10 Reasons authors should write product reviews to build their platform


​If you add Amazon affiliate links to your product reviews, Amazon will pay you a commission for ANYTHING they purchase on Amazon within the next 24 hours! So a review for an inexpensive item may generate unexpectedly large profits.

Affiliate income like this is much like royalties from  book sales. It's passive income. You write the review once and you profit every time someone clicks the link. ​

Liberation from Platform Guilt & Shame

You are constantly told you must have a platform. You must develop a following. You must grow your email list. You must post on social media. You would need full-time staff to accomplish everything you MUST do. 

Even if correct, no aspiring author can do all that and still have time to write!

Unfortunately, much of the usual advice is silly. It is obviously written by people who have a staff and are good at copywriting. 

If you are unknown as an author no one is looking for you online. You can't write about your book ideas and expect to gain a following. So, what do you do?

Use product reviews to master short story

Does suggesting you do product reviews sound like being told to write ads? That's not the kind of product reviews I am suggesting. Study this article on writing good product reviews and you will see why I compare it to short story writing. ​

​Short story is a demanding genre. The more you practice, the better you get. With product reviews even your initial writing has the potential to earn income. As income begins to trickle in you will be motivated to keep writing.

Product reviews become your Platform!

It's your site. You get to choose what you publish. Write to your interests, not the requirements of a distant editor. Write your product reviews as short stories you are building your platform.

Use the About page and blog to market your writing services. Your pitch letters can direct buyers to your ​About page. Once on your website media buyers can look at your product reviews (Short stories) and see if your quality and style is something they will pay for.

Product reviews drive traffic to your platform

Your product reviews will include high traffic keywords and phrases from your niche. ​If your name is "Jane Doe" and you want to write historical fiction there isn't much you can write that will grow traffic. However, if you were to write reviews of the locations you have researched for your books, visitors to those sites might find you. If your book research took you to Stonehenge, writing reviews of the places you stayed & the restaurants you visited might attract traffic that would also buy your book. 

Polish your writing

Writing product reviews as if they are short stories will force you to polish your writing. The suggestions in this article are for short story writers, but I think they apply equally to the kind of product reviews I am suggesting you write.​ 

Use small blocks of time productively 

Aspiring authors have day jobs, kids, elderly parents, and a thousand other demands on their time. You can only take the stupid suggestion to "Sleep Less" so far.  Product reviews can be small enough projects to be completed in small blocks of time. 

Meal preparation becomes product research

If you write about food then your meals are an opportunity to try products on which you could write reviews. For example, I am developing Sausages.biz. I expect to write product reviews about the sausages I order from Amazon. The topics are endless. Quality, price, fulfillment, etc. The extra cost of buying products which are more expensive than you would usually consider are probably a tax deductible business expense. 🙂

Playing with your kids becomes research

Educational toys is a huge wasteland on Amazon. The fact is most toys touted as educational aren't! They break easily. They lack instructions. They are  not really educational. If you are looking for electronic toys it is especially bad.

Buy toys that look interesting and video your kids using them. Use their antics as the basis for a funny short story that points out the good and the bad. If your niche is child development, you just gave your platform a boost.​

Build authority in your niche or genre

Why should you believe anything I say here?

I know of people who earn a lot of money from their Amazon referrals. I have earned some occasionally. In retirement I have been looking around for ways to increase my passive income. I realized if I got serious about building product review sites it might work really well. Having a few successful product review websites would also do wonders for my credibility. If I can do it, so can you.

My review site development plans


Product review development plans

People are passionate about the thousands of sausage varieties. It fits both the gourmet food & life style niches. Product testing can involve the whole family. Lots of cookbook ideas. There is a significant group of DIY sausage makers. 


Cameras are a high profit, high competition niche. No small business owner can hope to compete for rankings with companies like Canon or Nikon. I think I can write some product reviews about camera filters that will attract the same audience. The Amazon cookie lasts for 24 hours. If they buy an expensive camera after reading my filter review I will get a commission. 

Dried Stuff 

Dried foods that keep well are attractive to survivalists, Preparing dried foods from their own produce is popular with many gardeners. Testing purchased dried stuff and testing dried food creation products will both make good product review topics.

Electronic toys come with a lot of problems. Just read a few reviews. They break. They have no decent instructions. They don't work. They don't arrive on time. New ones become available constantly. I have nine grandchildren under 11. If I video them opening presents and learning to use the new toys I have all the material I could want for writing killer product reviews.


If I am feeling really brave I will start writing reviews in this category. I have a feeling I would do better to find someone who is already familiar with them. If you are a writer with a significant other who is a police officer or other professional who wears one of these to work, this would be a great domain. Contact me if that sounds interesting. 

Write about what you use yourself

Mindmap of Writerville

Writerville is, in part, a test of Dragon Naturally Speaking. My typing skills are bad and getting worse as I age. I must find a faster way to enter my content if I am to have success online. Dragon seemed like a possible answer.

I am a recent convert to mindmapping. I didn’t see any use for it for years, but for some reason it made sense now. Below is the map I developed today showing my plans for building out Writerville.com. It is early days and no doubt many things will change but this seems like a good start.

My plan is to dictate into Dragon using the mind map as an outline. I will use the Dragon text output as the script for making a Camtasia video that I can upload to Youtube. The text becomes SEO material I can place in the video description. My hope is that this entire process goes much faster than if I had to type everything by hand. Time will tell.

Update. To bad all that text is to small to read unless you have something like an iPad where you can expand the screen as much as necessary. I will have to figure out a better way to present this.

Writerville.com mind map