Since I’m always preaching on the importance of book reviews, I thought I should put my blog where my mouth is and write a post about it. How to Write a Book Review plus my random thoughts on a topic near and dear to me.
Reviews are important, y’all, for reasons I never understood until I wrote a book. It’s about visibility. Most authors (including me) have no publicist or agent, no real budget for advertising. We do our own marketing and typically feel invisible in a sea of books being released daily.
Most readers search Amazon for book recommendations. Amazon doesn’t promote books that only have a handful of reviews.
It makes complete sense.
I was a reader long before I became a writer. And on those days when my writing confidence drags in the dirt, reading keeps me sane, inspires me, makes me want to write again. I’m always looking for books to read. I find them based on reviews and word of mouth recommendation. Don’t you?
How to Write a Book Review on Amazon:
One thing I’ve learned as an author—many people have never written a review simply because they didn’t know they could. They thought reviews were written by professional “reviewers” not regular readers like us. If you’ve never written a review, please know this: it’s easy. It doesn’t have to be wordy or complicated. It only takes a few seconds to make an author’s day.
All you have to do is…
- go to www.amazon.com
- search for the book you want to review
- select the book
- scroll down until you see a small gray box that says “write a customer review” and click on it
- highlight stars (5 is the best) and add comments.
Note: You can do Amazon book reviews even if you didn’t buy the book via Amazon. The trick is you must have purchased something (anything) from Amazon at some point. In other words, you must have an Amazon account. If you did purchase the book from Amazon, your review will show up as a verified review.
That’s all there is to it!
Regarding Amazon Ratings:
Amazon defines its stars as…
⭐ = I hate it
⭐⭐ = I don’t like it
⭐⭐⭐ = It’s okay
⭐⭐⭐⭐ = I like it
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ = I love it
Hate is such a strong word. Typically, if I don’t like a book, I don’t finish it. If I don’t finish it, I don’t rate it. That’s just me.
The system is far from perfect. You as the reader must decide how to consistently assign ratings.
I know someone who compares everything to Shakespeare. In his mind, if the book isn’t a classic literary masterpiece, he doesn’t feel it is deserving of five stars. That’s his method and that’s fine. Other folks compare everything to Jodi Picoult or John Green or fill-in-the-blank. Different strokes, you know. Not everyone will love the same books.
The important thing is to be uniform and honest.
We bring ourselves to the stories we read. When a book affects me, makes me think, keeps me thinking—that book is a five-star book in my world no matter what the critics think, no matter if I’m the first person to read it, no matter if it will never be an award winner. Of course, it needs to be well-written and well-edited, too.
Other Thoughts on Reviews:
~ Someone spent a lot of time writing the book. If you insist on giving it a negative rating (less than three stars), provide constructive criticism to help the author understand why you didn’t like it. One word reviews like “Boring” or “Stupid” are petty and possibly viewed as spam by Amazon. Instead, explain that you didn’t follow the plot line, you didn’t relate to the characters, the editing was lacking, etc.
~ Your review should include something about the storyline specific to the book. Generic comments that might apply to the last ten books you read won’t help readers find their next great read.
~ If you are going to include spoilers, please, for the love of storytelling, make that known at the beginning of the review. No one wants to have a story ruined before they’ve read it.
~ Don’t review books you haven’t read. This should go without saying, but I often see the most bizarre reviews about the book packaging or mail service. “Arrived later than expected.” Or, “This used book was in average condition.” Or, “This electronic book wouldn’t download!” If you have a problem with your order, take it up with Amazon Help but don’t leave a negative review for the author. Bottom-line, your review should be about the story and nothing else.
~ If you worry that you can’t spell or you’ll sound silly, put those thoughts out of your mind. Every positive review is a treasure to an author. An author’s favorite review is the most recent one she received.
~ Again, be honest and fair with the ratings you assign. If you give all five-star ratings to your writer friends, there’s not much point to the system.
~ Review the book soon after finishing it. Otherwise, you may forget.
~ Consider sharing your review on Goodreads, Barnes & Noble, Library Thing, and/or Facebook.
~ Review other products, not just books. Small business owners need product reviews in the same way authors do.
I’m sure I left out something. If you have questions about how to write a book review, let me know in the comments.
What was the last book you read? Why not write a short review for that book today? Even if it’s a book with 3,000 reviews.
Grace Grits and Gardening
Farm. Food. Garden. Life.
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