Go to any website and they almost offer the ability to review their products. It will almost always be in a form of star ratings. Usually ranging from 1 to 5 stars (5 being the best), although this is great in practice especially for items for consumption I find that it rarely shows the full picture for authors and their books. Author’s put their life and soul into producing and telling their stories – writing multiple drafts, editing, research, querying their work, and a huge amount of marketing. Rating their book 3,4,5 stars rarely encompasses everything you want to say about it even with the most in-depth review. Too much weight is placed on the value of that review – I have been hate-mailed about 3-star reviews (it’s always 3 stars) and asked not too politely to up my rating. I don’t know why but rating something 3 stars seems to have negative annotations added to it. Previously a 3-star review was very positive, which means that I enjoyed it. Trying to explain this seems to dig the hole deeper for me so I believe this is the best way forward.
The Biggest Problems with Star Ratings
Just like reading, star ratings are highly subjective. What I might rate as a five-star read might not be rated the same by other members of the reading community. I think that’s why there is so much chat regarding different books especially on #booktwitter, my favourite books have been majorly slated by other readers and vice versa. Star ratings don’t give the bigger picture surrounding a readers enjoyment,
This next issue applies less to me as I do tend to stick with my preferred genres when choosing a new book. I favour horror, Thriller/Mystery, and Fantasy over Romance and Science Fiction. I used to be known for reading Romance way back when but I really struggled with the concept of insta love and fell out of favour with them. I just don’t think I’m the target audience anymore but should that be taken into consideration when reviewing books?
The only issue I can see myself running into is cross-posting my reviews over to Amazon and Goodreads. If I don’t add a star rating to Goodreads will it negatively affect the book’s overall rating? I’ve searched for the answer in many forums but I can’t seem to get a concrete answer.
It’s extremely difficult to rate a book with such an outdated system. Using star ratings has me initially finishing a book and wondering how many stars I would award it. Instead of just writing my review and letting my thoughts, feelings, and emotions flow onto the page. I feel that my reviews are at a good place now and I want to tighten my process up further by binning star reviews. I started my book blog in the first place to help indie authors and I want to keep that ethos going into 2022 and the years ahead. Reading and reviewing is my absolute passion, I get so much pleasure out of it and don’t want to feel stuck in a rut. I need to get my why firmly stuck in my head If I’m to continue doing this to the standard I’ve set out so far. I want to move away from other people’s ratings and not get too hung up on why I didn’t enjoy books to the same extent that my peers have – it’s a subjective art form, right?
What are your thoughts on the star rating system? Have you ditched it recently or considering doing so, if so has it worked for the better? Let me know in the comments.