I last posted a how-to article on submitting book reviews on Amazon. Today I thought I’d do a refresher on the concept of a review—specifically reviews on Amazon and other book sale sites. In these reviews, don’t think you must retell the story. The book ad has a blurb describing the content. So, our job as the reviewer is to express to potential readers what we liked or didn’t like about a book.
Our review can be as simple as one line.
“I could not put this book down.”
“I read it in one day.”
“Not my cup of tea.”
None of these one-liners mention the story’s content. But, it’s their honest review. A friend asks you, “Did you see such and such a movie?” Your response might be. “It was cool.” Now if you know this person and you have similar tastes you’ll go see it.
A book review needs a bit more information because many strangers will be reading your comments. Two of the one-liners above tell me the book kept the reader’s attention and the third it didn’t. Add a line or two telling why.
Describe what you loved about it. “I loved not figuring out who done it before it was revealed at the end of the book.” If I am looking for a mystery this is a comment that gets my interest.
“Not sappy. Strong female characters. Interesting twists. More than a simple romance.” I love a romance with more than two people making eyes at each other. So, this review has my interest.
“I learned so much about life during the Civil War. Well-researched.” I like historicals that are fact filled. I’d consider reading this novel.
Some reviewers copy exact quotes from the book. That is so cool. Tells me the writer is a great wordsmith if the reader is captured by the words enough to quote them.
What not to review
I read a review of a thriller that I found odd. “Too creepy.” She said. The reviewer added she didn’t like being scared. Not sure why she read a thriller when the whole point is to scare the reader at least a little.
Don’t bother to review a book you haven’t finished. If you do, admit you couldn’t finish it and say why.
Don’t review a book from genre you never read unless you loved it. It’s not fair to the writer. You can’t give an honest review of a genre you don’t like. There are specific ingredients that make up each genre. If you only like pie then cake may never satisfy you even if it has won a blue ribbon.
There are rare occasions when I’m asked to review a book way out of my wheelhouse. And if I am surprised that the content interested me, I mention that in the review. But often, I’ll suggest the author find someone who loves their genre to review it.
Please don’t review a book you have never read because your friend told you it was terrible and ask you to help get the word out. The flip side is true too. Don’t give a 5-star rating to a book your friend loved but you never read it. Honestly, I’ve meant people who are lemmings when it comes to reviews. This is not fair to prospective readers.
There are those who write wonderful long reviews that compare the book to others in the genre or other titles the author has written. This is helpful to many who follow a specific author. These longer reviews can often capture the attention of a new readers. If the review of an up and coming Romance novelist is compared to Nicholas Sparks or Debbie Macomber their fans will probably buy the book.
But you don’t have to wax poet or long. Just be honest. While you’re at it, be kind. Snarky lines only give you grief. I did that only once. The feedback from the irate author and his fake friends (he wrote more criticisms of me under various names.) was not worth the time it took me to be snarky. We are not Sisko and Ebert getting big bucks to be brash, so keep your criticism mellow.
Misspelling and confusion
Be sure if you mention a character that you have the name right. Someone praised my heroine using the wrong name. It’s easy to do. We get involved in the story and then the names get jumbled in our heads later. Try to have no typos, especially the authors name. Yes, I’ve done that too. I’ve caught myself misspelling a name. Yay for the edit button.
Don’t give a bad review for a genre you don’t read.
Don’t review a book you’ve never read.
Don’t retell the story.
Please, please, please don’t give spoilers. As much as you want to, don’t tell me the twist details. Save those comments for your book club.
What are you favorite kinds of reviews when you are considering buying a book?
If you’ve read Secrets & Charades I hope you’ve posted a review. If you haven’t read it yet check it out. There’s a buy link below.
Jake Marcum’s busy ranch leaves him no time for courting, and his wounded heart has no place for love. When battlefield nightmares disturb his peace and his tomboy niece, Juliet, needs taming, somehow a mail-order bride seems like a logical solution.
Dr. Evangeline Olson has no idea her niece is writing to a rancher on her behalf, and she sure isn’t interested in abandoning her medical practice for a stranger. But when an inheritance threatens to reveal a long-buried secret, she travels west to become Jake’s wife.
Jake soon realizes Evangeline is more than he bargained for, especially when her arrival causes a stir in the community. As the two try to find their way in a marriage of convenience, their fragile relationship is further tested by cattle rustling and kidnapping. Can their hearts overcome past hurts to create a real marriage
Click here to order
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