Come on, come join me with Gayla at our weekly meeting.
Gayla, I’d like you meet a friend of mine, who’s kind of going to look over our shoulder.
Gayla is a petite woman with deep eyes blue eyes. Her hair is dark brunette and the smile you see is always there. She seems to never be upset or unhappy, which I find amazing and extremely professional. She is tolerant of my inconsistent nature and doesn’t rock the boat when I forget, or don’t get to my turn at rowing the boat. (Which is another way of saying I missed a deadline.)
Gayla bills herself as a virtual assistant, in other words, a helper who provides her own office. I think of her more as Wonder Woman because she has taken my marketing plan that I ran like a game of hopscotch and turned it into Speed Racer.
“Kwen, I have read most of your books, and I absolutely love them.”
“That’s good,” I grin, “since you help me market them.”
“That’s not the point I was trying to make,” she said and she gave me the look my teachers gave when I was caught talking in class.
“The point I’m trying to make is that I have never written a review for any of them.”
“Really? None of them?”
“None of them,” she repeats, and then adds, “I don’t know how.”
I was surprised, but became more so, when she said, “I want you to write a blog post and tell your readers how to write a review. I’m thinking there are several people who are intimidated by taking that step.”
“Okay,” I said, so this post is for Gayla.
I can only speak about my view of book reviews. I admit that I love getting them. I feel a review is a validation of the work I put into the book. Of course, I enjoy the positives more than the negatives, but I expect and accept all of them. I’ll say it again; the review is the barometer of my efforts.
So, you’ve read or listened to one of my books (or any other author) and you want to review it on Amazon or Audible.
The first thing I ask of you is to be honest.
I wrote the book with an honest effort to provide a good product. If I accomplished that, tell me. If I fell short, let me know. I intend to write books as long as I physically and mentally can. I’ve written nine to date and intend to have way over a hundred before I’m finished. If you won’t tell me when you think my efforts are less than you expected, I will never improve.
Please, no matter what author you’re reviewing, be honest. We deserve nothing less than that.
I’ll get off that soap box now.
Let’s focus the rest of this as a positive review, they’re just more fun, both to write and receive.
The Amazon review format does a good job of leading you through the process, but sooner or later you arrive at the dreaded box “Leave any Comments” here. Don’t freak out. Let me offer a few, totally acceptable, review statements:
“I loved the book.”
“I enjoyed the book.”
See? Easy. Hit the little button that says “Post,” and you’re done.
On the other hand, you may want to get more detailed and speaking as an author, that is always welcome. Focus on one aspect of the book. Did you find a particular character intriguing? Did the dialogue between characters bring a smile? Were the descriptions vivid enough you felt you were there?
Any of those particular areas can be the center of focus for your review. Pretty straight forward, don’t you think? Hit the button marked “Post.”
A couple of “please don’t” items:
Please don’t expose a spoiler. A spoiler lets the secret out and reveals the twist the author is holding back. Don’t share them; all that does is hinder the experience of another reader. People really do read reviews and some of them actually make purchase decisions on them.
If you are dissatisfied with the book, the author needs to hear from you. I list my email in each of my books partially for that purpose. I want to put out good work and if I fail, I want to know. The only thing I ask when posting a negative review is not to be rude and don’t be insulting. If you tell me the part or parts of the book you didn’t like, I can try to do a better job with the next story. If you only write “you suck,” I don’t get much out of that.
Publishing a book is much like sending your kid to school on the first day. You really hope the other kids like him. You spend the day worrying that another kid will call him names.
One last thought; Amazon uses a detailed and complex algorithm when they list books based on popularity. The more reviews, the higher on the list. Amazon doesn’t care if the review is positive or negative, they want books that bring potential customers to the site. Face it, a person on the Amazon site if much more likely to purchase something, than a person not on the site.
For those books who are generating visits, Amazon will support marketing efforts for the writer. I cannot tell you how much that support means to a new writer. If you enjoy my books, or any other writer’s books, even a little bit, please take a couple of minutes and post a review. Yours may be the review that pushes the book to the next level. Never think a negative review hurts an author.
Okay, this is really the last thought: Let’s assume the writer you want to review is a friend. You might know them from church or they live down the street. Maybe your kids play together. You found the book only so-so and you’re afraid a less than a glowing review will or could hinder the friendship. Not to worry, Amazon has it figured out. You can post your review using an alias. Check out my reviews, many people simply post as “A verified Amazon Customer.”
I hope this helps. Speaking as a writer, who is also a reader, reviews are vitally important. Take the time to post them.