I have read thousands of books in my long time – always choosing books I thought I might like. Yet for many years not once did I write to the author and tell them how much I had enjoyed it and why.
Now, as a published author myself, I have begun to realise how very significant were the letters I received through the years from interested and interesting readers. And this has been even more important to me when my novels have gone into eBook form and people have been reading them on Kindle.
This is especially so now with my recent books, when I have missed the push of a big publisher behind me.. Reader-response is crucial these days to provides evidence of response.on the ubiquitous Amazon machine.
So now I am even more grateful when my readers put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard to make positive comments about my novels either directly to me or on the Amazon site. Such comments are very significant to me and are much more rigorously surveyed than any wider press review.
I am practising what I preach! These days I am much more assiduous about writing comments on books I have read and enjoyed.
How, then, can we spread this very welcome practice?
My impression is that there are lots more people out there who would like to spread the word about books they have enjoyed in Kindle or paperback. However some have told me they are intimidated by the term review which as about it the atmosphere of Guardian or Telegraph with their iconic, experienced and sometimes self-consciously literary reviewers.
I prefer to call the pieces I write about other writers' books - both on my blog and on the Amazon book pages - comments or commentaries, . It seems to me that these are much less portentous and accessible labels. Anyone can make an informed comment.
COMMENTARIES- HOW TO SET ABOUT THEM
Draft your commentary in a plain Word file, so you can write it freely, and then edit it to say precisely what you want. Then (see below***) you can copy and paste it onto the Amazon site.
1. Decide how many stars you would like to give it, from 1-5. I would only bother to award stars if you judge it worth four or five stars. Any less rather wastes the time you spend writing the commentary.
2. Only comment if you have real grounds to like and recommend the book.
3. Give it some kind of brief title. A Great Read or Enjoyable WW2 Story etc etc
On your Word-draft put down three things:
- Main theme or thrust of the book in terms of characters and or narrative.
- Most enjoyable element for you as a reader. How does it link to your other reading? Or your own experience?
- Why you might recommend it to other readers.
Remember, you can keep all this quite short if you want to. Or you can expend it into a more detailed commentary. It’s up to you.
If you are very new to commenting and want to have a go - here are some tips if you would like to go on the Amazon Site and comment and any book you have enjoyed.
- · Find the book by title on Amazon
- · Click on the REVIEW button beside the title
- · You will then see a layout of the current reviews
- · You could leaf through these reviews to see what others have said about your chosen book. Some will be twenty lines long, some will be four or five lines. Do not be intimidated! The shorter pithier comments ones can be just as valuable as longer ones.
- · Click on the button that says hers CREATE YOUR OWN REVIEW.
- · It asks you award the book your Star rating. (See my note above about the Star issue)
- · There is a space below the stars for you to WRITE YOUR REVIEW.
- · If you have followed my advice you will have drafted your comment first on a plain Word file. ***
- · Now COPY your comment and PASTE it into the space beneath your star rating. This space will grow depending on the length of the comment.
- · Now press ‘SUBMIT’ and you will have published your commentary to the world and warmed the writer’s heart.
If you click HERE you will see some comments on my booksthat have warmed my own heart.
Believe me! More than socks or sweets, chocolates or wine, a genuine comment on Amazon will be a wonderful Christmas gift for a writer whose work you have enjoyed.
From me to you -
To Celebrate the Twelve Days of Christmas
Here is a Christmas Present for the first twelve readers who comment on any one of my novels during the Christmas period. If you send me the link to your comment and your address I will send you a signed copy of the first edition of my memoir The Romancer.