Here’s the thing, sometimes an author you see a rating and your heart sinks. Three stars? What? They must hate my work. I’m awful. They didn’t understand what I was getting at? Why did they even bother reading it if they didn’t like the genre. Three starts? Nobody is ever going to read my book again….
Let’s be honest, if a film got three out of five stars on a review site, we’d probably still watch it. Okay, it’s not got five stars but in my book that means that the film would be up there as damn near perfect and I loved it so much I’d watch it over again. In reality, most films I’ve watched are nowhere near a five, although I’ve enjoyed them nonetheless. Hell, I might even watch them again if they were on TV and I was stuck for something to watch.
The thing with your reviews is that they should all vary. If, after your book has been around for years, you are only getting five stars, I’d worry as a potential purchaser. Are they all fake? Surely someone must just not like it? It’s just not their thing?
I can relate to the feeling of total rejection when you’ve had lots of four or five stars and then you get a three star. I ran into the kitchen, frowned at my husband, banged my empty mug on the counter and furiously started to make tea in frustration. He asked me what was wrong. “I got three damn stars” I huffed. “Wow,” he replied.” That’s great.”
It made me think. It made me consider the three stars I’d given. Were the books terrible? No. Did I hate them? No. Would I recommend them to others if I thought they might enjoy them? Yes.
It made me feel better. The five star reviews are wonderful and I’m thankful for each and every one, but the three or four stars help me refine who my audience is, as well as a couple of stylistic issues which I understand might be niggles for some. Often they are extremely considered and carefully written. It also prompted me to think about who I ask for reviews. I don’t mean that you should ask those who you know will rate it highly, far from it, but it has made me reconsider things like review tours and how reviewers and blogs are selected – are they right for my genre? Do contributors have a history of reviewing this type of book? These are obvious questions but they are all too easily overlooked when we are in the throes of marketing, grateful that someone volunteers to review, or signing up to a book tour without understanding how the company sources reviewers.
I am an avid supporter of indie authors, largely because I know (as one) how tough it can be to get your work out there. Also, I do not need a publisher deciding what I should or shouldn’t read based on what’s going to trend. I often come to the party late when it comes to books, tv and film.
I will also leave a review when I read a book – here, at Goodreads and on Amazon. However, I will never accept a review copy if I don’t think there’s a remote possibility that I like it from the blurb.
So when I review, this is what you can expect from me when I rate a book….
The Tea Talks Rating Guide
1* Gave up and put it down (this is rare)
2* Okay, can see that someone would enjoy it, but may be too many consistent errors/formatting issues for me to enjoy it OR it needs more work overall
3* A good read but might benefit from some improvements, or it might just not be my thing. Can appreciate that others will enjoy it.
4* Enjoyable read. Well written with few errors. I would recommend. I might read again.
5* Loved it! May have a few errors but I’d pick this up and read it again!
I would stress that my reviews are always my opinion. I can give a 5* award to a book with a few errors here or there because overall I loved it (the odd typo isn’t purely the remit of the indie publisher, I can tell you!). Similarly, I’ve given some lower ratings to books which have plenty of excellent reviews. My motto is horses for courses!