I’ve been reading and learning about reviews. I’d like to talk about stars and their value. First, let me say, I truly appreciate everyone who has given me a five. Those make me feel good. But the information I’m reading is that 5 stars are not considered as valuable or trustworthy as 3 and 4.
Some information discusses the glut of Fives devaluing a book.
I personally would never post a one or two.
3s are still a good book.
4s are very good
So what’s a five? Of course, this is subjective. But to me, fives are those like
To Kill a Mockingbird
Lord of the Rings
The Chronicles of Narnia
Several books by Stephen King. Not all.
This list isn’t all-inclusive by any means.
Do you see where I’m going with this? These are books that shape me as not only an author but a person. Books that I would automatically buy the next one.
What about my own books? Are they truly Five Star worthy? I think several are a solid 4. Some a three. Remember I said I won’t talk about ones and twos. Like I said, I won’t publish a one or two. Why not? Not everyone likes every book. I received a book from Netgalley. I didn’t finish it. The dreaded DNF! Why? The book wasn’t terrible. I found it not what I expected. People loved James Michener. He was a very popular author at one time. I couldn’t get through even one of his, and I tried several. He wasn’t my cup of tea. And the book I DNF’d was similar to his style.
In my own life and reviews, I’ve decided to be more thoughtful of my ratings. I’ve handed out lots of fives over the years. Don’t get me wrong, some of these books I five'd were great, and I’ve bought and read more from those authors.
I do like this system.
1 star: Reviewer doesn’t recommend this book at all.
2 stars: Reviewer wouldn’t read it again.
3 stars: Reviewer enjoyed the book.
4 stars: Reviewer liked and would recommend the book to friends/family.
5 stars: Reviewer considers the book something everyone should read. You would definitely reread it.
I especially like if I would reread it.
I hope I didn’t offend anyone. It’s not my intention to.
I’d like to know what you think.
4/2/2023 01:27:36 pm
When I give a book 5 stars, it’s because after I’m done reading that book something about it has stayed with me and made me feel something. I also won’t post 1 or 2. I wont leave evidence of having the read anywhere either because reading is subjective, and I wouldn’t want to breed negativity just because I didn’t like something.
D. V. Stone
4/2/2023 01:41:15 pm
Yes! It has to leave you with something. Touch an emotional or intellectual place in the reader. Sometimes my husband stops reading and stares off into space. When I ask him, he says, "I'm thinking about what I just read."
4/2/2023 02:13:19 pm
I agree, receiving 5 is fantastic. When I received my first one I couldn't believe it. I have the worst case of imposters syndrome. The reading and remembering long after is a great way to consider when marking. Though, I ask myself will readers will not see 'beyond' the star rating? Will they read the actual review before they decide to swerve?
4/2/2023 02:16:17 pm
As a reviewer it's easy to hit the stars. I almost wish there were not stars. Just the dang review. Even if it only Great Read or something like that.
4/2/2023 01:30:05 pm
I like your scale. I admit to giving fives that are possibly not deserved, but I probably too afraid of doing damage to another writer. Like you, I won't give a one or a two. If that's the most I can give, I won't review it at all. Definitely something to think about.
D. V. Stone
4/2/2023 01:44:49 pm
Thanks,Liz. I don't want to hurt feelings either. I think I'm trying to balance what I've een reading that 5s can actually do more harm. Could it be that someone with 1000 reviews and someone with 20 would be thout of differently?
4/2/2023 01:36:38 pm
As a new author getting fives thrills me. But you are correct. Only some books leave you with the, let's do this again. Some books I really enjoy but would have changed some things in, I've given a 4 star. I understand 3 star is still good but I confess, I'd feel like I fell short in a major way. I won't post 1 or 2 either. There us always someone who doesn't like something. I'm not the final arbiter of all things good. Thanks for making me think today!
D. V. Stone
4/2/2023 01:46:55 pm
This burns my brain every time I do a review. I want to encourage. But worry I'm not being completely honest.
4/2/2023 01:37:21 pm
Interesting insights and made me think - and rethink - the way I give stars. Like you, I will not post 1/2 star reviews. I’ve also had a book from Netgalley that was a DNF for me - and I sent the publisher specific reasons why I didn’t finish it (not a bad book - but definitely not what I was expecting from the blurb). I may look a little more closely at my 3/4/5s in the future. Thank you.
D. V. Stone
4/2/2023 01:49:51 pm
All art is subjective and writing is art. But I had someone ask me about a 5er a while back I gave and if I really believed it met the criteria of something extraordinary. Ouch. Probably not.
4/2/2023 02:17:53 pm
I have to agree that 5-star reviews have lost the impact they once had. Too many 5-star reviews can be bought, which makes it very hard to fully trust a book with a thousand 5 stars. I wouldn't review a book if it turned out to be a 1 or 2-star read. As you guys have already mentioned, reading is subjective. An author will never please every reader. I like your star rating idea, D.
D. V. Stone
4/2/2023 10:33:10 pm
Thanks for jumping into the conversation. So many authors are devastated at a 3 star. We all want 5s. Myself included. We should strive for such but not be disappointed at less. D.
4/2/2023 02:37:30 pm
I give lots of 5 star reviews because I feel it's important to boost other authors and I want to support everyone I can.
D. V. Stone
4/2/2023 10:37:45 pm
It's so important to encourage and bolster others. I never want to be the person to destroy a dream. On the other side where does honesty need to trump feelings? A 3 or 4 is not a slam. I love getting a 5. Reading why the reviewer gave it is the whip cream and cherry.
4/2/2023 04:49:02 pm
When I'm considering buying a book, I read the 3- & 4-star reviews because they often identify an issue that might make me reconsider. Because I'm picky about my selections, I rarely need to leave anything less than a 3-star review.
D. V. Stone
4/2/2023 10:40:14 pm
That's interesting. You avoid the 5s and the lower than 3. Is this where the truth lies?
4/2/2023 05:10:15 pm
This is such an important conversation to have. It always makes me cringe when I see an author unhappy with 3 and 4 star reviews. I keep telling myself that I will be grateful for 3 and 4 star reviews with my debut novel. I hope I can keep to that mindset when they actually come in. I used to give 5 stars if I liked the book because I wanted to support the author. But now I give more 3 and 4 stars. In order for a book to get 5 stars from me there has to be nothing I would change about the story and nothing confused me by the end.
D. V. Stone
4/2/2023 10:42:58 pm
In my opinion the more I read and understand you are right on. I can't say this loud enough. 3s and 4s are good ratings.
4/2/2023 06:45:34 pm
Very interesting thoughts, Donna. I've also thought about this alot, seeing writers' articles saying 5 star is for the kinds of books you listed.
D. V. Stone
4/2/2023 10:47:55 pm
You are so right. One of my author friends keeps taking hits because he book is a novella. She keeps getting lower ratings because they want more. If they want more, doesn't that mean they like it? It's such a precarious balance and so subjective.
4/3/2023 01:21:55 pm
Hi, Donna! What a great discussion!
4/4/2023 12:29:40 pm
Thank you! I love good conversations and really listening to others point of views. It's almost a lost art. In regards to low stars, My mama always said it you have nothing nice to say don't say anything. D.🌹
4/2/2023 07:13:00 pm
This is a tremendous discussion. You have a point, Donna. NOTE: I have NOT read the comments on this blog, btw, for a reason. I don't want to be influenced. I will read them after I post. As an author, I refrain from 1, 2, and even 3-star reviews. I'm not a big fan of trading reviews either. What if I don't relate to one of my fellow author's books? Your point about 5 stars is a good one, and I reflected on that before writing this. If that's the case, I'd rarely award 5 stars to anyone/any book but the classics. And as we know, some of those beloved classics got lousy ratings in their time. Then there are the occasional three-star reviews that read like five-star reviews. It's a personal choice, this review business. Where does that leave those of us who love a book, but don't want to compare it to The Great Gatsby? I'll continue handing out some 5 stars and make an effort to be fair and compassionate. Review don't come easy for authors and reviewing isn't scientific. Let's do the best we can!
4/4/2023 12:32:18 pm
Excellent points, Shirley. It's so hard to get reviews in the first place. And you're correct. Many stories over time were looked down upon and it to time and perspective to appreciates some. Thanks for your insight. D.
D. V. Stone
4/2/2023 10:52:55 pm
I like that. Compassionate. Truth with empathy. Authors work so hard and put there souls into their work. This is why stars don't always work. Reading the words of the review makes the difference. But if an reader won't write a review how do we get them to read one.oops, another blog. D.
4/3/2023 12:24:16 am
Donna, candidly on the one side, I found your thought process spot on. But as an author of humorous cozy mysteries, my books are not exactly life changing. So, if we use your criteria, no one would find my books five-star quality. While humorous, I try to talk about loyalty, honesty, justice, and staying with things even when they are tough. So, when I review a book that is not in a genre I read or care for, I try to evaluate the story based on how well it was written, not my personal feelings about the genre. I do not post reviews that are less than three-stars either. It is never my intention to hurt another author. I know only too well the blood, sweat, and tears that go into writing a book. That said, I will admit that I have given more stars to some reviews that maybe the books did not deserve. I imagine the reverse has been true for reviews I have received. So, what goes around comes around. There is no easy answer, but I am so happy you raised the issue for us to ponder.
D. V. Stone
4/3/2023 09:25:15 am
You make an excellent point. But I think Cozy Mystery has take aways too. When a book makes me laugh it's a take away. When it bonds me with a character it's a takeaway. When plots and world building make me keep turning the pages and propel me forward you can be certain it's a take away. I read a rom-com that made me laugh hysterically and I always remember that book. Thanks for joining the discussion.
4/3/2023 01:24:20 pm
Susie Black, gasp! Your book are insta-classics!
4/3/2023 12:36:04 pm
I don't compare books written today with the classics whenever I'm writing reviews. I don't really think about comparing novels because each piece is different. If I give a good review its because I could relate to the characters, story, or that I enjoyed the read. In my opinion, even the classic books have flaws. I don't hunt for the negative. If I feel like I can't give the book a decent review, I won't review it. If I liked a book, it will probably get a high review from me.
4/3/2023 01:23:33 pm
Hi, Ellen! Well said! Surely most books have a flaw in one reader's opinion or another's.
4/3/2023 12:49:15 pm
An interesting post, Donna. I rarely will post a 2-star and refuse to do a 1-star. If the story is that bad, I don't read it. Life is too short to read bad work. I have also send a DNF back to NetGalley. How the book I tried to read got published is a mystery to me. Anyway, I occasionally give a 5-star review, but as someone else said, the book has to have a profound effect on my life. A good book gets 4 from me. Thanks for sharing. Great conversation!
4/5/2023 09:07:25 am
Thanks for joining the conversation. Fours are great ratings. D.
Everlyn C Thompson
4/3/2023 03:45:39 pm
Thanks for addressing this! I've given some 3 and 4 star reviews and always felt guilty because I want to support other authors by spreading the word that their books are great, but I also want to be honest - and they were truly 3 or 4 star books (in my humble opinion) Enjoyable, but not quite a 5.
4/4/2023 12:33:21 pm
I feel exactly that way, Evelyn. Thanks for joining in. D.
4/3/2023 03:54:33 pm
To me, it seems like the star rating indicates whether the book is a good fit for the reader, and not the book's quality; but when many readers/shoppers see a rating, they automatically equate it with quality. Sites order the reviews by the ones with the most thumbs-up, showing every potential reader the same "top" review. It seems to me that with their powerful algorithms, sites like 'zon and GR could show each person the reviews submitted by the other readers with the best "overlap"—the other readers who like the same books. This would better serve readers. I keep wishing someone would start a new review site that does this.
4/4/2023 12:34:53 pm
I didn't know you could remove the stars. I'm going to look into this. Thanks for joining in and sharing. D.
4/4/2023 05:38:36 pm
I only review books I enjoyed. Never give less than a three. Like you I give a 5 if I would re-read it again as I have both Rock house and Jazz House and others.
4/5/2023 09:09:06 am
Thank you so much! There are some books I read again and again and I'm honored you thought this about the Impact Series. If I'm reading a book again, I agree, it's getting a fiver. DV
4/4/2023 10:12:14 pm
You asked for a hornet's nest so I thought I'd toss in my thoughts on ratings, coming from a professional reviewer's point of view. For those of you who are not familiar with us, we're book marketers, reviewers, and editors. I (Nancy) have been in the industry for almost thirty years. When I sit down to read and review a book, I come at it from a different perspective. Books are very subjective and I know not every book will appeal to me. BUT, I also know what will appeal to the masses and keep that in mind when reviewing. For me personally, a lot of what makes a book a five star comes down to characters, world-building, and the writing. I've given five stars to a book that I hated the characters but there wasn't anything wrong with it. I've given five stars to a book based solely on the writing technique. Four stars, there is something wrong with the plot, character development, or a slew of typos. Three stars, there are several things wrong. I don't give a one or two stars.
4/5/2023 09:13:09 am
Thank you for giving us a professional's thoughts. It makes so much sense from your perspective. Knowing what appeals to a reader in a specific genre would certainly make a difference especially after years of experience. I appreciate you being part of the conversation.
4/5/2023 09:51:42 am
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Award winning multi-genre author and blogger. Fantasy, romance, mid-grade. Nothing better than a campfire, book, and glass of wine. Okay maybe there is.📚
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