Blogger Confession: Why the hate for 3’s?

Posted July 13, 2015 by Felicia S in Blogger Confession / 57 Comments

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Ok y’all! I need some input or maybe I am just behind on something but why the hate for 3’s lately? I have had 2 friends in 2 separate incidents get called out for giving a book a 3  rating in the last 7 days. Seriously, it is like the sky is falling and the chicken can’t cross the road.

Maybe I should back up and say what a 3 means to me: A 3 is a solid good read that I would recommend to friends and family.

Better put: all books start at 3! Something spectacular (great character, story I didn’t expect, emotional pull that was above and beyond) has to happen to move it up to a 4.  I don’t know when 4 became the standard rating for books but I guess it must have. I have heard that 3s are the kiss of death but as a reader I don’t trust a book if it only has 4 and 5 ratings. I would rather read a book with an average of  mid-3 to low 4 than something with a mid-4 rating. If a book has less than 100 reviews and they are all 4s and 5s that screams friends/family/fan girls. Nothing wrong with them chiming in but I want 3s, 2s, 1s. I want to see what a variety of readers think. Also,  if I do or see a 4 rating I feel there needs to be an explanation about what made it more than a 3 because saying something is great (not just good) takes some explaining. Not all books can be 4s. Not all books by my favorite authors are 4s. 4s have that something extra (yes we wish ever single read had but they don’t) that often times is unique to the reader (due to mood, life, or day of the week). I will take a standard review for 3s because I get it. The book was good! The book was solid. The book was worth reading. The book is recommended. It might have that extra for you!

Same with 2s (which for some reason I think people think are the new 3s)–something had to not work in that book (bad character, story boredom, crazy) and you need to be able to explain that too.  2s have always been those reads where the writing might be solid (or not) but the story just didn’t connect. The characters might have drove you batty. The end ruined the whole thing for you. It had a subject that drove you nuts. Whatever it is–2s are not books you would recommend to someone else unless you just knew it was their niche because it was not in yours. It doesn’t mean you hate the author but it does mean that you didn’t connect with that book.

1s and 5s in my world are very rare. 5s have to hit the trifecta: Mood, Story, Character. As far as I can tell an author can only control 2 of those things and only to a certain extent. Every reader reads a story differently so 5s hit everything on all cylinders for that person. I know some people are more free with 5s and that is great by me. However, most of my fellow readers are the same. We give 5s but they aren’t a standard rating for us. 1s are the same on the opposite end of the fence. These are either DNFs or should have DNFd books. We have all had them and no I don’t feel guilty at all about giving the rating. It didn’t work for me but it may work for others based on what didn’t work for me. I feel both 1s and 5s also take some explaining because I want to know what made it go up or down that extra notch. I have bought book based on 1 star ratings but to be honest unless I know the person reviewing the book I ignore all 5s.  I just feel those are personal above and beyond rating that are specific to that person at that time. I will look to see who gave it a 5 but I pay far more attention to the other reviews.

Most books for me rank 2 to 4 with a solid number hitting 3s so maybe that is why I am perplexed.

My goodreads stats: 1163 ratings (3.66 avg)

I give a good number of 4s and 3s and at the end of the day feel pretty good about it.

So can someone explain the hate for 3s? Is there some new standard that I am not aware of?

Because according to goodreads: 3(Liked It) , 4 (Really Liked It), or 5 (it was amazing). That is kind of how I see it. How about y’all? Chime in if you see a new trend I should be aware of because I am really perplexed. I am aware of  the stories of 2s and 1s drawing flack  but when 3s start where is the line in the sand?

Also just a word of caution: Do not gripe at me for a 3 because I will have no problem knocking it down to a 2 but you won’t ever see me knock it up to a 4.

 

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Felicia S

Felicia is just your average gal from Texas that loves Audiobooks and Libraries with a passion! She can wine them, dine them, and love them forever. Her eclectic reading tastes include: Cozy Mysteries, Thrillers, Swoon-Worthy Romance of all kinds, Zombies, Urban Fantasy, Historical Fiction, and the occasional YA read.

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57 responses to “Blogger Confession: Why the hate for 3’s?

  1. I saw that Twitter drama that seemed to set off a lot of this and first off just ugh. But anyway, I also consider a 3 star rating “liked it” for my reviews and try to emphasize that. However, there is a bit of a disconnect for me since if a trusted friend only “liked” a book, why should I spend time reading that one when there are so many that reading buddies “really liked” or “loved” that would be more worth my time? I also find myself giving fours more often than threes I think, but I like to think that that’s due to my ability to pick out books I’m more likely to really like these days. My gut just has gotten quite attuned to detecting warning signs in blurbs haha. But really I think it comes down to the huge time investment of reading a book, so I want to read books with five stars more than books with three stars IF that rating is coming from a trusted source. I just ignore ratings from sources I know nothing about haha.

  2. To me, 3 means good. It means I liked it. Maybe I wasn’t completely blown away but I was into it and it had some things I loved and maybe stuff I didn’t love but in the end it all rounded out and I enjoyed it. A 3 book is one I would recommend. When I am on the fence about a book, the 3 reviews are the ones that actually push me over the edge in helping me decide since they normally cover both negative and positive aspects.

    I do wish Goodreads and Amazon would line up on their definitions though. That would be helpful.

    Great topic. I have given 3’s before and have been asked why I didn’t like the book. Obviously my review didn’t get read, lol!

  3. Livia

    Great blog topic! I’ve had this conversation before with a friend who is both a blogger and a new author. Her take on it was that 3 are like the new 2 and that she won’t really blog about a book that wasn’t a 4 or 5-star read for her. I only discovered GoodReads in late 2013 and initially I only star reviewed. Like you, books start off as 3 if I dig the synopsis. I can usually tell fairly early on if it will be bumped up to anywhere from a 3.5-5-star read based how I’m feeling about the delivery on the premise of the book. I also think I’ve gotten better at judging what books will do it for me. And I didn’t start off doing written reviews for other readers but for my own record of how I felt about my reading experience. For me, a 3-star read is a good solid read, totally recommendable it if the synopsis draws you go for it, etc. but I wouldn’t read it again. A 4-star is an impressively good read as in yeah I might reread it IF I didn’t have such a beastly WTR shelf. And a 5-star is hell yeah, I’d read this again someday without any hesitation. I know that it slightly unfair to judge a book by whether or not it meets my reread criteria so I try not to read with that in mind. But at the end of the day, it really is still how I judge my experience. I rarely look at the text of reviews of other readers before picking a new book any more. I prefer to go by the synopsis. There’s nothing wrong with giving books a 3-star rating if it something about it didn’t wow you in my opinion. And I also believe strongly in half-star rating with the higher full star given to help the authors overall metrics. To me it makes more sense that way since GoodReads and Amazon don’t factor half stars in at all.

  4. I think Amazon is probably to blame for all of our troubles. Because publishers, and therefore authors, have placed so much importance on Amazon sales and reviews, Amazon gets to make decisions for all things bookish. If you pull up a review on their site, it will say something like “the most popular positive review says” and show a 4 or 5 star review. “The most popular negative review” is usually 3 stars, even if the body of review is not particularly negative, even though Amazon’s own definition of 3 stars is “okay.”

    I have actually decided recently that I don’t give 3 stars often enough. If I have a criticism it should probably be a 3. I rarely give 5s, so 4s should be a strong recommendation. But I also think as readers we have to get to know our reviewers and learn whose priorities match up with our own. My 4 may mean the same thing as your 3.5. I might look at the rating to decide if I want to keep reading, but I’m much more interested in the content of the review than the number of stars.

  5. I know I have run across this before. Authors need to get over themselves. A Three is a good solid rating and if you think about most reviews follow the bell curve pattern if the book is receiving the proper amount of reviews not fan girls and friends. I like you don’ t trust books that don’t have a three average or low four. I give a lot of three and three and a half stars on my blog, and my Goodreads review status is 3.76 for almost 800 reviews.

  6. I’ve heard the same as Amanda (above) about higher ratings making the book more visible on Amazon – I’m not sure if that’s true or is the case for Goodreads but I can see how that may panic an author.

    Even so – all I can do as a reader is read the book and give an honest opinion. That’s what those sites are for. They aren’t the “Let’s all squee about books we love” sites

    Personally, and I wrote a post about this a few months ago, I believe ALL kinds of reviews sell a book. I’ve bought books because of ranting 1 star reviews because they mentioned something I would like even though they hated it.

    The number means far less to me than the content of the review. It doesn’t have to be *professional*. In fact, I tend to glaze over those reviews. I want how you FEEL not a recap. And all flailing 5 star reviews make me run for the hills. I only trust those from my favorite reviewers or if there’s a good explanation for why it’s 5 stars.

  7. I don’t see anything wrong with a three. I rate most of my books as a 3.5. Now, since GR won’t let me put that in, what my star rating is will depend on my mood at the time and where I felt about the book at the time. I really wish that they just allowed half stars. Either way, I rarely give 5 stars, but do give a few 4.5 a year. I would say the vast majority of my reviews fall in the 3.5-4 range.

    As far as trusting other reviews, if it isn’t someone I know, I rarely trust 5 and 1 star reviews for all the reasons you mentioned (friends, family, fangirlling, haters). I do like to see a variety of reviews. I will also say that I’ve purchased books based on a 1 star review before. Something someone else hated, might be something that I loved. Sometimes it works for me, other times, not. Great topic.

  8. I completely agree a “3” is a book I would recommend to others. Now, my GR rating average is 3.96 BUT that’s actually because I can’t give half a star. Most of my 4’s are 3 1/2 and the majority of my 5’s are 4.50. I round up unless I’m a little iffy.
    Another thing I do…I don’t give stars or anything on my website. I either recommend or not. I do ,however, rate with stars on GR, BookLikes and Amazon. If I’m looking for input, I completely ignore Amazon reviews and go right to GR because I feel I get a better sense of the book from GR reviews. Believe me there are lots of 3 star books I’ve bought based on the way the reviews were done.
    I hate that authors/readers etc, think a 3 is a bad thing.

    • Thank you so much for chiming in. This has been fascinating for me to see the different POVs not only what 3s mean but where we post them. I am rethinking how I post to Amazon but keeping it the same every where else. 🙂

  9. A 3 is pretty much where I start. I’m giving the book a chance. If it has a few flaws that I enjoyed the book enough to overlook, it may stay a 3. If the flaws just totally turned me off I’ll drop it. I am pretty stingy on the 4’s & 5’s. I have to really enjoy that book enough that the flaws or things I didn’t like don’t even come to mind. I still like the books I rate as 3’s. I don’t seem them as being very negative. My GR average is a 3.86 so I have a lot of 3’s & 4’s.

    • Thank you for chiming in. I think you and I have very similar ways of ranking a book. Who would have thought 3s would be a complicated matter.

  10. It’s crazy that a 3 is consider as a bad review. For me a 3 is an “I like it, but there were couple of things I had problems with”. Also, when I’m considering a new book/author I usually read the 3 star reviews, not the 4 or 5 stars. For some reason I find the 3 star reviews more honest, if I can call them that.

    • Thank you for chiming in! That is exactly what I do–I read the 3 and below reviews. I want to see what people who like or aren’t in love with the book have to say. It helps me decide to try a book or new author!

  11. First, Gr vs Amazon, I change all my 3s to 4s on Amazon, but all my 4s stay like 4s. Amazon ratings suck.

    Second, everything you say yes yes yes! That is how I see my 3s!
    I like my 3s. But yes I liked them, they are not amazing. But every book can not be amazing. Maybe they are 3s cos the story was fun, but maybe the language was not amazing. Maybe the characters rocked but the story could have been even better. Maybe they just were good, and sometimes good is good enough.

    And what Jen says, that is just crazy by authors. a 2 is better than a 3! Seriously authors. A 2 I will not recommend. I might not even read more of your books. While a 3, there was this series I recently read, every book was a 3, I bought every book as fast as I could. I also recommended the series, still it was a 3. But that is good enough.

    I love that last quote 😉 Since my review was so freaking bad and negative (eyeroll) then I should just have said that and made it a 2

    • I have never raised my rating for Amazon but I may start in the future. I need to think further on that but I do have to say that I won’t raise 4s to 5s (even 4.75 or 4.50 ratings). 5s are sacred to me so those will remain. I might change my 3.50 to 4s on Amazon. *shrug* We will see!

      I am really sorry you went through this last week!

      • Summer

        But here’s the thing for readers, non-bloggers, like me. We finish a book on our Kindle and the screen pops up to give a star rating. It applies to both Amazon and GoodReads. I think a lot of readers like me view them as one and the same even if we all have a different scale as to what makes a book a 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5.

        • I also don’t think you should have to. I am considering it but to be honest I need to see if I feel that is dishonest. Goodreads and Amazon are owned but the same freaking people. Their scales should be the same. I understand now that a 3 means differently (or maybe not) in the two places. However, in the end I don’t think that is the readers (or the bloggers) problem. IN THE END, I still don’t think 3s should be hated 🙂

          (Also probably won’t change my rating ways because I am too lazy to put stuff all over different places with different ratings LOL—also if they want a division between good/bad then they need to go to a 4pt scale—bottom 2 (bad/worse) and top 2 (good/great)

        • I’ve just started using a Kindle, so I keep forgetting that is an option. That being the case, I don’t know why they haven’t consolidated their ratings systems.

          • Summer

            Erin – I never noticed the screen at the end of the book on my first generation Fire. I was able to connect my Voyage to my Goodreads account so when I get to the end of a book, the window appears and let’s me select a star rating right there. It also clearly states this rating is for Amazon and Goodreads. The Voyage has made it so much easier for me to track my ebooks and rate books. I maybe rated 20% of books I read before my Voyage.

  12. For me 3 just means a enjoyable book but not a impressionable one. I feel like its not a negative rating at all. I feel like some authors are very picky about the ratings they want, I feel its important to be honest.

  13. I once had an author (sane, friendly, kind) explain that they don’t like 3 star ratings because *generally* that means “indifference,” and they’d rather have 2’s and 4’s than a 3. I explained to her that 3 doesn’t mean I didn’t care… it means I liked it, but I had a few issues. The crazy with blog tours and authors hating on 3-star reviews is ridiculous. But… everyone has their own opinions.

    • It is amazing but I think that is where the great divide is—readers/bloggers/authors all have different views of what 3s mean. I can’t imagine that a 2 would be better than a 3 *sigh* that seems just wrong to me. I am rethinking upping my star rating on amazon for 3.50 to 4.75 all being 4s. However, I am still iffy on that but we will see.

  14. I know that for me a 3 star means that I enjoyed it. It wasn’t amazing but it wasn’t a complete bore. It’s just one of those reads that was enjoyable to read but probably easily forgotten in the scheme of things because nothing really set it apart from others. However, everyone has their own way of rating so a 3 to me may mean something completely different to someone else. I agree that a book needs to have a diverse rating. My GR rating is 933 ratings at 3.42 avg. I generally tend to not trust blogs/reviewers who always love the books they read.

    • I am with you. I tend not to rely on reviews of people who love every book they read unless they have in their bio that they only post positive reviews. That being said, I would like to know what kind of books don’t work for them–it helps me gauge their reading tastes compared to mine. I think my lower 3s are pretty mundane. 3.5 though are usually pretty darn good just won’t get reread unless part of a series 🙂

  15. I must be the negative Nancy, my goodreads average is 3.57. But I agree, 3 stars is still solid and recommendable. And like Marcy, some of my rating is based on how rereadable something is. If I finish a book and immediately start back over, that’s going to be a 5. My one sop to the GR Amazon differential is if I go with a half star rating, I round up on Amazon but put my real star rating in the review or title.

    • That is usually the difference between a 3.50 and a 4 for me. Would I reread it? Would it go on my keeper shelf? That sometimes is the only difference between the two ratings. Same with 5s–if I finish the book and immediately want to read it again and again and again—then it is a 5. 🙂

      I am thinking of changing my ratings on Amazon for all my 3.50 to 4.75 being all 4s. I can’t change 4 to 5 because those are just sacred to me LOL

      • Yeah, that is pretty much my difference too. Though now that I have gone digital I don’t really get rid of them, but 3s are almost never going to be reread unless it is part of a tightly woven series and I need to to get back into the characters and the world.

  16. This is a great topic for discussion! I think ratings mean something different to every reader, but for me – if a book has mostly 3’s, I won’t add it to my list or even try it. To me, a 3 means it’s just okay and nothing epic or worth wasting my time on. Too many books, not enough time and all that. A book has to have a 4 rating or higher for me to consider it. BUT at the same time, I do not understand the readers who rate EVERY SINGLE BOOK THEY READ A 5. It makes me nuts! I see people I follow on GR rate every book they read a 5 and I think to myself, ‘how can every book be amazing?! I don’t buy it!!’ But a 5 must mean something different to that person. Or they are on a mission to impress authors for free ARC’s (which I think is also likely). Honestly, I rate most books I read in the 4’s and 5’s. Sometimes 3’s, but they are rare. If a book holds my attention, gives me feelings, makes a good impression – I’ll usually give it at least a 4.

    • Thank you for chiming in. I wonder if more people are like you than I realize. I have no problem adding a book to my shelf that has mostly 3s *unless the rest of the ratings are 2’s and 1’s* but if the average is mid 3’s to lower 4’s those are usually the books that work best for me. However, I wonder if other people want the higher averaged books. Something to think about! Thanks!

      • Livia

        I think a lot readers do want the higher average books because we are constantly bombarded with hyped books or books that have an interesting angle to explore. I’ve gotten into a really bad habit of one-clicking and buying DTBs that I can’t read any time soon just because they sound good based on the premise. So with that in mind others like me need help weeding out their next WTR and will go with the higher average rated book. It is very weird that B&N, GoodReads and Amazon all have a slightly different scale for a 3-star and a 4-star read. I read a comment by an author once who said she didn’t believe in star rating a book. She either liked it and recommends it or it wasn’t for her and she won’t recommend it on GoodReads. I almost wish this big sites had that option: Yes, I recommend it or No, I don’t recommend and then the reviewer could explain why in the body of the review.

        • I completely agree!! Either you’d recommend it or not. I just want to know I’m not wasting my time when there are so many other books out there I want to read. And they hyped books make me crazy. I have been trying to ignore any and all hyped books lately. They tend to disappoint me.

    • @Brandie–Those are my thoughts EXACTLY. I won’t consider a book with less than a 4 on Amazon, and I rarely give 3’s. Most are 4’s or 5’s for the same reasons you stated.

  17. For me, it’s all about the write-up, not the number. Numbers mean different things, someone’s 3 is someone else’s 4, is someone else’s 5. *shrugs* It does seem like folks are more sensitive to the 3-star reviews lately. (I agree with Amanda’s point about Goodreads and Amazon 3s being different. Maybe that’s some of it.)

    I had to look up my average rating on Goodreads, and it is 3.99. That sounds about right. Most of mine are 4s, some 3s, a few 2s. I’ve given quite a few 4.5s, which I usually round up to 5. I don’t give 1s, simply because I DNF before it reaches that point.

    The recent 3-star controversy that I know of — I could not believe the rudeness of the author and her friend. I can only guess that they’re new to blog tours and social media in general, which is still no excuse. Imagine, a reader liking your book, and then you turn around and insult her publicly!?! Duh. Not smart.

    • YES! It really is what people have to say about the book. I think that is why I read 2, 3, and 4 star reviews. They tend to have a LOT to say about the book. It helps so much in deciding something new! 🙂

      Actually I looked and a bulk of my books are 4s too. I think the only reason my average is lower is I also have a fair amount of 2’s and 1’s but not many 5’s. 🙂 60% of my books are 4’s, 30% are 3’s and the other 10% is other ratings 🙂

  18. Ha ha, your last statement was what I was going to say…lol. I think if I wrote a book and it was a three I would be fine as to me it means it was okay but you were not wowed. Not everyone likes everything. I was going to say that if they gripe at me for a 3 I am more than happy to give you a two…lol. I agree with you. 🙂

    • If I wrote a book I wouldn’t care what rating someone gave it! If they are reading it and talking about that would be awesome. Then again I come from a career where you have to have a thick skin in order to survive 🙂

      (I would totally drop a rating in a heartbeat if someone was stupid enough to confront me about it)

  19. I actually tweeted the other day that 3 stars were not a bad rating, but not because of an author interaction. I got a comment on a three star review which said “Sorry this was a flop.” Obviously they didn’t read my review which was mostly positive. *sigh*

    For me 3 stars is also a good, solid read! More specifically, I think of it as “I liked it, but…” since that’s the format most of my 3 stars review take. I talk a lot about what I did like, then bring up why I didn’t love it. This is not a bad thing! I even liked a lot of books I have 2 stars, but the “but” was just something larger that I couldn’t get past. But really, 3s are good! I agree that it take some extra, which is often something personal to bump it up and that’s perfectly legit! We’re all different!

    I do also have to agree with Amanda’s comment about the difference between GR and Amazon rating scales. I’ve been aware of the difference, but I don’t change my rating to fit accordingly. To me that feels like I’m lying and inflating it, even though the text rating doesn’t match what the stars mean to me. The only time I do, is if my blog rating is a 4.5. I’ll give 4 on GR and 5 on Amazon. But it does nag at me, because obviously not everyone is on GR or reads blogs, so they’ll think my rating is harsher than if they were aware of the other rating scale. But even then, “It was okay” does not mean “It was bad.” 3s would still be a decent rating using Amazon’s scale.

    • *sigh* To me it is always what the review says no matter the star rating. I guess it is because I know I have set there staring at the star rating thinking this shouldn’t be harder than the review but sometimes it really is!

      I am rethinking my Amazon ratings. I won’t raise 4s to 5s but I am thinking anything 3.50 and above will be 4s from this point out. Thank you so much for weighing in!

  20. Mary

    On Goodreads for me – a 3 star is average. A 4 star is I will probable reread it again at some point because I really liked the book. And a 5 star is for a book I know I will reread more than once.

  21. A 3 from me says that I liked the book and will recommend it. It might not be a favorite, balances out with likes and dislikes about it, but I still enjoyed it enough to recommend. I haven’t seen anyone called out for a 3, but I’ve been asked to hold a review unless it was 4 or better.

    • It happened to Bloduedd last week. My other friend is just a reader that got pounced on last night. Both kind of irked me but then again I am kind of from the once you release the book let the readers enjoy it and don’t wade into the conversation unless asked kind of school of thought. As long as people are talking about the book the rating shouldn’t matter all that much 🙂

      Totally agree on 3s!

      • I completely agree with your thought.That is ridiculous and very unprofessional. I’ve seen a lot of unprofessionalism from some authors and bloggers in the past year that had me change my review policy, eliminate doing any tours, and had me thinking about giving up blogging all together. I hope your friends stick to their guns and aren’t discouraged.

  22. Ruth

    I love reading DNF reviews. Back to the 3s, um…3s to me are iffy flirting with the love it/hate it landed average. Average sounds like mediocre which to an author who bleeds/sweat/tears lead to that special book baby nobody want their baby to be labeled average.

    Personally if I ever wrote a book my personality is to celebrate every review good or bad because hello not only did somebody take the time to read the book but they also went the extra distance to review it. Which good or bad that means they’re talking about my book which is never ever a bad thing.

    • That is kind of my thought—wouldn’t you rather people talking about the book than just ignoring it all together. I mean isn’t it important to just have people reading it. *sigh*

      Yeah my DNF reviews often come off very wordy LOL

  23. Oh, I think the hate for 3s these days is coming from author and publisher attention to book ratings. It’s now intense, especially in this new frontier of self publishing. There seems to be so many more ARC reviews by street teams or that ilk where the authors require that they not publish a review with a rating lower than a 4.

    I love the 3 rated reviews! It’s where I learn the most about an unknown author or title. For me, that rating says it was an okay read, or just average…not bad, not great. My ratings tend to be a bit higher these days because I’m reading more older titles where my friends with similar tastes have already blazed the trail. It’s when I venture out into the unknown that I find myself assigning lower ratings and that’s normal. There’s not a thing wrong with a 3-star rating but perception these days make it so.

    • I think you are right and I really wish they would back off. It is funny but I kind of think the story belongs to the reader after it has been let go into the wild. Let them talk about (which I think is an amazing way to find books regardless of the rating) and keep it flowing. I just couldn’t imagine a world without 3 star ratings. Where would you put the books you enjoy but wouldn’t read again.

      Thank you so much for wading in on the conversation 🙂

  24. Really, two different people have been griped at for giving three stars to books? I think I rate the way you do, a book start out as a three – it’s the middle of the road, and it can either go up or down. Of course, I had to check my average on Goodreads, and mine is higher than yours: 2055 ratings, 3.99 average.
    For me, the writing and the characters do count, but my own emotions while reading are really important as well. And so, if I read a romance when I’m really in the mood for something action-filled with lots of fights, that just won’t work… and I usually will put down the romance and look for what I want to read, too. However, it seems like I’m pretty good at knowing in advance what kind of book I’m in the mood for, and so I get those feels and am generous with my rating if the writing and character development as well as the world-building was well done, too.
    I rate everywhere the way I rate on my blog, if I give four stars on my blog, I also give four stars on Goodreads and Amazon and other places… And I would never, ever up a rating if an author told me they were upset with my rating!
    I have no idea why three is the new two for some people, it seems a little strange to me. And I also agree with you about books having diverse rating making them seem more interesting! I love reading well thought-out one star reviews – because that’s a great way for me to find new books. What that reviewer didn’t like at all can be just what I love – so it’s truly a win-win.

    • Yep! Really happened. Still can’t believe it myself. I am pretty sure no one is stupid enough to approach me about them though LOL Cause I am not opinionated at all about it *sarcasm sweet*

      Writing and characters do count a lot. Emotional connection to them is super important. The author can’t control my mood though (heck I am not even sure I can) which is often the decider between 3s and 4s then 4s and 5s LOL 🙂

  25. If I had to hazard a guess, it’s that Amazon and Goodreads have different rating systems, despite both using five stars. On Goodreads, a three means “I liked it” whereas a three on Amazon means “It’s okay.” (By contrast, a two on Goodreads is “It was okay” and a four on Amazon is “I liked it.”)

    In other words, people following the Goodreads system of rating (most who think 3 stars is a good rating do) are “harder” on books than people following the Amazon style rating. And if you’re not aware of the difference (or don’t bother to educate yourself on the rater’s thoughts on the matter), you’re likely to get upset over something that’s not even an issue.

    I don’t think this is a new trend, just uninformed authors upset when they don’t get the rating they feel they deserve. The reality is this: reviews aren’t for authors, lower star reviews sell books too, books with only 4 and 5 star reviews are suspect anyway, and ratings are subjective.

    Truthfully, the mark of a book that’s being widely read is lower star reviews. It means you’ve gotten through your biggest supporters and new-to-you readers are finding your work. It’s good! I’m still waiting for my two or lower star reviews to come in on Elusive Memories. I’ve already got a couple threes. And that’s GOOD.

    • I should also add: I believe Amazon algorithms favor books with higher star ratings. So if you cross post to Amazon and use Goodreads style ratings, it’s possible to “hurt” the book’s visibility in Amazon’s recommendation engine. I don’t know if something like this is the case for the recent drama. Regardless, authors have to back off and let reviewers do their thing. The only control an author has is to write the best book possible. Once it’s published, it no longer belongs to the author.

      • Thank you so much talking me through the Amazon stuff yesterday! That was awesome information and that helps a lot. I am thinking of raising my 3.50 and above ratings to 4s on Amazon. 🙂 🙂

        You were awesome yesterday! Thanks!

      • Livia

        Amanda, I agree with both of your posts. That’s why I think hard about would I read it again (4-5 star) or not when rating (3-star or below). I do cross post my reviews on B&N, GoodReads & Amazon after learning that reviews helped authors whether good or bad. Before learning that I simply reviewed them on GoodReads only for myself so that I could look back and see what I liked about a book.

        • Yup, and I think that’s the rub, Livia. When I review on Goodreads (and my blog), I give ratings for myself so that I remember them later. When I post to Amazon, that rating and review is no longer for myself, but for others. And so it makes sense to alter some of the ratings (though my review stays the same) so the people on that platform know what to expect. Sometimes it’s just a matter of adjusting for half star ratings.

          And yes! Thank you for taking the time to cross post your reviews. Authors DO appreciate it. 🙂