This is an update of a post that originally appeared on October 4, 2013.
Readers contact me quite a lot about my books. On an average day, I receive around 65 reader e-mails about a wide range of book-related topics. Many of them are complimentary about my books and it’s hard to put down in words just how much I appreciate the positive feedback. Often, I’m humbled to think that people would take time to write.
There is another part to reader participation in books, however, and it doesn’t have anything to do with me—it has to do with other readers. When you read one of my books and find the information useful, it’s helpful to write a review about it so that others can know what to expect. I want to be sure that every reader who purchases one of my books is happy with that purchase and gets the most possible out of the book. The wording that the publisher’s marketing staff and I use to describe a book represents our viewpoint of that book and not necessarily the viewpoint of the reader. The only way that other readers will know how a book presents information from the reader perspective is for other readers to write reviews. A good review will tell:
- What you liked about the book
- How it met your needs
- What it provides in the way of usable content
- Whether you liked any intangibles, such as the author’s writing style
- When you used the content to obtain a new job or learn a new skill
- Who recommended the book to you
The review should also present any negatives (obviously, I want to know about the flaws, too, so that I can correct them in the next edition of the book and also discuss them on my blog):
- Did the book provide enough detailed procedures needed to accomplish a task?
- Are significant technical flaws and why do you feel they’re an issue?
- Are there enough graphics to augment the text and make it clearer?
- Is the source code useful?
Many reviewing venues, such as the one found on Amazon, also ask you to provide a rating for the book. You should rate the book based on your experience with other books and on how this particular book met your needs in learning a new topic. The kind of review to avoid writing is a rant or one that isn’t actually based on reading the whole book. As always, I’m here (at [email protected]) to answer any questions you have and many of your questions have appeared as blog posts when the situation warrants.
So, just where do you make these reviews? The publishers sometimes provide a venue for expressing your opinion and you can certainly go to the publisher site to create such a review. I personally prefer to upload my reviews to Amazon because it’s a location that many people frequent to find out more about books. You can go to the site, click Write a Customer Review (near the bottom of the page), and then provide your viewpoint about the book.
Thank you in advance for taking the time and effort required to write a review. I know it’s time consuming, but it’s an important task that only you can perform.