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BOOK REVIEW ETIQUETTE TIP #1: Don’t be a self-promoting smarty pants.

The following is not meant to mock fellow reviewers. The goal is to quote portions of questionable Amazon reviews in order to point out how to ultimately write a better book review. In the interest of all involved, the reviewers shall remain nameless…

Picture of woman reading a book.

The excerpts provided below are from one reviewer, but of various books. The writer’s tone immediately struck me as off-putting. It’s important to note a standard convention of review writing is to minimize the use of “I” within the text. After all, writing a review isn’t all about you!

I couldn’t get in to the characters, and I’ve read, as someone with a doctorate, super complicated books in English and French.

While I, @name on Twitter, am an author, and actually love some of the [series name] books this one was the biggest disappointment.

The book moved along quickly and I finished it in less than five hours total; which means it’s YA to me. The vocab, the plot line, it’s all just too easy, so you can rapidly read through it. I did notice some typos, but for an Indie book, not enough to care about all that much.

The other books have so many flaws, I never have had the energy to write reviews for them, but since I’ve been helping Indie Authors on Twitter under my @name moniker, I thought I should start slogging away on reviews…

As an avid reader, published author, and some one like, who has an MFA; and is currently promoting indie authors on Twitter as @name I’m giving this book five stars with the caveat…


Today’s featured reviewer above mentions their Twitter handle relentlessly. It’s a thin ruse for promoting indie authors, when in reality it’s just a ploy to shove their name in a potential reader’s face. That alone makes the reviews difficult to stomach, but when coupled with the reviewer’s smarty pants tone, most readers will be unlikely to seek out material written by that reviewer.


Lesson Learned: Readers of reviews don’t care about you, your degrees, your own books, your Twitter presence, or your speed-reading capabilities. What review readers care about are the strengths and weaknesses in a potential read, which frankly don’t have a damn thing to do with your personal lot in life. Good review writing should speak for itself and not need you to be your own best cheerleader.


But then again, what do I know? I only earned a mere master’s degree…


What pet peeves do you have when it comes to writing book reviews?



Please share the image in this post responsibly. Jeri Walker, 2012.


Image Credit: Woman Reading A Book by Petr Kratochvil

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