The Magic of Writing Reviews for Amazon

The Magic of Writing Reviews for Amazon 1024 576 Reader Views

By Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers

Dear Reader Views Readers,
I am busily rewriting my How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically for a second edition from Modern History Press and ran across this short section I thought readers of Reader Views’ blog should have—especially because I missed one of the benefits we authors get when we write reviews for Amazon. Maybe I missed it because it is relatively new or maybe—you know, just too busy for it to sink in. At any rate, here is that excerpt. It is by no means the complete section on this topic; you get an advance peek. But if you follow me on Amazon’s Profile Page (they also call it an “Author Page”), you’ll be notified when it is released. You’ll love the list in it on what I call the “supermedia” for writers that so many industry gatekeepers rely on for up-to-date publishing news. 
Very Best, Carolyn


Don’t be dissuaded from writing reviews for Amazon.

Misinformation about copyright issues continues to circulate around the net. If you haven’t already heard, the gossip mills churned out by authors (who naturally love to talk) will soon notify you that posting reviews and other content to Amazon makes them Amazon’s property and therefore your review cannot be published elsewhere.

I asked Amazon’s customer service about their claim to own the material you post to their site. They made it clear that they own only the right to “reuse” what you post, but that you may continue to use the material as you see fit. “Reusing” without pay may not seem like much of an advantage, but when it includes a credit—especially one that includes your book’s title and a link back to Amazon’s buy page or your Amazon profile page —your review becomes free advertising for you.

This explanation of Amazon’s policy comes straight from Amazon’s customer service department and applies to any of their disclaimers/guidelines that use the term “non-exclusive:”

“When a customer posts…to our site, the customer is granting us the nonexclusive right to use the [content]. This means that once [material] is submitted to our site, [it] is ours to use as we see fit for as long as we wish. As this license is non-exclusive, the customer who has written [the material] can also use [their work] as he or she sees fit. The [content] can be included in a book or posted on another site.” — Nicole L., Customer Service

Authors should be cautious. But they shouldn’t reject an opportunity of being read and maybe even discovered based on someone else’s bad experience or paranoia.

I only recently discovered this great reason for an author or write reviews for Amazon! As I was writing this book! The review of my The Frugal Editor by a fellow editor had been rejected because of Amazon’s picky algorithms. Lois W. Stern tried rewriting it. She tried using a fair-and-honest disclaimer. Finally she scored and just in time for me to pass it along to you in this book:

Take a selfie or snap of you with the book you review and install it where Amazon gives you that option. Your headshot shows up on the buy page and the two other pages where the review appears. If you already have a review that has been rejected, go back and try again with a picture. Lois’s review shows up on the review page but it also shows up on that book’s main buy page—near where readers go to check reviews. Every kind author out there who reviews books they love because they know it’s a gift to the author and the publishing industry should try this; it gives the reviewer online exposure, both name and visual recognition!


Carolyn Howard-Johnson brings her experience as a publicist, journalist, marketer, and retailer to the advice she gives in her HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers and the many classes she taught for nearly a decade as instructor for UCLA Extension’s world-renown Writers’ Program. The books in her HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers have won multiple awards. That series includes both the third editions of both The Frugal Book Promoter and her winningest book, The Frugal Editor. They have won awards from USA Book News, Readers’ Views Literary Award, Dan Poynter’s Global Ebook Award, the marketing award from Next Generation Indie Books and others including the coveted Irwin award. How To Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically is still in its first edition but is being updated to include important information on artificial intelligence considerations.

Howard-Johnson is the recipient of the California Legislature’s Woman of the Year in Arts and Entertainment Award, and her community’s Character and Ethics award for her work promoting tolerance with her writing. She was also named to Pasadena Weekly’s list of “Fourteen San Gabriel Valley women who make life happen” and was given her community’s Diamond Award for Achievement in the Arts. 

The author loves to travel. She has visited ninety-one countries and has studied writing at Cambridge University in the United Kingdom; Herzen University in St. Petersburg, Russia; and Charles University, Prague. She admits to carrying a pen and journal wherever she goes. Her website is


Promise yourself better editing of all your work—query letters to books–in 2024 
with the 3rd Edition of my “The Frugal Editor.” 

“…The Frugal Editor is part reference guide, part do-it-yourself editing manual, part masterclass on the writing and publishing industry…and all with Carolyn’s signature humor and encouraging energy! She is a master at simplifying overwhelming tasks into relevant, can-do information…” -Dallas Woodburn, best-selling author and book coach 

Connect with Carolyn Howard-Johnson!

Web site:
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  • Carolyn Howard-Johnson

    Thank you for sharing. Something like that could indeed be emotionally painful. It is easy even now with algorithms being in charge of so much these days, to take rejections from Amazon personally. And we authors have to put up with so much as a matter, of course with our submissions. In that case, It truly is our work that’s being critiqued and we must learn to take even that less personally. I have a list somewhere of some of the reasons that our work is rejected by publishers, agents, and journals. I’ll have to see if I can dig it up and post it here. Most of them have nothing to do with the quality of our work. Please stay tuned. I am truly sorry for what you have been through And I have heard of others who have been through it! You are not alone, that’s for sure ! 📚🖊💕

  • J. L. Askew

    Thank you for sharing the advantage that authors have of writing book reviews on Amazon. As an avid reader, for years I would post an occasional review on Amazon and when I became an author myself I began posting monthly and by late 2023 I had about thirty-four reviews (all were noted as “verified purchase”) on Amazon. But last October a review of the book “The Last Politician” was flagged as unacceptable for some violation caught by the algorithm and this led to my demise as an Amazon Book Reviewer. The rejection notice I received wasn’t very tactful and as a longtime Amazon Prime member, I felt slighted and I became engaged in some back and forth emails resulting in my “community privileges” being cancelled and all thirty-four book reviews removed.
    Looking back, if I had had benefit of this blog post I would have known I was dealing with an “algorithm” and I would have done things differently and saved myself the pain of losing over three years of work.
    Thanks to Carolyn Howard-Johnson for reminding us that writing book reviews on Amazon is an excellent way for authors to promote their brand.

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