Book Reviews: What’s your philosophy?

Publishing books on Amazon has gotten me thinking (along with doing some ARCing around for others).

It’s crazy how a book dipping below 4.0 on Amazon on Goodreads feels like a death sentence. Although, that may be a bit of an exaggeration I’m sure it doesn’t help. Going off personal experience—in which I think I’m probably more of the generous readers—people automatically disqualify books under 4.0. The rating looks plain ugly. When you dip below 3.8 on Amazon and it rounds down to that 3 and a half star display—oh man, the pain!

This has led to a small difference in how I review now. If it is an indie authors book, I will almost always give a 5. 4s are possible but I won’t go below that. I won’t review it otherwise. A 3 is solid, but that is not how other people will see it. On Goodreads where some of the cruelest of people reside (almost seemingly destroying books for sport), I will give any rating if I finish the book, but only if it’s like Harry Potter. Again for an Indie, I probably won’t rate it if it’s not at least a 4. Even then, I will make my review as constructive and positive as possible. I hold a 3.70 rating average on Goodreads, which is probably on the lower side. And that’s with me only giving 4 books below a 3. The majority get 3s (which is “I liked it”). But why is it that if a book has a 3 average, 90 percent of people would skip it?

My first fantasy book, The Last Whisperer, has only 7 percent of its ratings as 1 or 2 stars. That sounds solid, right? If you framed it to me like that, I’d be thrilled. The rest—26 percent for 5 stars, 41 percent for 4 stars, 26 percent for 3 stars—still looks good. But when I frame it as a 3.7 out of 5 with the dreaded 3 and a half star icon, it looks gross.

What do you think? How do you rate books?

My solution is to write another book and give the readers no choice but to 5 star it. 😂

For those curious: My Goodreads Ratings


13 thoughts on “Book Reviews: What’s your philosophy?

  1. I find a 3 rating to be, “Read if you’re a fan of the genre.” A 4 is “Read it regardless of genre but you’ll get an extra kick if you love the genre.” A 5 is “Everyone should read it because it’s life changing.” I try not to give out 5s unless people completely deserve it, and I try not to go lower than 3 unless the book is just a mess (but I do the criticism constructively, not just bashing the book).

    I will give out 3s, 2s, 1s, but haven’t come across a book that low in a while.

    I know the death sentence it gives small time authors if they get low reviews. A lot of the time, I start at 3 stars and work my way up if I’m looking for a new book to read.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That makes sense. When I get to the Goodreads page of a book I’m thinking of reading and it’s below 4, I’ll scroll down and see why. I think ultimately the words on why people rated it that way are helpful.


  2. I usually don’t consider books with a rating of 3 point something terrible. Let us say a book is super popular, like Divergent or the Hunger Games. Many people love it, yet many people hate it. Let us not forget about the Meh’s as well. I will read the book, and make my own opinion about it.

    And for my rating technique, I usually give 3,4, and 5 stars. But, I still have a few 2’s and 1’s. They are rare, but they exist.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Once I started publishing myself and I realized that putting a book below a 4.0 automatically disqualified the author from a lot of opportunities and basically killed the book if it was an indie, I also stopped giving ratings below a 4 to indie books. If I really don’t like a book, I don’t leave a review, because I do not need that kind of bad karma in my life.

    When I look at books myself a rating below 4.0 doesn’t automatically disqualify them for me personally, and I note that a lot of good books tend to have ratings around the 3.5-3.9 range, but so many promo sites require a 4.0 star rating, and since that’s a major way for indies to gain exposure, I don’t want to ruin that for them because of my personal feelings about the book. I consider star ratings to be pretty bogus anyway, so I focus more on the text of the review.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. The whole review system is ridiculous, but when I review a book it gets the rating it earned from me and I will always give an explanation.

    People rate a book a 3-star but write, “This is an amazing story! I highly recommend it!” Or do the reverse, “The plot wasn’t developed and the flow was stagnant”, and give it a 4 or 5-star rating.

    “Wait, what? Is this an alternate universe?” 😀

    I personally don’t feel a 3-star rating is “bad”, especially when you have knuckleheads freely admitting they have NOT read the book yet toss out 1-2-star ratings like Halloween candy.

    Authors need reviews to get noticed, but in the end, reviews are just opinions and readers still must rely on their gut instincts about book purchases.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. When I review a book if I really like it I give it a 5, if it was good I give it a 4, which I rarely do.. I actually don’t remember if I have given a book a 3 and I have never given a 2 or a 1.. I really irks me that some idiots downgrade a book for cliffhangers.. If they don’t like them then don’t read them the blurb usually says the book has a cliffhanger.. I personally don’t like cliffhangers and will usually wait until the series is done to read them…
    I Actually rarely look at the ratings or the reviews when choosing a book to read.. I choose books by the cover and or the blurb..

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I think my reviewing system is similar to most. I will give 5 stars if I really loved a book but I don’t give them out easily. Most of the time I will give 4 star for something I liked alot but had a few things that didn’t quite flow. Sometimes I wish I was able to give a 4.5. I will give a three for a book that was just OK where I didn’t hate it, it was worth reading but I probably wouldn’t read it again. I give 2 stars if I really didn’t like but finished the book. I give one star for books I didn’t like and couldn’t finish. I rarely give out 1’s or 2’s but it does happen occasionally. I try to be as fair as possible when reviewing and give constructive reasons why I didn’t like something.

    I agree with other commenters and don’t understand people who give stars for books they haven’t read or get the rating system backwards.


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