Because I am serially checking in on the progress of So Say the Waiters, I noticed that Amazon just launched a tool that organizes reviews by popular topic. You can see that “Characters”, “Writing”, and “Action” are highlighted in the screen gab above. I like this for a few reasons. A savvy reader will know what kind of fiction they enjoy—be it character driven novels or action packed plots. This lets a new reader filter hundred, sometimes thousands of reviews into manageable blurbs. Alternatively, it can show faults in the novel. Some action-based books have flat characters because the author is relying too much on plot. Consumers can quickly (or, more quickly) see if that’s something that reviewers have pointed out.
I also like it because I can quickly see trends in my fans’ (or haters’) reviews. It’s an effective tool for understanding your work on a popular level. The internet, if anything, is honest. Anonymous reviewers, as I’ve quickly learned, do not hold back. Hell, they’re downright mean. They told me that Henry is a crybaby in the first book of So Say the Waiters. They’re right. I overdid that part and regret it a little.
I hope Amazon keeps experimenting with features like these. They helpful not only to the consumer, but the content creator. I’d love to see what topics Amazon filters out, though. What key words will never pop up in the topic menu.