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Jun 28, 2012

The Myth of the 5-STAR Rating

To be honest, most books are not worth 5 STARS.

A book may pull a five (or a four), but more times than not, they turn out to only be worth a three.

Three is not bad, it’s just not five.

Please. Stop rolling your eyes and cursing me out through the LED and just listen a moment.

5-STAR BOOK RATINGS ARE GIVEN AWAY TOO FREELY. That’s the point I’m trying to make.

How many times have you come across a book with fantastic ratings (mostly 5 Stars) and jumped right on it knowing that it had to be good, only to later want to jump off the roof of your freaking house because the thought of having to continue to read that piece of literary garbage is forcing you to consider ending it all?

*Takes breath here*

The value of the 5-Star rating has been greatly diminished, therefore, books that actually deserve five stars are being compared to books that couldn’t ever be five stars even if the characters inside the damn book rewrote the novel (Which would probably be difficult since most of the characters I come across in books are two-dimensional and have no hope of making any kind of worthwhile impact on the already bland storyline, let alone rewriting it).

Can you feel my frustration?

But then I have to remember, everyone isn’t a writer, editor, avid blogger, super reader, and reviewer like me, so they are going to absorb books differently. And I get it, ratings are a matter of opinion and like buttholes, everyone has one. So who am I to tell you that the book you just read and rated is crap?

Like this.


Don’t get me wrong. I fully support my fellow authors and I have found many, many Indie gems among the onslaught of books out there. But damn Indies, can you please stop getting all your family members to give you good ratings so you can pull one over on the rest of us suckers?

Okay, that was a JOKE, but to be truthful, when I see 500 five star ratings on a single book and like four ratings in every other star category, I get suspicious. The book is either that damn good, or it sucks and people are just too delusional to realize it. It’s most likely the latter. I’m sorry. There are just not that many five star books out there.

As an Indie author, I understand the work and dedication that goes into writing a novel. We all want to think that we’ve written the next New York Bestseller (Hell, I know I do.) or next international phenomenon. To see that dream validated through great ratings and glowing reviews is the most wonderful feeling in the world. I get it, but there should be a standard to how ratings are given.

I rate books by genre and audience. I gave the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan 5 STARS pretty much across the board, because after Harry Potter, it’s one of the best series for youngsters I’ve read. But for adults, it would probably get about 3 STARS, meaning adults could enjoy it, but not as much as a twelve-year-old. It’s all about context for me, but I know everyone doesn’t see it that way.

*Sigh*. I wish there was a way for us to come together on this, but I guess for now, we’ll let the New York Times ride that pony.

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