Friday, March 30, 2012

3 Star Rating Event Hop Day 2

Today is the day we post what some of our authors think about receiving a 3 star rating on a book I've reviewed. 

Author Laura Kaye

Thanks for inviting me to offer some thoughts on receiving 3-star reviews. I think this is an interesting discussion! I’ve been published for a year in April and in that time have received hundreds of reviews on my books. At first, I was so nervous to look, and the lower-starred reviews kinda hurt because, of course, I wanted everyone to LIKE ME! PLEASE LIKE ME! LOL But as time passed, I realized four things: 1) not everyone is going to love everything I write, 2) that’s okay, 3) blog followers are not automatically turned off of a book by a lower star rating or critical review, and 4) people have very different ideas about what those star ratings mean. And that latter point is especially true of 3-star reviews.

I personally tend to think 3 stars means average, but I’ve received 3-star reviews that were absolutely glowing, leaving me saying to myself: that’s not a 3-star review! LOL But I know some people view 3 stars as “I liked it,” and I’ve definitely received some 3-stars that read that way, like this one: “I really enjoyed this original tale. It's HOT and engaging. I recommend this short story for people who are looking for a light, racy novel.” That’s a great review and totally made my day. It was also the last line of a 3-star review that offered no criticism of the book in question. So, what this has taught me is to read first, react second. Because 3-star reviews aren’t automatically good, or automatically bad. Would I prefer 4- or 5-star reviews? Sure. But my stomach no longer sinks to see a 3-star because often they offer lots of positive feedback. Plus, there seems to be some suspicion about books with “too many” 5-star reviews (whatever that means), so having some lower ratings that are still largely positive helps in that regard, too.

~Laura Kaye
 Author Anita Clenney
As a reader, if I give a book 3 stars, it probably means it’s okay, but not great. However, I’ve found that reviewers view the stars differently. One girl raved about Awaken the Highland Warrior, and gave it three stars. Another wasn’t very positive at all, and gave it three stars. That tells me stars are in the eyes of the beholder, or the reviewer in this case. When I see a 3 star, it’s disappointing. I like those 5’s, but I can usually learn something from the 3, and as mentioned before, sometimes the review that goes along with it would have been at least a 4 in my mind. I think most blog followers won’t rush out to buy a 3 star book unless something about it really appeals to them. I think the star rating system is good, but we’re all human and we each view things differently.
 Author Carly Fall

What does a 3 star review mean to me?

I supposed that some authors might cringe at a three star review.  I, however, don’t.  I supposed this is because I have actually received a one star review, and let me tell you, that one hurt!  I was in a corner nursing my bruised ego for a few hours when I saw that.

I am a firm believer that as an author, there are going to be people out there who don’t like my books.  It could be my writing style, the story, the genre, or maybe the characters I’ve created.  Whatever their reason for not liking my books, so be it.

Authors need to remember that they can’t please everyone all the time, and if they try, they will lose some of themselves, as well as some of the story.  A three star review to me simply means that the reader thought the book was okay.  They didn’t love, love, love it, they didn’t despise it, and maybe if they are desperate for something to read in the future, they will pick up another one of my books.


Sophia Rose said...

That was interesting to see how authors perceived a three star and it lines up with what was said yesterday. Basically, the review needs to be read not just the rating noticed to get a feel for what the person really thought about the book.

Thanks for sharing everyone!

The_Book_Queen said...

So very true! I hate when I just leavea star rating (on LT or GR) and not a review, but let's be realistic: we can't review every book we read. Or at least I can't--far too many books, far too little time. Plus, I think I'd get burned out of reviewing if I knew I *had* to review every single book, without a break.

But the reviews are what's important, not the rating. If we got rid of ratings completely, and asked for just honest that would be interesting. We'd be reading what they thought of the book, not what label they would put on it. :)


Mina Khan said...

Good commensense approach to reviews...a total 5-Stars response from all! :)

Anna said...

For me to give a three star review it would mean one of three things (that I can think of off the top of my head). 1. Meh. 2. Liked it, but... 3. Didn't live up to it's potential.

I'd love to see a blog post about romance writers rating other romances on goodreads or amazon. There seems to be a code or something where you either have to praise to the skies way above and beyond what is probably true of the book (and it gets silly sometimes, although sometimes I want nothing more than to review an amazing book in all sorts of silly hyperbolic language to shout my love for it to the world) or remain silent on what you thought of it. I don't think this is necessarily a bad system and I love the romance writing community's knee-jerk reaction (usually) to be supportive of their peers no matter what, but I'm curious about the philosophy behind it and what other romance writers think about it.

Laura Kaye said...

@Anna - I think my reaction to your question is this: If I can't say something nice, I don't say anything at all. And here's why: since I am now a published author, I am a business, not a person. It's very hard as an author to sometimes say, HEY, JUDGE ME AS YOU WOULD ANY OTHER PRIVATE PERSON, and other times say, HEY, I'M MY BUSINESS RIGHT NOW. So, I try to behave in ways that only ever reflect positively on my business, because I can't expect people to tell my personas apart or know when I'm wearing one hat or the other. Also, authors are very reliant on other authors - for blog hosting, cover quotes, getting invited into anthologies or onto conference panels - and a single negative review by one author of another author's work can be enough to damage the relationships you might need down the line. Now, if I like a book, I'm happy to shout it to the world. I don't feel any sort of "duty" to act as a reviewer might (i.e., offering an honest review of every book I read), because my business is not reviewing. It's writing. And to the extent I can positively support other writers, I'm more than willing to do so. Does that make sense?

Anna said...

Yes, I totally get it and I love the romance community for being so supportive and generally a tight-knit, welcoming place to be for new writers and seasoned ones alike. I love how romance writers will more often than not act as mentors, cheerleaders, and co-workers to people who could be looked upon as competition (which would sour the whole business very quickly). I wouldn't want that to change for anything. And I love that there are books and stories for every different taste. Not everyone is going to love everything. I think I'd just like something a little more authentic. A professional "I liked X, but Y didn't work for me..." doesn't seem out of line to me or ruinous or anything. I'd love to look to an author I love for what she loves and not wonder who's her friend and who she's doing a favor for.

Just something I think about when the subject of reviews in the romance community comes up. :)

Tamara Hoffa said...

I totally agree, I have read 3 star reviews that are very positive and very negative, and I have probably written some too. I do find the "star" rating system hard sometimes, you fear raving too much, or not enough. When I first started rating books I almost never gave 5 stars, thinking 4 was great, and 5 was off the charts wonderful, but as I read more and more reviews I saw that if someone really liked the book it was a 5 to them, and so I changed my own rating system. But, even if I didn't Love a book I always do try to find some psoitive things to say about it. ANd if I REALLY didn't like it, I will probably just "rate" it and not write a review

Nat said...

I agree with Carly, you can't make everyone happy! Authors have to be confident about their book and look at reviews through a positive side! =)

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