As you probably know, I started reviewing back in 2011 – taking some time away from blogging now and then. In the beginning I asked myself this same question: What do romance readers want to read in a review? But after some time writing them I still didn’t know the answer, only what I liked to see when I read someone else’s reviews. Maybe they weren’t the same. If you want to participate in the 2016 survey, please scroll down and look for the link by the end of the post!
In July 2012 I had the pleasure to be a guest over Romancing The Book for their blogiversary celebration and I had the opportunity to ask their readers. In August 2012 I created a blog hop, inviting book bloggers and readers to talk about what they look for in a review. I considered for this quick study 45 comments that expressed the reader’s preferences on my blog and on Romancing the Book and 29 replies that I received in the reader poll during the August event. That’s when started this research and I’m sharing again the results here.
• The main information they want a review to address is a description about the characters and plot, most of them included both, that together presented 57,8 % of comments.
They want to know more information on the story than what they can find on the back blurb, what the book is about, and a brief description of the characters and plot including who the hero and heroine are, their personalities, and what brings them to interact in the book.
I like to know whether the protagonist is likeable and interesting – if not, I will most likely not read it as I can’t stand boring or inane characters!
• Next with 53,3% of all comments is the reviewer’s opinion, that they liked and disliked about the book.
In a review I want to not only know the reviewer’s opinion (but) what influenced them in making the decision.
– Jeanne Miro
What I look for in reviews is the reviewer’s opinion on a book and whether they enjoyed reading it or not, I’d like to know why.
When I read a review I look to see how much the person enjoyed it. You can tell how much someone liked a book based on the way they talk about it.
I look for a quick summary of the review and a summary of what the reviewer liked and did not like about the book. I tend to focus on the did not like section to see if those items would bother me too, or if I would actually like a book that went in that particular direction.
– Julie S.
I also want to know what you liked and didn’t like. I can’t think of any book that didn’t have something I didn’t like in it.
I look for excitement on the reviewer’s part. Sometimes, there is just a general feel to a review. It’s not always something that is written, but a feeling conveyed by the reviewer between the lines of the review.
– Sandy Wolters
• In third place with most mentions, readers showed their preference for reviews without spoilers, approximately 24%. Other facts they find important in a review are in the following order:
4th place: Ratings; Examples from the book itself/ Quotes
5th place: Short Reviews ; Consistent and balanced reviews
6th place: If the book is part of a series; If it has a HEA
• Some like to see reviews, or like to use them as a recommendations whether they should buy the book or not.
• A few also included that they like to know if the book ends in a cliffhanger, if they would read another book by the author, an overall impression, a warning for “spoilers ahead”, if the book is original, the author’s style and reviews without bias or bash towards the author.
• Out of all the comments examined for this analysis, only one person mentioned each of the following: doesn’t want the whole book laid out, comparison to other authors and books, and how readers can apply the book to their own lives.
→ My readers:
I love that your reviews are not done on your perspective but how it made you feel. Because that’s what I like, hearing why you felt the way you did. Did you enjoy the story line, the characters and if you didn’t. I get a picture of the kind of book and story it is.
– Carol L
The 10 items you most look for in a review post:
1- Book cover 91%
2- Book blurb 77%
3- Information about the series in general (if it belongs to one) 67%
4- grading system; a small review (up to 4 paragraphs) 60%
5- release date 56%
6- romance sub-genre; other works by the author 53%
7- buying links 48%
8- link to goodreads 41%
9- Author’s social media links 37%
10- Similar Books 29%