Did you know that each time you write a review for a book, an author gets wings? It’s true. Every time Wendi and I get a new review from one of our Packmates, it gives us wings. Just like the Red Bull commercial. We fly, we jump on the bed, we celebrate and our inspiration tank gauge slides over to “Full”.

Reviews are the lifeblood for authors. Reviews are more than reveling in kudos, they’re useful feedback, they help us perfect our craft and improve the stories we write for you.

Reviews are also elusive beasts and not always easy to get. Readers avoid writing reviews for any number of reasons. Some don’t know what to say. Some feel they need a literary degree to write one. Others procrastinate and “never get around to it”.

Writing a review doesn’t have to be difficult or scary. At the very least, a quick star rating and “I enjoyed this book because…” on Amazon is enough. But if you want to help your favorite author more, here are a few tips for writing a useful review:

  • What was the story about? No, we don’t want a play-by-play summary of the story. What was the story about? What, in your opinion, was the over arching theme?
  • Who were the main characters? We don’t need a grocery list. Briefly touch on who they were and which ones were your favorites/least favorite. Did you love to hate the baddie? Did the lead character become your new best friend? Tell us.
  • Were the characters credible? Characters who don’t take on a life of their own aren’t any fun. If they don’t live, if you don’t believe them, you won’t care about them. What made the characters credible to you, what didn’t?
  • Could you relate to the characters/story? How much of a personal impact did the story and characters have on you? Was it light, mindless entertainment or did the story/characters have enough depth it made you think?
  • Did you like the book? Simple enough. Did you like it? Hate it? Did it leave you feeling satisfied at the end? Did you want to throw the book across the room at certain points? Did you keep telling yourself “One more chapter…” until dawn peeked through your bedroom windows?
  • Would you recommend this book? This is where you give your stars and shout the author’s praises from the rooftops—or shake your fist at the gutters.

The most important tip is: Be Honest.

Being honest doesn’t mean if you don’t like the book you have to be mean about it. Honesty is sharing your opinion in a useful manner. For every part of the story you didn’t like, offer a suggestion for how you would have liked to see it done. Be helpful, be kind. Remember, someone poured their heart and soul into this book, there’s a real person on the other side of that screen.

Honesty is also giving praise where praise is due. There’s a reason why authors don’t let family and friends beta read their books. Family and friends don’t want to hurt the author’s feelings. This kind of feedback helps no one, and for other readers shopping for a book, a worthless five star review isn’t going to help them either.

Now, Packmates, we’ve given you the tools and it’s time for you to take action. We know you’ve read the Saga. We’ve got your pictures, we know where you live…okay, that was a little ominous, but yeah, we know you’ve read the books. Take these tips and write a review for any of the books in the Saga and post it on Amazon.

Here’s the thing, the moment a book gets 125 reviews, Amazon starts promoting that book. Help us reach that milestone. Your honest, quality, GENUINE reviews keep us going in more ways than you realize. And what can we give in return? More stories, of course.

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Comments

  1. Kim, if I knew that secret we’d have 125 reviews right now. The best tip is build as many relationships with your readers as you can. Many of our sales come from face to face encounters or getting to know people online. We stay in touch with our Packmates as much as possible and followup with them—or rather, they follow up with us. They can’t resist telling us they’ve stayed up all night reading. From those emails I ask if I can post a quote from their email on the site and ask if they’d put it on Amazon themselves. People write reviews and don’t even realize they’re doing it.

    The trick is in the elapsed time between the request and getting them over to Amazon. It’s like closing a sale. Once the person is away from the conversation, there’s not much you can do to get them to follow through.

    As for me personally, if I read an indie’s book and I’m impressed by it, or see the potential in the story, I will leave a review. Even if I’m not impressed, I’ll leave a review with suggestions for improvement.

    Other than that, all we authors can do is keep spreading the word about HONEST reviews and how important they are.

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