9 Things I Wish Amazon Reviewers Would Stop Doing

credit: cheapestservice.com
credit: cheapestservice.com


1. Describing literary writing that’s rich and descriptive as literary masturbation. I don’t even want to tell you what goes through my mind, but it involves alphabet soup, Dockers and a typewriter. Spare me that imagery. Here’s the correct substitute if you really feel the author let their words get away from him/herself: “his/her prose are ‘self-indulgent.’”

2. Rants. Don’t get your pages all in a bunch. Your rants are self-indulgent. [See? It works!]

3. War of the words. Sometimes I think the comment section for reviews should just be turned off after awhile. More often it feels like the New York Post, which is to say useless and trashy. Join a book club and torture readers who are on their third glass of wine. Me? I’m sober, not amused, and should be pulling weeds in my garden.

4. This: “I don’t understand why everyone loved this book and I didn’t?” Uhmmmm, because zombies didn’t attack and leave us all with one thought, like must eat yummy brains. (But I’m sure there’s a book out there about that.)

5. Spoilers without an *alert*. Too often I get blindsided. July 21, 2007, I still haven’t forgiven this: SNAPE IS GOOD!!!! If I had a wand, I would have performed the Avada Kedavra Curse on Anonymous Reader #72. Grrrr….

6. Giving reviewers a helpful vote only if they agree with you. First, you’re supposed to be reading reviews before diving in, but if you happen to have read the book, review it yourself if you have strong feelings or read for other perspectives. The voting system is used for finding reviews “helpful” or not — not “you have validated my opinion of this book and/or all that I live for.”

Example of a non-helpful review: I loved this book. It was great. Everyone I know loved it. I bought a copy for every one of my friends. I highly recommend!

This would only be helpful if, say, I held your hair in college while you puked Peach Schnapps and tacos in a 7-11 dumpster, or we had some other long-term relationship equivalent.

7. reviewers that pay no attention to gammer and punctuatetion

8. Reviewers outside their genre. It’s fair to say religious grandmothers won’t be buying copies of 50 Shades and those looking for a beach read wouldn’t pick up The Tale of Two Cities before hitting sun and surf. When you’re not the intended reader, your negative review means little.

9. Finally, don’t forget books are written by humans, humans have flaws, therefore books will too. Critique constructively. In addition to flaws, authors have feelings. You’re not reviewing the next iPhone 6. (But I hear it’s going to be great. And I highly recommend!)



12 thoughts on “9 Things I Wish Amazon Reviewers Would Stop Doing

    1. desertdweller29

      #5 and #6 are very frustrating, but it was seeing #1 twice in one day that I thought: This must end! 🙂

      I should state there are many fabulous reviewers out there that are thoughtful, intelligent and helpful. Readers generally don’t miss a thing… that’s why I find it’s a good tool to see what worked and didn’t work in a book to improve upon my own writing.

  1. O. Leonard

    I think reviews of all kinds are useless unless they’re complimentary so you could use them on the book cover. No, I don’t even think that. Reviews, in my opinion, are the reviewer’s own opinion. and I may not like the same things they do. I can’t tell you how many books I thought were wonderful when the reviewers hated them, and I’ve started a few campfires with books that were supposed to be a must summer read. :o) The jury is still out on “literary masturbation” though. Not sure if I’ll use that or not. LOL

    1. desertdweller29

      I agree. Reviews are a reviewer’s own opinion. I don’t get upset with other opinions, unless they break the 9 rules I have laid out. But go ahead and break rule #1. I’ll just clear my pantry of alphabet soup… LOL. Thanks for the comment.

  2. FictionFan

    Haha! As a long-term reviewer on Amazon in both the UK and the US, I was kinda scared to read this! But phew! I think I avoid most of these most of the time – and agree with all of them! Except ranting…I do think an occasional rant has to be forgiven. I mean, if people don’t want reviewers to rant, then they shouldn’t let Joanna Trollope write updated versions of Jane Austen books!! The blood pressure has to be brought back under control somehow… 😉

    1. desertdweller29

      You picked the one forgivable number, actually! I find rants extremely entertaining. It displayed my use of “self-indulgent” nicely, but honestly they’re only annoying if they’ve broken other said complaints.

      Thanks for the follow. I look forward to reading your reviews!

  3. unpackedwriter.com

    A fun romp through understanding review writing. Loved this… probably because it suggests were are the same generation: “This would only be helpful if, say, I held your hair in college while you puked Peach Schnapps and tacos in a 7-11 dumpster, or we had some other long-term relationship equivalent.”

    1. desertdweller29

      Ha! Yes, Peach Schnapps has run its course these days, hasn’t it? Loved your post today as well. Just finished watching Gilbert’s TED Talks and it’s amazing. I think I’ll start picturing Dobby in my walls now as I write! What a great concept.

  4. bronxboy55

    I wish there were some way to require reviewers to prove they’ve actually read the book. There are people out there who will tear apart another’s work for no reason — other than that the work exists, and someone accomplished something.

    1. desertdweller29

      Yes, that would be great! I see a lot of reviews from people who have yet to finish a book. There was once a reviewer that said: “I’m only through the first chapter, but …” That killed me!

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