Let me start by encouraging you to actually write a customer review of whatever book you’re reading. It’s a fact that a very small percentage of Amazon book sales get reviewed by the customer. Although Amazon continually updates its mysterious algorithm, it remains true that the more reviews a book receives the more visible it is to potential buyers. For an author, visibility is gold. This is especially true during a pandemic, when bookstores are closed and events canceled.
I know a lot of people are reluctant to post a review or don’t know what to say. Here are tips for writing reviews that you can use on Amazon and Goodreads.
- Think about what you’re going to say. Before starting to write your review, consider how you felt about the book. Did it leave you feeling uplifted – why? Did you feel disappointed – why? Is it your favorite book of all time – why? Did you have a hard time putting it down, or did you find it hard to plod through it – why?
- Read the book yourself. Don’t review from a summary, a movie, or a friend’s recommendation. Nothing is more annoying to an author than a reviewer who doesn’t like a character that isn’t even in the book. (Yes, this happens.) Amazon does allow you to leave a review if you purchased the book elsewhere or got it as a gift.
- Star review. Assign the book 1-5 stars to indicate how much you like it. I’m pretty generous with 5-star reviews, but you should only give 5 if you really liked it. If you give less than four stars, please say why in the body of the review. Every author I know is angered by a 1 star review with no explanation. They want to know where the reader disengaged from the story. The only 1 star review I remember leaving was to a book where the main character’s name changed for no reason in the middle of the book.
- Share what you liked. This doesn’t have to be deeply profound, simply share what you liked about the character, plot, setting, pacing, or detail. If you liked a character, say so. If you liked an event, say so. Be as specific as you can. Instead of saying, “This book is cool,” you might say, “The main character would be a good person to have as a friend.” Even if it wasn’t your favorite book, try to find something positive to say. On the other hand, don’t go overboard with flowery praise so you sound like the author’s best friend or someone who’s being paid to review the book.
- Share what you didn’t like. Be honest but kind and impartial. Don’t use inappropriate language or attack the author. It’s this particular book that’s on review, not the author. If you didn’t like the book, please do write a review. Some authors love a review that creates controversy. They believe it gives authenticity to an author’s list of reviews if some are not stellar.
- Make it the best you can. Amazon doesn’t limit the length of a review, so the proper length is up to you. I usually aim for 20-50 words. Before you post the review, make sure you reread it for missing words and to make sure your comments are clear. Also check spelling and grammar.
Once you’ve posted the review, consider sharing it on your social media pages or posting it on Goodreads. You certainly don’t have to, but remember that any extra visibility is a boon for the author. Happy reviewing!