How to write a book review

So you want to write a book review, but you don’t know how? Let me guide you with these six simple steps. (You can stop at number one if you’re really short on time!)

1.     Choose the number of stars

This is the minimum requirement for a review on Amazon. If you haven’t the time to actually write anything, posting stars is still helpful. But what do the stars mean in the book world? Well, I try to think of it like this:

3 stars: It was OK, but…

4 stars: I liked/really liked it.

5 stars: I loved it.

2.     The title

On Amazon, you will be asked to give your review a short title. I suggest coming back to this once you have figured out what to write in your review. You can use your content to inspire your title.

So, onto that content! I will now give you some ideas to consider. You could work through all of them, or just pick out the ones that seem most relevant for the book you have just read.

3.     A short summary of the book

Preferably without spoilers, this could be your version of a blurb for the book. A describe-the-book-in-sixty-seconds type paragraph. If somebody asked you what it’s about, what would you say?

4.     Your favourite (or least favourite) things about the book

What did you think of the characters, the plot, the setting? Did it make you laugh? Did it make you cry? Did you have any favourite characters or moments? What stood out for you overall? Was it easy to follow or confusing?


Are you somebody who underlines or highlights when they read? Do you have a favourite quote? Maybe it’s something you found particularly funny or emotive?

6.     A concluding paragraph

If you’ve gone for a long review, this could be your final paragraph. If not, this could be your only paragraph. Sum up your overall thoughts on the things I’ve mentioned above and consider who you think would like this book, e.g. fans of a particular author/book series/genre/tv show.

Finally, if you haven’t already, go back and fill in the title. It’s a lot easier now, right? Give your review a quick read through and then submit it. If you have typos or bad spelling and grammar, don’t worry, you’re not going to be judged; this isn’t an essay for English Lit class. Go forth and tell more people about the book you just read!

One final note

Please remember that authors are real people too. Whilst honesty is always appreciated, there are nicer ways of putting things. If you are determined to leave a negative review, consider formatting your thoughts into a “shit sandwich” (positive – negative – positive) to avoid coming across too harshly.

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