Discussion Post – Book Star Ratings
So, you’ve read a book! Congratulations! But, where do you even begin when deciding what star rating to give it?
These are questions a lot of people probably ask themselves when they are looking to leave it a rating on the likes of Amazon, Goodreads etc. The honest answer is, there isn’t a right or wrong way to do it. Ratings (and reviews) by nature are subjective and our individual experiences of a book are completely different. So don’t worry! You can’t do it wrong.
Different people have different ways of tackling this problem. In today’s post, I’m going to be discussing some of the different ways in which you might approach rating a book. Maybe you don’t like the way you rate a book now, you’re curious as to what other methods there are or are just not sure how it’s best to go about it. Hopefully today’s post can inspire you!
Everyone interprets media differently. Hundreds of people can consume the same thing and end up with polar opposite opinions. That’s the good thing about being human. We all have a unique perspective based on a number of factors – our upbringing, religious or political views or even just personal preference.
One of the ways in which a book can be rated is purely based on how it made you feel. That’s not to say an book that made you cry should be rated as one star though! That’s not what you’re aiming for here. But I mean by emotively is how strongly a book makes you feel. Do you absolutely love it? Or, were you a little bit uninspired? Can you explain exactly why? For this method you don’t particularly have to be able to justify why it made you feel that way (although if you are writing a full review it does help to explain to other readers).
I’ve seen readers rate books before based on a combination of factors. They may look at things such as the plot, character development and a number of other fixed topics. They’ll rate the book on each of these topics and then give the book the overall average of those scores.
This is a very fair way to rate a book and if you aren’t 100% sure how is best, this can be a way to help you along. There are set criteria and the structure may help you think about certain aspects of a book more specifically. Reviewing emotively may suits some, however anyone looking for a little bit of guidance as to what may be more important may feel more confident with bit of structure.
It’s also a more fair method of rating a book if you want to attribute each ‘topic’ of consideration in your rating in equal measure. As to whether that is suitable is entirely up to you – it’s your opinion that counts after all!
Combination of the two
Personally, I’m a combination of both of these methods. Whilst I don’t specifically have a set list of factors I consider when rating a book, I will take into account several things when deciding my rating for the book. I will think about the plot; whether it’s appropriate for the genre and how well it is written to give a couple of examples. I think about the characters and how well the storyline/narrative allowed them to develop etc. But I’m not rigid on this. I don’t have a set list of things I’ll consider and I don’t rate the book individually against each topic and average it. I do still allow my overall subjective feelings towards the book to govern the rating.
One reason I don’t rate my books methodically it’s because I don’t value individual factors equally. A book may have fantastic character development and a really exciting plot, if I can’t get on with the writing style then that’s a deal-breaker for me. Since that is more important to me, rating a book based on that and attributing it equally against other factors doesn’t sit well with me. My experience of the book in that instance is brought down considerably more because it’s more important to me.
The most important thing to remember is that there is no right or wrong way to do it. How you decide to rate a book is entirely your decision. If you’re not sure which method is best, have a go at all of them! If any one of them is easier than the other than perhaps this is the way forward for you. You may have already decided how you do it – and that’s fine too!
The point of providing a rating is to express your personal opinion. Nobody can tell you that’s wrong. So long as you are being honest, that’s all there is to it!
How do you rate a book? Do you use any of these methods, or do you rate a book in another way? If you do I’ll be really interested to hear how you do it!