Reviews Made Short & Easy [for the busy reader with things to say]

Posted by on August 19, 2017 in What Pooks is Reading | 3 comments

Books reviews don’t have to be hard. They don’t have to be long. They don’t have to be detailed.

Amazon & Goodreads reviews–short and easy?

Sure. Here’s how.

You see authors asking for reviews all the damned time but who has time for that?

But if your reason for not reviewing is that you’re too busy, and besides, they they have to be long, or it’s too much work writing them, or you’re intimidated by the process, let me make just say–


This is not a book report. There will not be a grade. You don’t have to hit all the marks that serious reviewers hit.

Is that heresy? Oh, I’m sure to some readers and authors it is, but I’m speaking realistically from a ‘general’ reader’s pov.

The minimum length for a review at Amazon is twenty words. This paragraph is exactly twenty short, easy words long.

See? That really isn’t a big deal. And if you’re worried about how to say something about a book in twenty words, let’s look at these examples.

  • “Really enjoyed this – once I got into it I couldn’t put it down. Creative and interesting worldbuilding, great character development, well paced and plotted.” [25 words]
  • “YOU MUST READ THIS BOOK! OMG, the feels! This story has it all – good vs. evil and even hot sex.”  [20 words]
  • “This is a terrific thriller centering around the people in a small village in England . I liked it a lot and will read more in the series.” [28 words]
  • “Not the best romance I’ve read all year but it kept me interested. Wouldn’t pay full price. Buy it on sale.” [21 words]
  • “I listened to the audiobook and the narrator sucked. But when I picked up the real book, I loved it.” [20 words]
  • “She had me at dark-eyed queer with intentions. Nits: too short. GET THEE TO A BOOKERY AND PURCHASE YE SOME INGLEHOMOKAPERBLITZENSPRITZ! “[21 words, abridged and included here to demonstrate all reviews don’t have to be written alike.]

You can have fun with your review. You can just dahs out a few words that relay information. There is no right or wrong here.

If you really want a template to follow:

Include something specific about the book.

  • Main Character is so snarky. I loved reading his thoughts about the people he works with. [or]
  • I’ve never seen a book about this people in this part of New York City before. [or]  This is not just a thriller. It has a wonderful love story, too.
  • Three paragraphs of more specific details and reactions to the above, or any other aspect of the book that you enjoyed or that bothered you, hopefully without spoilers, please.

Include something specific about how you feel about the book.

  • I don’t usually read mystery novels but this one kept me turning pages until long after I should have turned the lights out.
  • Loved this book. This is one of my favorites of 2017 so far.
  • This kept my attention even though I don’t particularly like books [about this kind of character] or [set in this place] or [something else]. People who do will probably love it.
  • I’m glad I read it, but I saw the ending coming a mile away.
  • Every time I thought I knew where the story was going, the rug got yanked out from under me. Talk about plot twists!

That’s it, really. Can it be a lot more detailed? Sure. But it doesn’t have to be.

Believe it or not, I have been influenced to buy a book because of a lengthy “OMG SQUEEEE OH, THE FEELS, THE FEELS!!!” kind of review that didn’t have any specific content at all. Why? Because I already saw that it was set in a place I love to read about and that the main characters are the kinds of characters I love to read about. Since I love books that make me ‘feel’ something–fear, passion, grief, but end happily, that review sealed the deal.

Do some readers complain about that kind of review? Probably. But one review doesn’t speak to all readers. Just say what you want or need to say and assume there will be people who will appreciate reading it. Because there will be.

If you want to really learn how to write a thoughtful, considered review, google it and I’m sure you’ll find a lot of advice out there. Lots of people do write fabulously eloquent, or funny, or detailed and useful reviews. They take pride in writing them. That is awesome. I read a lot of those reviews, too

Me? I’m just here to tell you, it doesn’t have to be that hard.

Leave some reviews. Help readers [and authors] out!

The books I am reading right now and will review soon:
















  1. So true, I used to struggle until one day an author gave me similar advice. This is great advice!

    There a few places which have a minimum word count (kobo, 50 words), and google play suggests 50 but will publish less.

    • You post reviews everywhere which is helpful to so many readers and authors both. I probably should go back and point out that most sites don’t require you to purchase the book there in order to leave a review.

      • That’s a great idea. Most don’t.

        I have left reviews at the following places (if you want a list, and it does depend on how it’s marketed): Amazon (US/UK/AU/CA), BN, GR, GP, Kobo, NetGalley, Powell’s, BAM, iTunes (can’t copy/paste there), Target, Walmart, Harlequin (most publishers don’t have a place or require purchase through them), and Smashwords (purchase required there).

        Shelfari was absorbed into Amazon and is no longer available. There might be a few indie places I missed.

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