REVIEWING BOOKS

I personally feel it’s easier to write my books than it is to get reviews for them. So far, Guarding Genny has been out for nearly a month and, as you can see below, has only garnered 2 reviews. What’s interesting about that is I’ve been told by nearly everyone who has read it that they loved it.

For those who might not be aware, reviews are the lifeblood of indie authors like myself. Without a certain number of them, and an acceptable star rating, I am not able to promote my books using many of the sites online. Which makes it much harder to reach potential readers.

Several people have told me that they’re (1) busy and (2) not sure how to write reviews. I took the liberty of doing a little research about book reviews. Actually, I learned a lot in the process and will use the information to improve the reviews I write. Although I don’t like to have so much text without pictures or some sort of break, I felt the two excerpts below that I pulled from the Internet about writing reviews for Amazon was very informative and wanted to share.

I hate to plead, but I’m going to anyway. PLEASE, PLEASE, if you’ve read one of my books, post a review on Amazon. Your comments will help me write better books. I wrote them for you, and I’d like them to represent the best I can do and give more enjoyment to your reading.

The process to write a review is easy. Go to the book you wish to review, (I have provided links to all my books below) then scroll down to the bottom where you see the reviews. Directly to the right you will see a box that says WRITE A CUSTOMER REVIEW. Click on that box and a screen will open showing five white stars (HINT: 5 stars is good, 1 star is bad). Click on the star rating you wish to give and a dialog box opens below where you can type your review. Under the first area where you write the review is another one so you can give your review a title. Once finished, click SUBMIT. That’s it, 5 seconds and you’re done and you will have helped me tremendously.


Links to books
Black Diamonds 
Blue Ice 
Green Skies 
Appalachian Gold 
Guarding Genny
Colors of Alaska Boxed Set

Excerpt from “How To Write A Book Review on Amazon” By Nancy Curteman 

Reviews can have a big impact on book sales. Authors deeply appreciate the time and effort their readers put into writing reviews. Here are some points to consider when writing book reviews.

Do Amazon reviews actually affect a book’s sales?

 Yes they do according to publishers and other authors. Here’s how:

  • After about ten reviews, Amazon starts including the book in “also bought” and “you might like” lists. This increases the chances of someone finding the title.

  • After several more reviews, Amazon looks at the book for spotlight positions and the newsletter. This provides a HUGE hike in sales.

  • The number of reviews may affect Amazon sales ranking.

  • Some websites will not consider or promote a book unless it has a certain number of reviews on the Amazon page.

  • Readers may read through reviews and decide to purchase or not purchase the book based on what they read.

How do you write a review?

You can click a star rating and then write a couple of sentences about the book. Reviews can be as simple as “This book was really good. I recommend it for a great summer read.” They can be as elaborate as you want.

Here are some ideas you might find useful: 

  • Say something you liked about the book. Things that you could focus on could include the plot, a particular scene, characters, how things changed during the course of the story, etc. 

    • I loved the scene where Grace meets Detective Ross in Marita’s apartment.

    • Captain George is the kind of guy you love to hate.

  • If there was a moment or character that personally impacted you in some way, say so. Put yourself in the review. Authors love to know they made a personal connection with what they wrote.

    • Mrs. Groat reminded me of my own grandmother.

    • I learned a lot about Australia or life on a sheep station or Uluru.

  • Words that describe the book.

    • It was good, it was fast-moving, it was full of twists and turns, lots of red herrings, kept me guessing.

  • Talk about what you wanted to see more of or what needs improvement. Do you wish a character was in the book more? Were there a couple of sections that ran a bit slow? Say so.

Tips to remember:

  • Don’t be afraid to be honest. Do remember to be helpful.

  • Don’t give away the ending of the book. You can say “the ending surprised me”, but don’t reveal specific plot details.

  • The more personal and less technical your review, the better. Write a review as long or short as you want. Think of it as what you might tell people you know about this book.

Tips for Writing Amazon Reviews By Neal Wooten

Tip One
If you haven’t read the book, don’t leave a review. I actually read a one-star review recently that read, “I couldn’t get this stupid book to download.” That is a problem to be solved between you and tech support, not to use the review section to vent.

Tip Two
Reviews should include something about the story. Fake example: “Set in the Civil War era with war looming, a young couple from the South tries to start a new life.” Too many reviews, however, are so generic they could apply to any book written. Actual example: “The plot was weak. The story dragged on.” When I read reviews like this one, I’m not sure the reviewer actually read the book and would direct them to TIP ONE.

Tip Three
After you give potential readers a little insight into the plot, you can add your personal thoughts. Fake example: “I thought the premise was unique and the writing solid. I saw the ending coming a mile away though.” Personal thoughts should be about the story, not the reader. Actual example: “I hate dystopian novels.” Which begs the question: why are you reading and reviewing a dystopian novel?

Tip Four
A five-star review should be for a book that has everything: good writing, good editing, and a story that makes you want to read it again and tell your friends about. Some people are too generous, which is generally not a bad trait to have in life. But I’ve looked at all the reviews of some reviewers to find that they’ve given a five-star review to all 30 books they’ve read. And while it’s very polite, it doesn’t serve the purpose for potential new readers. Seriously, nobody could be that lucky.

Tip Five
If a book is well-written and well-edited, it should never get less than a three-star review. Just because you were not able to tell what the story was about from the book description, or if the story didn’t appeal to you as much as other books, is no reason to give a professional book a one or two-star review. That’s just petty. Stories are subjective, and just because it didn’t appeal to you doesn’t mean it won’t appeal to someone else. Explain in your review why you didn’t like the story. That’s what reviews are for.

Tip Six
Although I find it extremely improbable, if a book has no redeeming qualities whatsoever and the writing is full of errors and typos, then and only then is a one-star review proper. But usually even badly written books have decent ideas. But this is a powerful tool — use it wisely, Grasshopper.

Thank goodness the majority of readers are very bright. Heck, that’s why they read, or vice versa. When they read one-star reviews that are poorly written, do not actually mention any details of the storyline, and just appear as immature rantings, they take them as such. 

Summary
Reviews are about books and for readers; they’re not about you the reviewer for you the reviewer. If it’s in your character to need attention, don’t write useless reviews, start a blog. Or better yet, become a cable news anchor.
 

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It’s me again! In closing, I want to thank you for your reviews. They mean a lot and will really help me. And as always, thanks for your support.

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