What I want to know is: if you have purchased a book based on a review, what was it about the review that inspired you to purchase the book?
To me, the key ingredients of a book review are:
- Who is the author, perhaps a brief bio
- If a poetry collection, sample poems or excerpts from a few poems, noting any underlying themes
- If fiction, short outline of plot/storyline
- If non-fiction, description of subject covered
- Notes on what a reader will enjoy about the book
- Notes on what a reader might not enjoy, criticisms
To me, those are pretty key. Especially excerpts from poems if it is a review of a poetry collection.
But another question I have is whether it matters how long the review is? Are you more swayed by in-depth "criticism & analysis" or are you as likely to be inspired to pick up a book based on a short description and a few excerpts?
I admit to being swayed by both, but that with my life as it is now, there's more of a chance of me reading a review if it is not a multi-page discourse serving not only to review a book, but also to highlight and illustrate the intelligence of the reviewer/critic.
Today I was influenced by a mere link to a selection of poems from a forthcoming collection.
I would love to hear from others their thoughts on the subject of what in a review influences them to buy or to not buy a book...