Sunday Salon: How do you write your reviews?


How do you write your reviews? How long does it take you? Do you work in silence?

I know some people who agonise over their reviews, and it can take them several hours to write each one.  I am currently at the point where I have loads of posts already written and scheduled, so I am in the wonderful position of being able to take my time over any new review.

Often I have stubbed the review, whereby I have brought down the front cover, the summary (from somewhere like Goodreads), and any other little snippets I’ve found along the way, such as the author’s website). I might take notes along the way, which may or may not reach the final review (e.g. a plot point that annoyed me at the time, but which was resolved later in the book). I might take several days after reading the book to start the review in anger.

I then write some form of review. Sometimes that’s the one that goes out, sometimes it isn’t. If it’s not, it’s because I’ve re-read it, checked the spelling, seen if there’s a break in the review’s logic somewhere (do I jump from point to point, only to come back to the original point?). Can someone else tell whether I have loved, hated or am just ambivalent about a book, and can take away an idea of whether they might like a book? If the answer is “no” then I try again.

The hardest books to review are the “average” book – nothing fabulous to rave about, but nothing bad so tat you can go “this is where it all went wrong”. It is these books, where a reviewer has to find another way of saying “actually it was just ok” without offending either the reader or the author that are the worst reviews to write.

Overall the review might take 30 minutes. It might take two hours in total – it all depends on the book and the mood I’m in.

I cant read or write whilst listening to spoken word, such as audiobooks or the radio (I particularly like Radio 4).  I usually work in silence, but occasionally have some music on shuffle in the background.

So you, dear blogger – how do you write your reviews?


6 thoughts on “Sunday Salon: How do you write your reviews?

  1. I tend to write my review all in one go soon after I finish reading the book. I may have made notes of quotes but I try to give a holistic opinion of the read – I’d say it takes between half to an hour and a half to write depending on the book. As you say average is the hardest to write about.


  2. My instantaneous reaction to your question was: Very Very Slowly. I spend way too long writing and rewriting which is why I am so far behind. I just caught up with 2013 reads but now have about 6 for 2014 that I have yet to start. I do pull a few notes into a draft just as i finish the book otherwise i would forget completely what I thought about it, but its crafting the finished piece that takes my time.


  3. MIne take around twenty minutes to write, but yes I agree that the average books are more difficult to review. Sometimes I like reading a bad book just because I get to rant about it! Scheduling posts is a godsend as well since I can write a batch at once and have them go out throughout the week. The longest reviews that take me to write are board game reviews, because I have to spend a fair amount of time going over the rules, but book and movie reviews generally take about twenty.


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