Value of Amazon Reviews
When the phone rings, you never know who will be on the other end. Yes, you may have caller ID and be able to sneak a preview but someone has to make that initial step to call. To my surprise, Mahesh Grossman, who has been called the ghostwriting guru, was on the other end of the line. Several years ago I learned about Mahesh through a tele-seminar on Annie Jennings PR (another great resource). I was fascinated with his information about ghostwriting. Many writers are reluctant to become involved in this aspect of the work because they want their name to appear on the book or get “credit.” From my perspective, it is much more important to have the writing work than to receive the credit. If you do excellent work, the credit will come. Also many writers are reluctant to ghostwrite because of the difficulty of working with another person in the writing process—which admittedly is a challenge but I believe a good stretching challenge. Anyway, I want to return to the unexpected phone call.
Mahesh Grossman was calling to thank me for my Amazon review of his book, Write A Book Without Lifting a Finger. This book is targeted to people who have a book idea or a book manuscript and don’t know how to get it published. Mahesh teaches the reader how to find a ghostwriter and gives practical examples about book publishing. Why would a writer want to read this book? Because it contains statistics and information that I’ve not seen in any other place about books. Now this book has a 2004 copyright but here’s one interesting quote, “According to estimates by the Times of London, there are 120,000 new books published annually in the United States. That number is growing every year. Of these, roughly 102,000, or 85%, are non-fiction.” Now whether you agree with this statistic or not, nonfiction regularly outsells fiction—as I’ve pointed out in other entries. There many types of resources and tips in this book which are excellent for writers.
If you notice the customer reviews of this book, there are only a few—and not many of them are very recent. Originally I wrote this review in mid-May. This morning, I adjusted something grammatical that I noticed so the date of my review changed on it. Yes, Amazon gives you the ability to adjust your review (or even delete it) on my profile page. Mahesh was calling to ask permission to use a quotation from my review. He tracked down my phone number (there are many ways to get this information online). My simple review of his book on Amazon gave me an unusual connection and the beginnings of another relationship.
Over the last several weeks, I have been pulling books off my shelf which I have read and adding short reviews on Amazon. If you begin to look, you will be surprised how many times a bestselling book has no customer review. Or in some cases, it has negative customer feedback (maybe a single bad review). Your positive review can bring some sense of balance. It doesn’t take long to write a few sentences of review and help the book. I have written a number of these reviews over the last couple of months. I’m not spending days of time writing these reviews but only a matter of minutes. It’s like many other things related to writing—if you do it a bit at a time, after a while, you will end up with a lot of material. It is not rocket science but easy to accomplish. I’d encourage you to set a reasonable goal for yourself—such as one review a week, then fit it into your schedule.
If you’ve invested the time to read the book, then take a few more minutes and crank out a review. You never know what can come from one of these reviews but it will never happen if you haven’t written a review.