Since anyone can call themselves a reviewer these days and an authority on authored works, I thought as an author I could offer some advice for well-written, fair reviews. Here are my top ten suggestions on how to be a good and fair reviewer:
- Do not review a book in a genre you don’t normally read or like.
- Do not read a book for review on a subject matter you find offensive. Stating that you find the subject matter offensive and rating it poorly does not tell the reader about the book but about your personal preferences.
- Just because an Advance Review Copy or a giveaway is free, doesn’t mean you should read it and review it. Be selective.
- If you read a book by an author and don’t like their style, DO NOT read and review another book by the same author. This seems like common sense to me, but I see it done all the time.
- Do not be mean in your reviews or attack the writer. You have every right not to like a story and communicate why that is, just don’t make it personal. You do not know the writer, or what motivates him or her.
- Spell check, spell check, and spell check your reviews. Enough said on that one.
- This is the most important one so please read it a couple of times. DO NOT INCLUDE SPOILERS. Again, as a reviewer, your job is to help other readers make good choices in finding books. If you give the WHOLE story away, there is no reason for someone to read the book themselves. AND it is frustrating to the author, whether you loved the story or not. If you have to put in spoilers then at least tag it as such. Make it very clear so people will know upfront what they are about to read. On Goodreads, you can tag your reviews with a spoiler alert.
- Do not give a bad rating without explanation. “No,” is not a review and offers nothing to the potential reader.
- Consider your own state of mind when writing a review. I have to assume, if you are a reviewer, you have a great love for books. You are an avid reader and hope to find the best books to read and share with others. Objective reviews are a benefit to everyone.
- Be professional. You are holding yourself up as an authority.