What’s Your System Like?


I write a lot of book reviews and post them on Amazon and Goodreads.  I review on a sliding scale. Sort of like when you go to a meditation retreat you are charged according to how much you can afford. In the case of book reviews my system is based on where the writer is on his/her writing career.

All of us know how much work is involved in the writing and editing of a book. That in itself is an achievement.


Then there comes the packaging, the publishing and the marketing.


Here’s my system. Whenever I read a book by fellow bloggers I immediately give a 3 star for having a book out.

I wouldn’t want you thinking that everything that’s out there deserves a three star. We all have come across junk but that’s not what I’m talking about. Also, I will give a one star to any book I that is filled with pornography, condoning violence of any sort, hate literature. I give a one star rather than not post at all as a statement. Luckily I seldom come across these books.

What I’m talking about are Indie writers who’ve put effort and thought and even their souls into their work.  I might not like the genre or the plot doesn’t move me but that doesn’t mean that the book is not good. Lots of people could like it. Hey, I never got into Harry Potter!

 If I’m reviewing a book of a known writer, say one who has loads of experience under her/his belt, been on the bestseller list and has an editor, publicist, agents in US, Australia, UK then I tend to be more on the left side of the sliding scale. I’m less forgiving.

For books written by fellow bloggers,who have to wear many hats,  I lean most often on the 5 star side of the scale.

File:5 stars.svg


Is this fair? Should I be judging all books equally? I think not. It would be like comparing a beginner or intermediate musician to Erin Copland or all skaters to P.K. Subban.



Do you review books you’ve read? Do you have a system? 



33 thoughts on “What’s Your System Like?

  1. I, too, tend to rate independently published books more leniently, for the reasons you stated. That doesn’t mean I’ll give false praise. I don’t say anything in the review I don’t mean. But as you point out, well-established authors have a lot more help in all stages of their book production, so I perhaps hold them to a higher standard. If I really don’t like a book, I won’t generally review it though. But overall, I’m pretty easy to please. Give me a story that keeps me turning the pages, and I’m a happy clam. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I do review books on Goodreads and Amazon but if it’s a 1 or 2 for me, I keep my opinion (and my rating) to myself. Just because I didn’t like it, doesn’t mean others might not. Writing is so subjective. I think reviews are so important to authors. I tend to rate all authors, new or established, the same. Either I like / loved the book, or I didn’t!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Personally, I find your reviews very insightful and realistic. (And that’s not simply because you gave my book such a great review!~ 🙂 ) It is so incredibly difficult to find a literary agent who will undertake the task of reading your inquiry, agree to represent and then petitioning publishers on your behalf amongst the thousands they receive. It is fortunate indeed to maintain the enthusiasm one needs to continue.

    Agents want someone to cross their path who has a perfect manuscript with thousands of fans already following them. And Carrie above, is so right about having a massive crew to ensure that publication turns out error free. It is similar to a celebrity endorsing a diet while having an entourage ensuring she stays a perfect size 2 while toting their product.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Excellent post my friend. I’ve shared it! I concur with your rating system, ironically, or maybe not, that is exactly how I feel about rating books. There definitely has to be some different degrees for rating Indies and Trads. Also, I love the fact that you mentioned an important point- just because a book may not be your favourite genre or topic, doesn’t make it a bad book and shouldn’t be unfairly rated because of those points. I too never was into Harry Potter books but obviously a lot of the world is. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I was not a fiction reader before, but as I’ve aged I’ve began to read more fiction, particularly if the topic attracts me. I have to listen to them, so it takes me more time, (if I read visually I lose concentration) I know fiction writers work extremely hard, so I’m doing my best to review as many books as I can. As to the books written by fellow bloggers, who have to wear many hats, I know this situation very well, and would rather read them, but the topic has to be relevant also.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I made a promise for 2014 that I would write a review for every books I read, even if it was just for me. I failed miserably. I did write a few and posted them on Amazon and Goodreads. A new year arrived and I began again.
    I’m weigh books similar to your style. If I like the story, the style of writing and I am satisfied with the reading at the end, I will post a 5 star. If I find poor editing or can’t get into the story, I keep my lip zipped. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Great post Carol, you’ve made some good points here. I write a LOT of reviews, currently at 2000 reviewer rating at Amazon with almost 900 reviews!!! I can’t even believe that myself. 😉 I find reviews so helpful and I hope that mine in turn help other people too. It’s great that we can connect online and share our opinions isn’t it? And reviews are part of that, in a big way.

    Have a fab weekend! G

    Liked by 1 person

    • 900 reviews! WOW You are the Queen of reviewers. Reviews do help a lot! 🙂 I also find that posting a review (especially if you got the book for free) is really a courtesy to the writer – unless you really didn’t like the book.


  8. This makes me think of my process earlier today voting for SAG award winners. While most of my choices were based on the work of each nominee–although truthfully, is there really a “best”- how can one compare such different parts-and some, just because I loved a show, even if it might not be the “best.” I think a bit of subjectivity is inevitable no matter what- where each person has their own criteria. Thanks for sharing your process.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I like leaving reviews as I think it really helps out the author to know what is resonating with readers (or not working so much in the plotline or other part of the book). I use a stars system when I rate on my blog and also leave comments at Goodreads and Amazon.ca. I like to point out positive stuff in the book but if there are issues I note then I will be honest and explain them too. I hope authors appreciate the honesty and I try to be supportive (put a positive spin) if there are any issues I note. I am impressed with many of the books I read!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Never say never, but I don’t think I’d ever give a book anything below 3 stars. If the book is really that bad, I don’t read it and don’t speak of it. In fact, I’ve never given anything below 4 stars — just can’t bring myself to do that to a writer. Your system is very good; thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. This is a real dilemma and I tend to avoid reviewing on Amazon because I have to allot stars. When I do, I use your method, though I probably wouldn’t bother to review a very well known writer, unless the book had blown me away.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Now and then I write a review. I would never give an unknown author a bad review. If I didn’t like the book, I would say nothing. But with well-established authors, my expectations are higher, so I might give a lower rating if I felt that the book deserved it.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I’ve reviewed very few books. I don’t feel comfortable doing it because of the judgement issue you mentions. What’s odd is I don’t have that problem with short works like short stories, poems, and essays.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I don’t write a lot of reviews. Partly, I think I’m hard to please and I don’t like giving low ratings. I also often don’t feel qualified to review a book, because I’m obviously not the intended audience. I don’t think all books can be judged on the same scale, either, but I think it’s because that would be comparing apples and oranges. Books are so different in what they are trying to achieve, and in who they are trying to appeal to. I think books should be judged relative to what they are meant to do. And the review should be useful to the readers they are meant for. I couldn’t apply the same scale to a light, entertaining mystery as to a dark, science fiction thriller. If I happen to know that a book is a first effort, I think I would mention the fact, but I wouldn’t inflate my rating based on that because it would mislead readers. I wouldn’t lower my standards for an indie-published book, either, because in the long run that only hurts indie publishers – who are trying to get the same respect that traditionally-published authors do. I also don’t think it’s useful to the author to receive an inflated rating.


  15. It’s very rare that I’ll review a book outside of my blog, and there are many reasons for it. I usually won’t review books by my blog buddies because I would feel guilty if I didn’t review all of them. I wouldn’t want someone thinking I didn’t review his/her book because I didn’t think it was good. I do make very rare exceptions and leave a review on Amazon, but you can count them on one hand and still have fingers left over.

    I also don’t like systems where I must give a “starred” rating. Those are just too subjective. And then the time and effort needed to write a truly objective review is just too much for me. Also, reviews really don’t help me choose whether or not to read a book. I’ve seen books with hundreds of glowing reviews, but I never finished reading. They just didn’t click with me. So I’m far more likely to rely on word of mouth recommendations from people I know share my interests and tastes.


  16. Awesome… I love the idea of giving a 3 ⭐ to fellow bloggers just for the fact of having a book out. And wearing multiple hats surely deserves 5 ⭐ !
    Great post Carol. Best wishes. Aquileana 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Very interesting, Carol. Absolutely agree with kudos to folks who have actually gotten a book published (with the exceptions you note), and I like your sliding scale. Thanks for the food for thought!


  18. I do a lot of reviews for Amazon Vine. I don’t so much judge whetehr I liked it–that’s awfully subjective. What I like someone else won’t. I rate it by the author’s skill, experience. That sort. One author I read–loved his early book.I gave it five stars, but his next I only gave it 3 stars (for good reasons. Not important here). The author actually reached out to me and offered his next book to review–which was back to five stars. Interesting, innit?


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