Saturday, June 22, 2019

The Technique Behind a Content Review

We see the questions all over Goodreads--"What was the content in that book?" "How much cussing was there?" "Knowing how I feel about content, would I enjoy this?" The conservative community likes content reviews, and that's a good thing! They can be very helpful for helping people decide if they want to read a book or not.

The question arises, though: What do you need to put in a content review? How do you write one???

Well, my friends, I am here today to explain to you MY technique for writing a content review!

There's three things I like to hit:

ROMANCE (as in anything to do with relationships, the level of physical stuff going on, as well as mentioning homosexuality, explicit material, and anything that might trigger people. This is going to be the section where you want to be the most Careful.)

LANGUAGE (cussing. You can be as detailed or undetailed as you want here.)

ABUSE (so drugs, physical/sexual/verbal abuse of other characters, alcohol, and other substances.)

And if there's anything else, you can mention OTHER. If I feel like mentioning the violence level of a story, this is where I'll put that.

23437156Here's an example of how I do this from one of my Goodreads reviews. The book is Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo.

LANGUAGE: One f-word, one maybe two s-words, a number of b-words, d-words, and a couple of others. Less than I was expecting from what I've heard from other reviewers, so that was nice.

SEXUAL: One character has a past that involved being a prostitute at a pleasure house. Nothing explicit to do with that is ever actual shown, but ya know. Nothing pleasant. Nina can be rather rude and is, frequently. The girls wear revealing dresses at one point and jokes are made of this. Much flirting, including a couple of guys implied to be homosexual. A boy and a girl sleep together in a pile of furs to survive bitter cold at one point. Some kissing, but not a ton. 

ABUSE: The whole plot centers on finding a scientist who produces an awful, addictive, destructive drug. So there's that. Also, some drinking/drug taking/etc. I don't recall whether there's anything the main characters do in this vein. Nothing substantial or I'd remember. :P 

OTHER: Lots of shooting, explosions, rude banter, etc. Kaz is fairly brutal. These are all anti-heroes so you're not going to find glowing good morals here.

This is my personal technique for writing content reviews. I like it because you can hit a lot of points here. One thing that you need to beware of is the temptation to loudly bash any content you don't agree with in this review. I cannot stress how much you don't want to do that.

If something happens in a book that you don't agree with or you don't like, you can reflect that in your rating. You can DNF. But be polite about it in your review!

I write roast reviews sometimes, but I mostly do them in a spirit of good fun and entertainment for myself and my Goodreads followers xD I don't like books sometimes. We're not all going to like every book. But it's important to remember that someone still wrote the book, and even if you don't agree with everything in it or it has a lot of content, please don't slam it. :P Be kind, even if you don't like it. If you roast a book, do it lightly. If you disagree with a book, state why politely.

Basically: state things for your followers, and be kind about it. Don't necessarily expect everyone to agree with you. But remember, a lot of people really appreciate content reviews, especially on the big hyped bestsellers. So be nice. And be respectful. But write them!

Do you write content reviews? How do you set them up if you do? Talk to me in the comments! 


  1. Love all of your tips!! When I first started reviewing movies, I wanted to just say "I don't like it! It's terrible!", but as you said, you need to be respectful. Now if I don't like what I'm reviewing, I point out all of the content issues then focus on what people could like about it.

  2. Love all your tips! I don't do that much with abuse ratings ... because I don't read that much with abuse, but I rate romance/ language/ violence. And I agree, it's important to not slam books, because authors have HUGE feelings ;p But sometimes it is super fun to bash a book, if done nicely ;p In such a way that the author won't see ;p Which means you should rarely write the bashing ;p

  3. This is really helpful! I tend to just wing my book reviews and content guidelines (if I even put them in) - whoops. Great post!

  4. *nods* This is awesome! I think I cover all these bases when I do a content review, it's just that usually I don't organize it into neat sections like you. Probably should. XD

  5. This is amazing!!!! Thanks, Faith!! I really need to work on putting up more (and better) reviews for the books I read.

  6. This is super helpful! Thanks for sharing. I've been trying to figure out how to write better book reviews because they always just end up being all ranty and rambling instead of straight to the point and helpful to my readers, so this was great!