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Readers, reviewing books on Amazon IS really easy!

September 3, 2012
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Back in the good ole days of traditional publishing, authors wrote books, agents found a publisher for the book, publishing companies printed the books, and readers read the books. Most marketing was pushed by the publisher and the author was sent off on a book signing tour— if there was enough interest.

The only participation, on the part of the reader, was spreading good reviews about the book via word-of-mouth. Those “good ole days,” were about three or four years ago. Technology changes things, and how things have changed! Today, Amazon has an algorithm that tracks all of the things that readers do on their book pages and “ranks’ the book, based on those calculations. Nobody knows for certain how the algorithm actually works, it is a more closely guarded secret than nuclear weapons.

Today, readers can be much more participatory in promoting the books that they love. Lets take a look at a few ways to do that. We’ll take at look at specific ways one can do this on Amazon.com, but similar methods apply at sites such as BarnesandNoble.com and Goodreads.com, just to mention a few.

The first thing you, the reader, can do is to go to the book’s page on Amazon.com and click the “Like” button. This is found right at the top of the book’s Amazon page, next to the small image of the book’s cover. Here we see Scott Meade’s page for his book, Twisted Christians. The “Like” button is circled in red. Just “click’ it. What this does is tells Amazon that you merely like the book. This is not a commitment to purchase or anything of the sort. It just tells them you find a book interesting. This does help the author though, and will help others find the book:

Next, you can give the book a “star” rating. Looking at Liz Parkers book, Finally Home, you can click on the “star” ranking you feel the book deserves. To do this, just click on the appropriate star and the stars will fill in with gold color. If you change your mind, (and hopefully add another star), just click and the change will update:

Now, lets look at tagging a book. Amazon has a feature that allows you, the reader, to “tag” books. All this means is you can click on “tags” that you feel are appropriate for the book. Not all readers agree on what makes a good book, and you need only click those that you feel apply. Now we’ll take a look at Jane Blanchard’s book, Women of the Way: Embracing the Camino:

There are two ways to tag a book. Lets look at the simpler one first. Scroll down the book’s Amazon page until you see the tags:

Notice Jane has ten visible tags shown here, and there are a total of twelve. You can see all twelve, or however many there are, by clicking the “See all 12 tags…” link. These tags shown here were added by the author, and you, the reader, can click the boxes of any you agree with. Any box that is clicked, can be un-clicked, should you change your mind.

Notice the line along the bottom, Your tags: caminode santiago, pilgrimage and so on. These are tags that I, as a reader have added. Other readers will see these as well and can click on them. To add your own tags, merely type them into the empty box, separating them with commas, and click the “Add” button. If you make an error, you can click the “Edit” link and correct them, or change them in later visits to the page.

Recall, I said earlier, there are two ways to work with tags. The other way is simple, but not obvious. While looking anywhere on the book’s page, merely type the letter “TT” quickly, like a double-click of a mouse and menu box will pop up:

It will grab any tags you’ve previously selected and put them in the edit box, and it shows suggestions, including ones you may already have entered. Click any of the suggestions and it will add to Your tags. When done, just click the “Save Tags” button.

Now, lets look at the most powerful assistance you can give an author, the book review. A new book on Kindle is:  The Book Tourist: Seven Steps to a Wildly Successful Book Tour. I just finished reading this book and found it extremely useful. I would argue that is a great book for anyone that is going on a road trip to promote a product, not just a book. It is geared towards authors, but covers road trips, for any product, in an upbeat and enthusiastic format:

The book is new, and as of this writing, has only two reviews. Let’s take a look at my process of writing the review. Scroll down the page to the “Write a customer review” Notice the button where the red circle is, click it

You’ll be brought to a page where you can write a review:

The review process is quite simple. Once again, you can click how many stars you rate the book with. Next, create a title for your review. Keep it short and to the point. I believe it is limited to so many characters. Try to come up with a title that gives a summary of the book in a few words. Moving down the page you’ll find a box to enter your review:

Enter the review in the box. It is wise to first write it in a word processor, so you can use it to spell check and work over the grammar. This is the actual review I wrote for this wonderful book, The Book Tourist. Once done, click the “Preview your review” button. You will see a message that tells you the review was submitted, and once Amazon approves it, it will be posted in the book reviews. The posting can take from a few minutes to a day or so, depending on how busy their staff is.

The following information is for those folks that have Kindle Ereaders. The Kindle has an interesting feature for highlighting text in a book. The details of setting up the highlight feature are beyond this article, but one basically turns on the feature and the sharing capability of the Kindle. Once done, the reader merely highlights text in the book that they find of interest.

Prospective readers that go to the book’s page on Amazon, can actually see those highlighted lines of text on the book’s page. Here’s an example of what it looks like on my book’s page for Three Hundred Zeroes: Lessons of the Heart on the Appalachian Trail:

Here we can see the three most popular highlights for the book. These came directly from various reader’s Kindles. One show that 24 different people have highlighted the same line in the book, 19 for another, and 17 for another. How cool is that?

These readers help other readers not only find your book, they show their enthusiasm for your work. This is something that doesn’t even exist with a print book. This is readers helping readers.

Hopefully, you’ll find this information interesting and helpful. As a reader I didn’t know about these things for the longest time. I now go and help my favorite authors with every book I read, using the above techniques. Give it a try, it is easy, and you will encourage your favorite authors to produce more of the books that YOU enjoy.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. September 4, 2012 14:58

    Helpful post. I will refer my readers to this post.

    Additionally, you, the reader can like the author. Click on the author’s name. You will be redirected to the author’s page. There is a like button in the upper right-hand column.

  2. September 4, 2012 15:23

    Good post. Many readers do not know how to help an author. This post explains the step needed to do so. Thank you for taking the time to write this.

  3. October 5, 2012 12:36

    Hi I saw your post on LinkedIn and came to your site because your post on LinkedIn was very well written and thoughtful. I wasn’t disappointed. Your site is great. I will add your site to my list of blogs I follow. I have often wondered how to tag a book on Amazon, now I know. Thanks

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