Tag Archives: Amazon Reviews

What do you want in a Book Review?

Book Reviewing is one of the main things we do here on LitWorldInterviews. So much so, that at one time or other most of us write about them. We write about the importance of them, how to do them, where to find people to do them, and the list goes on.

Most of the time the idea of Book Reviews is looking at it from the point of the author or how to relay helpful information for the author. Today I want to change it up a little.

Today we’ll talk about the Amazon Book Review, or the B&N Book Review. Sites that sell books, not sites that are for people digging for in depth analysis of a book, not that you get that from me.

My belief is regardless of which type of review you do, there is a golden rule to follow; don’t give spoilers. I don’t even care if you mention ahead of time that a spoiler is coming up, I don’t believe it needs to be out there. I do believe in trigger warnings. That’s fine. If you have a book advertising itself as a humorous cozy mystery and you find some type of assault against a woman or children, I say trigger alert away.

Now for the Book Seller Site Reviews. What is the normal person surfing through Amazon looking for? What are the first two things that catch their eye about a book?

That’s right: the Book Title, and Book Cover.

I know when I see a title I then see the cover and if still interested I go to the description or price next. Then I go to the reviews. If you want to know the truth, if the book has a lot of reviews and I see the percentage of 5 and 4 star reviews are high, I may not even read the reviews, unless the price is pushing my thrifty nature a bit.

Now I’m at the reviews. What do I want to know?

Enjoyment Factor is what I want to know.

  • Did they enjoy reading the book overall?
  • Was there anything in the book that took away from the enjoyment?
  • Did it deliver what it said it would?

Notice I didn’t mention unfavorable comparisons to other authors, long diatribes of things hoped for, or saying the author is the worst ever. There was mention of showing of a literature degree.

So what’s the difference in the writing of a review site review and an Amazon review?

If I came across a book I didn’t like, and the author asked me to post the review regardless of my score, I would keep in mind what needs said for the book buyer to make a decision. The more detailed version, if an unfavorable review, would go directly to the author in an email. On the site here, I would put detail as well, but still keep in mind not to rip the author apart. There might be several paragraphs explaining why I didn’t like the book.

Here is what I might say about a book I didn’t like on Amazon, if I dared put such a review on there. I doubt I would even if the author asked me to put it on there.

2 Stars

“The books idea seemed to be a good one from the description, but for me, it just didn’t come through in the actual story itself. I liked the main character most of the time, but there were inconsistencies that didn’t make sense to me within the given storyline, maybe in a sequel? What seemed to be important subplots never played out or ended up later contradicted with other plots. I’m not sure if this was intentional or oversight. It felt to me as though the author was so excited to get the book into our hands, they raced to the finish line when a little more time would have made a much better finished product. I’m not sure I would read it a second time in its current edition.”

What the review means.

“The author’s story does not match the excitement or intrigue of book description given. The main character is not well developed. In addition, the main character is like reading a confused jumble of ideas that never comes together for any reason. Maybe the author kept changing their mind during the writing and didn’t go back to edit for character continuity. Important subplots are left behind and ignored, as if the author completely forgets he ever wrote about them, and that makes for irritating points later that didn’t match up. It feels to me the book was rushed to market without being properly proofread and edited, which is what a customer is paying for. I would not recommend this book to anyone.”

Why do I not say the second review in an Amazon review?

There are a number of people involved in getting a manuscript to book form. It’s not only the author or authors. You also have proofreaders, editors, and publishers. An author cannot wholly depend on their own judgement about their baby. With my book, co-authored with PS Bartlett, we had each other to look to for any problems that came up and to push each other forward. That did not stop us from going to beta-readers, to test the story out. Then we took suggestions and made some edits. Then PS Bartlett sent it to her editor she’s worked with on some of her previous books.

Does all of that make for a perfect book? No. There is no such thing as a perfect book, but through that time taken, you can end up with a very enjoyable read.

What an author does is realize a book will never be good enough in his or her own eyes, and must trust others to help push them forward. Books I’ve written, that haven’t seen the light of a Kindle screen yet, are those I haven’t trusted to the eyes of beta-readers because I am not happy with them. In other words, I need someone to push me forward, but I don’t have a person on premises that does that, that encourages and nudges me forward. With the reviews coming out for Amber Wake: Gabriel Falling, I’m getting the confidence I need to move ahead with the more than a dozen books I’ve written.

Now do you see how important a properly written review is? The first review tells a reader that they may not want to read this, warns them there are problems. At the same time, it doesn’t destroy confidence in the writer because they realize they have something there, but they need to work on it longer and take time. They need help getting it in a polished state.

Everything we write has an effect somewhere along the way. We may think we are being funny at times when we hit publish or submit, but the truth is, we could be doing more damage than good. Be honest, but be professional at the same time, even in an Amazon review. Help, not hinder.

As a Reader or as an Author, what do you want in an Amazon Review? Share for others to know. Maybe I’ll compile the results in a future article.

© Copyright-All rights reserved by Ronovan Hester 2016

Can You Give Away Free Digital Copies of your eBook When Enrolled in KDP Select? @JoRobinson176

No actually, as it turns out. Only via Amazon, and almost never via email attachment. The road to getting most things right as an Indie publisher is a steep learning curve. Knowledge is unlikely to magically appear if you can’t even imagine what questions to ask, and haven’t much of a clue what knowledge is required anyway. Most of us learn from mistakes, both large and small, along the way, and what with the continually changing and growing world of self-publishing, we really are learning all the time.

Having up to now had some of my books published for sale on Apple and Smashwords and all the rest, I wasn’t concerned about Amazon KDP Select rules as they didn’t apply. Now though, after MONTHS of working really hard to get them off Smashwords supplier sites, I’m being as careful as possible not to break any of them. I’ve decided that for this year at least, my current books will be published exclusively with Amazon and CreateSpace. With CreateSpace extended distribution my paper books are still sold by Barnes & Noble, and with the perks of KDP Select, I’m very happy with the status quo.

One rule that many of us might not have known before, is that with KDP Select you can only distribute your eBooks through Amazon. You can send copies to “professional reviewers”, but not to anyone else. This appears to include not being allowed to send out digital books as prizes in competitions. You can only distribute free books via Select’s five free book promotion days every three months. Any eBooks distributed BEFORE you sign up for KDP Select are alright, so don’t panic if you did that while not signed up for Select. You can send your paper books to anyone you like though as prizes – you’ve bought and paid for them after all.

You are not allowed to gift any eBook in exchange for a review, and if you do ever review a gifted eBook, make very sure to add a disclaimer to your review on Amazon. You are not allowed to swop reviews. I do review the books of some authors who have already reviewed some of my books, but only when I’ve bought the book, read it, and honestly liked it. I think you’re safe doing this if you don’t do it often, and are also reviewing the books of mostly unknown to you authors, but certainly don’t make review swopping part of your Indie trip, or you could find your book booted out, and your reviews taken down. If you write books on grammar, writing a scathing review of another author’s book about grammar might be taken as breaking Amazon’s rule of reviewing the books in your own field. All in all, with reviews, authors should definitely tread lightly – and certainly read Amazon’s policy on them so as to be safe, rather than sorry.

In fact, reading Amazon’s terms before we all zoomed off to publish would probably have saved some of us intrepid Indies a bruised knee or two. I’ve figured out that the two US dollars extra I pay for any eBook I buy from Amazon is for the privilege of having an account there as a non-US citizen, and this is fine with me, because it is a privilege. Buying eBooks from Amazon is a lot simpler (and mostly cheaper even with the surcharge) than buying them around here. I could never figure out why my royalty payments were different for my novels when they had the same prices though, until I got stuck into that old fine print. Turns out that your royalty at the higher rate is X minus relevant VAT minus cost per megabyte book file size. Authors pay for the delivery of their books every time a reader buys them. It’s only cents per MB, but it is a good thing to know when you’re planning on publishing a book chock full of images. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned along the Indie path, is to always read the fine print, and the best advice I could ever give to a new self-publishing author just starting out on this road, would definitely be to figure out the rules first. Happy scribbling fellow Indies.

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