When I planned the launch of my new novel – The Point of Escape – I lined up several dozen advance readers. Each received a free e-copy of the book in exchange for posting a review on launch day.
Problem was, a good percentage of these folks ran into trouble when trying to post their reviews on Amazon. Either they were told they couldn’t post without buying the book (this isn’t true) or the link didn’t work for them. Many have called and emailed to say, “I tried but I can’t!” Bummer. Maybe you’ve had the same experience. This post will explain the best process.
So, the first thing is to have an Amazon account (if you already have one, then scroll down to “BUT WAIT!”). Setting up an account costs nothing, but is necessary to post a review (so is making a purchase of some kind; more on this below). Go to the Amazon homepage (www.Amazon.com) and scroll your mouse over the “Your Account” dropdown menu, and click on the “New customer? Start here” hyperlink that appears beneath the yellow “Sign in” button:
Fill in the information and click on the “Create Account” button.
You’ll be taken back to the Amazon homepage, but this time you’ll be recognized:
Now, at this point, you will need to buy something in order to be able to post a review. It can be a $0.99 ebook, or a $0.01 paperback, anything. Hey, it could be my book (the ebook version will only set you back $2.99). Amazon just requires that reviewers be customers.
Now, from any Amazon screen, type the book title into the search field, and click “Go”…
…which will take you to the search results page. The Point of Escape will be listed first:
If you look to the right of the ratings stars (note the 5-star rating for The Point of Escape, folks), you’ll see a hyperlinked number indicating the number of reviews posted, 17 in this case. Click on the link, and you will be taken to the Customer Reviews page:
Click on the “Create your own review” button, and you land here:
Scroll over the stars to select the rating you’d like to give the book, and then type up your review in the “Write your review here” box. Amazon will require a paragraph (sorry, I was wrong about one-word reviews), but not a lengthy one:
Yes, I deleted this “review” and hit the “Clear” link to erase the rating after I took this screen shot. For demonstration purposes only, folks.
Note that when you place your cursor in the review-drafting box, a title box opens and a “Submit” button appears. When you are done, click on this button, and Amazon will tell you that…
Within a day you will receive an email telling you that your review is live, and I will be eternally grateful.
“BUT WAIT!” you say. “I ALREADY HAVE AN ACCOUNT, AND I DOWNLOADED YOUR BOOK, JUST LIKE YOU ASKED!”
Yup. Some folks have had problems posting reviews by the above method. So…..here’s the work-around.
When signed into Amazon, you will see on the Amazon banner the “Hello [your name]/Your Account” link:
Click it, and it takes you here:
If you scroll down, then you will find:
Note the third and fourth links under “Community.” “Product Reviews Written by You” takes you to…well, to a list of reviews written by you. But “Your Reviews” (oddly enough) takes you to a reverse chronological list of all the products you’ve purchased (or downloaded for free) from Amazon for which you haven’t yet written reviews:
From here you know the drill: rating, review, heading for your review and “Submit” button.
So, I hope this clears up the process, and enables you to post reviews for all manner of products on Amazon.
Yes, the title was a shameless attention-getting ploy. Sue me.
Kidding aside, the naked feeling of showing your work to Others is undeniable. After months of closeted safety, your private thing is no longer private. Or, rather, it’s still QUITE private, but is now in semi-public view. Even if you have been writing with an audience in mind all along, the experience is not to be had without trepidation.
Which is a longish way of saying that early segments of The Novel have been released to readers.
How long has it been under wraps, prudishly hiding its shame? Well, early work started in February of this year, following the Snowflake Method. I’ll have more to say about this approach at another time, but suffice it now to say that the steps Randy Ingermanson leads you through are exhaustive and can be exhausting, especially if you have distractions in your life…like a family, a day job…you know. By early May I had all of the plotlines, character sketches, summaries and scenes done, and began drafting. Five short months later, the first draft was about 75% done, and it was time to get some feedback.
So, I polished up the Prologue and the first two chapters, and hit up a handful of friends to take a look. Some are scholars. Some are not. Some are producers of creative fiction, others just consumers. I chose the mix on purpose, being interested in how people of differing backgrounds would respond to my work.
So far the results have been gratifying and enlightening. Two of the four readers have provided comments, and I’m meeting with a third for lunch this Friday to talk it over (leaving one miscreant ne’er-do-well to step up his game. Yeah, I’m talkin’ to YOU!). The short of what I’ve learned, though, is that Yes, the main character and his story holds the reader’s interest, and, Yes, my prose is lively enough to do the same. I’ve also gotten some good substantive and stylistic suggestions that have improved the end product. Which, of course, is the whole point of exposing your work to the light of day.
In future posts I’ll open up a bit more about some specifics of what I’ve learned from this process. And maybe even flash a little text on the screen.
Yes, that’s what we call a tease.
A Query: I’d love to hear how other writers handle the review/feedback process.