Like a Book? Write a Review!

You’ve read a novel you like. You tell your friends about it. Word spreads. This is process is probably how most books are selected by readers. It certainly was back in the day.

But more and more, people go to their favorite online site, browse titles, read book descriptions, and check out reviews. I do it. You’ve probably done it. We wonder what the five- and four-star reviewers think, we wonder what the one- and two-star reviewers think, and why. Then we decide.

There are a lot of good reasons to post a book review. Among other things, you want to put your voice out there. Especially with good books, it helps to spread the word. With so many choices out there, why not weigh in? You might also want to let the author know what you think. Many authors read reviews. Most authors don’t get hundreds of reviews. If you’ve read a book by an author that you really like, posting a positive review tells them that in a way that helps others consider the book, too. A positive review helps the author and helps other readers. It is a good thing to do. It’s also easy, once you know how.

So here are a few tips for posting book reviews, starting with the mechanics (the “how to” of it), followed by some thoughts about content.


Most sites are similar for book reviews. Following is a step-by-step about where to click and how the options look for Amazon, Goodreads and Barnes & Noble. Most other sites are similar.

Amazon. On the Amazon page for the book:

  • Scroll down to the “Customer Reviews.”
  • Click the “Write a customer review” button to the right of the star-rankings graphic.

On the page that appears:

  • Select a button for the first four questions (“How is the author’s writing,” “Is there violence,” “Is there sexual content,” and “How is the story narrated”)
  • Select the Star Ranking by clicking one of the stars. They fill in automatically from left to right. So for a five-star ranking (the best), click the right-most star.  (See Star Ranking, below.)
  • Enter your comments about the book by clicking in the text box below the stars. (See The Review Text, below.)
  • Click the one-line box below the larger text box to give your review a short title.
  • Click the “Submit” button.

Amazon will probably give you a message that the review is being processed, and it will send you an email when processing is complete.

Goodreads. On the Goodreads page for the book:

  • Click the drop down button below the book cover and select “Read.” (This option means “I’ve read the book.)

In the popup window that should immediately appear:

  • Select the Star Ranking by one of the stars. This is also a five-star system from one to five, with five being the best. (See Star Ranking, below.)
  • The “Bookshelves/tags” option below the stars should already say “read,” so no need to change that.
  • Enter your comments about the book by clicking the large dialogue box labeled below “What did you think?” Before you enter anything there, you will see in gray lettering “Enter your review (optional).” (See The Review Text, below.)
  • Only click the “Hide entire review because of spoilers” box if your comments give things away about the book that some readers might not want to see.
  • Enter the dates you read the book if you wish.
  • Check the boxes at the bottom right if you want to post to your blog, add to your update feed, or share on Facebook. (Some of these options might be pre-checked for you.)
  • Click the “Save” button at the bottom left, or optionally, click the “Preview” link to see what your review will look like first.

Barnes & Noble. On the B&N page for the book:

  • Scroll down to the “Customer Reviews.”
  • Click the “Write a Review” button to the right of the “Average Review” graphic.

In the popup window that should immediately appear:

  • Select the Star Ranking by clicking one of the stars. This is another a five-star system from one to five, with five (the right-most) being the best. (See Star Ranking, below.)
  • Enter your comments about the book by clicking in the text box below the stars. (See The Review Text, below.)
  • Click the “Submit” button.

That’s it. You’ve shared your thoughts. Other readers will appreciate it, and odds are the author will see it, too.


The two key content components are the Star Ranking and the Review Text.

Star Ranking

The number of stars you give tells others at a glance whether you loved or hated the book. Use your best judgment. If you loved it and think others should read it, a 5-star rank says “the best.” If you think the story could have been better, less than five is appropriate. Be honest, according to your own personal standards. I think of it as analogous to a letter grade in school, where five stars is an “A,” four stars is a “B,” etc.

Review Text

This isn’t a writing assignment. Short and sweet is fine. If all you want to say is “What a great story!”, then you’re done. That is a fine review. If you want to say more, here are some thoughts:

  • Say something about the story: an interesting character, stunning settings, some idea or feature that stands out to you.
  • Avoid “spoilers,” meaning don’t spill the plot or the ending (but you can certainly call it “a surprise,” or “satisfying,” or whatever applies.
  • Share a personal thought or two. Was it a page-turner? A fun read? Enlightening or thought-provoking? Would you read it again? To whom would you recommend it?
  • Be honest. If you didn’t get into it, but think others might, it’s okay to say so.

There are as many ways to write a review as there are readers. It can be fun to let an author and readers know your reaction to the story.

Posted in Promotion, Publication, Reading, Reviews, Writing | Leave a comment

Thank You, Alta Vista Park and Its Wonderful Community

A Towers of Earth Book Launch Party was held at the Alta Vista Park Community Center this month. It was a terrific location and could not have been more welcoming. A wonderful group of readers of all ages and walks of life came by for the book reading, signings, free short stories, and engaging conversations.

I wholeheartedly enjoyed meeting and speaking with everyone, individually and as a group. Thank you for your support of Towers of Earth, as well as your attention to many of my other works, including my first novel, Hearts in RuinThe engagement was an absolute pleasure.


Posted in Colonization, Flash Fiction, Promotion, Publication, Reading, Release, Science Fiction, Writing | Leave a comment

A Look at the Hugo Award Novel Finalists

The Hugo Awards® nominees for best science fiction or fantasy in 2016 have been announced. The prestigious awards are voted on, and presented by, members of the World Science Fiction Society. Here is a marketing blurb for each of the … Continue reading

Gallery | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Author on the Couch Interview

Don’t miss today’s interview of me by Abbie Roads in her Author on the Couch series, where she asks in-depth question of writers about what makes them tick, what doesn’t, and why.

Abbie Roads is the author of Race the Darkness, Hunt the Dawn, and Saving Mercy. She writes “dark emotional books featuring damaged characters, but always gives her hero and heroine a happy ending… after torturing them for three hundred pages.” By day, Abbie Roads is a mental health counselor known for her blunt, honest style of therapy. This provides some insight into her series of interviews. She also runs the popular features Favorite Lines Friday and Life & Books.

Posted in Excerpt, Mental Illness, News, Publication, Reading, Release, Reviews, Romance, Science Fiction, Writing | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Hugo Nominated Movies 2017

The finalists have been announced for the 2017 Hugo Awards, managed by the World Science Fiction Society (WSFS). There are good selections in the group, and the finalist lists are always a good place to find recent works that others … Continue reading

Gallery | Tagged , | Leave a comment

J. C. Conway Newsletter Mailing List

If you would like to be notified by email of new releases and/or promotional giveaways or discounts, please sign up to the “J. C. Conway News and Updates” mailing list. I do not barrage my list members with a flood of emails. In fact, list mailings occur far less frequently than posts on my blog (which you can also follow). The most recent newsletter announced the weekend giveaway of my Another Wrong World anthology. I’m working now on an update that will include an excerpt from Towers of Earth.

I do not share my mailing list with anyone. For the time being, I use Mailchimp for these email announcements. There are other services that I might try in the future, but to date, I’ve found Mailchimp’s free services to be quite satisfactory.

It is a nice way for you to receive succinct notices related to my writing and occasional special offers. So consider signing up. It is always nice to know who wants to hear when I have a new release to share.

Posted in News, Offer, Promotion, Publication, Reading, Release, Writing | Leave a comment

Weekend Giveaway — Another Wrong World

This gallery contains 2 photos.

In response to requests for more stories, following the release of Towers of Earth, I’m offering this weekend (Friday March 24, 2017 through Sunday March 26, 2017) through Amazon free kindle copies of my short story anthology, Another Wrong World … Continue reading

Gallery | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Colonization — Generation Ships

This gallery contains 1 photo.

There are countless tales that involve space colony missions moving at sub-light speed, covering the vast distance between stars over the course of hundreds, or even thousands, of years. There are two main options for these extraordinarily long voyages–sleeper ships … Continue reading

Gallery | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Book Trailers

I haven’t yet learned a great deal about making book trailers. I’m interested. I am aware of a few resources that have been useful, and some others that might become useful. While it seems clearly possible to build a book … Continue reading

Gallery | Leave a comment

Persons of Interest — Dorothy Davies

Dorothy Davies is one of my favorite publishing editors. She has put together countless themed anthologies for various publishing companies, presently editing anthologies for the Thirteen O’Clock Press imprint of Horrified Press. Dorothy Davies lives on the beautiful Isle of … Continue reading

Gallery | Leave a comment