The format of my book reviews has changed a lot over the past few years, but I think I’ve finally found my favourite way to write them.
When I first started blogging, my reviews would be 250-300 words, and that would include the book’s description – so they were pretty short. Back then, I was never happy with my reviews at all, because they all just sounded forced and awkward, because I found myself forgetting what I wanted to say by the time I sat down to write them.
The reviews were average at best, and I feel that I never put my point across as strongly as I wanted to. I would get bored as a reader if I’d have found this review on someone else’s blog, so why should I be posting things this quality on my own blog?
This is when I started a reading journal, which I really suggest for any reviewer. I write down the title of the book, and then as an idea springs into my mind of what I want to say, I quickly jot it down. As a bath reader, I don’t always have this on me! But if I don’t have my journal nearby, I write whatever it is in my notes app on my phone and then transfer it across when I next get chance. I feel that having a journal really helps me to make sure I include as many details as possible.
Once I started with a journal, I changed up my format, so my review was broken down into sections for description, why I bought it, what I thought, and then a star rating and what genre it is, finishing all off with a link to Amazon.
I found that my descriptions of books were impersonal, and rather than copying it from a website, wouldn’t it be better if I described the book in my own words? I love shying away from extra work, but I felt that it wasn’t right for half of my review to be written in someone else’s words.
After following this format for a while, I looked at my posts and saw that my ‘Why I Bought It’ section was getting smaller and smaller, and I realised that I really could include this information in the bulk of my review.
The bulk of my review wasn’t too bad, but I realised that if I included my own description of the book in here, and also why I bought it, it would really look a lot better.
I used to use Amazon Associates for linking buy links for books, but I don’t so much any more. I feel that if you are a larger blogger, it’s worthwhile, and especially if you blog about more than just books. But for me, after a year on the program I only earned 10p (that was one sale) and decided that it wasn’t worth the hassle, and I would prefer my readers to use physical bookshops if they can rather than just ordering straight from Amazon.
There’s nothing wrong with this format, but I felt that it was just bulky. I liked the fact that I had set things to say, and it meant there was more in my reviews because I always commented on what made me buy the book and what I liked and disliked. But it was all too organised. It became hard to split everything that I wanted to say into categories.
If you are someone who prefers splitting reviewing or writing up into little chunks, this style may be for you, but I just didn’t get along with it.
So I took that old format, and reworked it, so I say exactly the same things, but no headings to split it up.
I always try to include what made me buy the book, initial thoughts, and overall likes and dislikes. Now, I also include an embedded instagram post for each book, because I feel that it splits the post up nicely without having to add headings back in, and it also drives more traffic to my instagram profile.
I feel that with this format, I can be more personal in my reviews. I can say what I want to say and my writing just flows better. I’m a lot happier with my reviews now, and I feel like I’m getting a lot more into my posts than before.
I’m quite confident in writing my reviews now and I don’t feel as much of a fake, and I hope that people enjoy them.
I’m always checking out other blogs to see how I can improve, and I’d love to hear your advice!