As a writer and a story geek, I love consuming people’s content. I also love supporting other writers. To get our work in front of and build an audience we often work for free. Screenwriters and novelists write projects on spec. Bloggers and podcasters make content free before they monetize it. So I look for ways to support creators’ work I like. I’m a Patreon of my favorite podcast and I subscribe to online magazines like the Atavist. One of the easiest ways to help authors is to write a review of their book on Amazon. Amazon is a giant search engine. And the more reviews and sales a book has, the higher to the top of the page it pops up when a reader puts in search terms.
How to Write an Amazon Review
Some people are intimidated at the thought of writing a review. A review doesn’t need to be long or complicated. Two to five sentences are all you need. Write what you liked about the book as if you were recommending it to a friend. Remember this is not a book report so you do not need to summarize the book. Just include the details that help you explain what you liked about it.
- What was your favorite thing about the book?
- Who was your favorite character and why?
- Did you have a favorite scene?
Use juicy adjectives:
- Laugh out loud
The Headline: I like to write my review first and then pick one of the sentences to use as my headline. When I choose my headline, I think about what will motivate a reader to choose the book.
End on a high note: If the book is part of a series, I always like to end with “can’t wait to read the next one!”
5 Stars: And finally, always use five stars. Five star reviews are weighted much heavier than four-star reviews. So if there’s something that you didn’t like about the book which is why you want to rate it under five stars, understand that it will ding the author’s rating which may not be your intention. (By the way this weighted system works in everything from rating your Uber driver to your pharmacy tech.)
Be Positive: My goal in reviewing a book is to help readers find a story I enjoyed and support great writing. If I don’t like a book, then I don’t write a review.
How to Post a Review
It can be a bit tricky for some people to find the review spot on Amazon (keep scrolling down!) so I made this quick video.
Free Books Need Reviews Too
A permafree book is one that the author has set the price as free permanently. These books are usually the first in a series. It is a sales tactic to get you hooked on the series and buy more books. If I like the first one, I always review it and buy the series. I am a binge reader and I enjoy reading a series in order back to back.
One More Way to Help Authors
Buy books direct from your favorite authors on their websites. This way they get a bit more money because of affiliate links. Even if you don’t buy a book from Amazon, you can still review it there. As the biggest bookstore in the world, authors make a substantial part of their income from Amazon. So help them out!
Other Places to Post a Review
Make it as easy as possible for your fans to review your books. When you have a new book coming out, send an email to your list on how to write a review and/or video with links to your books on the different sites. This video from Sandra Beckwith of Build Book Buzz, teaches you how to send a link of the Amazon review site of your book. Feel free to use my explanation of how to write a review above and the video about posting on Amazon.
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Legal Follow Up
Last week we talked about why creatives need contracts. This article about how a YouTube foursome became a YouTube threesome has a great interview with an intellectual attorney discussing agreements.
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