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.

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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/

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