Book reviews can be a great foot in the door if you are looking to get your writing published somewhere. Most magazines, whether online or print, will include book reviews about books that tackle the topics the magazine discusses. Also, most editors and staff writers are usually too busy to read books and review them themselves (unless they are specifically assigned to a book review column). Therefore, writing book reviews can be a great way to get started with a writing career. How do you write a great book review that will be sure to be noticed? Follow these tips to write a really interesting and unique book review.
Start with a Description of the Book
Many people that are reading your review may not know anything about the book you're reviewing. Instead of making them go find information on their own by searching for the book title, start out with a little description of the book. Make sure you avoid too long of a summary, though, because if too much of your article is a summary of the book, it won't be interesting. Start with a short paragraph or so that hits all the major points but doesn't give too much away. You don't want to tell your reader everything about the book, because then they won't have to read it at all. Just give enough information so your reader is interested in reading the book.
Objective Vs. Subjective
Some magazines like to publish book reviews that are completely objective. This means that they want a review of the book that doesn't share your opinion and that in which your opinion isn't obvious from reading what you wrote. If you hated a book, it might not be a great book to review. You probably want to review books that you enjoyed. This will give your review a positive spin. Avoid gushing about how much you loved the book, however. You should not include your personal reaction to the book until the very end, where you include a sentence or two about whether or not you would recommend a book and to whom you would recommend it.
Look through a Lens
A great way to get your review noticed is to look at a book through a specific lens. Read the book as a feminist would, for example, and talk about what a feminist might say to applaud or criticize the book. You can choose any number of lenses, and feminism is just one option. An economic lens, a family lens, the lens of a different nationality, or the lens of a child could all be interesting ways to look at a book. If you look at a book in this way, instead of just reading it and forming your own opinion, it will be much more interesting and marketable. This is especially the case if you look at a lens that relates to the subject of the magazine to which you are submitting. Feminist magazines love book reviews about books read through a feminist lens, for example, because it pertains to their readership.
Talk about the Writer's Style
Another great way to write a book review is to talk about the writer's style. Anyone can pick up a book and read for the plot, but it takes an experienced writer to note interesting things about another writer's style and write about them intelligently. Furthermore, most people want to know if a book is easy or fun to read over whether or not the subject matter will interest them.