How to write a picture book review is not as difficult as you might imagine. Everyone has an opinion about the items they buy. Reviewers are candid and honest, but when it comes to leaving a review about a book they enjoyed … they almost always stop. Reviews are critical to authors on Amazon, especially for those of us who are self-published. A review helps other readers determine if they want to invest the money in buying the book or not, but it also helps to boost the book so other readers can find it.
Writing a Book Review
Writing a book review is no different than reviewing a product you have purchased online. Yet, no matter how many times I politely request a book review, there are those readers who do not follow through. I have given this one thought and I believe that readers are uncertain about how to write a picture book review. I am hoping that this post will help those who are hesitant to post a review.
We all know that when we are looking to purchase an item, the first thing we look at are the reviews. I want to know what others are saying before I place my order. An author’s sales are closely tied to the reviews it receives.
Book Review Basics
First, your book review is about the book and your personal experience with the book. It is not about your writing skills. You do not have to be clever or entertaining when writing a review. Simply review your experience or in this case a child’s experience with the book.
Second, the book review is about the reader, not about the author. Put the reader first. The reader wants to know if he or she should read the book. What did you like about the book? Was there something that you related to your own childhood? Was there something you think might upset a child? Write for the reader, not the author.
Third, be honest in your review. Give an honest opinion of the book from your perspective. Authors do read all reviews, both good and bad help us to learn how where we can improve our writing. It is perfectly fine not to like a book. When I am searching for a book I appreciate that the person has taken the time to share their thoughts and why they did not like the book. Honesty serves the reader and the author equally.
Rating a Picture Book
Both Amazon and Goodreads will ask you to rate the book, usually from 1 to 5. It is common practice for many reviewers to limit their use of 1 and a 5. Amazon rating of 3 is considered borderline for success. A rating of 2 is reserved for a book you really don’t like and a 1 for complete failure. I have no problem giving a book a ratings of 5 when I think a book has been well written and I back it up my rating with specific comments.
How to Write a Picture Book Review
Your first step when writing a picture book review is to read the book. Not just skim the book, but read it aloud or share it with a child. Stop on each page to read the text and look at each of the illustrations. Reading the book a second time will allow you to discover new things about the text and illustrations. The second reading will help you to write your review.
Questions to Guide Your Review
- What did you like about the story or illustrations? Were you disappointed or confused in any way? Did your child ask you to read it again? What did they like about the book?
- Try to give specific examples of what you liked or disliked about the book, did you like or relate to one of the characters, was the story to slow or too fast, were there enough details, did it have a satisfying ending?
- What did other reviewers say about the book? Do you agree or disagree? I like to read other reviews before posting my review. I may agree with something they posted, but I want to add my personal experience to the conversation.
How Long Should a Book Review Be?
Book reviews do not need to be a specific length. Take a good look at some of the reviews. Keep it short and simple (KISS) is the way to go when giving a review. Give the review the detail it needs to pass on your perspective. Basically everyone wants to know if the book is good or bad and why. I usually write about 5 sentences. If I really like the book I tend to add more detail and a few more sentences.
Always Be Honest
If you have received an advance copy of the book to review, tell your reader. Always be honest to be considered a trusted relevant reviewer. Amazon takes the time to review each book review before it will post your review. They also will report if you are are verified purchaser. Meaning that you have purchased that book. Amazon will look to see if you are a frequent shopper and reviewer. They may refuse to post your review and you can respond to their email and find out their reason.
Call to Action
Now it is your turn to write a picture book review. For a limited time, Gertie Saves the Day, will be available for Free for those of you who have Kindle Unlimited. Download the book and share it with a child or maybe a group of children. Maybe you have purchased the book during the year, but haven’t had the opportunity to leave a review. Whatever the reason I am asking you to take 10 minutes this week and write that book review and post it to Amazon or Goodreads. I am counting on you to and so is Gertie!
As an incentive I will be offering a Free Authors Guide for Gertie Saves the Day. This 13 page guide offers fun activities for elementary age students to extend their learning fro this book into English Language Arts, mathematics, science, and social studies. This is a valuable classroom asset or for parents to help their children learn through the summer. To receive your Free Guide send me a screenshot of your book review at firstname.lastname@example.org
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I am counting on you to write a review for Gertie Saves the Day this week! I can’t wait to read your reviews.
Have a great week.