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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Why Reviews Matter (and How to Help Your Favorite Author)

A lot of readers don't realize how much authors appreciate reviews (yes...even the bad ones). If you've bought anything from Amazon, you've probably received that request to follow up with a review. It doesn't matter if you bought coffee, a book, an MP3 tune, or a bracelet. Amazon asks you to review the product and, sometimes, the seller. And maybe, you've hit delete saying, "I don't have time for that," or "no one cares what I have to say."

As an author, I'm here to tell you...yeah, we do care. And we hope you'll find the time. Here are a few things you should know about writing reviews.

1. Authors crave feedback. We spend lots of time honing our craft, agonizing over the perfect word, making sure our characters resonate with readers. We need to know what worked and what didn't--not from our mothers or our best friends. From our audience. That's you.

2. You don't have to be an expert to write a review. Do you like to read? Ever watched a movie or television show? Ever heard a story and reacted to it--positively or negatively? Do you have opinions on what appeals to you? If you answered yes to these questions, congratulations. You're qualified.

3. A few sentences will do it. Did you like the book? Hate the book? Say so! Then tell us what worked and what didn't and why. Did you find the main character too wishy-washy? Did the story leave you wanting to read more? Did you stay up all night to finish it? Were there moments you said to yourself, "Oh, come on now! That's just stupid." Note it in your review.

4. You can post your review in many places. "Copy and paste" is a reviewer's best friend. Write it once (say...on Amazon), then copy and paste that same review to B&N, Kobo, Shelfari, Goodreads, or any other site where you have the ability to post a review. It doesn't matter where you bought the book. At Amazon, for example, if you've bought any item and have an account, you can post reviews of items purchased from anywhere. You can even post reviews of books you've taken out of the library, borrowed from friends, or got for free from the author! (And trust me. There is no better way to thank an author than to write a review and post it on multiple sites.)

5. There is no time limit. I've seen a lot of reviews on Amazon where someone writes, "I haven't read this yet..." Just because Amazon sent you that request for a review on Monday doesn't mean your review has to be posted on Tuesday. Write the review *after* you've read the book--even if it's a year or two since you bought the book.

6. Your comments don't only help others decide whether or not to buy a book. They also allow readers to find books. The more reviews a book receives, the higher in the "queue" the book goes. Your reviews can make a difference between a book buried beneath thousands of others and a book that "grows legs."


I hope you'll consider writing a review now. We're all counting on you.

For tips on writing and fun articles, visit Gina's Articles For Writers page: http://www.ginaardito.com/ArticlesforWriters.html

Need editing services for your manuscript? Gina is proud to announce the launch of Excellence in Editing: http://excellenceinediting.blogspot.com/

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