Sunday, October 18, 2015

How to write a short Amazon/Goodreads review

Every indie author depends on the good will of fans/readers to give honest reviews of our books. As there is not a vast publicity machine behind the typical self-published book, word of mouth and reviews can allow it to find its audience. For those of you who have reviewed my books, or who have told a friend about one, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. It does matter.

Wikimedia Commons, public domain image

Unfortunately, some people have a bad anxiety hangover from school days when they think of writing a book review. Or they think of a 1000-word analysis from a major newspaper as the only sort of review there is.

As I told my good friend S who reads nothing but indie e-books (four a week, usually) but has never once reviewed, rest assured, you needn't write a four-page article. And you won't even be graded on your review. I wrote the following for her:

A review need only be two sentences and, at Amazon, a one-word title. Here's one formula for the two-sentence review.

Sentence 1: A summary of the book. A summary can be purely factual, or you can throw in a judgment word, or compare it to another book. Facts about a book you might mention:
  • What genre it is
  • Who the main character is
  • The setting
  • What other book it reminded you of
Example. "Till There was You is a sweet YA romance about the relationship between Priz, a tomboy, and Burt, her best friend's older brother."
Sentence 2: Your evaluation of it. It's not a school assignment, so you don't have to worry about avoiding the use of the word "I" or any other such rule. In this sentence, you might answer questions such as:
  • What did you like about it?
  • What stuck with you?
  • What did it do better or worse than other books in that genre you've read?
Example. "I liked how realistic it was--no instalove, no unbelievable coincidences, just a sweet story of first love."
And post it. That simple! Feel like doing more? Write another sentence, or post it on another site.

Still not convinced you want to review? Then take a moment to check "helpful" or "like" on a few of the other reader reviews that said something close to what you might have said.

I--and all the other indie writers out there--will be grateful you did.


  1. I've advocated this approach for awhile now, but you explain so much better! Thanks for posting this. ( I'll be passing it on for you.

  2. Thanks, Mahrie. I hope it helps someone out there take the plunge and begin to review. (I still haven't convinced my friend, though! I'll have to keep nagging ;-) )

  3. Straight-forward and to the point. Great advice.


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