WRITING A REVIEW
Do you make a habit of reviewing the books that you read?
There’s no way around it; reviews can make or break the success of an independent author’s novel. Accumulating reviews is a major hurdle for a new novel. Many sites that advertise books will not accept one that doesn’t have a certain number of reviews on Amazon.com. There are thousands of places online to leave a book review, but the number of reviews on Amazon are the ones by which an author is most often judged.
I don’t believe most readers realize how important reviews are in a novel’s fate. All the advertising in the world, even expensive reviews by professionals, cannot replace the value of good reviews by the readers themselves.
A review can be as simple as three sentences that say what you liked or didn’t like about the story, or it can include a one or two page synopsis. The ones your author needs the most, the ones on Amazon, do not have to be lengthy. In fact, Amazon has recently lifted its ban on reviews that are too short. A week ago I got a review for Trespass, that simply said, “I loved it!”
So get busy typing and support your favorite reads!
· Where to leave reviews: Amazon is all-important. Goodreads, Shelfari, and Library Thing are also excellent places to leave a review, as is any site that promotes books.
· Don’t know what to say? You don’t have to write an entire synopsis of the story. A few sentences say it all: How much you enjoyed the book, the characters, the plot, the ending.
· Don’t worry about not being a wordsmith. Give your impression of the book simply and in your own words, as if telling a friend about the story.
· Be careful not to reveal too much of the story line. If you absolutely hated the ending, don’t explain why. But if you find you have to talk about the storyline or ending, add a large "SPOILER ALERT" notice above the review.
· Take time to explain what you didn’t like. If you rated a book poorly, explain why.Not everyone has problems with the same things, e.g. endings that close with a question or stories with a lot of narrative.
· Even negative reviews can be helpful to an author if you take the time to point out why you didn’t like the book.
My last blog about paid reviews led to a lot of discussion and opinion. So much so that I thought the next step would be to encourage all of you to leave reviews. If you leave them regularly for the books you read, each one will be easier to write.
Reviews are precious gems to an author. If you get in the habit of leaving them, you will be making authors very happy, which will encourage them to write more books for you. Keep reading!
Have a happy and healthy week,