We welcome reviews of books relevant to public relations, so here are some guidelines for contributors.
Suggested word count: 600 words
Purpose of a review:
A book review is not about your opinion on a book or its author. It’s written with the reader in mind. You are trying to help the reader decide whether a book is worth reading and worth buying. You should be encouraging readers to form a judgement rather than imposing your judgement on them.
Choosing books to review:
We usually publish reviews of recent books in the public relations field, though we might publish round-up reviews of several established texts.
Who can review books:
Anyone wanting to submit a review should first contact the editor. Anonymous reviews will not be published, and reviewers should state any connections they have to the author (through family or work).
How to read a book you are reviewing:
Ideally, you should read a book for review twice. The first reading should be at speed to gain a broad overview of the themes of the book. The second reading should allow a much more detailed analysis of the argument.
In reality, there is rarely time to do this. So you should read the book judiciously, skimming certain sections to allow a more detailed reading of key passages. Have a notebook to hand to record the page numbers of key passages you may want to cite or quote.
Academics will often read a book ‘back-to-front’, judging it by the quality – and the quantity – of the sources consulted. Does the book have an index, and does it appear comprehensive?
Suggested structure of a review:
- State the details of the book. Its title, author, page count, publisher and publication year.
- Outline the general topic. Does it support or challenge existing scholarship in the field?
- Indicate who the book is written for.
- Comment on the author’s credentials to write this book (authority).
- Summarise the key themes and identify some of the main arguments.
- Illustrate with choice quotations from the text.
- For academic books, you might comment on the research conducted and the sources consulted.
- Identify any errors or omissions.
- Comment on the style and structure of the book.
- Provide a summary of the book’s qualities (or deficiencies).