Suggested Etiquette for Fair Reviews

Picture1Since 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: 

  1. Do not review a book in a genre you don’t normally read or like.
  2. 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.
  3. Just because an Advance Review Copy or a giveaway is free, doesn’t mean you should read it and review it. Be selective.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Spell check, spell check, and spell check your reviews. Enough said on that one.
  7. 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.
  8. Do not give a bad rating without explanation. “No,” is not a review and offers nothing to the potential reader.
  9. 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.
  10. Be professional. You are holding yourself up as an authority.

Warm hugs,


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16 thoughts on “Suggested Etiquette for Fair Reviews

  1. I totally agree with you. I write reviews and try my best to be as objective as possible. One of the first ‘reviewers’ to read my first novel wrote so spitefully and venomously, that I almost gave up writing and actually gave up doing any kind of marketing for an entire year. She informed me that the review was so bad, she would not publish it. I withdrew from the indie community in shame that my work was so horrible and fear that other reviewers would attack it. The result was that for a year, no one knew my book existed. As a new author, I was devastated by her remarks. I still keep that review to remind me what not to do when I review a book. Thank you for bringing up the topic.

    • Hi Zeece,

      I have had some really mean reviews myself so I can totally relate. I’m so glad you are back and have persevered. It’s inspiring.

      Warm hugs,

  2. I agree with what you are saying. When I read a review I don’t want an spoilers and I avoid the ones that do have the alert.
    Thank you for your advice….

  3. Thanks for writing this post! I try to be very fair in my reviews and definitely no spoilers. I almost always own the books I review as well. I know my blog doesn’t have a large following but I’m also posting on goodreads.

  4. Thanks so much for taking the time to educate people on some very common sense tips when writing a review. I try to keep my reviews short and sweet. I never post spoilers because I wouldn’t want someone else to ruin a book for me. Honestly when I read reviews and they are bad, it makes me want to read it more. When I see books with no reviews I will most likely purchase it. Also I give all author’s at least one chance (no matter the genre or topic) to impress me with their writing and keep my attention. Again thanks for the info

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