5 Tips For Writing a Great Review


In getting to know NYTimes bestselling author, Elise Kova, and featuring her in our June issue, we discovered she not only writes amazing books, she is also an incredible journalist!  So we asked her to try one for us.  And in her gracious way, she enthusiastically complied - on a subject that we here at InD’tale know and agree with so well!

Reviews can be a painfully uncomfortable topic for authors to discuss.  There's an understanding in the author community that it's not the author's place to comment on reviews. Reviews are by readers, for readers. They come in after the point where the author relinquishes control of the book and places it in the hands of the world at large.
Yet, even though there's this barrier between author and reader when it comes to reviews, if you follow any author long enough, you'll certainly hear us begging, asking nicely for you to leave our books an honest review. Why?
Three primary reasons:
The first reason is a bit of a confession: I do read some reviews. Certainly not every single one! And I never comment… But I am always looking for ways to improve my craft. Part of that, I believe, is learning and understanding what my readers do and don’t like. Reviews are a window into how a reader engages with my story and what I might want to improve on in the future.
Additionally, reviews help authors in unseen ways. It’s speculated that Amazon’s algorithm looks more favorably on books with more reviews, and this means that the book might be organically promoted more through Amazon’s emails and search results. There are also promotional opportunities beyond Amazon or any other retailers that a book must have a certain number of reviews to qualify for.
But the third reason is perhaps the most critical one: Reviews are essential to authors and other readers as they help potential readers decide to buy or not buy the book. A good review can tell a reader in just a few sentences if the book is for them or not. And the more reviews a book has, the more likely a reader is to perceive that book as “legitimate.”
While I can’t speak for all authors out there, I can only speak for myself. I do believe these are some universal truths behind why authors are so keen on getting your review.
Reviews really are the lifeblood of authors.
Simply put, a "good" review is an honest one. It should share your thoughts about the story you just read. At the end of the day, the most important thing about a review is that it helps other readers decide if a book is for them or not. As long as your review accomplishes that, it's probably wonderful!
Yes, really, that’s it!
I think people tend to overcomplicate reviews, and in doing so, generate so much apprehension surrounding writing one that they never actually get around to it. Don’t believe me that it can be so simple? I’ll prove it.

1) You don't have to be a "professional".
Yes, I acknowledge that there are people out there who make a living off commenting on the technical and artistic qualities of a work—critics and editors. But just because you’re not one of these two people, doesn’t mean your opinion doesn’t have value!
I've been sending out review copies before and heard people say, "I want one but I'm not a professional reviewer." Anyone who's read the book and is willing to be honest about their experiences with it can write a good review.
Most of the time, readers want to hear from other people like them, and not a stuffy analysis on technical writing craft.

Read the entire article in the July/August 2021 issue of InD'Tale magazine.

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