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Thursday, April 20, 2017

With Love for Reviews

By Suze
My third Netgalley anniversary is on May 16th. I've reviewed almost 500 Netgalley books alone in the past three years and hope I've helped the authors to get extra attention for their books. Because of this I'd like to give the importance of reviews for authors some extra promotion again.

I've asked many of our blog readers via giveaways if they leave reviews. The replies were versatile, but the main reason for people not to leave a review is lack of confidence. The second reason not to do it is lack of time. Reviews are important to authors, they can make (or sometimes unfortunately even break) their careers. 
Authors can gain more visibility on Amazon through their reviews. Amazon only shows books to visitors if they have a certain number of reviews. If you love a book and want the author to do well, it's important that you show your love by leaving a review. This doesn't have to be a professionally written review of several paragraphs, even one sentence does already suffice.
I have a few tips and tricks that might help you to gain more confidence. When I first started book blogging I didn't even dare to tag the author and publisher on twitter when I reviewed their book, I was so insecure and thought my reviews wouldn't be good enough. By writing more reviews my confidence started to grow and now I'm just having fun writing them and never think about if they're good enough or not. I wish I would have enjoyed it more in the beginning as I found out that authors like reviews. It doesn't matter if they're perfect or not, they mean the world to them.
If you don't know where to start when you want to write a review try to focus on the part of the book that you liked the most and write about that. It's what made you enjoy the book and it's a perfect base for your review. At With Love for Books we use the same review template for all of our reviews. We first try to tell in our own words what the book is about. We always write something about the main characters, the writing style itself and the overall feeling the story gives us. We use what stands out about a story and take that as our main focus point. That way we know what to say and there's structure in the reviews. This is just an example of how you can build up a review. Try to find what works for you. By writing more reviews your confidence and skill will grow. If you want your reviews to be several paragraphs long, but often have a writer's block, developing a template might help you to prevent it.
At With Love for Books we only publish the positive reviews. That doesn't mean we don't have to leave the negative ones anywhere. When we write them we usually work with bullet points. We start with what did we like about the book and then we describe what we didn't like and why. If you're going to be negative be objective and constructive. You can say things in many different ways and you can deliver your message in a friendly manner, even if what you have to say is not positive. Writing books is a vulnerable profession. Authors put their whole heart and soul in their stories. Take that into account when you write about what you didn't like about their story.
Don't be a parrot. I've seen it happen numerous times, an author is being slaughtered on every review site because one influential reviewer has said something bad and a large number of people repeat it while they don't agree or a book is being praised by people who didn't actually like it. It's often obvious in most of those cases that the readers feel differently, but aren't confident enough to write down their own opinion instead. If you know this can happen to you, write your review before you read reviews by others. Try to remain objective. If you don't know what to say about a book it's perfectly all right to read other reviews for inspiration, but try to stick to the feeling the book gave you and not phrase someone else's because you're afraid your opinion is wrong. You feel what you feel and that is always right.
Don't copy someone else's review without their permission. It isn't decent to do this and it can really hurt someone's feelings. There's copyright on reviews as well as on books. If someone has found the most perfect words to describe a book and you'd like to use them, ask them if you can quote them. Most reviewers would feel flattered.
If you really don't know what to say or don't have the time to write a long review try these one-liners, which can be freely used by everyone who wants to have some help writing a review. 
I absolutely loved this gripping book.
... is such a heartwarming romantic story, I highly recommend it.
... is a story with interesting main characters and a beautiful setting.
...'s writing is amazing and I fell in love with this story straight away.
This book is an absolute must-read, it kept me on the edge of my seat from beginning to end.
I really loved this emotional rollercoaster.
...'s writing is realistic and I could easily sympathize with the main characters.
I loved the amazing chemistry between the main characters, ... has written a fantastic sexy book.
I'm a big fan of creepy stories and loved this surprisingly scary book.
I really liked this story filled with interesting twists and turns.
This story is filled with suspense, gorgeous main characters and unexpected surprises.
I highly recommend this compelling read.
... has a beautiful writing style and this book is very special.
 I love this series and highly recommend this second/third/fourth, etc. book.
... is a delightful story with fascinating main characters, many interesting emotional layers and brilliant writing.
I love this brilliant heartwarming story.
I highly recommend this wonderful book filled with mouthwatering descriptions of cake/food.
I had tears in my eyes while I was reading this sad, but beautiful story.
... is an absolute must-read, because of the gripping suspense/beautiful love/complex thought-provoking story, etc.
... is bittersweet, it moved me to tears, but it also put a big smile on my face.
I couldn't stop laughing while I was reading this fabulous humoristic story.
I love funny books and really liked ...'s sense of humor.
I loved this amazing book about a main character who knows how to stand up for himself/herself.
I highly recommend this book about a fierce girl/guy who always knows what to say.
I greatly admire ... because of his/her beautiful, unique writing style.
... has written about a fantastic topic that everyone should read about.
This is one of my books of the year and it's a story you shouldn't miss.
I love it when a book makes me feel many different things and really enjoyed ... because of this.
I loved this enchanting story.
... knows how to write a magical story and definitely managed to enchant me.
... never fails to cast a spell on me, his/her stories are brilliant.
I loved ...'s creative world building and highly recommend his/her book.
... always manages to surprise me, I love his/her thrilling/gripping stories.
I loved this fantastic book that ended with a spectacular cliff-hanger.
...'s main characters really stand out and because of them this story is absolutely wonderful.
I couldn't put down this fantastic gripping book and read it in one sitting.
... is an experienced and skillful writer and he/she has written another brilliant story that I highly recommend.
This beautiful heartbreaking story will move anyone to tears.
I loved this complex, chaotic story, it's a real challenge.
... knows exactly what he/she is writing about, I loved this well-researched story very much.
I really enjoyed reading this amazing fast-paced story.
I absolutely loved this charming story.
... is entertaining and original, I highly recommend it.
I really liked this beautiful creative story.
...'s setting is magical and he/she made it come to life incredibly well.
I highly recommend this terrific book.
... managed to captivate me from beginning to end.
I enjoyed reading this compelling story very much.
I'm a big fan of stories about ... and this book is definitely a good one.
I highly recommend this shocking, but terrific story.
... made me laugh out loud several times and I loved this wonderful humoristic story.
I really liked this sweet romantic story with adorable/endearing/sexy/kindhearted main characters.
... is a strong debut with plenty of interesting twists and turns.
... managed to surprise me multiple times and I absolutely loved that about his/her story.
... is a beautiful, moving story with interesting main characters.
... is a book with beautiful main characters inside and out.
I was greatly impressed by this fantastic intelligent/gripping/compelling/riveting/scintillating/thought-provoking story.
Leave reviews and try to enjoy what you do, knowing that you help someone by doing it. A good review puts a smile on someone's face and constructive criticism will help them to get better. Good luck and have fun!


  1. This reminds me of lists of appropriate comments to put on school reports!!

  2. Brilliantly useful posts for us all. Thanks Suze

  3. Thanks for the advice. I never know what to write, but I try to make it personal, and unique to each book.

  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  5. Thank you for this wonderful advice. I always leave a review :)

  6. I just started by book blog and your tips made my day! 😍
    Thanks for the advice and you're right, I didn't write reviews beacuse I feared I was not good enough but then I thought I wanted to help the authors and to express my thoughts about books, which are my life.

    1. I'm glad they help, good luck with your blog and have fun writing reviews :). x

  7. Thanks for sharing your very helpful review tips.

  8. Fantastic advice! Love the reviews you guys post. They are so meaningful and really capture the essence of the books you read. x

    1. Thank you so much for your sweet words JB! Suze and I put a lot of time and effort into our posts and it's good to know that it shows. <3 <3 Love, Anniek

  9. Thanks for those lines! Those are very helpfull for me!!!

  10. I'm a fist time reviewer and your tips were really helpful. Thank You!

  11. Thanks for sharing your insight and expertise with all us "newbies" out there!

  12. I've just started my book blog, it's something I've wanted to do for a while now and I'm nervous as hell but I'll get there. This was really helpful, thanks!!

  13. Congratulations on your third Netgalley anniversary. I enjoyed reading this post and that list you wrote of suggestions is wonderful, thanks so much for sharing with us :-)

  14. This article was really informative and it has helped me understand the importance of book reviews to authors. Also, reading this has helped me gain the confidence to write reviews and know how to write a good and effective review. Thanks!

  15. A lovely, informative, and very inspiring post, thank you for encouraging everyone to leave reviews Suze, this is a wonderful initiative, let's hope other people follow your lead too!! xx

  16. A lovely, informative, and very inspiring post, thank you for encouraging everyone to leave reviews Suze, this is a wonderful initiative, let's hope other people follow your lead too!! xx

  17. Thanks for the tips. My reviews tend to be short and more about what I thought rather than what tbe book is about.

  18. Awesome advice! I always want to write reviews but never know what to say. Thanks :)

  19. Brilliant post, Ms Suze. I did reviewing for a book club, but I want to start my own review blog, a personal one. I didn't know where and how to start review for personal blog. Thank you for sharing these tips.

  20. This is a great post! lots of suggestions and tips. highly appreciated!

  21. thanks for this. I've read alot of books but hardly give reviews but this will help.

  22. I have been trying to review the books I have been reading so far! I have just had the time to do some reading everyday so I am reading a lot of them! Great tips and they are really important to do for the authors!

  23. I enjoy these comments! I have been doing some book reviews and sometimes it is hard to know what to say!! Great ideas and thanks for them!! Rita Spratlen

  24. Really deep poetic post, I like this, resonates with many.

  25. I really love this. Thanks so much. I hope so see more.

  26. I've recently started to leave reviews and this is so hopeful because sometimes I have gigantic brainfarts.

  27. This is such an awesome, helpful article for reviewers and authors. As an author, I'm realizing how much reviews matter and have been a little surprised at how many people are intimidated by review writing. You give some really great pointers and I'll be referring people to this post! Thanks :)

  28. love your reviews, they always make me want to dig into the book!

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