During this two day event, 21 Book review websites and blogs are taking an opportunity to delve into the murky area of book review ratings. We are tackling the often controversial 3 Star Rating, what we here at Bitten By Paranormal Romance call One Good Howl.
Today book reviewers are discussing in detail and educating our followers and authors on what a 3 Star rating means to us since so many people seem to react differently to seeing this much maligned rating. It is also an opportunity for our followers to tell us in their comments how they feel about reading, or the possibility of reading, a book we have given a 3 Star rating.
Return tomorrow to to see how several authors feel about the 3 star rating. What it means to them and how they feel when their work receives this rating.
I originally came up with this idea after Laurie and I were talking about how we'd seen some authors and fans "talking" about the 3 star ratings in some comments on other sites and discussion groups. We were blown away when we saw what people thought about 3 star ratings.
What BBPR's reviewers are saying about 3 star ratings:
What does it mean when I give a book a 3 star, or One Good Howl, rating?
This means I liked the story, it was good, I recommend it, it is worth the time and money spent on it and you should read it. Will I re-read it? Maybe but probably not because I am so busy. There may or may not have been some editing/craft issues, I may not have liked the ending or possibly a character, or it is just not a favorite genre, but this doesn't mean it wasn't a good story.
A 3 star rating is not a bad thing. It doesn't mean it is just okay. It is where most books start for me. To get a higher rating, the book needs to really wow me, make me laugh out loud or cry. It also makes me want to read it again and sometimes over and over again. If there are too many editing issues or there are story problems or I don't like the subject matter, it will move down to being just an okay book or down even further to "nothing to howl about" or a 1.
So people a three star rating is a GOOD thing. Say it with me, "a three star rating is a good!" Repeat as often as necessary.
Most people see a book is rated 3 stars and think it is a bad book and they stay clear of reading it. Some authors and publishers frown upon a 3 star rating because they also feel like it’s a bad rating. I myself find a 3 star rating a good book; they are just not a book that keeps me on the edge of my seat or in the can’t-put-it-down mode.
Prime example of a 3 star book for me is Gena Showalter’s latest, The Darkest Seduction. It’s a good book but it didn’t carry the elements I need to keep my attention. If I can put a book down and start playing a video game and completely forget about it, well it’s not holding my attention enough so I need to get it done. You might think that sounds bad, but I don’t because the book has good things in it like the characters and story and once I put it down and pick it up a few weeks later, I still remember where I left off. The thing is, once something starts dragging on me I get bored really quick even if it’s good. So, my 3 star books are good books they just don’t have the attention getting elements I myself look for in a book.
I never see a 3 star rating as a bad book because I myself have picked up books my friend’s rated a 3 and loved them.
Ah, the ever dreaded rating of “3”. I’ll never understand why there is such an outcry over this rating. Most of the people walking the earth are average, and we like ourselves just fine! But before I go any further, let’s take a look at the rating system according to Goodreads – because it’s simpler, straight forward and most of us are familiar with it.
3 Stars – Liked it
Take a good look at the 3 Star Rating: It states that I LIKED IT. Not that the book was average, just okay, ho-hum, mediocre, dull, lackluster; you get the picture? A three star rating means I liked the story, the characters, the setting – something was there to grab my initial interest in the book and then keep it enough to finish reading the book. Hook, line, sinker.
Any type of writing in any form (novel, short story, fiction, non-fiction, poetry, blog, journalism, etc.) is very personal for both the author and the reader. The reader may come away with something not quite what the author had intended. For me, when I give a rating of 3 some of the factors involved may be (in no particular order):
- I’ve read better work by this author and this one doesn’t meet the benchmark I have established for him/her.
- The book needed better editing.
- The book didn’t move me emotionally.
- The Storyline didn’t “connect” with me.
Now imagine what all the other readers and reviewers must be thinking about. *shiver* Makes my head spin.
I don’t consider a rating of 3 stars as bad. Hell, I wouldn’t consider a rating of 2 stars - It was okay - as the “kiss of death”; as long as the reviewer explains their reasoning behind the rating. Different strokes for different folks.
I've always had mixed feelings on a 3 out of 5. I tend to have two different thought processes on it, and as to whether or not I use it honestly just depends on which process is prevalent that day. Neither one is a bad rating. I've never considered a 3/5 a bad thing, but I do consider it to be an average book. Honestly giving ratings is probably the one downfall to being a reviewer in my opinion, but in our society ratings are necessary. So here are my thoughts on why/when I would give a 3/5.
Thought One: It is just an decent book. There is nothing wrong with it. It just didn't do it for me. I can't explain why I didn't get into it as much as other books, but it took me longer than my usual amount of time to read because it just wasn't catching my attention. I can't say that I've read many that I would rate 3/5 because of this reasoning. Most books I can tell exactly why I'm not enjoying it. It's rare that I come across one that its just "eh".
Thought Two: 99.9% of books I read I tend to either love or dislike. Meaning it would either get a 2 or lower, or a 4 or higher. I've had the fortune of only finding one book since I started here that I would have rated lower than a 4. The one in question that I would have rated a 3 or lower I ended up passing on to someone else, because it just wasn't my cup of tea. I'm extremely glad I did that because the other reviewer gave it a 5/5. So for me to give it a 3 means that I've considered passing it on to someone else and either everyone else was too busy or felt the same way.
I take rating a book very seriously. I realize that my review is only one person's opinion. However, if even one person reads my review and uses it to make a decision about buying and reading a book, then it's important to me that I can stand by my rating and review.
I don't like to write bad reviews or give low scores. At the same time, when you only have a 5 point scale, it's harder to truly identify those books that are exceptional. I wish I could give 5 Howls and a "Wag of the Tail" for those special books. But alas, I can't. Therefore, my review must differentiate the great books from the exceptional. Having said that, if I give something less than 5 Howls, then there was something that didn't quite work for me. This is rarely a reflection on the author, but rather on some element of the story. I don't like books where the characters don't trust each other or fight a lot. An extremely well written book with the characters fighting non-stop will not get more than 4 Howls from me. If the writing is also lacking that special quality that makes the words flow across the pages, then it might drop another howl.
It is imperative that I explain why I am giving the book a specific rating. While the rating and review are both subjective, the review itself helps the reader decide if they might feel differently about the book than I did. I think this is what separates a site like Bitten from sites like Amazon or GoodReads. We always write reviews to go along with our ratings.
I am always looking for constructive feedback in my profession. Whether I agree with somebody's opinion on my work or not, I try to look at their comments objectively to look for opportunities for improvement. If an author is truly planning on writing books in the long-term, then I would hope that they would look at less than perfect reviews as opportunities to improve their next novel.
So dear readers, it's your turn. Do you consider buying and reading a book we have rated with One Good Howl or 3 stars? Do you tell a friend about a book we rate this way? What does a rating of One Good Howl or a 3 mean to you? Also, would you like to see more of these types of events here on BBPR?
Stop back by tomorrow to see what some authors have to say on this topic.
Visit the other sites to see what others are saying about this topic.