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Saturday, October 4, 2008

My Thoughts on Writing Reviews and Ratings

I am pondering a review I just wrote for a book I EXPECTED to love - but was more disappointed than anything else. I do think the book was well-written, and due to the title, I built up my expectations of how the book would read. So, I wrote my review, and have it saved as a draft because I just can't bring myself to hit that "publish now" button.

As a result, I have been giving a lot of thought to how I want to review books. I do not want to be known for tearing apart books in my reviews, but I want to be honest about how I feel about them. (My husband will laugh over this, but I don't like being the bearer of bad news, as it always brings me down! ) I know that authors and editors put a lot of work into a book, and it is impossible to please everyone! Every book will have people who love it, people who think it is just ok, and those who don't like it. So - I will be honest in my opinion, and will try to help the strengths shine.

SO - I am going to aim for showcasing the positives of each book, and noting constructive feedback in a nice way.

Additionally, I am going to have a rating (not sure if I am going to use stars, or books, but I'll work on it!) as follows:

  • 5 stars - I LOVED this book! Its a permanent addition to my bookshelf.
  • 4 stars - I enjoyed this book, and I'm willing to loan it out.
  • 3 stars - It was a good book, but I probably won't read it again.
  • 2 stars - It wasn't a good fit for me, but I'll pass it along to someone else who might like it.
  • 1 star - I couldn't get through it and plan to donate it to charity.
A final note - I'm an adult, and as an adult may choose to read books that I feel are not suitable for all ages. I will promise to add a note or warning to my reviews if I feel the reader may need to be aware of the subject-matter or happenings in the book.


Tina said...

Hi Wendy: I love your honesty. I sometimes struggle also! but I do try to always find something positive to say - even it I rate it a 2 stars.

Just be as honest as you can I say!

Wall-to-wall books said...

Hi, I kinda found your blog by chance. You commented on a blog called "Bookshipper". when I saw your name, I had to do a double take! My name is Wendy B. (with a y instead of i), I just thought it was kind of funny! I live in central NY. You can check out my blog if you want. I will keep yours in my favorites.

Michele said...

I understand what you mean...I think it's hard for us non-authors because for me, personally, I know I could never do what an author does.

I recently posted a review that ripped a book apart and I tell ya, I felt guilty for a couple of days. I even gave the author another chance by picking up one of his other books...guess what? Just as bad. So I figure I did the author a favor by not posting a review on his other book.

It's hard when you have so much admiration for a craft. I'm so grateful to authors for providing us these wonderful worlds we can dive into.

Great post!

Anna said...

It really is tough when you want to like a book and you don't. It's really tough when you've committed yourself to reviewing a book, and you don't like it. I had that experience recently, and I felt I was honest in my review without bashing the book. I didn't even completely hate the book, and I pointed out the things I liked as well. And I was shocked when the author emailed me a few days later to comment on my review, thank me for my comments, and tell me that she'd use them in reworking the book for re-publication. Still, I felt bad about it.


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