In part 2, talked about what to put in the body of a review. Now I’m going to talk about the odds and ends of reviews that get scattered about. I prefer to put most of it at the end, but you can also put some of these things at the beginning of your review:
1. Comps/Recs: The first thing that I don’t see in a lot of reviews is comp titles. Comparative titles are books of a similar genre with similar stories and themes. Another name for comp titles might be rec(ommendation)s. You might notice if you buy on Amazon their “buyers who bought this book also bought” lists. Those are recs based on their similarity to the book you’re looking at. There are two valuable things about comp titles/recs, and it plays into why I’m using two names here. Recs are books you suggest to a reader because they are similar to the book the reader is currently considering/has read. Comp titles are books the reader might possibly have read already that are similar to the book they are considering. The idea is, if you liked a comp title, you’ll like this title, and if you like this title, you’ll enjoy a rec.
2. Other books by: This is a category you can put at the beginning or the end. Your telling the reader other books by this author they may have read or heard of, and how they are similar or different. The goal here is to help them decide if they might want to read this book based on those other books this author wrote. If they hated those other books, they might dislike this one, but if they loved them, they might love this.
Somewhat related is putting the author’s name in the title of your review. If you want to snag a reader that might not have liked an author’s previous book, you might leave it out of the title. That way, they’ve already gotten to your review before they can dismiss this book out of hand. Conversely, if you’re after readers who liked the author’s previous work, then you definitely want to include the name in the title, so they know your review is about the right book.
3. Topic of Interest: Some books, especially YA books, have a topic related to the story, such as mental illness, or bullying. It might in some cases be valuable to include information such as informative websites, hotlines such as the National Suicide Hotline, etc. Or a book about GMOs might link to Monsanto or anti-GMO pages. A book about space might link to NASA. A book review involving the Society for Creative Anachronism might benefit from links to the SCA’s website.
4. Other Reviews/Interviews: If you’ve read other reviews, or particularly interesting interviews with the author, you might want to link to those, as well.
5. Ratings: If you include star ratings or number ratings in your reviews, you can put them at the end of the beginning depending on your style. Ratings can be useful, because they can encourage a reader to read a book, and you can give a higher rating than might be expected of a book you had issues with but still enjoyed. However, ratings can also be misleading. Is a three-star review positive? Neutral? Has the reader enjoyed books you’ve reviewed with that rating previously? That’s something to keep in mind when considering whether ratings are a valuable tool for your review or not.
There are certainly other extras a review can have, such as give-away copies, but the above seem to me to be the major ones. But if anyone reading this has suggestions as to additions I should make, I’d love to hear them.
Now that I’ve addressed the basics of why and how to do a book review, I want to look at how to put this together to create an actual review. So next time, I’m going to take these posts, and use them to write a review of Nova Ren Suma’s 17 & Gone. And the post after that, I’m going to dissect that review, and explain, again based on these six posts, why I chose to include what I did, and why I didn’t include other things.