Becoming a Top Amazon Reviewer

If You Love Reading, Consider Writing Reviews for Amazon

I’ve been an Amazon reviewer for over 10 years now and managed to work my way up to Top 100 Reviewer ranking. As a retired librarian, I have more time to read now and posting reviews on Amazon helps me keep track of what I’ve read and how I felt about it. Even as a child, I kept lists of what I read. I get nostalgic looking back through my notebook to see the titles scrawled in my childish handwriting and remember what I was reading in those days.Yes, I was a bookworm.

Book Illustration of a Girl Reading Postcard
Girl Reading – Postcard
See other Book Postcards at zazzle

Now with my reading list online, I have more than just my memory to tell me if I liked a book and what it was about. My feelings and opinion of the book is posted on Amazon for my future reference and for all the world to read.

Writing Book Reviews Helps Libraries and Librarians and Authors

Upon retiring, I wanted to volunteer in a library or school or adult literacy center. Unfortunately, our frequent trips and erratic schedule didn’t match with those volunteer opportunities.

Luckily I stumbled upon another way I could share my experience from 30 years as a librarian. It made use of my love of books, but could be fitted in with our coming and going. I volunteer as a book reviewer for Amazon. The reviews on that online book site benefit librarians selecting books for their collections and help any reader trying to find the right book for their enjoyment or informational needs.

Now I read anything that appeals to me, then share a description and opinion online. It’s particularly satisfying if mine is the first review for that item. Readers rate the reviews as helpful or not and that determines the ranking of the reviewer. When I reached the TOP 500 REVIEWER ranking, I knew my reviews were helping other readers and librarians.

At that point, authors started sending books to me to read and review. It was gratifying to add “authors” to those who benefit from my reviewing efforts. I hadn’t thought about that aspect, but I’m helping get the word out about good books and identifying the appropriate audience.

I’ve expanded my efforts on the website by compiling book lists on varied topics. I have 88 of these lists so far.

Any reader can contribute reviews to Amazon and you can fit it around your own schedule and without even leaving your house.

Books on shelves at Wakefield Library
photo by Virginia Allain

There’s no pay, but it can be addictive to rise through the ranks as a reviewer. Here are ways to achieve Top Reviewer ranking. It took two years for me to reach the TOP 500 Reviewer ranking.

The third year, I was ecstatic to reach TOP 100 Reviewer ranking. Since then, I’ve slipped a little and fell to below 1000. It requires a lot of reading and posting of reviews to stay at the top. Update: After shifting most of my energy to Squidoo and other online writing, my reviewer ranking dropped quite a bit. The last time I checked, it was around 1,200.

Diligently post reviews on every book you read whether it’s good, bad or indifferent. Others need to know about that book. It helps if you’re already an avid reader. If you only read 2 or 3 books a month, then it will take much longer to reach the top reviewer ranks.

Writing a Critical Book Review

If reviewing a best seller, it helps to get the review posted quickly after the book’s release date. More readers see the early reviews and vote on its helpfulness. The reviews with the highest number of helpful votes get posted near the top and get more viewings as time goes by. If there are already several hundred reviews posted for a book, yours gets pushed to the bottom and gets little attention and few “likes.”

It’s important to post a quality review. Don’t just put a sentence or two. Say why you did or didn’t like the book. For fiction, give enough of the plot for readers to know if it’s their kind of book but don’t spoil the suspense by telling the ending.

Free Books!

A bonus of reaching Top 500 Reviewer ranking is authors start offering free books for you to review. These books are yours to keep after your read them and post a review. I didn’t receive hundreds of books, but a nice sampling of titles. One author sends me her Disney World guide every time she puts out a new edition.

You can encourage this by adding onto your Amazon profile that you welcome review books. Now, it is more common for authors to offer an ebook copy to a reviewer. Too bad, as it was nice receiving a copy in the mail. After reviewing it, you could give it away or sell it.

Reviewing Non-Book Items

Think about reviewing household items as well. What about your camera? How about the lamp on your desk? Do you like them? If not, why not? Other people need to know what features work well on a product and what are duds. Amazon carries an amazing range of products and reviews of those products. Electronics and software reviews get a lot of votes.

Reviewing Music, Movies, and Software

Don’t limit yourself. Put reviews online for the music CDs you listen to on the way to work. Put a review on for the movie you watched on TV last night. Review the software that you use on your computer.

If you post a negative review on a popular movie, it will get lots of votes that it was unhelpful. Unfortunately, that brings your ranking down. Sometimes I chicken out and just don’t post a review for a movie that I thought was dumb.

Too Many Books?

When someone moves, they often try to downsize and avoid carrying excess STUFF to the new home. Good idea. One thing that’s hard to let go of is books. Many of us get emotionally attached to our books.

Reading a book is such a personal experience. Each reader brings their own frame of reference to the book. Who you are, your values, your past experiences, your current emotional state, all come into play as you read the words the author put on the page.

Even books we haven’t read are hard to dump. That books holds the promise of new characters or information to discover. How can we release it unread? Rationally you can know that you aren’t ever going to read that book, but it still occupies your shelf.

It’s easier to give up a book if you think of it as a gift. Any book donated to a library or given to another reader has another chance to be read again. Even books given to charity thrift shops are a boon to someone. A future reader finds the book on the bargain shelf and cradles it in their arm as they head home to read it.

By releasing your books, you are putting them back into circulation for future readers. Keep that in mind and it becomes easier to downsize your book collection.

Books I Could Put Down

Often when readers recommend a book, they say, “I couldn’t put it down.” I love it when I find a book like that. That’s what reading is all about, finding a book that you don’t even want to close for meals or sleeping. Staying up past bedtime immersed in a great book is a wonderful experience.

Unfortunately sometimes I bog down in a book. For some reason it doesn’t meet my expectations. I hate to give up on a book once I’ve started it. It lays by my reading chair sometimes for weeks. Somehow it seems reproachful with it’s bookmark permanently stuck at the halfway point. I feel guilty that I’m not enjoying it and postpone reading anything else. I’ll dip into it now and then, hoping it will capture my fancy and get some zip going in its plot. Eventually I’ll pick up another book, but keep the rejected book at hand. Who knows, maybe I’ll be in just the right mood for it another day.

Since I review books for Amazon, I like to be able to say good things about a book. An author worked long and hard to write it and a publishing house thought it worthy of putting into print.  As a librarian, I prided myself on finding good books for my library patrons to read.  Several reviewers saying a book was uninteresting meant my library didn’t buy it. Deep down, I believe that for every book there is a reader, even many readers. A mis-match between the book and the reader results in someone not liking a book. Another reader might find it fits them perfectly.

With that said, I’m not pointing out these books as hopeless. Maybe they would be just right for you. Unfortunately for me these books were ones that I could put down and not pick up again. I feel sad about them, but I’m going to put them all away and start a new book that might engage my interests. HopefullyI’ll read late into the night relishing the story  as each page turns and words flow past creating pictures in my mind.

Books I Could Put Down:

  • Waiting for Lila by Billie Green
  • Rainbow’s End by Irene Hannon
  • Don’t Bend Over in the Garden, Granny, You Know Them Taters Got Eyes by Lewis Grizzard
  • Coming Undone by Susan Anderson
  • Creature Cozies by various authors
  • Without Pity by Ann Rule
  • What Am I Doing Here by Bruce Chatwin
  • A Circle of Quiet by Madeleine L’Engle

Recommended Reading

I’ve been an Amazon reviewer for four years now and managed to work my way up to Top 100 Reviewer ranking.  As a retired librarian, I have more time to read now and posting reviews on Amazon helps me keep track of what I’ve read and how I felt about it.  Along with writing the book reviews, I started making booklists on Amazon.   I’ll share those with you here.  There are 96 booklists or as Amazon calls them Listmania! lists.   I’ll try to group them here by subjects to make it easier to find one that interests you.  This will take awhile, so I’ll add to it over the next week.  Favorite Childhood Books (Just click on the blue links to see the lists)

My Booklists on Amazon

Childhood Memories of WWII

Gardening Books -These are titles that I’ve found helpful while landscaping and creating a new vegetable and flower gardens in New Hampshire. I like using native plants, being somewhat organic, and keeping things low-maintenance.

Decorate Your Deck – Books and items to help you make the most of your outdoor living space.

Making the Most of Summer with the Kids -Don’t let the summer go by with the kids lounging slack-faced in front of the TV and complaining about being bored. Here are some idea books to get the most from the summer, making it an interesting time for them and you.

Fun with Fabrics – If you’re wondering what to do with that stash of fabric, ribbon and lace, here are some inspiring books. Give them a try. Some projects don’t require sewing. It’s amazing what you can do with spray adhesive.

More Paper Crafts to Try – It’s wonderful to see the varied ideas in these books. The cross-pollination between cardmaking, scrapbooking and altered books benefits all paper crafters.

Love Between the Covers – If you’re looking for hot stuff, then you misinterpreted the title. I’ve long been a reader of romances and want to share with you what’s between the covers of my favorites. There’s something so satisfying when I cozy up with a book and read about two people whose lives become entwined and love evolves despite various obstacles.  It amazes me the variations on this theme and the titles on this list are special to me.

For Elsie Lee Fans – Her romantic suspense and Regency novels are such fun. Her heroines are super smart. Don’t miss her novels under the pseudonym Elsie Cromwell as well.

Learning About Autism

Your Man and Why He Makes You Crazy

Men at Midlife – Is there a male midlife crisis?

Kansas History Made Interesting – History doesn’t have to be dull.

Writing Challenge on eHow

750795_green_fountain_pen_and_ink_bottleThis time, we’re challenged to write fourteen articles in seven days.  I hesitated to take it on.  That’s a lot of ideas and writing.  Oh well, I’ll give it a try.  I’ll add the article titles as I finish them.  The deadline is February 14.

  1. How to Make Word Graphics to Use with eHow Articles
  2. How to Use Half-Price Candy after a Holiday
  3. How to Ego Surf the Internet
  4. How to Get eHow Earnings Reports in Detail
  5. How to Report Spammers on eHow
  6. How to Keep THINGS from Taking over Your Life
  7. How to Grow and Nurture Yourself through Reading (Women)     Hurrah, I’m halfway to the goal and it’s only February 10th!
  8. How to Make an Easter Basket for a Lady Golfer
  9. How to Play Ready Golf
  10. How to Increase Kitchen Counter Space
  11. How to Hold a Budget Fashion Show for a Women’s Club
  12. How to Make Pasta Salad that’s Super Easy
  13. How to Help Australian Wildlife Injured in Fires
  14. How to Get Remembered When Missing Family Gatherings

I’m finished and it’s one day early.  I hope you have time to sample a few of the articles.

Working on the Challenge

The eHow site posted a challenge to write ten articles in seven days.  The deadline is midnight, January 17.  I’m starting with 292 articles, so my goal is to reach 302.  I’ll add updates as I get the articles written.

  1. How to Take Photos at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
  2. How to Vent about Poor Service or Faulty Products
  3. How to Decorate a Valentine Tree
  4. How to Make a Valentine Craft Kit for Children
  5. How to Collect Vintage Spice Tins
  6. How to Make Library Book Displays for October
  7. How to Get to Work on Time
  8. How to Improve Signs in a Business or Nonprofit on a Shoestring
  9. How to Make Gravy for Pot Roast
  10. How to Get Bright Ideas in the Workplace

I’m finished with the ten articles.  Yah!  I met the deadline (actually I’m two days early).

Taking a New Look at New Year’s Resolutions

I get tired of resolving year-after-year to “lose weight and exercise more.”  Actually I’ve found it helpful to focus more on things that will be fun and in being happy with my life.  The great part is that in doing the fun things, I end up losing weight and exercising more.  Here are my suggestions for the new year:  How to Be Nice to Yourself …How to Set Goals Using the 43 Things Website …How to Feel Better Quickly (Mood Boosting Ideas) …How to Quit Obsessing Over Bad Economic News …How to Reduce Aggravations in Your Life …

This year, I do want to clear out things that are needlessly filling my closets and garage.  How to Eliminate Clutter That Has Emotional Links  …How to Know You Have Too Much Stuff …How to Sell Antique Diaries

I do want to read more.  How to Make Time for Reading …How to Use Reading to Exercise Your Mind …How to Find Book Sales …How to Expand the Mind through Reading …

I want to write more.  How to Create Poetry Using Online Forms …How to Write Family Memories for Our Echo …How to Become a Top Reviewer on Amazon …How to Write Family Memories Triggered by Photos …How to Write a Trip Poem …How to Get the Most from a Writer’s Workshop

I want to get really good at the things that interest me (gardening, photography, writing for eHow).  How to Become an Expert in Anything …How to Photograph Mushrooms …How to Find Flowers to Photograph …

White Rose Bouquet
White Rose Bouquet

I want to be nicer to other people.  How to Spread Good Feelings …How to Reconnect with Old Friends …

Hopefully in trying to do those things, I’ll have a happy new year.  I see from the articles I’ve written (links in blue above), that I know what I need to do, so it’s just a matter of applying my energy to these things. 

Best of luck to all of you in having your own “happy new year.”