Amber Skye Forbes

Writing Words With the Tips of My Toes

Posting Book Ratings Below 4 & 5 Stars…Among Other News

This post was inspired by Shannon Thompson’s.

Apparently there are authors out there who don’t want readers posting reviews that are less than 4 or 5 stars. This is something that I don’t understand because it is pure deception and doesn’t allow readers neither a fair nor balanced view of the book. Low-star ratings are not inherently bad. 3 star ratings sometimes inform my decision over whether or not I should buy a book a lot better than 4 or 5 star ratings. 4 or 5 star ratings have the potential to be heavily biased by only pontificating on what that reader loved, instead of pointing out weaknesses in the book. In fact, a small amount of my 5 star ratings for When Stars Die do manage to point out a few weaknesses, but the weaknesses were apparently not enough to knock it down a star. But most 4 or 5 star ratings are not going to be this way. For me, I only give 5 star ratings to books that are flawless with no visible weaknesses that I can find. If they aren’t flawless, they’re usually 4 or 4.5 stars. If they don’t hold my interest as much as they should, they’re usually 3 stars, if they’re outright dull, 2 stars, and if they’re just plain bad in both writing and story, a 1 star. But since I am an inherently picky reader, very few books score below 4 stars for me.

In any case, one of my reviewers did give When Stars Die a 2 star rating. She was even gracious enough to ask me if she should post it. You know what I told her? I told her she should because I don’t want to censor her opinion of the book. She did all that work of reading the book for me, a book she didn’t enjoy, that she has every right to post her opinion on it. I have zero right to censor that, none whatsoever. I want people to be able to read her opinion and decide whether or not the book is for them. Sometimes the things that readers don’t like in their reviews are things that I like. For example, some readers don’t like overly emotional characters. I love overly emotional characters mostly because I am an overly emotional person, so I relate best to those types of characters. And I will admit that Amelia is a very, very emotional character, but it’s because part of her is borne from me.

To not allow people to post reviews lower than 4 suggests that the author has little confidence in him/herself or his/her work. Not all low-star ratings are nasty or snarky, either. I tend to ignore the snarky ratings because they’re just plain rude. Some low-star ratings are, in fact, very polite and critical and have a certain amount of sensitivity toward the author of the work. Some readers who write low-star ratings also want the writer of the book to become better. I had a 3 star review, and I frankly loved that review because there was so much sensitivity toward me and the writer of the review knows I am only going to continue to grow as a writer. I was touched by it.

The point is that low-star ratings are not inherently bad. They don’t have to be.

So what do you think about this trend of not posting any ratings below 4 or 5 stars?

In other news…

When Stars Die has a release date! OCTOBER 22ND!WhenStarsDie-3-1

I have also been gathering up all my reviews and guest posts and putting them on one page on my website. You can find all of those here. In fact, I still have more to come, and I will hopefully continue to have more coming my way.

Here is an awesome review from one of my e-ARC readers named Jordan. It’s very detailed and analytical, which is why I’m posting it here.

Also, do not forget that I am giving away a Game of Thrones book box set via Rafflecopter.

You can also vote for your favorite book cover. The winning author will receive a small promotional package that includes an author/book feature on varying blogs and a Twitter interview done by my assistant (Mariah Wilson) and I.

There is a lot that will be happening between now and the release date of When Stars Die, so keep your eyes peeled! Also, enjoy this screen cap of my Twitter interview with #WritersKaboodle.

https://mail-attachment.googleusercontent.com/attachment/u/0/?ui=2&ik=1bc1f81570&view=att&th=14119a59d4746595&attid=0.1&disp=inline&safe=1&zw&saduie=AG9B_P_RnM9ec_yJabVTe3hCqMz-&sadet=1379170510973&sads=X8u36BxzWDKkGV0l-7yeNhRx6Nw

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9 comments on “Posting Book Ratings Below 4 & 5 Stars…Among Other News

  1. Shannon Thompson
    September 14, 2013

    Thank you for extending this conversation, Amber! I think it’s really important for authors to talk about, and your experience with all kinds of ratings helps show an honesty writers should encourage other writers and reviewers to have. Great article. P.S. Can’t see the image for Writers Kaboodle, but it might just be my computer. October 22 is marked on my calendar!
    ~SAT

    • amberskyef
      September 14, 2013

      Hmm…that’s odd that the image can’t be seen. I’ll try and fix that because sometimes wordpress doesn’t do well when you just straight copy and paste an image instead of actually uploading one.

      • Shannon Thompson
        September 14, 2013

        o_O I didn’t even know you could copy and paste instead of upload. lol Learn a new thing every day.
        ~SAT

  2. lindalitebeing
    September 14, 2013

    Hi Amber,

    I continue to learn more and more from you. thank you for this enlightening post. This says much about your chracter. I always thought that when people ask friends or associates for reivews it is to get glowing reviews! I really enjoyed your book, as you know, but was worried what to do if I didn’t care for it! When I read reviews of books or films, I appreciate diverse points of view, but generally go with my intuition when deciding to read the book or view the movie. Yet if I see all negatives reviews beforehand, they often sway my decision, at least for the time being. I always welcome feedback as a writer because I want to know what works and how my ideas are being perceived and translated by others.

    You are a very wise young woman Amber, which is why I am very happy to support you and your work πŸ˜‰

  3. CL
    September 14, 2013

    I feel the same way about reviews. Books that are rated as high as a five make me skeptical, so I always check the three star reviews to get a better feel for what I’m walking into. This is an excellent topic and I hope more people start discussing! πŸ™‚

  4. rgdole
    September 15, 2013

    wow… you’re a very gracious person… I don’t know if I’ll take getting a low rating as well as you did… but I would never keep someone from voicing their opinion… though I have posted about it and asked if they do rate it low to at least explain why… I hate seeing it when people just give the star rating with no explanation because that doesn’t really help that much… as you’ve said some things people hate are the very things other readers love…

  5. Kate Sparkes
    September 15, 2013

    Great post! I don’t usually post low ratings. I have no problem with other people doing it, but I worry about author sensitivity (I know some have said they freak out over anything less than five stars). Obviously you’re not one I’d have to worry about that with, and I completely agree– all reviews are valuable, as long as they’re constructive. Those ones that are just snarky can be amusing sometimes, but they’re not helping anyone, and to me just seem like a (kind of sad) bid for attention. But an honest, constructive 3-star review can be very enlightening.

    Speaking of which, if we have questions about your ARC, can we e-mail you directly?

    • amberskyef
      September 16, 2013

      Absolutely you can e-mail me directly.

      And I hate the snarky ones. Those would be the ones that would frankly get under my skin. I mean, authors are human beings too, now. You have to remember that when you’re writing a review, no matter the star-rating, there is a human being on the other side of that review.

  6. Amy
    September 16, 2013

    I think when you put your work out there you should know that people aren’t always going to like it. All reviews are worthwhile reading, but I agree with you, reviews with less stars can be more enlightening. It’s nice of people to constantly give high ratings, but constructive criticism is useful. And if you chose to put your work out there you should be able to accept anyone’s opinion on it – there’s no point pretending that everyone loved your book if they didn’t. It’s great that you’re brave enough to let them post that anyway – it only makes me want to read your novel more. It shows you have faith in it, and that’s lovely to see.

    It’s awkward when you feel as if you know the person though – if you see the real person behind the book, through their online blogs and such, then it may be hard to give lower than five stars as you don’t want to upset them. Personally, I’d prefer people to be honest, as it allows you to know why people might not like the book, and also makes the opinions look more realistic. Then readers get given a better indication as to whether they should buy it or not.

    I’m looking forward to the release date! Hope everything goes well.
    xx

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