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Book reviews aren’t what they used to be. When I first began reviewing, magazines and newspapers asked for 500 plus words that included a plot summary, some character details, and opinions on the book’s value. And reviews could be cut to fit the available space in the periodical. If you left a crucial element, say your opinion, for the end, it might well get chopped.

Now, to express our view of a book, we don’t need the approval of a magazine or newspaper. Lots of online venues accept and publish reviews. And as far as I have observed, there are no rules except forbidding excessive profanity. Consequently, many reviews are disgraceful.

So here are a few elements of a worthy review:

• Your opinion of the book and at least one reason why you formed that opinion.

• Just enough of a plot or subject summary so we believe you have actually read the book.

• Perhaps a note about who might appreciate or had better avoid the book.

Each of the above elements can usually be given in a single sentence. That’s plenty. They don’t have to be long.

Here are some (I hope) handy instructions to make posting reviews online as simple as can be.  If any of them don’t work, please email and let me know. I’ll research with an eye to revising.

To Review on Amazon

Go to
Search the book you choose to review.
Click on the review line.
Click Create Your Own Review.
If you are not already an Amazon account holder, you will need to register.
Click your star ranking.
Enter your review in the box.
Click submit.

To Review on Barnes and Noble

Go to
Search the book you choose to review.
Click on the review line.
Click your star ranking.
Click on use a nickname or on review anonymously.
Click the Guidelines and read them.
Close the guidelines and write your review in the box.
Click submit.

To Review on Apple I-Book

Go to the I-tunes store (this is an ap, so you may need to download).
In the search box, enter the book or author.
Click on the book image or title.
Click Ratings and Reviews.
Click the Write a Review button.
If you aren’t signed in to I-Tunes, you will be asked to sign in or create an Apple ID.
Enter your star ranking and review.
Click Submit.

Goodreads is a nifty operation but a little trickier.

To Review on Goodreads

Go to
If not already a member, you can sign in as a facebook, google, twitter, or amazon account, or become a member directly. Follow the instructions.
In the box at the top toward the right (between Goodreads and Home), search the title.
In the drop down, click the book.
In the left column, below the book image, click Want to Read.
Hover over the green icon next to the place you just clicked and another link should appear that says Read.
Click Read. The review screen should appear.
Enter your review and your star ranking.
Click submit.
Then Goodreads may offer you the opportunity to recommend the book to friends you select.

To Review on Smashwords

Go to
Search for the author (I’ve found this works better than searching for the title).
Click the book.
Buy the book (using a coupon code if you have one).
According to Smashwords FAQ: “Anyone who has purchased a Smashwords book is able to review it by clicking back to the book page. Below the different file format options is a link where you can review the book. Remember to select a star rating as well. Once you review a book, a link to your profile page appears in your review, and your review also appears on your personal profile page.” If the link below the different file format options doesn’t appear, contact me at I’ll investigate.