By C. Hope Clark –
Many book aficionados write reviews. That’s great. However, if you are interested in writing reviews for publication or payment, you might consider how to formally write a review. In my own search for guidance, I came across this site that actually offers templates to escort you through the process.
But whether you write reviews for Amazon, blogs, magazines or newsletters/ezines, consider getting the formula right. Become known for your reviews and you might wind up as a paid reviewer, or as a minimum have a blog with advertisers knocking on your door.
The University of North Carolina has a great post on this at its Writing Center. http://writingcenter.unc.edu/handouts/book-reviews/ Basically, a reviewer gives the reader a concise summary, offers a critical assessment (good and bad), and ends the review with a suggestion as to whether the audience would enjoy the book.
Dru’s Book Musings is a fine example of prolific reviewing. She leans toward the cozy mystery but isn’t limited by such, and, oh boy, can she cover ground. Not only does she review, but she allows writers to do A Day in the Life posts with first person pieces by their protagonists. I did one once for Carolina Slade. http://drusbookmusing.com/2014/02/13/carolina-slade/ She has a decent amount of traffic on her site, offers regular giveaways, and appears at conferences. In other words, authors know her.
Or you can do reviews awash with humor or sarcasm or dark slaps, creating a “voice” for yourself. Some of NPR’s reviews are done in that vein, such as “Christian Grey Began His Fictional Career as a Vampire”. http://www.npr.org/2015/02/08/384695847/christian-grey-began-his-fictional-career-as-a-vampire
Or you can write for online magazines like Charleston Currents, a journal for the South Carolina Lowcountry. http://charlestoncurrents.com/ Or Columbia, SC’s Free Times. It took my best query abilities to entice the arts editor to provide an interview/book review of the Carolina Slade series. http://www.free-times.com/arts/agriculture-experience-bears-fruit-in-south-carolina-mystery-series-052814
You can become known for book reviews, but like all forms of writing, you have to be a honed writer, diligent, and consistent. It takes time, but you can find a way to take your enjoyment of reading to the book review level. It takes practice, hard work, and a knack for querying – like all writing. Or you can do reviews on your own, on your blog, and in that case, you need to build up your following and let authors know you are there for them. Then warn the postal person, because free books will flood your living room!
FINAL NOTE: Of course, if you need practice, you are welcome to do so with a Carolina Slade or Edisto Island Mystery.