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A Speculative Fiction Community for Independent Writers & Readers

Whatever You Do, Write A Review

3 min read

Some advice on how to write a book review by indie author Claire Buss.

Apart from buying the book in the first place – the absolute best thing you can do, for any aspiring writer, is to write a review of their book.  Obviously you need to read the book as well, hopefully, that goes without saying but you would be surprised.

Now, lots of people are very happy to read my book, The Gaia Effect, which is fantastic however not everyone feels confident enough to write a review.  I know it feels like you might be back at school or that you worry about upsetting the author if you say you didn’t like parts of the book but seriously we’d rather have your honest opinion then no opinion at all.

Amazon can be a huge tool…. and can be extremely useful to an indie author – IF they have reviews. Most people have bought something on Amazon these days.  To write a review you search for the product in question, scroll down a little and there is a little box that says Write a customer review. Easy.

But there are stars – how do I know how many stars to give??

Right – this is my theory:

  • 5 stars means it was the best thing you’ve ever read, you couldn’t put it down, you were desperate to know what happened next, you really enjoyed it and you’d definitely read whatever the next book is by that author.
  • 4 stars means you enjoyed reading it but there were just one or two things that niggled at you. You could put it down but you also really wanted to know what happened and you would read the next one.
  • 3 stars means it was alright.  You finished it so it wasn’t awful but you took your time so it wasn’t great either.  Maybe there was a character you didn’t like very much or you felt the author spent too long drumming a particular point home.  Basically there was a degree of disappointment.
  • 2 stars meant it was poorly written, plot holes, hard to understand, uninteresting, definitely wouldn’t read anything else by that writer.
  • 1 star meant you couldn’t finish it, it was that bad.

If you have your own star ranking system, please do share in the comments below.  I’d love to know how other people rank.

OK, so you’ve done the difficult bit, you’ve found the button, clicked write a customer review and chosen your star rating.  Now all you have to do is talk about what you liked, what you didn’t like. That’s all.  You might say I really liked the main character, I was rooting for her to get a happy ending. Or you might write I didn’t understand the bit about the aliens, were they friendly or unfriendly?  It is just an opportunity to write what you did and didn’t like.  Some people write paragraphs and paragraphs and paragraphs, others write a single sentence.  It doesn’t matter.  The important thing is that you reviewed the book. Oh and, you don’t have to regurgitate the plot, it’s already there in the book listing.

If you went to a named supermarket and bought something from their new range of desserts and it was so delicious, you’d tell all your friends, wouldn’t you?  This is the same thing.  Indie authors can’t grow beyond their circle of friends and family without reviews and even if you just write ‘Loved it’, you could find yourself honoured as a character in the next book.  We’re very grateful.

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