“Amazon reviews: How do I post them?” Authors and their readers often ask me this question. Today I will walk you through the process step by step and offer a few suggestions on writing a good review, as well as a warning.

Preliminary Steps

To post a review on Amazon, you must first have an account with Amazon (which may mean you must open one) and make at least one purchase from Amazon using that account. Without an account and a purchase, you cannot post a review. The purchase does not have to be the book you wish to review: it can be any item sold by Amazon. And your review does not have to be of a book: you can review any product you purchased (such as an electric razor). If you review a product you have purchased, the words “verified purchase” will appear with the review, which serve as a validation to others that the review was written by someone who actually bought and used (or read) the product.

Opening an Account with Amazon

If you live in Canada, and search for the home page of Amazon, you will be directed to Amazon.ca, the Amazon site for Canada. If you live in another country, you will be directed to the appropriate national Amazon, such as Amazon.com (USA), Amazon.co.uk (United Kingdom), Amazon.es (Spain), Amazon.fr (France), Amazon.jp (Japan), and so on. To open an account you will see a screen like this one:

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Since you have no Amazon account, you will click on “Create your Amazon account,” which will bring you to a screen like this one. You fill it out (as I have, with an imaginary name and e-mail account), then click on “Create account.”

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You now have an account with Amazon! Up to this point you have not disclosed any personal information other than your name and e-mail address. But if you wish to post a review, you will have to make a purchase, and this means providing further information (such as your mailing and billing addresses, credit card number, and other information used in making online purchases). If you are not willing to do this for the sake of posting an Amazon review, then there is little point taking the initial step of opening an account.

Posting a Book Review

Posting a review is quite easy, once you have an Amazon account and have made at least one purchase. Find the sales page of the book you wish to review.

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Scroll down the page until you find “Product Description.” Just below that you will find customer reviews. There may already be reviews, or you may be invited to be the first person to post a review.

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Click on “Write a customer review.” You will be taken to a screen that looks like this. This screen shows the title you just selected at the top, with other purchases you have made below.

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Note that you can elect to post the review under your name, or you can select a pseudonym of some kind if you prefer to keep some anonymity. Choose and click on one of the five stars (which range from “I hate it” [one star] to “I love it” [five]) and a text box will appear in which you will write your review.

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There is also a place for you to give a title to your review. Once you are satisfied with your review, click on “Submit.” Your review will be screened for offensive language and content, and (presuming it passes the review), it will appear on Amazon along with the rating (one to five stars) you assigned.

What constitutes a good review?

A good review tells the reader what the book is about (genre, characters, setting) and may briefly summarize the plot. It offers a thoughtful opinion on the strengths and weaknesses of the novel: “The vivid descriptions of the natural world captured my attention … The dialogue is sometimes stilted, and there are occasional anachronisms.” Amazon reviews often offer personal reactions: “I read before going to sleep at night and found I could not put this book down.”

How long should my review be?

One sentence is far too short, while 600 words is probably too long for the context. A good Amazon review is probably around 200 words. It should be long enough to provide a thoughtful evaluation and short enough to be read without having to click on “read more” links to expand the page.

Disclosures

If you received a complimentary copy of the book with the expectation that you reciprocate with a review, it is important that you disclose this in your review. This is often done at the end of the review. “The author provided me with an advance copy of this book [a PDF copy of this book, a complimentary copy of this book] in exchange for my honest review. I received no monetary compensation for this review.”

What are your questions?

Now it’s your turn! If there are questions you would like answered in this blog, leave a comment below, or use the Contact page of the website and leave your question.