And pretty much everything else for that matter. If you, dear reader, are not aware, reviews and ratings are the buoys that keep creators afloat in this mad world. The more reviews and ratings we get, the higher our works show up on Amazon, Goodreads, search engines, etc. Every review/rating you leave gives us creators more time to focus on making more awesome things for you! Leaving a rating or review is one of the best ways to support your favorite writers and artists.
Okay, PSA done. Onto the actual point of this blog post. I don't give five star reviews easily. There, I said it. That might be terrible and hypocritical of me. I don't know. It doesn't come from a place of being mean, I promise.
By the way, HUGE thank you to all the wonderful people who have rated my book babies on Amazon and Goodreads. You get all the hearts! 💗💗💗💗💗💗💗
I think the reason I'm so stingy with five star reviews can be boiled down to two reasons: my old boss and my new job.
Let's start with that first one. So before I quit my normal 9 to 5 job back in January, I had been at the same company for a little over nine years. One of my managers there was a kind, amazing, empowering person, and she also had very high standards. I already expected a lot from myself when I started working for her, but she sharpened that quality in me, in everyone who worked for her really. One of the ways she did this was by almost never giving fives on performance evaluations. Fives were for perfection, if there was no more room for improvement. Some people didn't like that very much (heck, I didn't like it sometimes), but it gave us a goal to reach for. I think I might have gotten a five once. Woohoo for me if I did; I don't quite remember.
Anyway, that lesson has stuck with me. And, yes, I know no book is perfect, but it's gotta be way up there for me to click that coveted fifth star icon. Generally books I couldn't put down (Stella's Awakening by RK Ryde), books that gave me a hangover (Crescent Moon by James Fahy), or books I didn't have many complaints about (book 1 and book 2 of the Gabriel Davenport series by Beverly Lee or The Manningtree Account by Becky Wright) get five stars.
The other piece of this is my new job. As a full-time author/reviewer/blog writer, I now feel a responsibility to be more discerning than I used to be. That being said, I give out four star reviews like candy! While the margin on five stars is narrow, it's really broad for four stars. Slipping down to anything below a four star review means the book became a chore to read, one that I would hesitate to recommend to even the most avid readers. So if I give your book or podcast or whatever a four star rating, that's great! I really enjoyed it and would fully recommend it to anyone.
After four stars, it gets really dicey as to how I give ratings. There's only one book I've ever read I would give one star to. It was about a terrible man traipsing through a single day and making one terrible decision after another. It's the only book about which I can say nothing nice. And that's something else. I will always try to highlight both the positive and negative features of a book, even the ones I give five stars. I think that's part of what makes a good review.
I do still struggle with how much of my reviews from my blog I should post on Amazon and Goodreads. I've posted the entire thing for some, while for others I've posted just my short end summary. What do you guys think? Maybe I should do like a lot of Redditors and post a TL;DR at the beginning and then post the big long thing after. I'd love to hear your thoughts, so feel free to drop a line in the comments below.
Oh, and one last note: I dunno about you guys, but I think a ten star review system is ludicrous. Get outta here with your mile of stars! Five. That's the perfect number, IMHO. You get a Great, Good, Middling, Bad, and Terrible option. Or a thumbs-up/thumbs-down system. That's cool too.
Thanks for reading!