|Photo by Ginny.|
I sell most of my books on Amazon. One of the things that helps readers discover my work is having a healthy amount of reviews. I've heard tell that 25 is the sweet spot where your book starts to appear on recommended product lists for potential customers, but it is all sparkly computer magic to me. As far as I'm concerned, the Amazon algorithm is a powerful god, requiring sacrifices, healthy amounts of fear, and the averting of eyes.
If you slither along the back alleys of the Internet, you probably won't have to slither too far to find services where you can employ large groups of people to write fake Amazon reviews for you. But...to quote one of my favorite movies of all time, "We are men of action. Lies do not become us."
So. Let's say you've just read a book and it's time to share your experience with the universe via Amazon review. Chances are, positive or negative, your review will be appreciated by the author, whose work will benefit from increased discoverability on Amazon.
More importantly, your review will be appreciated by readers just like you. Most folks have limited resources to buy books and want to know more about the titles they're about to purchase.
If you're intimidated by this process, the first thing you should know is this: an Amazon book review does not need to be long. Got that? Long does not equal better, provided you include the necessary information.
Here's one of my recent reviews for Deep Down.
I love this review. Duh, it's five stars. But it's also four lines. All opinion, no summary. A quick list of what a potential reader needs to know: this book has a beta hero, a feisty heroine, hot sex, and touching supporting characters. No extraneous details. No droning on and on summarizing the book (or worse, spoilers).
Anyhow, my point is, don't be long-winded.
On that note, onward with the steps.
How to Write an Amazeballs Amazon Book Review
1. A quick sentence about how this book affected you (or failed to affect you).Your first sentence invites other consumers to read the rest of your review, so make it catchy, useful and honest. How did this book make you feel? Did it change the way you think? Did it alter your opinions on a topic? Did it affect your understanding of something? Did you have a strong reaction to this book? Or did it leave you lukewarm? (1 sentence)
2. If you must, briefly summarize the plot or main ideas, but don't give away spoilers.A lot of rookie reviewers spend too much time summarizing the book. Don't do this. Lay out the elements of the book (main characters, setting, genre) but don't retell the story like a second grader recounting his boring summer camp experience in front of the class. Two or three sentences of plot summary will do you. And for the love of God, don't give away spoilers. (2-3 sentences)
3. Drop the beat (a.k.a. your opinion).This is the most important part of your review. Your opinion. What did you think about how the author told this story? What did he or she accomplish? What did he or she fail to do as a writer? Remember, being professional goes a long way. Avoid personal attacks of the author. Stay focused. The point of your review is to help potential readers decide whether or not to buy the book. In general, writers don't get into this business with a thin skin, but don't devalue your platform by being a mean-spirited dick. Chances are, more people will become impatient with you than find you funny. (2-5 sentences)
4. Write the headline.Save your headline for last. Take the most interesting sentence from your review and turn it into a quick, catchy headline.
That's it! On behalf of all authors, I thank you for reading, for reviewing, for buying books, for talking about books, for being the wind beneath our wings. Here's a secret: even if you give us one star reviews, we still kind of love you, you grumpy little bastard.
For advice on how to take a punch, a.k.a a bad review, please click here.