You’re a fan of that author, but you still haven’t posted that Amazon review of their book. Worse yet, that author might happen to be a friend or a family member. Ugh. You suffer a twinge of guilt whenever the subject of their writing comes up in conversation. You're kind of interested. You’ve seen their posts on Facebook. You know what they need, but you already bought a copy of their book—wasn’t that being supportive? You’ve shared a couple of their statuses, “liked” a few of their posts, maybe you even wrote a review for that first book of theirs, but now they’ve written another one. Cripes, just when you thought that you were off the hook, here comes another book release, another mess of Facebook posts, another request for Amazon reviews … but by now, they’re probably getting enough support from other people. Your absence in their effort isn’t really missed, right?
So, you sweep your friend the author under the rug for another day, another week, because in all seriousness, you’re really kind of done with it …
Hey, this is America. They need to learn to stand on their own two feet. The marketplace will determine if they’re talented enough to succeed. They're not missing your reviews, and you’ve got your own life to manage. Tonight you’ve got that thing, and tomorrow is that other thing, last weekend was nuts, this weekend looks even worse, work has just been insane, holiday madness, the flu, the fridge is empty and …
Take a deep breath. Your friend the author understands.
No one—I mean no one—feels a greater burden of that guilt to write reviews for books (that you’d probably not ordinarily read, to be perfectly honest) than your friend the author does. Oh, it’s true. Your friend the author is under constant pressure from other authors, on top of everything else, to do the exact same favors for them that your friend was so embarrassed to ask of you.
Here are the top five possible reasons why you didn’t do it:
Your friend is an author, but you don’t read. What a conundrum. You haven’t read a book since high school. You’d rather watch something on TV. Your attention deficit is so bad that you can barely make it through a few pages of a book before your mind is spinning around all of the other things you’d rather be doing. Reading sucks. It’s hard work. It doesn’t even …
There you go again. Relaaaax. Sit your monkey-ass down into Uncle Mike’s comfy ol’ Learnin’ Chair.
Don’t read the entire book.
Seriously. Just read as much as you’re able. A sample is oftentimes sufficient to post an honest review—if the review is for your friend or family member. Do food critics eat every bite on every plate that is dropped in front of them? Do wine critics quaff every last drop from an uncorked bottle? The fun ones do, but most just sample the wares. They ingest just enough of what’s being offered to form an intelligent opinion on whether or not its creator has some inkling of talent.
To clarify, we are not advocating slimy schemes where bogus reviews are sequestered from strangers who didn’t even read the book. This is your friend, your family member, who is struggling to build a fan base amongst readers who will never even see their book so long as it remains invisible on Amazon. Reviews make a book visible to its proper target audience through a ranking system. Without an established fan base, new writers must rely on you—their family and friends—to achieve visibility in the eyes of those folks most likely to enjoy the sort of book that your friend wrote. Even if the genre is not your cup of tea, one review from you will make an immediate difference in the ranking that I guarantee your friend is obsessively tracking, every single day.
“Great descriptions! Felt like I was in the scene.”
“Interesting characters. They seemed so real to me.”
“Awesome setting. I’ve always wondered about prehistoric Patagonia.”
Wow. Three reviews in ten seconds. Is that some sort of a record? But seriously, how easy was that?
Do you know what the difference is between a review of a couple sentences and a gushing four-page essay? Absolutely nothing. Not from a rankings perspective. Bear in mind that many of those “most helpful” reviews that dissect a book from cover to cover are being posted by other authors and bloggers, people with an agenda, people whose reputation in writing must be upheld every time that their fingertips hit the keyboard. Your friend does not care if your review is two sentences in length. A review is a review, and they all hold equal weight in the ranking system. Your friend will love to see yours appear there.
It’s a shark tank on Amazon. Somewhere out there is a critic who is days away from smashing your friend right in the face with a terrible, scathing review. Be there. Your friend needs you.
Go to www.amazon.com
Make sure you’re logged in to your account; it should display your name in the top-right corner, and your account information in the top bar.
Search for the book, or the author.
Once you’ve pulled up the book, scroll down past the first block of reviews until you’ve located the “post your own amazon review” tab, and click on it.
If you’re using a smart phone and you can’t find that tab, scroll all the way down to the bottom of the page, where it says “view full site.”Click that tab, and a new and larger window will pop open that contains much more information.Then, scroll down past the first block of reviews to find that “post your own amazon review” tab, and click on it.
Don’t forget to click the stars to give it a star ranking!
Don’t be embarrassed. Most of us are pretty picky. Do you dislike your friend’s writing, or do you dislike *what* they’re writing? Do they lack talent, or do you not care for their chosen genre, or their writing style?
Here’s the thing: if their book just plain stinks; if there’s nothing redeeming about it; if it’s so without merit that you believe the world would actually be a better place without this book in it … then you probably shouldn’t write a review for them. Instead, be honest and tell them (if they inquire) that you really didn’t care for it. If they’re really your friend, they’ll get over it. If they can’t take some harsh criticism, I’m sorry, but they didn’t have the stomach for what it takes to be an author before they ever sat down to write their shitty book.
However, consider an alternate perspective, in which your dislike of their book may stem from the fact that you don’t like their genre of horror, romance, westerns, or whatever it is that your friend likes to write. If that’s perhaps the case, then for the sake of your friend, make an attempt to separate your eye for talent from the genre or style that you find distasteful. Try making it through one chapter. You might not find yourself a rabid new fan of your friend’s steampunk erotica, but do they have a talent for dialogue, character development, lurid narratives? Keep in mind that there may be a crowd of potential fans of your friend’s weird writing who need your review in order for them to see the book appear as a recommendation.
Try to look for some positives, and remember, your friend is always improving, every time that they sit down in front of the keyboard.
By now, you’ve seen how quickly and easily a review can be posted. In the time that it’s taken you to read this drivel, you could just have easily posted a quick Amazon review for your friend.
Why are you still sitting there? Quit reading. Go post that review!
Hey, you’re back! See how easy that was? Don’t you feel better, less guilty, more connected? Do you feel like you’re maybe a little bit better of a friend?
That’s because you are, and now your friend knows it : )
Just like you, your friend is juggling work, relationships, parenthood, home ownership, and any number of obligations and inconveniences, but at the end of the day, when you’re settling in for one blessed hour of relaxation before retiring, think about your friend the author. They are just clocking-in to their second job of writing. They’re writing their own stuff, working on promotional crap, and trying to keep up with posting all of those Amazon reviews and critiques for their author colleagues. Your friend is exhausted, but instead of relaxing, retiring to bed, they’re now fighting for a second wind to keep those creative cogs spinning well past the midnight hour. This is your friend’s nightly routine. When they’ve spent every last drop of their creative juices, when they’re literally hallucinating at the keyboard, the last thing your friend the author is going to do before shutting down their computer is to stop by Amazon and check their rankings.
You should be there tonight to bring a smile to their face in the closing seconds of their very long day. They don’t like to ask you for favors, even though they know that these favors will mean the difference between success and failure in the mountain that they’re trying to climb.
Take five minutes. Help them down their difficult road toward a lifelong dream.