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As an author I always, always try to encourage my friends to post amazon reviews for books they’ve read. I remind them that reviews matter to authors. Most, however, aren’t familiar with writing amazon reviews or have never written one.

Another issue, I’ve heard from numerous authors who have friends who post amazon reviews, for which they are grateful, but wished they were more detailed. Many times the reviews consisted of not much more than “Loved this book!” And while it’s great to have fans, amazon reviews like that do little to help a book along. Also, shorter reviews are often frowned upon by Amazon and could get pulled if the review seems disingenuous. Read more about why Amazon reviews get pulled.

When a book has lots of great, detailed reviews, we tend to scan them for highlights on the things that matter to us. That’s how we often buy books. Both good and bad reviews can help us decide, and, frankly, I’ve often bought a book after I read a bad review because what the reviewer didn’t like was exactly what I was looking for. That’s why detailed reviews are not only helpful, they’re a must for your Amazon page.

It’s tempting to ask friends and family to write reviews. They often want to help but aren’t sure what to say. And you may have readers who love your work but aren’t savvy on posting reviews. Here are some tips you can share with those who want to post something about your book:

  • Whenever possible or appropriate, ask the reviewer to add their expertise on the topic if your book relates to nonfiction.
  • If you have identified your keywords, share them with any friends who are posting and ask them that, if appropriate, they include the keywords in the review.
  • Ask readers to post reviews that are between 100 and 450 words.
  • If a reader feels compelled to include a spoiler, ask them to post a warning first so the customer can chose to read on—or not.
  • Never, ever, ever offer to edit a review. You want honest appraisals, not watered-down reviews that all sound alike.
  • It’s important that the reviewer cite why the book mattered to them. This also personalizes the review for the reader.

If your reviewer still isn’t sure how to craft a review, here are some starter questions to help them along:

  • What did you like most about the book?
  • What about the book surprised you?
  • Did the book cover the content as described?
  • Do you think you got your money’s worth?
  • What could the author have done better?
  • How does it compare to other books in this category? And please cite any books you’d compare this one to.
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