The High School Book Report – Starting a Book Review Blog

Few people ever say they loved writing high school book reports.  Even fewer still are able to identify any benefit to these book reports. 

Sure the process was a learning tool, but not a skill that you use on a regular basis.  Well, that is unless you do book reviews. 

As of late there seems to be more bloggers doing book reviews than you can shake a stick at and the number just keeps growing. So much so that to hear authors say there is no real outlet for having their books reviewed makes one wonder if these writers have done any research at all.

So for those of you that are itching to dust off your long lost book reporting skills a common question seems to be, “How do you start a book review blog?”

Easy enough.

In fact, if, as you are reading this you had the thought, “Hey, I think I’ll start a book review blog.” Well, guess what?  You’ve started one.

The real trick in this process is promoting yourself and getting your name out so people will start to consider your opinion on the books you read.  This is where it will take a bit of work. 

There are a few things you can do that will help the process along. 

1 – Review some books.  Pull out the last few books you’ve read and review them.  You want to give authors a feel for what types of books you review and how you review the ones you select. If you’re going to stick to a single genre, let it be known on your blog and then review a few books from that genre.  If you’re going to mix genres in your reviews, show it and let your blog reflect it.

2 – Spread the word.  The easiest way to do this is Twitter.  Tweet about the books you have reviewed, the books you are going to review and that you want to review books.  If you are going to do giveaways, tweet about that.  Use Facebook and your web page to promote your reviews.

3 – Visit book review sites.  Visit lots of them.  When you visit, read the reviews and comment on the reviews.  Make sure to leave the contact information for your site.  Connect with other review bloggers and trade reviews.

4 – Make yourself known.  Find sites where you can be listed as a reviewer. When writers come looking for reviewers, it helps if there are a lot of reviewers in one place.  I list reviewers on my blog.  If you’d like to be listed, contact me.  As well there are a number of sites where you can find books the authors have for review.  There are a number of blog review tours, like this one, they are always looking for bloggers to review books.

5 – Be Professional. If you don’t love a book, and you don’t have to love them all, remember there are positive ways to say it.  However, at the same time, don’t compromise your professionalism and mislead your readers with a less than accurate review.  On this same note, if you don’t finish a book don’t review it.  Let the author know that it didn’t click with you, but don’t do a review and admit that you didn’t finish the book.  If you do that writers likely won’t be too excited to take their time to get their book to you if you aren’t even going to finish it.  Would you want someone reading half of a review and then talking about the entire review?

6 – Post your Guidelines.  As the reviewer you get to set your guidelines, but make sure that you have them clearly posted on your review blog.  Make sure to stick to them. 

7 – Communicate.  Inevitably you’ll review a book and your review will upset the author.  It’s going to happen and it may even be with a glowing review. Be prepared to deal with authors who may not be the most excited about your reviews.  Be polite.  Be professional, but be firm. 

Finally, have fun with it.  After all, you finally have an outlet where you can use the skills you learned doing high school book reports.

Oh and as long as you’re here, even though it isn’t in person, why not read an excerpt of The Trust or even buy a copy of your own.  A percentage of all sales will be donated to canine related nonprofits.  Support K9 rescues! 

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