Writing Book Reviews As An Author
Inspiration To Make It Easier
By: J Lenni Dorner
is for Earn Stars
Some reviewers believe a book must “earn” stars. Others believe all books start off with five-stars, and they deduct as they find flaws.
For some reviewers, all books start with no stars. They earn the stars as the reviewer reads. One star for a strong protagonist. Another star for excellent editing. A star for keeping the reader glued to the page. Twist endings get another star. A theme the reader loves earns yet another.
In the movie “Dangerous Minds,” the teacher says everyone has an A. Keeping the A is the challenge. This intrigues one student who says he’s never had an A before. (I’m sure there’s a name for that method of teaching, but Google has been unkind in my search.)
Some reviewers use this same method when it comes to stars. Every book starts with five stars. Based on whatever criteria matters most to that reviewer, stars get deducted.
This is one reason readers have different star ratings for books. Two reviewers could both claim to like a book, but one reviewer gives it four stars and the other gives it five. “But they both said they liked it!” Yes, but they used a different method to determine how likable they think that book is. Liked it enough not to deduct versus liked it enough to let it earn more stars.
Another reason that a book might gain a star is the “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” game. The idea of the game is that everyone is an acquaintance of Kevin Bacon, within six degrees.
- I have a
- spouse who
- served a meal to an agent
- who represents an actor
- who was in a movie with another actor
- who was in a movie with Kevin Bacon
How is that related to book reviews? Because someone might read a book and decide it’s worth 3.5 stars. Then figure out they know the author, or know someone who knows the author. Because of this degree, they decide they like the author more, and thus decide that 3.5 should be a 4 instead of a 3. (Because the sites don’t allow half stars.)
The downside is that some sites remove reviews if they find the reviewer has a degree or two of separation from the author. On one hand, that might prevent biased reviews. On the other hand, it means the author has trouble getting reviews from the people most likely to leave them. Reviews lead to more sales. More sales means the place that sells the book makes more money. Vicious, isn’t it?
— J, Co-host and Team Captain #AtoZChallenge
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