creative juices flowing to help you find your voice. The best way to do that is to find the core of the book you just read that resonated with you. This works whether you liked the story of hated it or thought it was just meh. What is it you really want to say about the story to others so when they pick that book up they go, "Oh yeah, blogger so and so said this book was____". Hone that message!

I like to start my reviews with a story, sometimes it's why I picked the book up, or what the book meant to me while I was reading it. This helps shape a review for me. It's a method. Other people talk about characters they could see this playing in a movie. Some people cut straight to the chase and just go into the review. Bottom line, fine what works for you. People will get used to your style and know what to look for when they see your reviews.

Also, know that a review of a book you don't like is just as important, if not more important, than a book you love. I think that a lot of people are afraid to write reviews of books they didn't like. You don't have to make it into a character study of why the author was the worst ever. As long as your reasoning is thought out as to why the story just didn't work for you, then you are giving your readership a basis for trusting you. Otherwise if you are constantly recommending them crap books they may stop trusting you!

Now what works for you? Happy reviewing!

12 comments:

  1. Book reviews are something that I have changed overtime as I found a way to get my voice heard over just "this book is great". I am still constantly tweaking but getting closer!

    Great Article!

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  2. I totally agree! There is so much to be said for finding your voice in blogging. The reviews that just say "I liked/didn't like this book" get lost in the crowd. Over the last year I have definitely worked on developing my voice. Practice makes perfect!

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  3. I really like your suggestions. Sometimes I find it difficult to put into words what exactly resonated with me when writing a a review. When that happens, I usually end up not writing a review at all for the book. I just finished a particularly good book that I would like to share but am a little stumped on writing it. Your suggestions have given me a jumping off point.

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  4. These are great tips. I generally talk more about how I reacted to a book or character than I actually give a "proper" review. For me reading is all about what thoughts and feelings the book I am reading evoke in me.

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  5. One of the perks of reviewing books on a blog, as opposed to in a mainstream-media publication, is that we do get to work our personal reactions into what we write - in fact, it's pretty much expected. Great post!

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  6. Voice is so important to a book blogger. There are so many reviews out there. It's tough finding a new way to say the same thing.

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  7. Great ideas! I need to work on making my reviews my own. It is hard sometimes when you read blogs like "books I dun read" which do this so well. Still working, though!

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  8. I keep changing how I do my reviews. I can't seem to find exactly the best way for me. I do think that the personal aspect of the review is what makes the book blog review more interesting than the newspaper review. I personally don't care about a character being fully developed or whatever else.

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  9. I agree! A reviewer should share what about a book worked or didn't work. Those aspects help others decide if they will like a book. Moreover, what worked for one person may not work for another.

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  10. Great tips, as a blogger it's pretty sad that my least favorite thing to do is write a review. I will try to apply your ideas to help me do a better job.

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  11. Good food for thought. I'm always thinking of how I can improve my blog posts!

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  12. Always good advice. I'm glad you had fun with Armchair BEA.

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