This is my first post in the “Soap-box” category. Today, I will rant about ratings.
I really wish there was a way to give 10 stars instead of 5.
As it is, 5 stars makes for bad feelings. If you give a book a 4 star rating there might be someone would could feel slighted. And yet, most books written today, if they are good, deserve the 4 star rating. I myself am perfectly happy with 4 stars. Why? Because I know I don’t deserve the 5 stars. I don’t think my book is absolutely and completely perfect. Every time I re-read it I see places where I can make it better. Problem is, that if an author like me were to hold off on publishing until it was 100% perfect, it just never would get published; not to mention that my writing will probably never be considered by the professional literary critics as 100%. So yeah, I am very happy with a 4 star review, I am even glad for a 3 star review, which might be a more honest evaluation of my work. That’s honesty and it is very valuable to a writer so that they can grow; if they begin receiving only 5 star ratings for their debut work, then how will they know when they have written something truly awesome? It does nobody any good to give unusually high marks at the beginning of a person’s career as an author.
Having said that, I really would rather a person stop there and just not post a bad review. I understand with the amount of one and two star reviews some authors get; and not always because their work is not good, many times bad reviews are posted by bitter and envious trolls to get their kicks. In those cases, a few 5 star reviews, however unmerited the book might be, are necessary to offset the troll reviews. A private email is much more to be preferred if someone hated my book. As a reviewer there are times I would like to be able to send a private communication to the author with my concerns, only to find I cannot find a way to contact the author privately. I have included my email at the back of my book if anyone wants to vent or actually be helpful by sending me some constructive criticism.
Enough about my book. The thing is that the 5 stars has become corrupted. If we could reserve the 5 star rating for truly exceptional books. Books that could not be any better, ever, no matter how much the writer studied to improve themselves, and no matter how many times they rewrote it, it just could not be improved upon. If 5 stars were reserved for the best of the best of the best; then it would mean something again. Sadly, 5 stars has come to mean that you got all of your friends and relatives to rate your book. Basically, a 5 star review means nothing about your ability to write. It means you have friends.
What if we left all of the 5 star ratings alone, and added an additional 5 stars for excellence? A 5 star rating within the 5 stars. Ok, so you think it deserves 5 stars, but do you think it deserves one 5 stars or two 5 stars? Which books do you think deserve five 5 stars? Can we keep that reserved for true classics like Charles Dickens and his ilk? I think so, if people were honest. What if the 5 stars within the 5 stars didn’t affect a book’s standing on sites like Amazon? It only served to advise readers. Yeah, I know I am skeptical, too. It’s a thought.
So, I just got done giving my own book a 4 star rating. I think that is what it truly deserves. It was never my intention to write a masterpiece of literature, and it isn’t. It is a simple story, told simply for the fun of it. Is it a good story? Sure it is. Does it deserve to be read? Absolutely, at least by a certain number of people who enjoy that kind of a story, yes it does. Does it deserve 5 stars? No, it does not. Well, except for my mother’s opinion.