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.
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