Discovering a lovely review, written by a total stranger, of one of my books on Amazon fills me with a warm glow. That someone has found my book out of the many millions out there, read it, ‘got’ it, liked my characters – and taken the time to post a review – is hugely satisfying and uplifting. I want to hug this discerning reader but, as I don’t know them, I celebrate with a little happy dance at my desk.
I am sure most authors feel much the same level of delight when someone leaves a good review on Amazon – and probably the same level of pain when they suddenly come across a nasty little 2*.
I admit I’m not good at putting reviews on Amazon even though I want other readers to find and enjoy books I’ve read and loved. It’s partly because I don’t feel confident about writing a review, finding it difficult to precis a plot in a couple of sentences. I worry someone will look at what I’ve written and sneer at it or someone will buy the book I’ve raved about and hate it.
At the end of July, Rosie Amber, one of my favourite book review bloggers (though she and her team of reviewers cost me a fortune!) put up a post urging readers to post reviews on Goodreads or Amazon. She gives short shrift to my excuses – seems I’m by no means the only reluctant reviewer – and gave tips on how to write a review.
A couple of days later, author and blogger Terry Tyler, came up with an idea to encourage readers – and surely all authors are readers? – to write a review on Amazon. Her blog post is here.
When someone puts a review on Amazon this month they can tweet it and, if the hashtag #AugustReviews is used Terry then lists those on her blog.
As for my worries about not being good at writing reviews I found something Terry wrote reassuring. She says: “Remember, this isn’t the Times Literary Supplement, it’s Amazon, where ordinary people go to choose their next £1.99 Kindle book. No one expects you to write a thousand word, in-depth critique; I don’t know about you, but I’m more likely to read one short paragraph or a couple of lines saying what an average reader thought of a book, than a long-winded essay about the pros and cons of the various literary techniques used.”
I like that ‘ordinary people’ and I’m further encouraging myself with the reminder that a review is my opinion – so it can’t be right or wrong.
I think reviews do help people decide whether or not to buy a book. I certainly have a quick read through before I make a decision and hit the buy button. If I have enjoyed a book, I do want to let other people know about so I’ve started to take part in #AugustReviews. I’ve only done three or four but it’s a start.
How about others? Do you put reviews on Amazon for books you’ve enjoyed reading? If not, why not?
Does a good review for one of your books make you happy? If you have enjoyed a book, how about making another author feel as happy as you?
There are still a few days left in August – why not make an author smile (unless it’s a dead author, obviously) and tell other readers about a book you enjoyed? And don’t stop in September – carry on sharing the love.
PS This is NOT about giving your writer friends 5* reviews, which can make for uncomfortable feelings all round.