How to write a book review for Amazon.com
A book review for Amazon.com may not make or break a product, but it can damn sure influence a potential new customer who’s on the fence.
In the self-publishing game, we live or die by reviews. Like Beyonce says, “If you like it you should put a review on it.” (Paraphrasing, I know. But you get the idea.)
I’m assuming you already know how to buy a book from Amazon. Once you’ve enjoyed the book, here’s how you can let the world know and become an influencer.
1 . Log in to Amazon.com
To write a review, you have to log in.
If you don’t have an Amazon.com account… what century do you live in? Are you just one of those, “I will not bow to the Man?” types? Sorry, but you can’t be an anonymous troll and write a review.
Well, you can have a user name different from your real name, so maybe…
Just log in and let’s get to the good stuff!
2 . Return to the book’s Amazon page
This may sound like a “duh” moment, but it’s a big step, so I have to write it. Now you’re going to scroll down to —
3. Find the “Customer Reviews” section
See the red arrow in the image above? That’s pointing to the “Write a customer review” button. Click it.
4. Writing the preliminary book review
The next page shows you all the things you’ve ever ordered from Amazon.com. You’re looking for the book you want to review, which is right at the top. Book reviews are a little different than the average product review. It’s not just “rate it with the stars.” Your review starts with “How is the author’s writing.”
You’ll also address other factors that affect whether a potential reader will pick up the book like “Is there violence?” “Is there sexual content?” “How is the story narrated?”
Come to think of it, maybe some of these questions should be there for movie, TV and music reviews too. Just a thought.
Once you get these done, then you’re at the “rate it with a star” portion of the review.
Rule of thumb: five stars is a classic, three stars are “I didn’t love it but didn’t hate it” or “loved it, but there are flaws,” one star is a “why did I buy this book, and I want to save you the trouble.”
5. Writing the book review – your thoughts
Now the hard part — stating your case as to why you gave the book the number of stars you did. You can write a review worthy of “Publisher’s Weekly” or something as simple as “loved it!”.
The idea is to do two things: stroke the author’s ego if you think they did a good job (writers by nature are a superstitious, lonely lot) or provide polite (emphasis on “polite”) criticism if they didn’t. Great dialogue? Say that. Bad grammar? Say that too.
Great dialogue? Great plotting? A lot of intrigue? Say that. Bad grammar? Say that too.
Bad grammar? Typos? Unsympathetic or just plain stupid characters? Say that too.
The other thing your review should do is further elaborate to potential readers what they’re getting. You don’t necessarily need a synopsis unless you think the posted synopsis in the book’s listing doesn’t do the story justice. NO SPOILERS, though.
Focus here on the sex, violence, or political points that may alarm the closed-minded potential reader. This saves that potential reader a surprise. It also prevents a possible lunatic fringe bad review based not on the quality of the book but a potential reader’s prejudices.
6. The finish line
When finished, hit the “Submit” button, and that’s it. Amazon will… er, review your review, making sure you’re not posting anything untoward. You’ll then get a notice when your review is live. The author will secretly thank you. They may use a snippet of your review on the website, book cover or that very Amazon book page.
Or — gasp — they may even contact you when it comes time for the next book and offer a free copy for you to review!
So now you can become a card-carrying book reviewer for Amazon.