How to Write a Book Review: Know Your Platform

11 Aug

Last time, I talked about knowing your audience and how that could help you write more successful book reviews.  This time, I’m going to take a look at platform.  Platform is on what basis you are reviewing a book.  It applies to Amazon or Goodreads reviews just as much as to book review blogs.

There are several common platforms for book reviews:

1. I read the book, and I want to share what I thought about it.

2. I am an author and I was asked to blurb/review this book.

3. I review books as a job/hobby (and may receive review copies from publishers).

4. I love this genre of book, so I’m reviewing books in that genre to introduce others to it or encourage them to read more.

5. I review books because of a certain element they have that I want to be more well-known, more popular, such as: environmentalism, racism, PoC characters, cultural appropriation, etc.

There are more, but those are some of the most common.  They can all work for individual reviews as well as series of reviews.  It can be important, especially in review series, to establish your platform explicitly.  This can help readers to decide whether your review will be helpful to them.  You can do this as part of your blogs “about” page, but you can still do it on a review site with a disclaimer or similar at the beginning of the review.

If you plan to depart from your platform for a certain review, it’s also good to explain that at the beginning of the review, as well.

Now, what does knowing your platform do for you?  It depends on what you want out of your blog.

1. It can help keep you consistent so that readers will keep coming beck if they find something they like.

2. It can encourage readers to keep an eye out for your reviews because you’ve established a platform that can appeal to them.

3. It can keep away readers who you are not targeting, and avoid problems of a reader wandering in from the wrong place.

Establishing expectations in your readers and then living up to them is the best way to keep readers happy. And it’s much easier to do when you have a coherent platform ahead of time.

4. Finally, having a platform allows your readers to recommend your reviews or review blog to other people they know who may find it interesting–even if they themselves don’t care for the genre, or subject, or theme.

All of those things are reasons why you should know your platform when you write a review.

Lastly, here are a few things you can mention when writing a review to tell a reader where you’re coming from:

1. Are you an author?

2. Are you an author who writes in the genre you review?

3. Did you receive a copy of the story/book from the publisher?

4. Do you read frequently in this genre, and do you have favorite sub-genres that might bias your opinion of a book?

These can be placed in your bio/about, or in some cases, directly in your review.

I’m sure I’ve missed some details here, so if anyone has any suggestions about how else to capitalize on having a pre-set platform, or disagrees that it is always helpful, I’d love to hear it.

Next time, I’ll give an example of a book review skeleton, and explain why I think each part is important.


Posted by on August 11, 2013 in Blogging, Reviews


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2 responses to “How to Write a Book Review: Know Your Platform

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