Use A Book Review Template
By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin
I do not like to reinvent the wheel. If someone else has already created a pattern that I can follow, then that is easier than making an original. I have written over 1,000 book reviews on Amazon and over 600 reviews on Goodreads. I've written about these reviews in the past—but never this particular aspect of my reviews. In this process, I use almost the same pattern for my reviews every time.
I've written about how I add my bio and a link to my latest book in a previous article (follow this link if you haven't seen it). As I read or listen to a book, I will open a Word file on my computer and even before completing it, I will add some thoughts about the book. Often these “thoughts” become the outline of what will eventually become my review. I use the previous review as my template. Every review needs a headline, then an opening paragraph and possibly a middle paragraph with a quotation from the book (optional) and a concluding paragraph.
I've also written about how I often listen to bestselling books. Part of my stance in publishing is to always be learning and listening to what the current public is reading. It comes from reading the trades and following the publishing market. Recently I heard the bestselling books from Chris Wallace about the making of the first atomic bomb called Countdown 1945. While this book released in early June, I got on the Overdrive list for the book and just recently was able to listen to it. Ironically I was listening to the final portion of this book on August 6th or exactly 75 years since the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan. Listening to the details of these stories exactly 75 years since they occurred gave me chills about the timing. I post the same review on Goodreads as I post on Amazon (follow the links if you want to see how the review appears on these sites).
Last year I wrote about the missing link for writing book reviews. I pointed to an inexpensive template my friend Sandra Beckwith has created. Here's the link to her product (and it is not an affiliate link from me). Many people who are not writers, have no idea what to write for a review. Sandra has a fiction and a nonfiction template for writing a book review. In this article I'm recommending that you create your own little template. For example, each of my recent reviews on Amazon include an active link to one of my books. Currently I am promoting my latest book, 10 Publishing Myths, using this feature. You can learn how I do it in this article.
One of the keys from my experience is having a plan, creating a simple system that works for you, and then executing that system every time. For example, almost every book that I read or hear, I write and post a review. Over the years, that amount of reviewing has added up to be substantial. It is not anything fancy but happens through taking consistent action. Whether you create your own book review template, as I have done, or use one from Sandra Beckwith, I recommend you use a template to speed up the writing process and get it done.
Do you use a template when you write a book review? Let me know your tips in the commends below.