How To Write A Good Book Review – The Amazon Review

From Self-Publishing Review:


An Amazon Customer Review must be written by someone who has read the book and has an Amazon account. You don’t have to have bought the book from Amazon.  You can only review on Amazon if:

  1. You have spent more than $50 on Amazon in the last twelve months and have an Amazon account
  2. Your account on Amazon is in good standing, i.e. you have not been banned from writing reviews on Amazon previously for any of the reasons below.

The review will only show up as a Verified Purchase if you bought the book on Amazon and you review it on the same account.

Before You Start

  • You cannot write a review for another author as ‘swapsies’ as this counts as a biased review situation. Nobody is going to give a one-star review in a reciprocal situation, so Amazon does not allow this scheme.
  • You cannot earn tokens or credits of any kind writing book reviews to trade for other authors to write reviews for you. There are new ‘book review services’ that claim it’s OK to do this. No, it is not. These services are acting against Amazon terms and will likely be shut down soon. Don’t get involved with any service that tells you it’s OK to earn reviews by writing reviews, nor any that sell tokens to trade for reviews.
  • Writing reviews for friends or family is not allowed either.
  • There was a craze where people would write that their review was ‘in exchange for a free book’, and thought that if they mentioned this exchange, it would be seen as legitimate behavior by Amazon. Na-ah. Leave out any wording about ‘exchange’ or ‘swap’ or ‘I wrote this review for…’ – It’s the easiest way to get your account blocked.
  • If you review an ARC, there is no need to declare it in your review. An ARC should be exactly like the book on sale, so review it as such. However, unless you buy the book on sale, it will not be a Verified review on Amazon.

. . . .

Structuring Your Amazon Review

Remember you only have 5000 characters to give your opinion, with the best reviews coming in between 70 – 100 words.

  1. As this is an Amazon Review, the page gives the synopsis of the book, so you can launch right into your thoughts. Start with why you were interested in the book:
    I bought this book as I am interested in cozy mysteries set in beach communities, like this one.
  2. Go on to say what you thought of it.
    I found the character of Marcy very well-written. She is a protagonist anyone can cheer for, with many issues, but also a lot of strength and hope. The setting is meticulously described, and the murder case itself is exciting and emotional in equal measures.
  3. Add a critique (something that didn’t quite hit the mark) – this is important for an unbiased and honest review
    I wish that we had learned more about why the murderer did it in the brief time we spend after the case is solved.
  4. Add some comparisons to be helpful to other readers, and finish on a high note:
    However, this book ticks all the boxes in this genre and will please fans of Big Little Lies and Patricia Fisher.
  5. The photo upload is not an opportunity for you to add a photo of yourself! You should only add a photo of the book, or you holding the book. Reviews with videos and photos get the most traffic, so if you want to build your profile on Amazon, this could be a good way of doing so.

Link to the rest at Self-Publishing Review

10 thoughts on “How To Write A Good Book Review – The Amazon Review”

  1. ‘An Amazon Customer Review must be written by someone who has read the book’ isn’t true, or the obvious fact many authors complain about – that the reviewer has not read the book – would be grounds for petitioning to have the review removed.

    Even when it is obvious the author has been the target of trolls.

    It should be true.

    And since the book does not have to be purchased at Amazon, though that gives it a higher standing, and the label ‘verified review’ (when the only thing verified has been the purchase through an Amazon account in good standing with $50 worth of purchases for someone to post a review), there are few recourses for the unhappy author who is a target of these attacks.

    I’m amazed at the number lately of posts and articles that start with stating something (‘no one reads blogs any more’ was this morning’s gem) – and then proceeds to demolish the straw man.

    This article ends with
    “If you would like to promote to a list of readers who review on Amazon, browse our services here: …-bestseller-book-packages” which skates perilously close to what they tell you not to do – buy reviews. Which you can pay for if they go in the editorial reviews section, properly labeled and attributed, but not in the customer review section.

  2. As I tell my husband, PG, when I reflect something back later, “I actually listen to and remember what you say.”

    My nitpicking brain wants everything neat and tidy and ‘going together.’ When loose bits stick out, it notices. It makes me a good proofreader, even of my own work (most of the time), and a pain in the neck in conversations.

    I’m glad you think of it as a plus.

  3. I’m going to quibble some with the quibbles…

    The OP title is not “How To Write a Book Review” – it is “How To Write a Good Book Review.”

    Now, it is quite correct about “verified purchase” not being required for any Amazon review. (The purchases threshold is there, though.) The first part of the OP should be “Visibility,” not “Eligibility.” A verified purchase makes it a more visible review, which is good.

    “The Before You Start” – if you want your reviews to be “safe” from deletion. Yes, paid reviewers do avoid the various safeguards on a regular basis, but an egregious one will eventually be caught and banned.

    The rest is reasonably good advice for the conscientious reviewer. (Putting those kinds of observations in pretty much does say that the reviewer has read the book, not just purchased it.) Following these will also make your review more visible, and thus more valuable for the writer – remember that Amazon has a “review of the reviews” – the “This was helpful to me” button. Helpful reviews get put on top of the list (whether good or bad; you can select from “top positive reviews” or from “top critical reviews.”

    The last bit she quotes is somewhat disappointing. However, it is in a place and font that sets it apart from the main article; you can easily tell that it is an ad for their services. Should they not get some benefit from writing and posting the article?

  4. “the best reviews coming in between 70 – 100 words”

    Hard disagree. This might be valid for fiction, but then again I find reader reviews nearly useless for fiction, what with de gustibus non est disputandum. But I often find reader reviews very useful for nonfiction. Not, however short reviews. The first two things a reviewer in nonfiction has to establish are that they know enough on the topic to form a useful opinion, and they are a crank. The first requires some length. This length will also bring out the cranks. Many can come across as rational for 100 words, but keep on writing and it will be obvious soon enough. Then we finally get to the opinion of the book itself. I largely ignore short reviews. They don’t tell me anything one way or the other.

  5. The OP seems to be more about how to write bland book advertising copy in Amazon reviews than reviewing books, closer to back cover copy than an informative and thoughtful review.

  6. “An ARC should be exactly like the book on sale…”

    The ARCs I get from Netgalley quite often come with a disclaimer that there will be another editing pass before publication, and a request not to mention errors in reviews.

    Other ARCs I get from Netgalley, I fervently hope they will get another editing pass. But even if they do, they’ll still probably have a good many errors, so I say so.

    • Totally agree. I loathe ARCs for this very reason–and I know it’s true because I did edits on my own ARCs.

      I discovered to my horror that British editions of my books were printed from ARCs, and there’s a difference between the American and British editions as a result.

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