Do you remember getting a gold foil sticker-star on your work papers in school? Sometimes the stars were in color; sometimes there were even multiple ones. Regardless if they were blue or gold, a star at the top of your paper made you sit a little straighter, feel a little prouder. They gave you confidence that someone else (your teacher) thought highly of your work.
That simple five-pointed symbol still carries a lot of weight today. How many of us—whether we’re shopping for a pillow or a Range Rover, a good pizza parlor or a steak house—first look to see how many stars it got for a rating? Then we read the reviews to see what others thought its strengths and or weaknesses were, if it would be a good fit for us.
The same goes for books. Because some of you asked, here are some brief tips about writing a book review on Amazon. Star ratings and honest reviews on places like Amazon not only help readers know what they’re getting but can also help an author’s book to become more visible. This is not to say you have to write an inflated review, but so often we are quick to complain or voice our disapproval about something but slow to express our satisfaction. Perhaps we just don’t think of it.
If you’ve read a book and would like to let others know—including the author—what you thought about it, you can leave a review on Amazon. They do have community guidelines you can look up. For instance, you must have an Amazon account, and regardless of how much your Aunt Bea loved your book, Amazon won’t publish personal reviews like hers or your BFF’s.
So keep your comments focused on the book’s strengths, main points, or particular audience appeal—what you enjoyed or didn’t enjoy. If memories of ninth-grade English class give you trembles, remember—you don’t have to write an elaborate book review. A few key words that capture the essence of your thoughts will do.
If you do have negative comments, again, keep them objective and informative—not mean-spirited or personal. Although everyone likes to see those five-star ratings, there’s nothing shabby about fewer stars if that’s what your honest opinion is.
Regardless of any inflated or romanticized ideas we might have of authors—even New York Times bestseller ones—many are introverts, insecure about how their “babies” will fare in the world, and they appreciate hearing from you.