Book reviews are important to both readers and authors, but only one percent of readers take the time to write reviews. With that in mind, I've created a set of easy peasy book review templates--one for positive reviews, one for critical reviews, and one for mixed reviews.
You can simply download the pdf, copy and paste the template, and fill in a few details. I'll show you how to use them, but first, let me say a few more things about the importance of book reviews.
Book reviews help readers. Not all readers look at reviews before they buy a book, but various polls and surveys suggest that the vast majority do. Reviews can help us determine how likely we are to enjoy a book.
Both good and bad reviews help. What one reader doesn't like may be just the thing another reader is looking for. For example, my novel Vampire Addiction received a two-star review by a famous booktuber because she despises love triangles, even though she loved the use of Greek mythology in the novel. At first, I thought her review would kill my sales, but the opposite happened.
A bad review may incite a reader's curiosity. Consider this two-star review of my novel, The Mystery Box: "This is definiitely one of the strangest books that I have ever read! Determined to finish the book, I kept thinking that Yvette was surely dreaming the bizarre story. Nope; she was living it. Some may enjoy the storyline but I found it disjointed and full of preposterous events. Think this will be my first and last novel by this author."
Reviews can help give readers a better idea about what kind of book it is, like this review of The Mystery Box: "After I finished reading it I kept running it over in my mind wondering 'would I do any different?' 'What else could they have done?' and so on. It's not an enjoyable read. It's not a great book. But it's haunting and mysterious and has a fine ending. However, if you do not like stories that are haunting, don't read this. If you don't like those books that have rape, psychological abuse, twists and turns to the very last page- you will not like this one."
Book reviews help authors. Although the purpose of reviews is primarily to help readers to discover books, reviews are helpful to authors, too. Reviews help authors to gauge how well they are satisfying their readers. For example, although my book Hades's Promise received many stellar reviews by readers claiming to love the ending, the book received enough reviews expressing disappointment to give me pause. For example: "I really liked this book. The only part I was disappointed with was the ending. It felt a little rushed and I really hated the fact that the main characters had to give up so much just to be with one another. I really hoped for a happier ending. Otherwise the book was awesome just like the ones that came before it." Reviews such as this spurred me to continue the series to give the characters a happier ending.
Reviews also help authors to get promotional opportunites. Most advertisers won't allow authors and publishers to purchase a promotional package unless the book being promoted has a certain number of reviews.
Reviews also sell books. The sheer number of reviews--good or bad--gives a book clout. A thousand reviews say, "This book was interesting enough to have been read by a thousand people."
Good book reviews have key ingredients:
A good book review begins with a brief summary. Some reviewers go overboard on the summary and make it longer than the actual review. A one-sentence summary is usually enough: A seventeen-year-old girl fights her addiction to the vampire bite. Or: A teen struggles to prove she's worthy to be with the god she loves. Or: Three friends want to bring peace to ghosts haunting a flip project. Also, notice that the summary is written in present tense. It's customary to use present tense when describing the events of a novel.
A good book review compares the book to another, well-known book. This will give readers a better idea of the book, as in this review of The Mystery Box: "If you have read Gone Girl and enjoyed it- then this is your kind of book. If you did not like Gone Girl you will not like this book. It is haunting."
A good book review explains what is most enjoyable or disappointing about a book's plot and character, without spoilers. This review of my novel, Secrets of the Greek Revival, is a good example: "Slightly wacky ladies, humor & good intentions result in a very interesting story." Here's part of a critical one of the same book: "A couple of the characters went from complete mental disfunction for decades to near normal in record time."
A good book review describes the overall impression a story has on the reader. Here's another example from a review of Secrets of the Greek Revival: "The bottom line is that you get a beautifully crafted, wonderfully suspenseful story about likeable, authentic people caught up in the most intriguing of circumstances."
A review should never comment on an author's person. It's better to say, "This book makes me so happy or so mad" than "This author makes me so happy or so mad." It's okay to say, "I hate this book for x, y, and z," but not okay to say, "I hate this author for x,y, and z." Here's a snippet from another review of my novel, The Mystery Box: "I skimmed the text after the first 25%, impatient to understand plot outcome. It feels that the author is a victim of a Dissociative Personality Disorder. The overwhelming final effect is sympathy for the fragmented/shattered (smart/dumb) personality of Eve Pohler and very much wishing her well." This kind of writing is uncalled for. How dare this person diagnose me based on a fictional novel?
Most authors and readers are grateful for a review, even if they don't have all the ingredients of a "good" book review. My templates were designed to make review writing easier, to encourage more people to leave reviews. We're all busy and leaving a review isn't a priority for most of us.
Simply click on the image below and save the pdf to your device, so you always have it handy. Then, after you finish a book, choose between the positive, critical, or mixed review templates. Paste the text into the review field on Goodreads, Bookbub, or your favorite online book vendor. Replace your details in place of the brackets. Feel free to add to or modify the wording. Then press submit. You might also consider copying and pasting your review to other platforms.
I hope you find my templates useful!
Click on the image below to download and print your FREE review templates.