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Writing Books/How to properly review and critique a book (e-book)


Hello, Ms. Taylor;
  I am currently doing a review for an e-book I read in the martial arts/althernative health category. I plan to either use my review as a report or to post on my website, which I will have designed very soon.          
  My question is, when you do an independent review on an e-book you have just read, and plan to make this review public (whether it be posting it in a website, putting it out in either an article or report, etc...), do you have to get the author's permission? I know in certain cases, you have to get the author's permission, or at the very least use proper documentation when you use their ideas or research for your own use, but what about just for a review? You really aren't using their ideas - just commenting on them.
  Also, is there a "proper" way to do a review/critique without completely "bashing" the book or the writer? I know when you do a critique/review, you have to give the good and the bad, and I've seen how some "movie" reviewers, at least, really put down some movies (and some of the movies are the ones I love, too!). I realize that these people are just giving their opinion and nothing else, but I was wondering if there was a way to critique a book without damaging the author or his reputation.

David Ho

P.S.: If you like, I could send you a sample of my first critique. Just let me know how I should send it.

No, you don't have to get the author's permission. I've posted reviews without them.
As for the proper way to review, it is best to be tactful. Tell what you don't like about the book and what you wish it would've said. You can do that without being hurtful. Instead of saying, "I hate the way she talks about that subject", you could say, "She could've worded that differently". You can criticize without being hateful.


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Niki Taylor


What are good writing books? How can I write a writing book? Who publishes writing books?


I'm a writer/book reviewer from North Carolina. For almost three years, I have been freelance writing. My website is

Book on freelance writing at

Quiz writer for

Writes for

Contributor to Conquering Panic and Anxiety Disorders:
Success Stories, Strategies, and Other Good News. Hunter

Book review published in March 2002 Lambda Book Report.

Book Review published in August 2002 The Writer.

Article published in Pediatrics for Parents(Vol. 20, No. 1)

Book reviewer article published in January 2003 issue of AWP
Job List

Book Review Published in April 2003 Good Old Boat

Writing-related article published in May 24, 2003 Funds for
Writers Newsletter(Digest Number 210)

Book Review published in Dovetail
Article published in Openmind, November/December 2003
Article published in 12/17/03
Book review in FOOD WRITING A Bi-Weekly E-zine Vol. I, Issue 12 January 13, 2004
Teaches online class on book reviewing at

East Carolina University, Bachelor's of Arts in English with
a concentration in Writing, 1994
East Carolina University, Master's in Library Science, 1998
East Carolina University, Working on Master's of Arts in
English in Creative Writing Program, Jan. 1999-May 2000

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