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BLMN
03-20-2018, 03:41 AM
Hi All, just a quick question as I may have stuck my foot in it.
When I put a review in on goodreads or Amazon I only put five stars in for perfect writing (Eleanor Oliphant or Ray Bradbury would be a good example) but I'm wondering if a four star review is detrimental. I've always thought that four stars is pretty solid myself but I don't want to harm a friend's book. As a book buyer I'm suspicious of self- published or small press books that have all five star ratings but maybe I'm an oddball. Ok, I'm definitely an oddball but I'm asking in reference to book ratings.
Am I setting too high a standard? If I don't feel I can put a five star review in but I want to support the author should I keep my opinions to myself? Is there a different standard for fledgling authors compared to a review we would give someone established with hundreds of reviews?

Brightdreamer
03-20-2018, 03:47 AM
Speaking as a reader and sometimes reviewer:

My personal philosophy sees four stars as good and solid, but five as something more than good - excellent, on a higher level.

Get down into three, and I'd call that a possible detriment - but if that's how I read it, that's how I call it. (Two and one stars are rare, but again, if that's how I read it...)

As a reader skimming reviews, I consider anything above three to be a recommendation, and three and below to be a caution. (Though I habitually skim both high and low reviews; some five-stars are just gushing nonsense, TBH, while some three-to-one stars have warned me off from things I probably would've been hacked off at. And I'm always wary of books with few reviews that are all gushing-nonsense five stars...)

mrsmig
03-20-2018, 04:23 AM
I almost always disregard five-star and one-star reviews, and look to the four/three reviews for an honest take. If there are a BUNCH of one- and two-star reviews, I will take note of that. Reviews that bad usually indicate (1) a book with a lot of editing errors/a story that doesn't make sense/just plain bad writing, or (2) some kind of hater behavior, usually between the author and her/his detractors. Those can be entertaining.

BLMN
03-20-2018, 04:33 AM
http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/questions-and-quandaries/reviews/how-to-get-five-star-book-reviews
Did a little twittering and found this take from a professional reviewer. Interesting read.

BLMN
03-20-2018, 05:25 AM
Just realized that maybe it's not ok to post links to another writer's blog. Admin, some thoughts please.

AW Admin
03-20-2018, 05:50 AM
Just realized that maybe it's not ok to post links to another writer's blog. Admin, some thoughts please.

Nah, that's fine. For one thing, it's the blog of Writer's Digest. It's a publishing corporation. They want incoming links.

It's sometimes a problem when people link to a personal blog, and then discuss it here, because it means the person who put all the work into writing the post doesn't get the benefit of the traffic.

It's better if you talk about what particular ideas in the post caught your attention, rather than just link dropping, and it's really good that you didn't just copy and paste the whole thing.

BLMN
03-20-2018, 08:46 AM
Ok. Paul Goat Allen's take on what he wants to review in a story raised the bar for me in regards to my own ms. Also, I don't claim to be in his league in regards to critique but it confirms my thoughts that a high standard in review is best. Support other writers when you can do so honestly.

CaoPaux
03-21-2018, 07:40 PM
(Moved from GPD.)

Harlequin
03-21-2018, 09:29 PM
It's not detrimental at all. THe more reviews the better and frankly, it makes me lose faith in humanity to see nondescript books have only 5 stars. Like, that book is apparently better than every classic ever (but more likely, it's been farmed out to a review group somewhere, hence the weird reviews in those cases).

A good spread is a good thing. Amazon gets suspicious of only 5 stars and so do I. Most of my favorite books pan out at 3.5-4 stars in goodreads.

SciSarahTops
03-21-2018, 10:27 PM
I'm really stingy with 5-star reviews. For me they go to books that blow my mind or stay in my thoughts for a long time. Or ones I know I will read again one day.

Earthling
03-21-2018, 10:37 PM
I trust four-star reviews more than five-star, in this era of paid-for reviews and friends and family gushing on Amazon.

waylander
03-21-2018, 10:54 PM
I only give 5 for 'the best book I've read for ages'. A solidly enjoyable book gets 4, an OK book gets 3.
That said I have a mix of 4 and 5s (a total of 27) for my own book on UK Amazon.

The Black Prince
03-22-2018, 01:19 AM
I give out 5s grudgingly. Mind you, I have given out a few but that's because when I first joined GR I began by rating all my favourite books. Since then a 4 is more typical from me for a book I enjoy - something has to be really special to get a 5 because then it's being rated alongside the classics.


That said, as I writer I love getting 5s - especially from people I don't know. My most frequently rated book is currently bang on 4.0 (on GR). It has lots of 5s but also a smattering of 1s and 2s - it tends to polarize people. My other two are comfortably above 4 (especially the latest). I'm honest enough to admit there is a friend factor at play with those and it can be embarrassing - especially when they write a gushing review really obviously pretending not to know me. More than once I've had to ask people to tone it down.

The other side of the coin is gushing reviews from people who really don't know me. I was very proud this week to have my latest described as: Chaucer meets Cornwell.

That's why I write.

The Otter
03-26-2018, 05:51 AM
Four star reviews aren't a detriment. I mean, don't get me wrong, I love getting five stars, but four is still a solid recommendation. Even three I would consider to be more average/middle-of-the-road than cautionary; if a book was enjoyable but didn't leave a strong impression on me, or if I had conflicting feelings on it, I would give it a three. And overall, when I'm reading reviews, I'm more concerned with the content than the number of stars. A long, detailed, thoughtful four-star review is preferable to a one-line five-star review, at least for me...though of course I appreciate any and all reviews I get.

jjdebenedictis
03-26-2018, 08:56 AM
You rate books for the benefit of fellow readers, not authors. Your loyalty should be to the customer, trying to avoid buying a lemon, not to the manufacturer attempting to make a buck.

Therefore it is never "detrimental" to be honest. You're doing the service to the world that customer reviews are intended to do.

Harlequin
03-26-2018, 11:54 AM
You rate books for the benefit of fellow readers, not authors. Your loyalty should be to the customer, trying to avoid buying a lemon, not to the manufacturer attempting to make a buck.

Therefore it is never "detrimental" to be honest. You're doing the service to the world that customer reviews are intended to do.


Agree completely.

The Black Prince
03-26-2018, 12:30 PM
I agree also when reviewing.

Doesn't stop me being a greedy narcissist when being reviewed.

BethS
03-26-2018, 05:21 PM
http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/questions-and-quandaries/reviews/how-to-get-five-star-book-reviews
Did a little twittering and found this take from a professional reviewer. Interesting read.

Yes, it is. Thanks for posting that link. It sounds like he and I look for the same things in a book. And I should think his "Hierarchy of Needs" would also be helpful as a reference for anyone beta-reading a novel.

Hbooks
03-26-2018, 05:59 PM
I consider a four-star review to be a very positive rating.