Recently I read a post by Parajunkee in her Blogger 101 series that talked about writing a bad review. It brought up some great points. But it was this comment by author JA Saare that inspired my post:
I can say that one of the worst things as an author is when you get a low rating but a glowing review. It’s baffling and leaves you questioning what the reviewer disliked so much that they didn’t rate it as well as they ‘fluffed’ it (stealing from Mar for a second).
That got me wondering what does one consider a low rating. I put a lot of thought into my rating scale found HERE. Every time I write a review, I re-read my rating scale and carefully make my decision about the book.
Let’s look at how I review a book. First, I read the book. While I read the book I take notes about key scenes, significant events, but mostly – how I feel when I read certain passages-what I liked and what I didn’t like. After I finish the book, I write down my initial thoughts as quickly as possible. Then I let the story soak in a bit. After a day or two, I come back to the book and my notes. I go to the author’s website and pull down the synopsis of the story, and from there I write my review. I look at my rating scale and determine how many stars the book gets. Finally, I re-read the whole review and edit. I treat each book and author’s work with respect, and I am honest with my opinion. I do try to find at least one good thing in each book (especially when it’s a “bad review”) and I will point out some thing that I felt was a weakness or annoyed me. I try to make spoiler-free, which can get really hard in books I love.
Back to ratings… For me anything rated at a 3 or higher (out of 5) is a GOOD RATING… If you look at my scale I write: 3 STARS: Liked it, there were a few issues – recommend. RECOMMEND – So according to my scale a good rating is 3 and above, and when I rate below 3 stars it’s more “take it or leave it.” So I feel that 3 stars is a good rating. Even a 2.5 isn’t bad – it’s more just “okay in my book.” For me, a “bad rating” is a 2 or lower. Plus, I’m very, very skimpy with the 5 star rating. A book must be so ideal and perfect to receive 5 stars.
I also try to put the ratings in context of a “stand alone” book… For example, I recently read and reviewed Magic Bleeds by Ilona Andrews. I actually gave this book 2 ratings. This is the 4th book in a wonderful series. As a fan of the entire series, this book blew me away and was definitely a 5 star book. But for people that haven’t enjoyed the entire series, they won’t get the same impact, so I gave the book a 4.5 star rating. I may need to do that again with my reviews; I think it worked well giving 2 ratings.
So my question to you is what do you consider a bad rating? As a reader, where do you draw the line between a “must read,” “maybe I’ll pick it up” and “I won’t bother?” Authors: what number makes you cringe and what number makes you think “not a bad review?” Everyone: How strongly does the rating impact your decision to read/like a book? Or do you look at the review more closely that then number? If you see a low number, will you skip the review? Do you ever look at the reviewers explanation of their individual rating scale?