I’m Just Curious…Ratings

I probably won’t do two topics on one Monday very often, but this one is really bugging me, so I just don’t want to wait.

I’m just curious about how you all feel about book ratings…

Specifically, I’m talking about rating a book on goodreads that hasn’t been published yet. Now let’s be very clear on what I mean. I’m not talking about bloggers or others who have been given an advanced copy, and therefore who have actually read the book before it’s publication date. No, I’m talking about those who have not read it yet, but who have given it a rating anyway.

It happens on both ends of the spectrum. Those that give their favorite authors an immediate 5, and those that hate an author and give an immediate 1…BEFORE they’ve read the book.

I get that people want to support their favorite authors and that based on past reading experiences they feel pretty confident they’ll flove anything that author writes. I have quite a few authors that would fall into that category myself. BUT, I have been surprised on occasion, and read a book that I couldn’t in good conscience give a perfect rating to. Some, that I would rate much lower. On the flip side to that, I just don’t get the mean spiritedness of giving an author a 1 because you either don’t like their writing, or something about them personally. I’ve seen that far too often lately, and I find it really disturbing and sad.

So, what are your thoughts on the subject?

Tamie Xo

15 thoughts on “I’m Just Curious…Ratings

  1. Deborah Camp says:

    I know some authors get really heated about any bad reviews — but if the reviewers haven’t even read the book….how is that fair? If they say upfront that they haven’t read it, then I think a reasonable person would dismiss the review and give it no credence. However, if they don’t state that and review it blind, then they are doing other readers a disservice. I look at reviews to determine if the book sounds like the sort of novel I enjoy reading. Goodreads separates (or tries to) reviewers into categories, so that you know if you’re reading a “friend’s ” review or a blogger’s, etc. That helps, I think.

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  2. Chrissy says:

    do you read paranormal romance?

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  3. T.R. Cupak says:

    Hi Tami~ That’s a very good question. I am a struggling, brand new to the literary industry, Indie author who is trying to get her name out there. People are so quick to judge because I self published or I don’t have a known author or one of the big bloggers (you know who they are) promoting me. I had my debut novel professionally done (ie., editing, cover design, synopsis, etc.) because I take my writing seriously. I understand that there are a lot of poorly written books, not necessarily a bad author, out there but it does hurt the rest of us. You know as well as anyone that ratings in conjunction with reviews mean everything to an author and if someone hasn’t read the work they shouldn’t be rating a book.
    So to sum it up, I agree with your statement. Thank you Tami for always having a great topic for your followers.

    Cheers,
    T.R. Cupak

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  4. Stefter says:

    OMG this is one of my biggest pet peeves! It drives me crazy. Sadly, there are a few people in my feed that do this. If you hate an author so much why would you even take the time to rate their work (we won’t even talk about the fact that said work is being rated without actually being read). There are plenty of mean and nasty trolls out there.

    To Deborah, that post a comment above: Really???!!! Does Goodreads separate reviewers? I did not know this.

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    • Deborah Camp says:

      They do on my Goodreads…but it could be just for the authors of those books so that you can see what people you don’t know actually thought about your book. But I value my friends’ comments because they are all avid readers and most of them are writers, so they know what they’re talking about. Also, just by the way they review it, I can tell if they really liked it or they’re being nice because they didn’t like it that much but they value our friendship.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. BlissfulReader says:

    I’m so glad you’re bringing up the issue of reviews. I do refer to them when choosing a new book, but maybe in a different way than others do. First of all, if a reviewer admits that they haven’t read the book, or that they’ve stopped reading before finishing the book, I don’t give much weight to their opinion. I just finished reading a book that wasn’t living up to my expectations for about the first third of the story, and then I realized that it was simply more subtle than I had thought it would be. My impression of the main character changed and grew, and by the end of the book I was emotionally involved and impressed with the understated writing of that author. So, I do think that if someone is going to rate a book, they should be willing to be fair and experience the whole book before branding it with a rating. Also, when considering a new book, I tend to not read the four and five-star reviews. Obviously, those readers enjoyed the book and their comments generally run to, “Wow! What a great read!” It’s a fair comment, but it doesn’t tell me anything. What I do read are the negative reviews. I am frequently unhappy and frustrated to see a reader give a low rating to a book because it deals with a situation of infidelity, or because one of the main characters is immature or shallow. The fact that the reader doesn’t like a character or the behavior of a character doesn’t make a book bad. If the story is well-written, if the plot is interesting, if it makes the reader feel some emotion, if it makes you want to know what’s going to happen — then it’s a good book. The fact that you happen to disagree with the actions or personality of a character doesn’t mean that it’s a poorly-written book, but I see those things mentioned constantly in low ratings. One thing that I do pay particular attention to is comments regarding writing technique. I do some editing, and I know that I’m especially sensitive to issues of grammar, spelling, punctuation, sentence construction, etc. If I see reviews mentioning those things as problems, and if I find those issues in the sample pages, I will not buy the book. Those things immediately take my head out of the story and into “correction mode,” and they ruin my enjoyment of the book. I realize that editing is an expense, but if an author doesn’t respect their readers enough to put out a well-crafted finished product, I don’t feel they deserve my money or my time.

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    • Deborah Camp says:

      What a well thought-out response! Thanks for that. It really made me think. You’re right about glowing reviews, but I do read them because I want to see what really engaged the reader. As a writer, that’s important to me. I do get frustrated if someone gives a 1 star review because the reader didn’t like that hero was egotistic, shallow, had a beard, or whatever! Or that the heroine was too much a smart-mouth or too quick to go to bed with the hero — or not quick enough (which was the case in one review of my own book). What’s really terrible is a 1 star review and all it says is “Don’t waste your time.” That is not a review. It’s an insult.

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  6. kybookworm says:

    You should never post a review without reading the book, no matter how strong your feelings are for the author’s other work. If someone gives a book a negative review, I like to read the review to find out what they didn’t like about the book. If other readers were bothered by spelling or grammar errors, I usually pass on that book, because that will drive me crazy. Many times, I have bought a book, because I liked a previous work, by the author, only to be disappointed.

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    • Deborah Camp says:

      I’m always grateful when readers let me know that there are a lot of typos, bad grammar in a book. Drives me nuts, too. And ESPECIALLY in my own books. I pay an editor and two copy editors to read my novels before they’re released and I STILL find typos after it’s published. Infuriating….

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  7. Jenna Sutton says:

    As an author, the idea of someone ranking my work on Goodreads without reading it makes me quite upset…. even if it’s a favorable five-star rating. That happened with my first book, ALL THE RIGHT PLACES, which came out earlier this month. And today, I saw that my upcoming book, scheduled for release in December, already has four ratings. Two of those are legit – they come from beta readers – but the other two are suspect because only a select few had access to the unpublished manuscript. That leads me to believe that these two people are “pre-rating”, and I really wish readers would only rate books they’ve read.

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  8. Angie Lenkevich says:

    Personally, I feel that some people on Goodreads that rate books before their published dates in 1 star ratings ruin the book for the people who use ratings as a guide in purchasing newer books and new to you authors. I’m sure that the same argument can be made for those who do 5 star ratings as well. I generally base my opinions on what some of my Goodreads friends recommend and whether the book blurb draws my attention or not. I’m not a fan of pre-rating books before reading them. I think a book should be judged based on how well the book blurb and book concept met those expectations. Just my two cents.

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  9. Karine says:

    This is so annoying when I see this happening. I personally will not rate a book until I have read it. I mean it defeats the propose of rating a book really.
    There have even been books that I have skipped because of all the low rating before release and now I have taken to actually checking to see why. When no review is left, a have a feeling that it is just hate towards the author. So not fair people!

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  10. Nickie Adler says:

    I would never rate a book before reading it! I am very fortunate that I receive some books as an ARC copy. Mostly from authors I have never heard of. I always give my honest review. Very few of those have been difficult to finish, but I do, since they trusted me to give an honest review. Because of this, authors now trust my judgement. I do have favorite authors that I will read anything they write, but I have to read the book first before I give a review.

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  11. Leslie Amoros says:

    Thanks for writing this post, and I concur with the group. After all, it is called a review for a reason. I look to see opinions of those who read the work.

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  12. debshutters says:

    I only leave a review when I read the book.

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