Writing a Critical First Impression

What if a First Look just isn’t for you?

You can still submit a thoughtful First Impression even if the First Look isn’t appealing to you. Approach your First Impression as a mini-review of the First Look. Make sure you’ve read the excerpt of the book before you begin drafting your First Impression. Publishers are looking for thoughtful First Impressions that reflect on the writing, content, characters, and overall style of the book.

Publishers place their books on BookishFirst to receive meaningful First Impressions and Reviews from readers, so if any feedback states only that a reader is not interested in reading the book or the content/topic, that does not count as feedback based on the excerpt of the book.

What to consider when writing your First Impression:

  • Did you enjoy the excerpt - why and why not?
  • Who is the target audience? And what would they appreciate about this book?
  • Would fans of another author, book, or series like this book? And why?
  • How does the cover represent the First Look you read?
  • Are there images or graphics included? How do they add to the book?

Keep in mind that reviews on BookishFirst are visible to other Readers in the community. Reading is a personal experience and not all readers will share the same opinion of books. Please note that if your First Impression is not based on the excerpt of the book provided, your First Impression may be removed and the points earned will be revoked.

Do you have a favorite First Impression you’ve written, or come across on BookishFirst? Link to it in the comments!


I liked my most recent first impression and the link is here: Perfect middle grade voice | BookishFirst

Thank you for this helpful post that provided excellent tips to keep in mind when writing first impressions. Now I know the publishers are my audience and the types of feedback they are seeking.

It irritates me that one suggestion is to comment on the book cover. I understand that, like it or not, the cover does make an impression on someone who has not read the book. But the implication when someone comments on it is that it matters.

My comment on a book cover would be that it doesn’t matter.

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Thank you for this post. I have really struggled with knowing how to comment when it’s on a book that I don’t care for. I often comment that I think another group of readers such as youth, teens, etc would enjoy it.
This is very helpful.

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I followed these guidelines to a T, yet my First Impression was removed… If I say that I’m not interested in reading the rest of the book because I found the writing boring, how is that not feedback based on the First Look? I literally even said that it just wasn’t for me, but others would probably enjoy it…


most informative. Thanks

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This was helpful information because I did not realize that feedback on the cover was so important- even though one of the questions has always been about the cover. Is it possible that the publishers might change a cover design based on feedback?

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