Planning a Book Review & Creating a Writer's Blog with Sarah Higbee

Thursday 10 November 2016 @ Goring Methodist Church Hall, Worthing



Enjoy reading? Do you have firm ideas on the books you have finished and would like to share those views with others? Book reviewers now can actively take part online and help spread the word about the books they read - and authors and publishers are increasingly keen to encourage them. In this talk, Sarah discusses how to put together a readable book review and the issues to consider when doing so, how to gain access online and how to get hold of advance review copies from online sites such as Netgalley, in return for an honest review.

She will also discuss the issues around setting up a blog and writing regular book reviews and how to become part of the book blogging community.


Review of the meeting

Sarah spoke about how to write a book review, increasing your sales by getting your writing reviewed and the joy of blogging.

The length of a book review should be four to five hundred words. Say why you decided to read the book. Describe the main characters. Explain why you liked or disliked them. It’s good to describe some of your favourite bits of the book, but ‘no spoilers’. Consider whether the story ended satisfactorily. Include details such as book length, genre and style.
Book reviewers don’t usually get paid, as they need to be seen to be unbiased. However, sites like NETGALLEY - which Sarah joined in 2009 - give a free eBook to reviewers. These digital books are available for review 6 months before they are published. The potential reviewer requests the book and, if successful, you are notified by email and can download the book on to Kindle. The reviews are posted on Amazon, so helps to raise your literary profile. If you write good reviews and are productive, then you can be promoted to Priority Reviewer. You don’t’ need a blog to get a review on Amazon/Goodreads. Cherry (WSW Member) uses reviews to help her when she is struggling to keep going with a book. If you want your own book reviewed, then you can submit a request to a reviewer - for example, on Amazon - who likes your genre/style.

We saw Sarah’s blog after a slight technical hitch - involving Alison Hawes rushing home to fetch an extension lead for the projector. Mhairi, our local techie and mythical guru, supported Sarah and gave us some useful tips on how to get set up on line. We saw, from the blog statistics, that Sarah had posted 617 book reviews and there were 1,127 articles on her blog. She gets 1,400 to 1,500 views a month. WORDPRESS is a free tool that anyone can use to create and host a blog. It’s simple to post from the blog to social media, such as Twitter and Facebook. Also, to flag up other peoples’ blogs - they will most likely repay the compliment. This digital community is open to all, so get blogging! I, for one, will include links to your blogs - just as soon as I have set up a blog with WORDPRESS!

It was a lively enjoyable meeting, with plenty of audience participation and many questions that Sarah answered with her usual wit and humour.