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Purple reader: I often struggle with keeping my reviews short (as this comment will show :-). As Churchill said, it takes more work to write a short speech. So how do you do that and still be substantive and have all the good juicy things readers want to know? (such as, do you have word limits, and how do you meet them?)
We have a policy that reviews try to have a minimum of 300 words. The authors and publishers send us their books looking for an honest review, and we owe it to them to give them a clear, complete review. Sometimes they are concise, sometimes they ramble. Personally I have a hard time writing more than 300 words on the books that I absolutely LOVE, because it is easy to do spoilers, something which I dislike intensely when reading a review myself. On the flip side, if I really don’t like one, I tend to write a longer review to explain ‘why’ I didn’t like it, or it didn’t work for me. I dislike reading reviews on Goodreads that have lots of .gif files and little actual review. We don’t use .gifs in our reviews at Love Bytes, instead providing professional reviews… good, bad or middle of the road.
Huh. I can’t think of a time where we actually asked a reviewer to make a review shorter. We do have a word minimum, but I can’t say that we’ve come across a situation where a maximum was needed. Some reviews are longer than others, but honestly we try to encourage our reviewers to write their reviews however they need to as long as it has the needed components of a review. I have personally written long reviews, short reviews, and everything in between. The length of the review is primarily dictated by my reactions to a book (and how tired I am when writing the review). If I have any trouble when it comes to writing some reviews, in regards to length, it is mostly finding enough to say.
Thankfully we only have a minimum word count!! Sometimes my short story reviews can be longer than my novel reviews 😳
That can be a challenge! I write, write, write, then go back and cut a bunch of the babbling back out! I try to follow a pattern, talk a bit about the plot and the characters, then talk about what I liked or didn’t like, then a wrap up paragraph. I try to keep in mind what I want to see in a review, and what I look for in a book. I have a hard time personally talking about the actual writing part of a book, the technical stuff, the perspectives and such, I’m not very knowledgeable about those type of things, so I focus on what works for me specifically.
It is a fine line between giving enough information and writing anything that could be a spoiler. I try very hard not to write any spoilers, but there are definitely some things I realize readers want to know, so I try to keep that in mind as well. The more you do it, the easier it becomes. Some reviews are long, some are short. It all depends on the story and how much there is to talk about. I basically just try to expand on the blurb a bit and then discuss my feelings on the story as a whole.
I don’t focus on word count. My review will be as long or as short as it needs to be in order to get my point across. I try my hardest not to focus on plot or include spoilers so that often acts as a limiter on word count as it’s very hard to share too much when you don’t want to reveal everything to the reader.
I actually have a hard time expanding on my thoughts. I don’t like to spoil the story through my review because I think that takes some of the enjoyment out of it for the reader. So it’s a struggle sometimes to get across what I think the reader needs to know but still leave something for them to discover for themselves.
We have a 300 word minimum (just for the review section), which surprisingly can be hard to meet on some books, but there’s no maximum so we can waffle on as much as we feel the need. I think my longest one was about 1200 words. Some books just need more words – and like you, I tend to have many words 😉
I often have the opposite problem. I tend to forget I have to write a basic story about the storyline too without giving away anything vital. My opinion about the book are easier to formulate without trying to incorporate the characters and their adventures, but of course thy are needed to make sense for other people who haven’t read the story yet. It’s my weird brain that’s the problem here…sorry.