How To Write A Review

your humble host

We author types love it when people leave reviews on our books. I tell everybody: Love it or hate it, please leave a review on Amazon!


It never occurred to me that a lot of readers don’t know what to write in a review.

So here’s a brief tutorial! (You may show your appreciation.)


1. Any review is better than no review.

Even a few words help. You can say “I loved it” or “This wasn’t for me” – something that brief still helps a lot. (More on that in a sec.)

2. Be honest, even if you didn’t like it.

Wait, do you want bad reviews?

I wish every review of my books was five stars and went on and on about how amazing I am, but the fact is – not every book is for every reader.

Good reviews help but so do bad reviews. Now, obviously, if a book gets fifty 1-star reviews in its first week and no 4 or 5-star reviews, it’s going to tank. But usually a book gets a little of some things and a lot of one thing. If your book has 100 reviews and 10 say it’s bad and 90 say it’s good, it’s good. But those ten jerks – I mean, those 10 honest people who say they prefer other authors, they allow similar-minded readers to not pick up your book. That helps the author.

Not all books are for all readers.

Cowboy romance? Please. But some people like it. So if somebody gives a book less than four or five stars, that simply means that book was not for them. And also, other readers who have similar likes will be advised not to check that book out.

You’ve all seen a book website prompting you with “people who liked that book also liked these.”

Well, a 3-star review (or less) is a way of indicating “if you didn’t like this you won’t like those either.”

So what should you put IN the review?

5 stars and “I loved it!” is always nice.

But beyond that, if you ever read a review, what about it was helpful to you?

Some reviews are like book reports. Some are brief.

What to do?

To me, the best reviews are the ones that:

A. Simply point out what the reader liked best: A fast pace or interesting characters.

B. If the style of writing was anything like a better known author, say so. (If it’s not, don’t.)

  • Does a horror story remind you of Stephen King’s writing, Clive Owen, or Dean Koontz?
  • Does an adventure story make you think of Indiana Jones?
  • Does a medical thriller compare favorably to Michael Crichton and Robin Cook?

You get the idea.

Mentioning ANY of big names, possibly saying it reminded you of a certain book by that author, helps a TON – because LOTS of people read that book and might like the one you found similar.

Be brief or be long, that’s up to you. But whatever YOU found helpful in a review is worth emulating. (Remember, even a few words help a lot.)

And of course, if you don’t like it, you don’t have to say anything.

That’s usually what people do when they didn’t like a book. They put it down and walk away and don’t post a review at all. That’s fine. Another option is to send the author a brief email mentioning what didn’t appeal to you. Most have a way to be contacted. Then he or she can use that information to help the direction of their next book. It all helps.

All in all, anything is better than nothing, and when it comes to reviews, we author types (should) appreciate them all.

Want a free book? Join my Readers Club and get an e-copy of my murder mystery Double Blind!


Published by Dan Alatorre AUTHOR

USA Today bestselling author Dan Alatorre has 50+ titles published in more than 120 countries and over a dozen languages.

22 thoughts on “How To Write A Review

  1. This is a useful article.

    For many years, I have reviewed every book that I have read on Goodreads, Amazon, Waterstones and, more recently, on my own blog. This is what led me into my own writing. My Goodreads friends persuaded me that I was quite good at the craft and got me into writing some shorts stories and, eventually, a couple of novels.

    Now that I am a published writer, I agree with you that we all appreciate reviews and that the quality of the critique is more important than the rating. They spread the word about our books and give potential readers a good idea as to whether they will find the books interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I totally leave reviews. I think it’s fun to write a review because I get to re-read the book in my head. Amazon is my main review place. If I have something negative to say, I try to say it without being mean and while still saying something positive about another aspect of the book.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. If you want to write a review about a bad or poorly written book, use adjectives. Otherwise, a review of any merit has some analysis -give a clue the reviewer knows what is being said in criticism so when the author reads what is presented, it is understandable to all.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. how long should a review be. if its to long you might loses the interest of the reader and they might stop reading before you get to your point?

    Liked by 2 people

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