There are people who earn a living writing reviews while others consider it a part-time hobby. The principles remain the same in both cases.
Skills Needed to be a Book Reviewer
An ability to read fast is important, as is the skill to write. Most book reviewers have been exposed to a wide range of genres and are able to make educated comments about the content of the books they read. An open mind is essential for finding positive aspects in a work that is not to personal taste.
How to Write a Book Review
An important part of a review is summarizing the book in a few sentences. This needs to be done in a way that will entice the reader in, but does not give away the ending. A summary of several important facts will often suffice.
Personal Opinion in a Book Review
Contrary to general journalistic practice, book reviews should include the writer’s personal opinion. How did the book move her? What insight did he gain from reading it? Did the story linger in her mind for days after? Mention the emotions evoked by the book so the readers will have an idea of what to expect.
Points to Include in a Book Review
The following are some of the areas that are important in book reviews:
- Story line
- Style and genre
- Underlying message or theme
- Main characters
- Point of view
- Physical setting
- Time period
- The author
- Publisher and where to buy the book
How to Source Books
New books are released on a regular basis and publishers and authors are always looking for reviewers. In some cases the book will be sent as a pdf or a physical copy may be posted out to the reviewer or the magazine, newspaper or website they work for.
Finding a Market for Book Reviews
Many newspapers and magazines publish book reviews. Some have their own staff reviewers but others rely on freelancers. There are also websites that publish book reviews and some will supply the books. If all else fails, practise by writing reviews of books read onto Amazon.com or blogs. These can be used as published clips when applying for paid work so they should be written as professionally as possible.
The Downside of Book Reviewing
Reviewers have to read what is given to them. While this can be uncomfortable or boring, it is an ideal way of expanding an appreciation for different forms of writing as well as expanding knowledge.
Book reviewing can be a lot of fun and for avid readers, it is a wonderful way to make some cash and have a ready supply of free books. For those prepared to work at it, book reviewing can become a fulltime position.