I’d like to ask for your help. Will you write a book review for The Beader’s Guide to Design?
I ask because reviews sell books. Gone are the days when publisher’s marketing departments passionately push one book like mine to bookstores, because, well… gone are bookstores (for the most part)! Potential readers now rely on online reviews to decide if they want to purchase a book.
If you’re not sure how to approach writing a review, keep reading.
Whether you like the book or not isn’t as important as you might think. Book reviews aren’t about opinions. What makes a good review is you expressing what you found valuable.
How To Write a Valuable Review of an Instructional Book
I’m currently taking The Story Cartel Course by writer/teacher Joe Bunting. Joe, who encourages us to both publish reviews each other’s work and to ask for reviews, inspired me to write this post. Some of these guidelines were inspired by him and his work.
Your job as a reviewer is to help readers discover whether they will enjoy the book.
Questions to consider answering:
- Did the author communicate concepts and instructions clearly?
- Was the writing style engaging and easy to read?
- Was enough information presented to challenge you?
- What information was included in the book and what did you learn (or disagree, or not learn) from it?
- Were accompanying diagrams, photos, and illustrations appropriate? Did you learn from them?
- Are you more empowered and knowledgeable as a result of reading the book?
And finally, I agree with Joe’s question “Did this book succeed or not? The question is not “did you like this book?” Your review is not about you. It’s about the reader.”
You may want to focus on a section or chapter that you learned from (or didn’t learn from for a specific reason) and quote from it.
If You Don’t Like the Book
Joe Bunting says “I always err on the side of leaving positive rather than negative reviews, even if the book doesn’t suit my taste. If you follow these rules, readers will be able to see whether the book is for them or not, regardless of whether you give them a verdict or not. As John Updike said, “Try to understand what the author wished to do, and do not blame him for not achieving what he did not attempt.”
A good reviewer rises above her own personal preference as a sign of respect to both readers and the author who wrote the book.
And if the book failed, give the author the benefit of the doubt. Updike said, “Try to understand the failure. Are you sure it’s his and not yours?”
However, if you still think the book is bad, remember your first loyalty is to the reader: Leave the bad review!”
Thank you in advance for writing a book review either on Amazon or Barnes & Noble: