Wednesday, November 4, 2015

IWSG: Ask PZM, repost - Providing Reviews





It's that the first Wednesday of the month, which means it's Insecure Writer's Support Group Wednesday. Thanks to our noble Ninja Captain Alex J Cavanaugh, it's time to share our fears and insecurities, or support and assistance. Doesn't matter which.
If you'd like to join us, click here. Be sure to link to this page and display the badge in your post.
Our hashtag is #IWSG 
Alex's wonderful co-hosts for November 4 posting of IWSG will be: Stephen Tremp, Karen Walker, Denise Covey, and Tyrean Martinson! 


A S K  P Z M

repost from August 2010



Q:  Should I take the time to do reviews of other people’s books on Amazon?

Absolutely! You’re a book author – and people on Amazon who are looking at other authors’ books are presumably book buyers. And the best books to review are probably ones similar to yours.

The more reviews you write the more you will be getting your name in front of book buyers. And even if your book isn’t yet published, you want book buyers to know about you.

Anyone who has ever bought anything on Amazon (and thus has an Amazon account) can post a review. The review itself doesn’t have to be very long (I personally think less is more) although it should provide helpful information rather than only saying something such as “great book.”

How does this get your name in front of readers?

First, here is Amazon’s explanation for your public name on Amazon:

“Your Public Name is the public name you associate with contributions to the Amazon Community, such as Customer Reviews, Discussion Posts or Seller Feedback.

“You're asked to pick a Public Name the very first time you participate in the community and you can always change it later on your public profile page by selecting Your Public Name & Info from the Profile page settings dropdown menu. Your Public Name appears next to any Customer Reviews, Customer Images, Seller Feedback or Customer Discussions posted by you. You have the option of using your real-world name or a pseudonym”


Thus you can choose which name to appear above your reviews. (I actually dislike that Amazon allows people to hide their identity, but this does work for authors who use pseudonyms.) Obviously you want to use your author name for reviewing books in genres related to the books you write.

Using me as an example, when I sign into my Amazon account (which I separated from my husband's account when I started self-publishing on Amazon), I see at the top lefthand side of the screen "Phyllis's Amazon.com"

I click on that and then choose "Your Profile" in the navigation links that appear below. Then I see my profile page, which has my Amazon public activities including links to all my reviews on Amazon.

Your public name automatically appears at the top of the reviews you write. You can also manually put your name and something brief such as the name of one of your books at the end of the review.

Anyone reading a review by you can click on your name at the top and go to your public profile that also includes an email address and a website link as well as a description of you in the "About" section where you can talk about being an author.

And if you have not yet published any books, you can describe your upcoming book projects in the “About” section.

Note that an Amazon public profile has nothing to do with an Amazon author page.

My Amazon public profile:

My Amazon fiction author page:

Another way to get to your public profile – go to YOUR ACCOUNT (first dropdown link under YOUR ACCOUNT at top of righthand screen under your name), scroll down to PERSONALIZATION, in the COMMUNITY section click on YOUR PUBLIC PROFILE.

  1. And here are Amazon’s instructions for editing your profile: 
  2. Go to your Profile page. 
  3. Click Profile page settings on the drop-down menu. 
  4. Update your personal information by making changes to the Your Public Name & Information tab. 
  5. Click Save.

    One final word: I usually only write a book review when I can give a positive one. As I know how hard authors work to create their books, I am loath to write a negative review. I’d rather just not write a review. On the other hand, if there were a good reason for writing a negative review, such as if I found the material particularly offensive, I might then write a negative review to warn others of the offensive content.

    Bottom line: When you can write a good review about an author’s book that you have read, you should take the time to do the review to help that author as well as help get your name noticed!





    Phyllis Zimbler Miller is a fiction and nonfiction author who blogs on book-related topics at www.PhyllisZimblerMiller.com and her most recent Kindle ebook is a fantasy adventure story, ROAD TO ZANZICA, on Amazon at http://amzn.com/B015M48QOK/


    48 comments :

    1. I try to write reviews for most books I read. I know how much they matter.

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. That's the thing, isn't it? As authors, we all understand the importance of reviews. Thanks for supporting this blog.

        Delete
    2. Hi. I'd stop writing reviews because if I didn't like the book I didn't know how to handle it. How do you handle telling a blogging buddy, for example, that you aren't going to publish a review because...

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. That's a tough one, something we all face. I don't know how to deal with it either. Sad.

        Delete
    3. "One final word: I usually only write a book review when I can give a positive one." <--Yes, this. I tend to practice that too.

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. I agree. But what do we say when someone we know asks for a review and the book wasn't something we enjoyed? I'm still working on figuring that out. Hi Loni!

        Delete
    4. I only review on Goodreads, but I won't leave a negative review either.

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. Hi Alex. I know you wouldn't. Not a mean bone in your body.

        Delete
    5. Hi Joylene and Phyllis ... reviews are essential and easy to leave now. Also if the book is published in the UK - it needs a review on the .co.uk site, as too Australia ..

      I wouldn't leave a bad review, or a wavery one ... just an honest, happy one. Cheers Hilary

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. Thanks, Hilary. Hope you're not experiencing any snow yet.

        Delete
    6. I loved your post, and it's given me a kick up the bum too. I'm always thinking I should leave reviews on Amazon. Especially or the Indie authors I really love. And I intend to do it, and then my brain wanders off down a different path. No more. I am mending my easily distracted ways :)

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. You and me both, Deborah. This being perfect is damn hard, don't you think! Thanks so much for visiting.

        Delete
    7. Great advice, Joylene. I suppose if the author knows you read their book and didn't leave a promised review, that's an indication in itself that you were not pleased with the writing. I'm not willing to lie - write a positive review when I hated the book. I have left reviews that pointed out some issues, like shifting POV or confusing plots. Recently, I learned that a reviewer contacts the author directly to provide feedback instead of posting a negative review. Sounds like something I should do in the future.

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. Excellent point, Judy. Constructive criticism can booster a writer to new levels. It's just sad that it takes a published work to figure that out. Thanks for dropping by.

        Delete
    8. Thanks so much for this solid and helpful advice. Phyllis and Joylene, appreciate all you do to help us out! :)

      ReplyDelete
    9. My Amazon name includes the fact that I'm an author and shows up when I post a review.

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. I'm not surprised. You seem to me to have it together. Hey--I heard you laugh. Cut it out!

        Delete
    10. That's interesting. I hadn't thought about that as a reason to write reviews. And, I appreciate Diane's tip about having the "author" part show up with the review profile.
      Happy Writing!

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. Happy writing to you too, Tyrean. Thanks for visiting.

        Delete
    11. Yes, as someone who self-published their first book this year, I know reviews are super important! And it's a great point that it helps you get your name out there, in addition to paying it forward for books you enjoy.

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. You said it, Alexia. No truer words spoken. Thanks for visiting.

        Delete
    12. Yep, I definitely only review books I like.

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. Hi Lynda. What do you tell the author if you don't like the book?

        Delete
    13. I only review books I like as a general rule, but there are exceptions to that rule, like you mentioned. Everyone has different opinions about this, but I still think a 3-star review is good :-)

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. Controversy draws readers. So, I agree. Thanks for reminding me of that.

        Delete
    14. This was a great post. Getting your name out there has so many twists and turns. I've been reviewing on Amazon for years and I hope it'll help me now, although I'm finding it hard to get people to review as Amazon seems to smell 'friend' quite easily.

      Denise Covey November co-host IWSG

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. They've made a lot of changes, added rules, so it's anybody's guess what they'll do next. Thanks for co-hosting, Denise.

        Delete
    15. Joylene, I used to do a lot of reviews. Just don;t have the time any more. But I will moving forward. I have made it a conscious effort to do reviews on Amazon and Goodreads and I intend to follow through.

      Stephen Tremp
      November 2015 IWSG Co-host

      ReplyDelete
    16. I never knew you could change your public name on Amazon. Luckily I don't need to because the acct I use to review is an old acct and tied to no authors or published books -- no fear of Amazon pulling my reviews as has happened to so many other authors.

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. That's a good reason. Wish we could convince them of the validity of our reviews, so they'd stop deleting them. Thanks, Lexa.

        Delete
    17. Very informative post! I've only recently started to leave book reviews on Amazon, but didn't know that much about it. Thanks for sharing! Cheers - Ellen

      ReplyDelete
    18. Great post. Doing more reviews is something I want to do more of, especially on Goodreads, since I’m already on there. I just have to figure out how/when to carve out the time to read and write them, in between blogging and other writing projects.

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. That's the key, making the writing of reviews part of our busy schedules. I know I need to. Thanks for visiting, Lidy.

        Delete
    19. I never even thought about reviewing books until I published my own and realized how important reviews are. Now, I do write reviews, though sometimes it takes me a while to get them done. I only do three stars and up.

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. Good for you, Lori. You're contributing to our profession.

        Delete
    20. I review 99% of the books I read on Amazon and Goodreads. I've also reviewed one or two on Smashwords.
      I will only review a book where I can award 3 stars or more.
      The nicest thing you can do for an author is write them a review. I truly believe this.

      ReplyDelete
    21. Hey Joylene,

      How's it goin', eh? Delighted to note you are trying to get more folks to visit IWSG aka "I Was Seeking Gary." Awesome and hopefully those who are not aware, will check out your link.

      In so far as Amazon, I stay well away from them. Morally, I do not like the way they treat their employees.

      Take care and have fun, Joylene.

      Gary

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. Doesn't matter, Gary. Appreciate you stopping by and supporting me and my blog. You're one of the good guys.

        Delete
    22. I agree with you that writing reviews is really important. When I like a book or have something positive to say I try to take the time to write a review. :)
      ~Jess

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. Good practise, Jess. We just need every reader to do the same.

        Delete
    23. I don't really write reviews because I think I suck at them, but I can see how doing so could be useful.

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. Most of us feel the same way, Misha. But there certainly are benefits. Thanks for visiting.

        Delete
    24. Unfortunately, Amazon has taken to deleting authors' reviews in the past, citing a variety of reasons. I do review for critique partners or when approached for quotes, though. :)

      Hi, Joylene!

      ReplyDelete

    Thank you for visiting my blog. Please come in and sit for while. We will talk about writing. We will share our dreams. Then I will serve tea and cookies. Home made and Gluten Free.