Trusted Book Reviews Style Guide

Formatting tips and what to keep in mind before submitting

A.E. Jackson, Author
Trusted Book Reviews
7 min readJan 21, 2024

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Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

Trusted Book Reviews are written by informed and experienced published authors from various backgrounds.

Trusted Book Reviews seeks writers with a clear and compelling voice. Our readers are curious about the books you love. Likewise, our readers value a review that warns them of a book they should avoid. We work hard to fill TBR lists with the best writing in various genres!

Check out this style guide for information you can use to prepare your reviews for Trusted Book Reviews. Details on grammar, formatting, reviews to avoid, and an idea of what we will accept are covered.

1. Style and Grammar

All reviews submitted to Trusted Book Reviews pass through a copyediting process. The editors revise your review when grammar and formatting issues are found to meet our internal style guide. Trusted Book Reviews strives to maintain an exceptional standard of quality for every review we publish.

Editors are not paid for the copyediting work they undertake. Please be considerate and make sure your reviews are free of grammatical errors.

The free version of Grammarly is helpful and recommended. The Chrome browser extension can work with the Medium editor.

2. Formatting

Trusted Book Reviews stand out from other book reviews through uniform formatting. Keep these standards in mind before you submit:

a. Titles and Subtitles

Title your review in a way that tells readers exactly what they can expect from the review. Example — ‘This Book Is Great’ would be better written as ‘How Stephen King’s IT Uncovered Complex Coming of Age Issues Within Me.’

Be sure to use Title Case, capitalizing all significant words. Use the Title Case Converter if you doubt how to create your titles.

The subtitle should be in sentence case. Do not end your subtitle with any punctuation marks.

Medium makes it easy to format your title. Highlight the review title in the editor and click the “Large T” button in the pop-up menu. Add your subtitle below and click the “Small t” button in the pop-up menu.

b. Section Headers

Format section headers as title case. They exist to break up your review into more readable sections. Summarize the section with section headers, or let the reader know what to expect next in the review.

Separate all sections by a separator. Add separators by clicking the “+” button after typing enter. Then, click the “- -” button to add a separator. This formatting style can clearly break up two sections of your review.

c. Cover Image

All reviews on Trusted Book Reviews require a cover image. The photo or graphic is placed after the title and subtitle. We recommend Unsplash to find relevant, high-quality, royalty-free images that match the theme of your review. Give credit to the owner or creator of that image or photograph.

When possible, gain permission from the Publisher and Author, and provide credit for the book cover and author photograph.

To add the image, type enter to begin a new line below the subtitle. Click the “+” button to the left. Click the Unsplash logo icon and search for a relevant image. You may also use your image by clicking the ‘Add Image’ icon.

All images in your review require proper attribution of their respective source. Other free image sources may be used, but you must properly credit the owner. When using your own images or graphics, just add “Image: Author” as the caption. Easy!

NOTE: Please don’t add more than one image in the review unless you share the book cover image. Do not include GIFs or Videos unless they are relevant and add exceptional value to your review.

d. Length

Trusted Book Reviews seeks thought-provoking book reviews that will serve readers well. The ideal word count is between 500 to 900 words. If you want to write a longer, more in-depth review, feel free to do so. When submitting a shorter review, ensure you still provide the reader some value for taking the time to read your review.

A maximum word limit is not set for reviews submitted to Trusted Book Reviews. But you are responsible for writing on elements of story structure and plot, character development, point-of-view, writing craft, grammar and editing, overall reader experience, and emotional reaction to the story.

Please do not ramble. Remove fluff and fillers. Stick to your point. Deliver high value to the reader.

e. Quotes

This is what a pull quote looks like.

Highlight lines you have written with pull quotes. Emphasize a line of your review with this feature.

“This is what a blockquote looks like.”

Quote other people with blockquotes. Be certain to mention the original writer.

Reviews that use pull quotes and block quotes incorrectly will be rejected.

f. Book Titles

Reviews with a title like ‘Complex Coming of Age Issues Scare Me’ should include the book title in the subtitle so the reader will understand on which book the review is focused.

Book titles included within your title and/or subtitle must be enclosed in single quotes.

g. Other Review Links

We encourage writers to link similar or related reviews at the end of a review. However, we ask that you only include reviews published with Trusted Book Reviews. Links to self-published reviews or reviews published in other publications will be removed by editors.

3. What to Avoid

Trusted Book Reviews seeks writers with a clear and compelling voice. Our readers are curious about the books you love. Likewise, our readers value a review that warns them away from a book they should avoid. We work hard to fill TBR lists with the best writing in a variety of genres!

a. Titles to Avoid

Title your review in a way that tells readers exactly what they can expect from the review. Example — ‘This Book Is Great’ would be better written as ‘How Stephen King’s IT Uncovered Complex Coming of Age Issues Within Me.’

Be sure to use Title Case, capitalizing all major words. Use the Title Case Converter if you are in doubt about how to create your own titles.

Subtitle should be in sentence case. Do not end your subtitle with any punctuation marks.

b. Review Types to Avoid

Editors at Trusted Book Reviews attempt to make the publication as inclusive as possible for readers seeking to fill TBR lists with the best writing in a variety of genres!

However, there is some content we absolutely will not accept:

a. Authors reviewing books they wrote or contributed to.
b. List articles of mini-reviews that are unclear or lack a strong theme.
c. Lessons in writing or marketing.
d. Promotional material full of affiliate links.

4. What to Submit

To be certain that your review is accepted by Trusted Book Reviews, ask yourself: Is the review written with a clear and compelling voice? Will curious readers discover why you love the book? Will readers value the review because it warns them away from a book they should avoid?

Many submissions reveal the author doesn’t understand these aims when writing a review.

b. Writing Your Review

Trusted Book Reviews accepts book recommendations from qualified and unique voices. Readers who explore multiple genres, and 52 or more books each year, can often spot a good book.

Simply write your thoughts on the book and the overall feeling you were left with upon completion. Share your notes on story structure and plot elements, character development, point-of-view, writing craft, grammar, and editing, overall reader experience, and emotional reaction to the story.

c. Elements to Include

When reviewing a book, do not just copy the book description blurb from the Author website or book cover jacket. Here are a few elements Trusted Book Reviews suggest you include:

Your INITIAL REACTION to the book you just completed. Clever lines tend to hook a reader and can help establish your voice in the review.

A SUMMARY of the book written in your own words. Avoid plagiarism by writing your own story summary without giving away any spoilers. Do not copy, or rewrite, the book blurb or online book description from an online store.

Dive deep into your REVIEW THOUGHTS and provide the reader value for taking the time to explore your review.

Be certain to keep the review PERSONAL, and let the reader know if the book touched your heart or moved you in some way.

WRAP UP the review by letting the reader know if they should grab a copy of the book, or avoid this particular title.

Include a SHORT BIO or information about the author. Have you met them? Would you like to? Let the reader know why you will always pick up their new releases!

5. Steps to Submit

If you have not yet been added as a Trusted Book Reviews writer, read the instructions our Submission Guidelines. Let us know about you and what kind of reviews you plan to submit.

After you are approved as a Trusted Book Reviews writer, you can submit more reviews through Medium as they are completed. To do so, click the three dots in the top right of your review and choose “Add to Publication.”

Choose “Trusted Book Reviews” from the list and then click “Save.”

Next, click the green “Submit” button beside the three dots. Once clicked, a prompt will appear asking you to provide (up to) five relevant topic tags. Trusted Book Reviews requests that three of the topic tags be: Books, Book Review, and Fiction (or Nonfiction). Please include one topic tag based on the genre of the book being reviewed.

Finally, decide if you want to put your review behind Medium’s paywall. Trusted Book Reviews recommends making your review eligible to earn money. You should also allow curators to recommend the review to a wider audience of readers in the topics you provided.

Trusted Book Reviews will handle all submitted reviews within three business days. If your review is rejected, Trusted Book Reviews will send a note explaining why. If your review could be improved through editing, an editor will try to provide some guidance. Trusted Book Reviews Editors will NEVER edit any part of your review (except grammatical errors) without your permission.

Thanks for taking the time to read the Trusted Book Reviews Style Guide. We hope it is helpful to getting your review accepted by our editors.

We look forward to reading your reviews and discovering what you believe readers should add to their TBR list.

All the best,

A.E. Jackson
Editor, Trusted Book Reviews

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A.E. Jackson, Author
Trusted Book Reviews

More free short stories → https://www.aejackson.com A.E. Jackson writes uncanny speculative fiction for your enjoyment. He is married with two children.