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Do You Write Book Reviews for Books You Read?

Do you write book reviews?

A book review is a precious thing. You don’t realize how precious until you’ve put your first book out there. Before the publication of mine, I had NO idea just how important reviews were. I’d never really thought too hard about posting a review on Goodreads or Amazon. So I get how book reviews can be alien for most readers.

What does a book review achieve?

— A book review is social proof–in an age when most book shopping is online, a book with reviews will stand a better chance of attracting a sale than one without.

— The Amazon algorithm tries to show visitors books they’re most likely to buy, so a book with more (and more positive) book reviews will float to the top. There are other factors, of course, but the number of book reviews is a huge part of it.

— Many platforms (Bookbub, for instance) won’t accept any advertisements unless there are a certain number or quality of book reviews.

In a trad-pubbed book’s life cycle, the first few weeks are crucial–so if you’re reading an Advance Review Copy, that review you write can be very important. Good reviews in great numbers start off a positive buzz, and lead to more organic reach, and more marketing dollars from the publisher. A majority of books die off at this stage, due to minimal help from the publisher.

— For a self-pubbed book, reviews can grow over time, and be equally important. They show potential readers that the book is worth taking a risk on.

So what should an Amazon or Goodreads book review look like?

First off, a review on a platform like Amazon or Goodreads doesn’t have to be an essay. It can be a line or two, merely stating that you liked (or disliked) the book, and why. You can go into detail, of course, and the more detailed the review, the more helpful it is for other readers to know if they’d like it. That said, it’s not necessary.

A 2-line review is infinitely better than none at all.

Many authors don’t want a review below 4 stars, but I’d say write what you honestly feel–genuine reviews trump fake reviews, reviews are for readers, and not all books are for everyone. (Yes, if you one-star my books, it will hurt a little, but after five minutes, I’d be fine–because tastes are subjective.)

If you’re posting a review of an ARC, it’s fine to mention that on Goodreads, but Amazon is a commercial site and all mentions of ARCs and Netgalley are best avoided.

While posting a book review, the usual structure is:

–why the book interested you,

–what you liked about it,

–what you found difficult,

–comparison with any other author/ book,

–and ending on a high note (if you liked the book.)

The only thing to keep in mind while posting a review is avoid personal comments against the author. I see a ton of those, and they serve no purpose other than unkindness.

If you can’t bring yourself to write a book review, leave a rating. Every bit counts. If you can’t post Amazon, you can post a review on Goodreads, Barnes & Noble or Waterstones, Bookbub, or simply give the book a shout-out on social media.

So many of my fellow bloggers have been kind enough to leave reviews for The Blue Monsoon. Please find below links to their excellent blogs (which you must follow),  and the excerpts from their reviews:

Elias J McClennan- Blog

Killers lurked in blazing sunlight in Blue Bar but in Blue Monsoon death rules the shadows, dark halls, and dank factory floors.

Marian Allen- Blog

One of the things I love about Biswas’ work is how she communicates a depth of culture and structure within the flow of the story, not as a lecture or “info-dump”. Another thing I love is how she gets me into the heads of all her characters, and never shies away from having her protagonists and her antagonists represented as people with flaws and virtues, who have to navigate between good against better and bad against worse.

Kalpana Misra-Blog

Atmospheric and thrilling, the reader is immediately drawn into the lives, the highs and lows of the finely drawn characters. It is the best kind of thriller.

Ronel Janse Van Vuren-Blog

A grand adventure in Mumbai where the lines between friends and foes are blurry at the best of times – a monsoon and technical difficulties just adds another layer of drama to this well-paced thriller.

Joy L Campbell- Blog

If you enjoy intricately plotted stories, with complex characters, that take you to faraway lands and expose you to the uniqueness of other cultures, then you’ll definitely enjoy The Blue Monsoon.

Anna Tan- Blog

In many ways, The Blue Monsoon is a critique on the lingering caste system in India; but more than that, it attempts to show how privilege blinds one to injustices, how affirmative action policies don’t quite solve anything (and sometimes makes them worse), and how gender (or rather, being female) exacerbates everything. It’s not an easy read by any means, but then again, none of Biswas’s books are.

Lynda R Young- Blog

Blue Monsoon is the much-anticipated sequel to the Blue Bar, and I wasn’t disappointed. This book is a rich soup of Indian culture, a story of contrasts. It carried me to the sultry heat of Mumbai in the monsoon season, revealing a grisly murder at a temple. It reveals the complex caste system, the darker side of life, and it shows the nuances of strained relationships. I really felt immersed.

It was wonderful seeing returning characters from the previous book, the multiple story threads, and the different point of views. If you loved the first book, you’ll love this one too.

After I got into the writing life, I realized just how crucial book reviews are, and have started writing them for books I read, whenever I have a few minutes.

It is by no means an obligation–a reader has already invested a lot of time and money on the book and an author doesn’t expect more–but there’s always hope. Genuine book reviews often determine an author’s fate, especially during the weeks after publication.

What about you? Do you write reviews of the books you read? Do book reviews ever influence your book buying or reading decisions?

My literary crime novel, The Blue Bar is on Kindle Unlimited now. Add it to Goodreads or snag a copy to make my day. The sequel, The Blue Monsoon is up for pre-orders! You can add it on Goodreads or enter the GOODREADS GIVEAWAY! And if you’d like to read a book outside the series, you can check out You Beneath Your Skin.  Find all info about my books on my Amazon page or Linktree.

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Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her literary crime thriller series, the Blue Mumbai, is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency. Both The Blue Bar and The Blue Monsoon were published in 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

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  • pennyfrances says:

    I like you had no idea how important reviews were to an author, until my debut novel was recently published by a small independent publisher with very little in the way of marketing budget. So I’ve started reviewing books I’ve read on Amazon and/or Goodreads, and encouraging people who’ve read my book to leave reviews. However, there does seem to be a reluctance to do so, even from friends who have sent me emails saying how much they’ve enjoyed the book, and all it would take is a cut and paste. So, yes, I would encourage people to take a few minutes to review any book they’ve enjoyed. I probably wouldn’t leave a review if I didn’t like a book, but if someone wants to do that to me, I think I could take it. But also I am grateful for the comments I get that are not officially review, in emails, in person, on social media. And I’ve learnt not to take it too personally when people I know appear to simply ignore the fact that I’ve written a book, or buy it and then never say another word about it. I am not the centre of everyone’s universe, apparently 😉

  • msw blog says:

    I have written a few reviews on my blog, but no, I have never left one on the site where I have purchased the book. Thought after reading your post. I think I will start. Thank you!

  • I write almost none – because I don’t want to comment as a writer on anyone else’s work (and not just because Amazon doesn’t like it), and because I don’t know that many people (disability makes my life very restricted), and there’s always a chance I might want to request a review from someone.

    Reviews should mostly come from readers who don’t write, even though some of the best come from a writer pushed into reviewing by a book they really like.

  • dgkaye says:

    I write reviews for all books I read, except none for books below 3 stars. At that point, I would have stopped reading anyway. Reading reviews plays a big part in my decision to purchase too. If a book is generally rated 4 or 5 stars with mostly great reviews and a few no so great, that won’t deter me. Usually lower rating comments on a book that is mostly loved, are ridiculous. 🙂

  • dweezer19 says:

    I so understand.

  • Vishnupriya says:

    Absolutely! I write book reviews, but instead of stars, I use a scale of “Page-Turns” and “Plot Twists.” Because let’s face it, a book that keeps you up all night turning pages and leaves your jaw on the floor with unexpected twists deserves its own special rating system!

  • I did not use to write book reviews very often unless I really wanted to either promote a book that I thought was great or slam a book I hated. Then I joined an online website which paid you for writing reviews for any products. It was fun and profitable. I made five thousand dollars on just one of my software reviews that took less than one hour to write. The website, called went belly up but it made me more interested in writing reviews, so I did so on Amazon as well. I joined the Amazon Vine program, but I quit when the offerings of electronics and software became rarer. I still wrote reviews for about a third of all books I read though. Now after publishing a book, I understand the importance of writing reviews better and I write a review for almost every book I read.

    • Wow, that’s amazing, Thomas! It’s interesting to see how you began and how far you’ve come on your review-writing journey. It’s unfortunate that the website didn’t work out, but it sounds like it had a good start. The practice of writing reviews seems to have become almost like a habit for you! I wish I had that much dedication, but I tend to be less organized and methodical in my attempts 🤣

  • setinthepast says:


  • I review almost every book I read, even though it sometimes feels like a chore. But I suspect I’m in the minority. One thing I don’t recommend is a low star review (1 or 2) without a review. If you disliked a book that much, it’s important to say why.

  • To my shame, not often enough. Thanks for the nudge.

  • I used to be better about reviewing on Goodreads but I’ve fallen behind. Thanks for the reminder.

  • Susan Scott says:

    Thanks Damyanti – I’ll aim for doing better.

  • I am guilty of not leaving reviews. But I am going to change my ways. I like your comment that a two line review is better than none at all. So, I’ll do better, I promise…thanks for the post!

  • Shabby says:

    I feel terrible that, as with restaurants, hotels etc, I only leave a review if they piss me off. If they’re amazing and lovely, I leave my tip and go off my merry way. Only with books I enjoy, I appreciate I’m not leaving a tip. I really should start doing that, thanks

    • I feel bad about that, too! I’ve been trying to share more positive reviews whenever I have a good experience, as it really does create a positive effect. Thanks for commenting!

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