Do you know how to write a book review?

I must confess, writing a book review is very hard for me.

You’d think as a writer, writing a book review would be easy. It’s not.

But reviews are as important to writers as water to fish. Writers need book reviews. The best way to get is to give.

So I set out to learn more about writing a good review.

I used to adhere to the old saying, “If you can’t say something good say nothing.”

Now I go with, “In everything, there is some good. Look for it.”girl-308360_640

When you write a review, it’s important to find that “something” good to say.

Even for books that aren’t my genre, and even for those that make me cringe, I search for something good to say.

Things to look for…

  • Did the title or the cover get your attention?
  • Identify the genre.
  • Identify the audience (age.)
  • Identify the Point of View.
  • Is there a theme or common thread throughout the story?
  • Does the book or authors style remind you of another’s?
  • Review don’t critique.
  • Were characters loveable, believable, scary, or memorable?

Information to include in a review…

  • Include the name of book and author as well as the length of the book.
  • An opening hook. (ask a question, give a hint, etc.)
  • What you enjoyed. (character, line, writing style, etc.)
  • Who might enjoy this type of book?
  • A short summary. But remember this is not a book report.
  • A wrap-up or closing. (If you didn’t particularly like the book, this is a good place to sandwich the bad with good.)

Review example:

(Author’s name) new book, (book title) is (what? funny, sad, moving, thrilling, haunting?) A (genre) in (where or time?) is about (what? war? girl? boy? love? death?)  It’s about (a brief summary.)

(who?) will enjoy reading (book title). I found this book to be (quick, detailed, engrossing, lengthy, informative, etc.) Readers who enjoy (genre) may like (title.)

Final tip:

If you’re unsure how to word your review, read other reviews in the same genre. Go to, Goodreads, or Barnes & and read reviews until you are comfortable with the process.

So, do tell…

What advice can you offer to this struggling reviewer? 

Do you find writing book reviews easy or hard?

Keep reading, good articles below on the art of writing a review.

Click to write me or contact me on Twitter @jeancogdell, Facebook at  jean.cogdelland, stop by and say hey! The lights are on and I’m waiting.

Please remember share this post with your Twitter peeps andFacebook fans.

How to Write a Book Review  by Bill Asenjo 

Writing a Book Review  Contributors: Allen Brizee

Book Review Writing Template  By 


Want to know what goes great with your morning coffee?

A wonderful review, that’s what!

Absolutely nothing goes better with coffee.

Yes, waking to a text and email, from Reader’s Review notifying me of a 5 Star review, was better than pancakes.
Readers Review screenshot_Thu_Jun_02_09.00.46



Be sure and click on the above image to read the review. She’s now available on and Barnes & Noble. com.

Now back to work on the next book.

I’d love to hear from you!

Click to write me or contact me on Twitter @jeancogdell, Facebook at  jean.cogdelland, stop by and say hey! The lights are on and I’m waiting.

Please remember share this post with your Twitter peeps andFacebook fans.

How to tips for designing your book cover

Every day I learn more and more about what it takes to launch a book. 

Writing the story is just the beginning.

Even if you can afford a cover designer, the decision regarding the final visual product is yours. That’s a heavy responsibility.

That first impression can get a reader to stop, click and buy. First impressions are very important.

Should you design your book to blend with what you see on the bookshelf at Barnes & Noble? Or do you want your book to stand out from the crowd?


We all want our book to be eye-catching. To make the shopper, whether on Amazon or in a brick and mortar bookstore stop and look. And of course, hopefully, buy.

But there is a fine line I think in between something unique or something bizarre. The same with copying the latest trends in book covers. We run the risk of coming off too trendy if we mimic other authors.

So, with or without a designer, where do you start? As with any story, research.

  • Check out other books in your genre, on the Best Seller Lists (all of them).
  • Look at books by your favorite readers. What do you like, or dislike about those covers?
  • Consider the books that are in ebook and print form.

I fall in the DIY camp. It takes a lot more time and effort but can be done.

Like a cook, making a recipe handed down from her grandmother, I add a pinch of or dash of the following to bake up a beautiful (hopefully) cover:

  • An Illustrator located through a referral from a local writers group.
  • Free image editor (similar to Adobe) Sumo Paint
  • Adjust image size as needed (ie 300 dpi) with  by Windows 
  • Use ebook template to size and adjust book template with
  • For additional images free of copyrights I like and 

Trendy or Unique?

I don’t think there is a right or wrong answer. Just like each book and each story, it’s yours. Do the research and it your way! 

Check out Jo Robinson’s post on book covers.


What do you think? Trendy or Unique? Have you designed your own book cover? Are you in the midst of designing a cover? What programs or websites do you prefer to use to get the job done?

Tell me your thoughts in the comments section.

You can find me on Twitter @jeancogdell, Facebook at jean.cogdell and, stop by and say hey! Please remember to with a click and share this post with your Twitter peeps and Facebook fans.

It’s the happiest time of the year!

Are you busy buying gifts yet?

Bet many of you will get busy with a long list this weekend.

If you’re searching for ideas for your writer friends, check out the following links. I mean, who would’ve thought about a way to capture those thoughts in the shower! 

22 Gifts for Writers That Are Way Better Than a Boring Old Notebook By

The Top 20 Most Original Gift Ideas for That Fucking Writer You Know

Popular items for gifts for writers

Another great gift for your writer friends is to buy their book.

If you’ve already bought it, write a review for Amazon or Goodreads. That would be a terrific gift! This kills 2 birds with one stone.

Buy the book (gift to the writer) give the book away to kids, teachers (teachers are always in need of more books) or friends who love to read.


Happy shopping!

I’d be much obliged if you would follow me @jeancogdell on Twitter or jean.cogdell on Facebook!

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