Tag Archives: platform

How to Write a Book Review: Know Your Platform

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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How To Write A Book Review: The Spec Fic Way

Really it’s just my way, but the title makes it seem more legitimate.

Although I have not generally written reviews on this blog, as a reader constantly searching for new books to read, I have often contemplated what the perfect review structure for me would be.  And so I have decided to apply some logical processes and the scientific method to create a review format that I think meets all the functional requirements of reviews and also gives me something to do on here because I am out of blogging ideas.  So it begins:

When coming up with a review format, there are a few questions we need to consider:

1. What is the purpose of a book review?

2. Who is going to be reading these book reviews?

3. Why should they care what I have to say?

These are the three general questions that can be applied to all non-fiction, of which book reviews are a subgenre.  The first is a question of purpose, the second of people, and the third of platform.  (Actually, the second is of target audience, but having three “p” words sounds better and is apparently a marketing strategy.)

So, some answers:

1. The purpose of every book review is to help readers find books they will enjoy.  This is the prime directive.  There are a few other options:  To encourage people to read books you want them to read.  To shed some light on little known books.  To spread the word about books that are relevant to a certain political/social justice goal.  To sell an author’s books.  That last answer is not the kind of purpose I will be talking about.  People write reviews to achieve that goal, but that doesn’t make it a legitimate goal of a book review.

2. The people you are trying to reach are going to vary depending on what books you review.  If you’re reviewing books in a certain genre, then your main audience is going to be people who read in that genre.  They could also be general readers, readers that are part of a community that you belong to, or readers with a tendency to avoid reading the kind of book you are reviewing.  Your approach is going to differ depending on which kind of audience you are reaching out to.

3. Your platform is what gives you the authority to review books.  By authority, I don’t mean the right.  Everybody has the right to write book reviews.  I mean it’s what lends weight to your opinions.  Everyone has an opinion, and not all of them are equal.  (In order to avoid the whole philosophical debate, I’ll go into more detail on that in the second part of this discussion.)  Your platform is there to help readers decide whether they think your reviews will be helpful in finding them books they’d like to read.

That’s the overview.  Over the next few days, I’m going to expand on these ideas in individual posts.   The first is scheduled for this Wednesday, and will tackle Question #1 in more detail.  I’ll expand on the various purposes for writing a review, the reasoning behind those purposes, and whether they are good or bad or in the middle.

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Posted by on August 5, 2013 in atsiko, Reviews


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