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How to Write a Successful Book or Movie Review

Updated on April 21, 2012

Writing book and movie reviews seem like a good use of your time on HubPages. When you read a particularly good book or watched a particularly good movie, you want to tell everyone that it is worth their time. If you've read or watched a particularly bad one, you also want to warn your readers. Many people search for reviews before going to the movies or the bookstore, so you are providing a valuable service. Besides, you may be getting some free books in exchange of the review.

I have been reading book and movie reviews and have been paying attention to the qualities that I particularly like about them. The goal is to write a book review or a movie review that will provide the most value to my readers.

This hub provides some steps to follow to write a successful book review.
This hub provides some steps to follow to write a successful book review. | Source

Problems with Book and Movie Reviews

Unfortunately, once the movie has been watched and is no longer at the theaters, or everyone has read the book and gone on to the next bestseller, your hub is fizzles out with the book or movie. It turns out that book and movie reviews are not evergreen topics and not likely to be read years down the road.

There are several ways you can make sure that your book and movie reviews don't fizzle out and last as long as possible. If you follow these tips to write a successful book review and a successful movie review, you will be able to have hubs that have a longer life span, and help you make more money online.

Choice of Book or Movie

The first most important step in writing a successful book review is to choose a book that is successful and popular. Of course, if you are getting a free book, you will have to write a book review about it as part of the exchange, but it is likely to be a popular book since the publisher thinks highly of it.

Writing a successful movie review also hinges on finding the right movie. One that is highly successful and popular is more likely to get searches. There may be some rare movies that get a cult-like following and give you lots of long term views, but the popular ones will give you a better chance to get more views.

If you have a choice of books or movies, try to find a book that has one or more of these criteria:

  • popular author / director / actor
  • popular topic
  • series are usually popular
  • controversial or unusual
  • classic book, especially one that is assigned to students

The popular ones may not last as long as the classical ones, but hopefully you will be able to generate enough traffic to get you more revenue.

This hub provides some steps to follow to write a successful movie review.
This hub provides some steps to follow to write a successful movie review. | Source

Book or Movie Review

Writing quality content is very important. You should actually read the book or watch the movie all the way to the end before writing a review. I have read many book reviews where it is clear that the information in a "book review" is just what was provided on the back cover or elsewhere by the publisher. You can't honestly and thoroughly give your opinion unless you actually have one.

Each book or movie review should have the following items as a minimum.

  • Synopsis of book or movie. Readers need to know what the book or movie is about, so they can decide whether they are intrigued enough to read or watch it. You must be careful though, not to give too much of it away. No spoilers.
  • Adding some quotes from the book or movie will help the reader get a feel of the style.

What did you think?

Include your opinion on the features of the book that are the most outstanding. Be sure to list the positives as well as the negatives:

  • title
  • plot
  • storyline
  • believability of the characters
  • grammar
  • style of writing
  • the pace
  • the amount of information or content
  • any loose threads?
  • relevant photographs
  • usefulness

  • Your opinion. The reader came to your site instead of the advertisement because he wanted to know your opinion. Tell him what you liked about the book or movie, but also include what you didn't like. The reader wants an honest review, and not hype created by an advertising team.
  • Always keep your reader in mind when writing a review. Try to anticipate and answer questions that he may have about the book or movie. People want to know, for example, what types of people will enjoy the book or review. They want to know if there is sex, violence, profanity, magic, or evil forces so they can decide whether to let their child watch a movie or read the book.
  • It is best when your review includes facts that go beyond the book or movie. Tell them the names of the actors, and other movies they have played. Do some research and find out about the shooting of the movie. Include a biography of the author and additional books she has written. If you can provide additional value for reading the review, then it is worth your reader's time even if he or she has already read the book or watched the movie.

Themes and Topics

What we have discussed so far is important in creating a quality review. If the book or movie is successful, then your hub will probably be successful also. Once the book or movie loses interest, the interest in your hub will probably also be lost.

Each book or movie revolves around one or more themes, key ideas, or topics. One way to keep your hub's success from being tied to the book's or movie's success is to discuss the theme first, and use the book or movie as a vehicle for discussing the theme.

For example, in the first scenes of Harry Potter, we find out that he is an orphan, and that his caregivers do not treat him well. We could write a hub about the struggles of orphans to grow up successfully without proper parental models. The review of Harry Potter would then be included as part of this discussion. There are so many different themes in this series of movies and books, that you can write several hubs about the same series. Your reviews will be unique and provide extra value by making the reader think about the themes.

You could have it both ways. You could write a review of the book or movie, and then as the book or movie becomes less popular, do some editing to switch to highlighting the theme or key idea instead. Your hub can become evergreen by focusing on a key theme or idea that is likely to last beyond the interest in the book or movie.

I haven't done that yet, but am hoping to edit my book review and movie review hubs to make the themes and key ideas more dominant.

Writing a Successful Book or Movie Review

A successful book or movie review provides a synopsis of the book or movie, but it does much more. It provides additional facts that are useful to the reader when he is deciding whether to read the book or watch the movie.

A successful book or movie review does not have to be tied to the success of the book or movie. It can go beyond that, because it provides interesting and thoughtful dialogue about the key points or ideas, and additional facts that add even more value to the reader's life that go beyond the life of the book or movie.

© 2012 Shasta Matova

Comments: "How to Write a Successful Book or Movie Review"

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    • Millionaire Tips profile image
      Author

      Shasta Matova 5 years ago from USA

      Thanks Kelly! Unless you choose a very popular book or movie, these reviews don't do very well, but hopefully these tips will help your article be more successful.

    • kellyteam profile image

      Willette 5 years ago from Michigan

      Once again well organized informative hub. The colorful dividers, widgets and pictures make it so appealing. Of course the information you provide is so useful. Thanks again for a job well done. Thumbs up awesome and a share.

    • Millionaire Tips profile image
      Author

      Shasta Matova 5 years ago from USA

      Thanks Vinaya. I hope these tips help you as you write your movie reviews.

      Thanks Mary, congratulations on your success! You chose a very good title to review, and you reviewed it well using quotes and a great explanation. I can fully see why your review is so successful. I hope it doesn't fade into obscurity anytime soon!

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 5 years ago from New York

      My book and movie reviews have been pretty well received but after reading this I'm sure I can perk them up. I have to tell you my review on "Fifty Shades Freed" has had 131,202 hits, so if it ends tomorrow it will have been a good ride ;) I'm sure it will eventually fade into obscurity.

      Voted up, useful, and interesting.

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 5 years ago from Nepal

      I have done few book reviews on HubPages and published many book reviews on newspapers, however, I have never reviewed movies. Thanks for sharing your ideas, I want to give a try.

    • Millionaire Tips profile image
      Author

      Shasta Matova 6 years ago from USA

      Thanks Danette - I think it is a great idea to assign a review to your students. They get to tell their opinion, and learn that there is good and bad aspects to everything. Critical thinking is an important skill to learn.

    • Danette Watt profile image

      Danette Watt 6 years ago from Illinois

      Good tips on writing a great review. I assigned my students a review (book, CD, movie, restaurant, whatever) this past semester. I think they had fun doing it so I'll keep that assignment for next year.

    • Millionaire Tips profile image
      Author

      Shasta Matova 6 years ago from USA

      Thanks homesteadbound. Since I read a lot, I enjoy writing reviews to share them with my friends, but they seem to quickly sink to the bottom of the list. I'm looking for ways to make them more relevant and interesting.

    • homesteadbound profile image

      Cindy Murdoch 6 years ago from Texas

      Great hub, Millionaire Tips! I don't see myself doing too many of these, but I now know of a good guide to use should I choose to do so!

    • Millionaire Tips profile image
      Author

      Shasta Matova 6 years ago from USA

      Thank you Donna. Some book reviews do seem like a homework assignment, doesn't it? Hopefully we can get stellar grades instead of just barely passing.

    • DonnaCosmato profile image

      Donna Cosmato 6 years ago from USA

      This is great advice! It is a struggle sometimes to do a book review on topic that you were "assigned" by a publisher versus one that you choose yourself. I'm bookmarking this for future reference and voting it up.

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