Want a fun way to keep up with the latest books in your genre, and maybe get paid? Try writing book reviews.
Opportunities to publish reviews range from Amazon.com to national magazines. Make a list of the reviews you usually read, then search those places for submission guidelines. Also, check the Christian Writers’ Market Guide by Sally E. Stuart (page 197 – 198, 2010 edition) for additional possibilities.
Writing for the Soul
Meet with editors looking for book reviews, articles, and book manuscripts at the Writing for the Soul conference, February 10 – 13, 2011.
Before you attempt landing a deal with a leading newspaper, build your repertoire by writing free reviews for booksellers such as Barnes and Noble, Christianbook.com, or Booksneeze.com (a branch of Thomas Nelson). Through research and practice, learn how to write a well-crafted review so readers begin to see you as a trusted source.
How do you write a book review readers want to read?
- Do your homework. Read to see how others do it. Discover what you appreciate most, emulate that, and avoid the rest.
- Read the entire book. This may seem like a given, but don’t overlook it. Take notes so you’re not hunting for that plot twist or fantastic quote later.
- Aim for 250 words. Long reviews are tedious. Leave readers where they feel they must buy the book (or avoid it).
- Don’t give away the story. This is difficult in reviewing fiction. Readers want to experience the story on their own. Study back covers and note how the copy lures readers without giving away the story.
- Be honest, be sincere, and be respectful, even when you don’t like a book. It’s okay to give your opinion about the material, but don’t discredit the author. As a Christian book reviewer, be gracious, and remember to write unto others as you’d like to be written about.
Danielle Grandinetti, is a graduate of the Apprentice, Journeyman, and Craftsman courses. She especially enjoys writing teen fiction. Danielle is currently working toward an M.A. in Communication and Culture from Trinity International University.