Friday, January 27, 2012

5-Star Arrogance

I came across the most ridiculous thing while browsing GoodReads giveaways. The book was Dear Sun, I Am Real, by S.G. Rainbolt. The summary of the book begins and ends with the following message: please read "Star Rating System - What Makes a 5-star" book blog before posting your rating and review.

So I found the aforementioned blog, out of curiosity, and this is what I discovered:

Most rating systems, whether if its here on GoodReads or Amazon or your favorite blog, they have a 5-star system. As you may have recognized, many do not know how to rate a product or book respectively. Some just simply rate based on emotion. Rating with emotion can be reckless if used solely with your review. Here is a few tips I use when rating a book:

Okay, lemme just stop right there. This guy is an author, seriously? Let's forget (for now) the fact that he's presumptuous enough to instruct people on how they should be rating his book. There are so many awkward or downright incorrect phrases in just these few sentences, that I couldn't stand to read an entire book full of them. I'm particularly amused by a later comment: Keep in mind most books, even from best-selling authors, do not write 5-star books. Yes, sir, you are correct. In fact, I cannot think of a single example of a book writing a book, 5-star or otherwise.

If you want to read the rest of it, here's the link.

I'm sorry, but you can't control the way that people are going to rate and review your book. To even attempt it is arrogant and condescending. And I LOVE the fact that one reviewer of his book says that she would have rated it higher, if it weren't for the criteria the author prefers we use.

Whether or not someone enjoys a book is subjective. It IS based on emotion, on how each reader connects with the story, the characters, the writing . . . or doesn't. When I give a book 1 star, I'm not saying that it's a terrible book, I'm saying that I didn't like it. When I give a book 5 stars, I'm not saying that it's an instant classic, I'm saying that I loved reading it. That's my opinion. And if I were a professional reviewer, I'd probably have a list of criteria similar to this one. I might try to distinguish the book's merits from my own feelings, at least to an extent.

But to suggest that everyone who reviews your book on an informal social networking site should follow your standards of judgement -- and that those who don't are doing you an injustice -- is insane.

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