Sunday, August 14, 2011

Reflections: Do You Give Ratings? I DO!

Let's Talk...

Ratings are something every blogger must think about.
Should I have ratings?  What does it mean if I give a book 3 stars?  What will an author say if I give his/her work a 1/10 rating?  Who am I to give a rating at all?  Maybe I should let readers decide for themselves... WHAT DO I DO?!

What do you do?

I'm going to be real.  Alexis Villery has stepped in today.  Alexis @ Reflections of a Bookaholic...that blogger girl is taking a nap or cuddling with Mr. Hubby (who knows where that chick is).

I give ratings because, ultimately, I think it is my job as a book blogger.

I give ratings and here's why:

I can tell viewers the positives and negatives of a book, but it means nothing if I can't tell you how the positives and negatives balance out.
Let's take Money Can't Buy Love by Connie Briscoe (Review & Giveaway here) for example.  I couldn't stand Lenore, the main character, who was—dare I say—stupid.  I don't like stupid people.  But I have it a good rating.  Well, those reading my review know that despite this annoying character, it was a good book and received a good rating.  I don't want to highlight a book I didn't like, but there are other books that get a meh or yuck rating.  What does this mean for those who read my blog/reviews?  Well they know that no matter how many positives that I try to highlight, the bad affected my reading experience more.  I love the way that JuJu at Tales of Whimsy does her ratings.  Sometimes she doesn't mention the rating or she mentions it in passing.  BUT you can always find it in her labels.  It doesn't overpower the review but it is there as a resource.  One day, I'll perfect that technique.
I Look At Ratings!
As a book blogger and even before my days as a book blogger, I looked at ratings.  TRUE STORY!  Personally, I finish every book I start (gasp!).  I don't want to waste my time.  Before I was a blogger, I would head to and see what other people though.  Since I know who I was before I put on my book blogger hat, I can't pretend that people don't want that.  I can't pretend that many people want
to see ratings.

But can't people go to if they want to see ratings?  Well yes.  But that sucks for other reasons.  When readers come to my website, I want them to find what they need.  Perhaps, even think of me as a resource.  I dont' want to send viewers to another resource.  I'm better than amazon darn it! (kidding).  We all know amazon is lacking for a number of reasons.

Sometimes, if I fear running into spoilers, I'll only look at the rating & skim the rest.  I don't want to read the review but it is still a resource to me.

I can't lie.  Although I've been known to buy a book after reading an awesome review (my poor husband), I won't do this based on a review that doesn't have a rating.  Why my bias?  I really don't think about it.  Honest.  It's just I fear that the book blogger is just being nice or afraid to make someone mad.  If someone gushes about a book and gives it a 2 star rating.  I realize I need to do a bit more research to find the secret negative (or I buy it anyway).  I'm okay with least I know.

Oh one more non-lie.  I "no rated" one book to date.  I posted a review.  I highlighted the positives and didn't mention any negatives and gave no rating whatsoever.  Ummm... what?!  Well... I don't want to go into the details, but I shouldn't have accepted the book for review because I had a bias that I couldn't get pass.  It was there for me, if I had just read the description more closely.  I blame myself.  It was the only way I thought I could be fair.  I still feel bad about it.  BUT I check for things like that more carefully.
Time.  Sometimes people want to know what I thought...QUICKLY.
Yes, I spend a stupid amount of time on my reviews (or maybe not) but it isn't about me.  I have been guilty of reading the first and last paragraphs of a review and moving on.  Oh don't judge me!  I'm reading multiple reviews on the same book.  I'm a law student.  <INSERT MORE EXCUSES HERE>.   Let's be honest.  Some people write reviews that go on and on and on.  They are awesome but reading them take time.  I don't always have that.  Ratings help me out.  So I strive to help readers like me.
I trust the readers of my blog.
I don't think I'm God.  I don't think my opinion matters more than the next person's.  I trust that my readers understand that my review is my opinion.  I trust my readers to decide on their own whether they trust my opinion.  Hopefully they'll look at why I gave a book a particular rating and decide whether it is an important element to them.
I KNOW it isn't that easy.  There are good reasons to avoid rating books.
  1. "Did you hear, some book chick gave Harry Potter 0 stars because he can talk to snakes."  Yeah, so it is tough being an author, especially considering that book lovers can be a bit... ridiculous at times.  The upside?  Every author has to deal with it.  There are a lot of smart book lovers who read that review and give it no thought because they know better.  Sometimes I only read 1 & 2 star reviews on amazon.  I see it and say to myself "I can/cannot handle that," and I buy it...or not.
  2. "OMG.  I review so many books.  How do I compare them?"  I don't know.  I don't compare.  I think this is hard for all readers.  Books get the same/different ratings for different readings.  In my book, that is okay.  In fact, my ratings are emotional.  I give ratings based on how "I feel" after reading a book.  If I can't eat.  Can't sleep.  Can't stop gushing—it's pretty awesome.  If I'm pissed that I'm reading the book, rolling my eyes every 3 seconds, or swearing off a particular genre forever—it's going to get a yuck.  I come up with my rating first, then try to explain why I feel the way I do.  It may not be the best method.  It is what it is.
  3.  "But what if I have to give a negative rating to an author that is my friend.  I don't want to lose my friend or piss anyone off."  This sucks.
In conclusion.  I think ratings are a good thing.  I look for ratings.  I blog for readers like me.  I give ratings.    Sometimes it isn't easy, but it is what I do.
    Thoughts? (Please don't be mean.  I'm not that tough.)
    Blog Widget by LinkWithin

    No comments:

    Post a Comment

    I absolutely LOVE all comments! So please feel free to chime in with your thoughts, questions, opinions, or whatever else you have to say.

    Don't forget to check back as I reply to comments. Dialogue is good right?

    09 10