Happy Sunday Bookworms! Today I’m bringing a topic discussion that’s pretty important in the book blogging world. I know that every reader and book blogger has done this and that’s rating and reviewing a book. Even if you don’t have a blog or a Goodreads account, at one point or another, you’ve rated or reviewed a book. You could have done this through Barnes and Noble, Twitter, or simply recommending a book to a friend. Everyone has a different way to rate and review books. I found someone who doesn’t use 5-stars at all because they think no book is perfect. I’ve also found someone on the other end of the spectrum who doesn’t use 1-star or 2-stars; it was either 3-to-5 stars or no rating at all.
So essentially, my questions to you:
- How do you rate books?
- Did you make up a rating system?
- Do you have a format for reviewing books?
- When reading reviews, do you like long detailed reviews or short and sweet?
Rating and Reviewing Books — Love thy Shelf Style!
I am honestly a very easy rater. I am not that picky and I don’t usually tear books apart piece by piece and make a tally of the rights and wrongs. My ratings rely heavily on how I feel when I read a book. Usually, if I can strongly connect with the main character(s) in some way then it would get a higher rating — along with a great plot. Amazing main characters do not mean anything when they’re doing nothing interesting in the book.
Plot is also very important when I go about rating a book. It has to go somewhere and it has to make sense. Plot twists are great but they also have to make sense. You can’t just throw in a surprise for the sake of it. The best are the ones that build it up and have those sneaky foreshadowing elements that you didn’t think of in the beginning.
I’ve rated most of the books I’ve read between 3 to 5 stars. I hardly hand out 1 or 2 stars. If I do, then that means either something was really wrong with the book or the book made me angry in some way and I couldn’t connect with the main character. It’s hard to differentiate the two unless you write a review. This brings me to my next topic to discuss: reviews!
Before I came up with my review system, my reviews were sometimes all over the place. I would jump from thought to thought, which really shows my thought process. However, to readers and authors who might be considering me to review their book, it can just be disorganized. So I made a review system that separates my reviews into 4 aspects: plot/concept, writing, characters, and favorite moments. Within that, I’ll talk about world building and how effective the author was with their writing style. I’ll also talk about the main characters and if there were any other memorable characters. Reviews are such great ways to communicate your likes and dislikes. It can also help readers decide whether they want to pick up that book or not.
When I read reviews, I go for the medium-to-long ones. I love when reviews go in-depth for both books I haven’t read and book I have read. Long reviews give me the glimpse I need to see if I would enjoy the book as well. I don’t like reviews that just say, “Greatest book ever” or “Did the author even try?”. First of all, I need to know why it was so good. Was it the plot? Was it the writing? Second, I generally do not like it when people bash authors for their work. Writing is incredibly hard and authors go through hell to get their book out there. If a book is rated low, I’d love to know why. Everyone has a different opinion and what they hate, I might love and vice versa. Long reviews are detailed enough to allow me to decide if a book is a right fit for me.
Tips on Rating and Reviewing
Be yourself! That’s the most important. Use your voice. Make your own system for rating. Everyone has a different idea of what a 5 star rating entails. Make sure you explain what each rating means so that your readers know.
Make it fun. Add gifs. Make it interesting. Add quotes. Make it readable. Check your grammar. We’re not all english majors or enrolled in the grammar police academy, but make sure that your point comes across and your readers can understand it.
Honesty is the best policy. *Gives out more cliche phrases* but it’s true. You’re not helping the author by lying and saying that a book is perfect when you really felt the other way. Authors need constructive criticism so that they know what they need to work on and what they should change.
Be honest, not hurtful. Criticize the work not the author. Some authors put their life and soul into these books. There are nice ways to criticize books without degrading the author. I’ve seen reviews that bash authors and insult them. That doesn’t help anyone either. I specifically write on my policy that my reviews do not reflect my feelings towards the author.
If you’re looking to have authors consider you to rate and review their books, explain your system on your blog. Have it on your navigation bar or anywhere accessible to authors/publishers.
- Give your contact information
- List the genres that you’re willing to review
- Formats you accept
- What your reviews include
- Rating system
- Anything else you think is relevant
Rating and reviewing systems aren’t only helpful for my readers, they help me a ton! After reading a book, I look at my rating system and the descriptions that I put under them. Having those descriptions really help me decide what rating to give a book. If you’d like to check it out, here you’ll find my Rating Policy!