A while back, I was doing some research on how to grow our blog (isn’t everyone?). What do do, what not to do. That sort of thing. And one of the pieces of advice that stuck with me (although I can’t for the life of me tell you who said it) was talking about how beginner bloggers tend to rate everything five stars because their skills aren’t refined enough yet.
Okay, I was trying to keep an open mind so I started looking at books a lot closer when I was reading them. I started taking notes, adding more of my own personality to my reviews (I hope you’ve noticed!), and refining my rating scale. There was just one problem. I still wanted to rate five stars to a large number of the books I was reading. I was struggling to find something wrong with them, just so I could rate them lower.
Wait a minute.
When reviewing, I always tried to give books the best rating possible. Obviously, not all books are fives. Some aren’t even fours, or threes, or twos. There are going to be those books that you just don’t like. Or ones that you liked but they just weren’t quite at a five.
But then there are those books that blow your mind. The ones that are so emotional, they rip your heart out of your chest and squash it, only to shove it back in, bleeding and broken. They leave you in a book coma for days, unsure if you will ever feel as much or love a book as much as this one.
So why not give them five stars? Why do we feel the need to rate lower than five stars just so that we don’t look like newbies?
And then it really hit me – we’re talking a 2×4 to the forehead – what if I’m just reading books I really enjoy? What if it has nothing to do with my rating style and everything to do with my choice in reading material? Maybe I’m picking books that are more suited to what I want to read.
Why then, if I really enjoy a book, should I feel guilty about giving five stars to that book? The author clearly poured a piece of their heart and soul into it. They created the amazing characters, a world that is so real you can almost touch it. Their language was smooth, allowing me to get pulled into the book and not drop back out because of a typo. The cover art was gorgeous – not just some clipart that they splashed some words on and called in a cover (yes, unfortunately, there are those books. I have seen them). The book has been properly edited and I enjoyed every minute of it. Why then, don’t they deserve to receive all five stars?
The answer? They do.
Just recently, Crystal reviewed a book that she absolutely adored. There wasn’t a thing about it she didn’t like. As we were discussing the book (and her review), I teased her a bit because she had given it 4.9 stars out of 5. I asked her “Why 4.9?” I thought she was being funny. Her answer? “Because you told me we weren’t supposed to rate everything 5 stars!”
Yes, I did.
In trying to conform to other bloggers’ idea of what an experienced review looks like, we would be holding back, denying authors the full stars they deserved.
But is that really fair to the author? Or to us as readers?
What do you think? Do you think many five star ratings shows us as an inexperienced reviewer/blogger? Or do you think that authors who put the time, creativity and even money into their books deserve all five stars? Do you have a different opinion altogether? Let’s get a discussion going! We want to hear your opinions 🙂