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Thursday, June 28, 2012

How to Write a Review

Dear Readers, you've been pestered by authors you know to not only read their book(s) but to write a review for it.

How scary!

You're not a writer. You got C's in English and that was because the teacher liked you. You can't remember the last time you wrote a thank-you note, let alone an essay. Best just to nod politely and scuttle away when your author friend is distracted, right?

Wrong. It doesn't have to be hard to write a review. It doesn't have to take all day, or even require spell check (which Amazon may actually have).

A review is for another reader. They don't expect you to write a treatise on the book. They don't expect you to sum it up for them. In fact, they'd rather you didn't. Amazon prefers reviews be fewer than 300 words. This post will be longer than 300 words.

Think of it as a "comment" about the book.

Just tell one thing you liked and one thing you didn't. That's not hard. The more specific you are, the better, unless you give away secrets. That's no fun for anybody.

Some examples: "I liked how the main character was always cracking jokes at the worst time." "I keep thinking about the story and wondering what they're doing now." "I loved the dragon! He was so cool!" Well, that one isn't terribly specific, but sometimes that's what you've got.

What you didn't like? Some examples: "She kept using 'like this' or 'like that.' It got on my nerves." "The story got pretty complicated in the middle. I had to stop and reread a couple times to make sure I understood." "I hated the ending. I prefer happy endings." OK, that's almost a plot-spoiler but it counts.

See? Simple. You're looking at 15 minutes, tops. Unless you get carried away. You may find you like writing comments about a book. Just keep in mind - no spoilers. Save those for that blog you're going to start for book reviews.

Give it a try. Amazon is really easy for review posting and it is the biggest online seller of books. You'll never have to avoid your writer friend again.


  1. I've been reading Christian fantasy ebooks when they go out for free on Amazon. I've left some depressingly bad reviews lately. Wandering plots, vague characters, and telling, telling, telling.

  2. I think when some readers are asked to review books they feel like they're being shoved back to fifth grade and told to write a "book report." Their brain screams and begins to shut down. Panic! What if I fail????

  3. Ah, but, Kessie, you're a writer. You're not afraid of writing.

    Kat, that's why I wrote a "how-to." Reviews don't have to be scary. Just showing a normal person read the book is helpful for the author.


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