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Writing an Amazon book review: The good, the bad and the ugly

It’s a huge surprise that so many readers don’t leave book reviews, but for whatever reason  only a handful of buyers ever get around to evaluating their purchases. Reviews are the life blood of writers. Just like any good vampire will tell you without blood they’re history, the same goes for writers – who’s going to buy a book that no one else has? That’s why companies like NetGalley that provide free ARC’s (or galleys) to book bloggers etc for frank and honest reviews are so successful.  Amazon has its own policy on book reviews and it’s quite stringent, but it probably has to be – who wants to buy books that are reviewed by the writer or indeed family of the writer? However I don’t think Amazon has gone far enough with their current guideline.

Let me explain…

I’m reading a book at the moment that has received rave reviews on Amazon and then there’s this

A mistake you might think? I didn’t write it so I can’t tell the motives but I do know that it’s not the only one star the writer has received. Here’s the next one.


Surprised? I’m not. I’ve been examining other writers reviews for ages now and it’s not surprising at all that a would be reviewer leaves a comment like this. The reason? Well I’d hazard a guess that it’s in part Amazon’s fault. You know all those emails book buyers get from Amazon that say have you left a review for ‘x book ‘ yet? If I was a reader that wasn’t in the business so to speak I’d be tempted to blast off a review just like this if only to stop the spam mail and I think that’s what’s happening across the depth and breadth of Amazon. Amazon in an effort at helping us are in fact not.

So why leave reviews?

  1. If you’re read a good book it’s a way of sharing it amongst a wider audience. What did you like about it? Who does the writer remind you of if anyone? But don’t spoil it by adding Spoilers. It’s a bit like your bestie phoning you to tell you what happened in Corrie, or the latest football result – it’s just not done
  2. If you’ve read a book that you haven’t enjoyed it’s also a way of sharing this but it would be helpful if you could try and explain why. Writers really do want to know as there’s a wealth of difference in buying a book by mistake and a book that’s badly written, edited etc. Is it fair to blast a book that’s not for you, but still a good book in its own right? I only take note myself of negative reviews if the reader has something of value to offer. Is there a plotting problem? Is editing a problem? All books,  even the best sellers have mistakes, it’s whether there’s a couple in the whole book or a couple each page?

Why writers want you to leave reviews

  1. Fifty is the magic number – reach fifty reviews of your book and currently Amazon may choose to feature the writer’s book more widely – there are a host of other reasons but for the new writer on the block this is the bottom line.
  2. Writers enjoy connecting with their audience. We’re a strange lot. We spend most of the time holed up with a notepad and pen by ourselves – having any kind of social connection with the people we write for can only be beneficial. Most of us are on social media of some sort and most will admit to spending way too long connecting when we should be writing!

Amazon book review checklist

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Hello and Welcome, hope you enjoy Jenny

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