Good reviews are always honest reviews. Constructive criticism is how authors learn to improve their work.
Nobody likes getting a “bad” review, but that honesty is what helps authors, like myself, learn how to write better. There’s a difference between being downright mean and offering genuine, constructive criticism. Below, you’ll find an outline to writing meaningful reviews that help indie authors know where they need to improve to help maintain and build their audience.
The Book Cover:
Let’s be real here. We all judge books by their covers. There’s no getting past it – and it’s the number one reason why people will skip out on reading your story. Your book cover needs to reflect the genre you’re writing in and shouldn’t look like a bad photoshop project. Letting author’s know how enticing their book cover design is – or isn’t – in a tactful way can help the author garner more attention to their beloved novel. The writing inside may be excellent, but no one would ever know under that rough-looking exterior.
Without this part, there wouldn’t be a book to begin with. As a reviewer, it’s important to let authors know if their plot doesn’t make sense. Usually our beloved Beta Readers will catch our plot holes but sometimes they’re missed during the self-publishing process. Luckily for us, places like KDP allow us to keep updating our works so we can fix them!
This kind of ties into the plot, but this is the area where you let us know what you really think about the characters we’ve created. Are they relatable? Do they have enough flaws to be believable? Are they too perfect? Did they create enough tension to drive the plot forward? Did they inspire certain feelings or emotions? No one wants their characters to be boring and unmemorable. That’s where you come in to lay it down for us!
When assessing the writing style of an author, some of the things to look out for are:
- The flow – is the story slow or too fast-paced.
- Interruptions – does the author switch between 1st and 3rd person POV without direction? Are there too many scene breaks? Are there periods where the reader comes out of the story?
- Dialogue – Is there too much or too little internal/external dialogue? Does the dialogue add or subtract from the plot of the story?
- Descriptions – Is there too much or too little description? Does the book seem balanced between description and dialogue?
Alright, alright. To err is human, but when a book is riddled with grammatical mistakes it brings the reader out of the fantasy we’ve tried to create. Pointing out issues helps authors improve their writing, especially if it’s a mistake that is repeated throughout the book. Grammar is still important!