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The Truth about Amazon Reviews: How to Write an Authentic Review:

Do Amazon Reviews Really Help Authors' Sales

R - Reviews

The number one thing to remember is that it’s simple. You don’t have to be a critic for the N.Y. Times, and that’s what held me back for a long time and then I began reading blog articles from some of my Indie author friends and learned all of the bullshit they go through when their books don’t reach that certain “magic” number of reviews. Nope, they don’t always know the magic number and I certainly don’t know it.

1. Books with few or no reviews don’t get showcased for authors to view — you know when you buy a book and then you see the — Because you liked that book … you might also like this book … and they float a stream of books your way. If your an impulsive buyer like me, chances are you just might purchase another one. Heck, you’re at least gonna take a peak.

2. Be honest. Quit worrying about being a book critic, just tell the other readers what you liked about the book. If the author writes family saga that made you cry all night, write that. If it wasn’t your cup of tea, b/c you don’t like thrillers then write that, but don’t give the person less than four stars b/c you chose the wrong genre.

3. These authors put their hearts, souls and often their life savings into this. If you have constructive criticism then by all means offer it, but don’t be mean. They can only learn by what you have to offer. They can better learn if you contact them personally with your recommendation. You have no idea what a 1, 2 or 3 star can do to them when they are just getting started. It’s cruel when someone gives 1 star and writes, “I haven’t even read the book.” Nothing pisses me off more. Or a 1 or 2 star that says, “It contained foul language or violence.” Read the blurb or book jacket. Please don’t ruin a beginning author’s career just for the fun of it.

4. Write a 2 to 5 line review that offers other readers valuable insight that’ll help them decide whether or not to spend their money purchasing the book. 

5. If you have nothing to contribute one way or the other, please just skip the review.

6. Amazon only counts four & five star reviews in favor of promoting new authors. If you don’t like the book, you don’t have to review it. If you truly hate it, I can’t tell you not to review it. Some books really shouldn’t be published in this world of e-publishing where anyone can hit send and publish. However, when someone has worked hard and authored a good to exceptional book and you have a few minor gripes — you can leave a four/five star review and still let the author know in the body of your review what they can do better in their next book, while also informing the readers that the author has room for improvement. And I promise you, the majority of authors do want to know — they rely on you to let them know how they can sharpen their skill. But if people gang up on them for minor errors they may never have the opportunity for another book. There are enough trolls out there doing this for you, we don’t need true and authentic people like you doing it for them. Let’s stand behind one another and help one another, by giving constructive reviews.

7. Don’t be afraid to be the first person to review a book. I know, none of us likes to be the first person trying the odd looking food at a party buffet, but I’ve done it, and it’s turned out to be the best food ever. So dive right in and give that book you just just devoured a glowing review. The author will be excited and you will feel good about yourself. You’ll get the bandwagon rolling. One review will lead to the next. Don’t do it unless you mean it. Never put your name on a review unless you stand by it.

Here’s a the best 5 Star Guide, I've come across. It will help with your Review Policy. I found it on   Anne R. Allen's blog. You should check out her blog on reviews. She also has a wealth of other resources for writers. Today she's sharing 11 tips to help you build your online community.

5 Stars: It’s Just like the picture. It fits great and I wear it all the time.
4 Stars: Means it’s pretty nice, but maybe runs a little snug.
3 Stars: Means it’s cheap looking and the color is off. I wouldn’t buy it again.
2 Stars: Means the stitching is shoddy, the hem’s crooked, and the picture showed pockets, but it doesn’t have any. Yeah, I can wear it, but, I’m seriously disappointed. 
1 Star: Means it’s a tacky mess and I sent it back.

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