Support for Indie Authors discussion

66 views
SIA Investigate > Goodreads Review Policy Question

Comments Showing 1-16 of 16 (16 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Preston (new)

Preston Shires | 4 comments How come Goodreads does not require an explanation for a book review rating, as is done, I think, on Amazon? Reviews are all important for Indie writers. I ask, of course, because I'm curious about my one star ratings. I looked up a very popular author who had several one star ratings on Amazon and read them, only to find out 90% of them had nothing to do with the book per se. One even said he loved the book but the audio was so bad, he gave it a one star rating. Or, you have the reader who was let down because he expected a mystery, but the book turned out to be a romance novel, as advertised. I should say I'm guilty of this too. It's much easier to put a star rating than to put some thought into why I've rated a book two rather than three stars. Nonetheless, I think requiring comment for a one-star rating would not be a bad idea. I believe most authors would rather hear the criticism than be left in the dark.


message 2: by Leah (new)

Leah Reise | 356 comments You’re no longer required to leave a review with a rating on Amazon anymore either. I miss that when it comes to book reviews.


message 3: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4335 comments Mod
Because ratings and reviews are nothing but opinions. Do you feel you should have to explain yourself every time you like or dislike something? If you go to a restaurant and you're not happy with your meal, are you required to explain to the cook why you didn't like it? If you go to a movie and you don't care for it, are you required to review it? Are you required to speak to the movie theater manager about why you didn't like it? Of course not. Why should books be any different? Readers have the option of saying, "I loved it" or "I hated it" and shouldn't have to go any further than that, unless they want to. They don't even have to convey that much. They have the right and freedom to read a book and toss it aside and never tell anyone what they thought of it.

Personally, sometimes I leave a star rating with no review on books I read years ago and can recall liking / disliking them, but cannot recall enough detail as to why. Sometimes I rate and don't review just because I don't want to take the time to explain it.

I don't have an exact reason Goodreads doesn't require a review with a rating, other than what I speculated earlier. I don't see an issue with it, however. If I am looking at reviews for a book and I see Betty Wetty gave it three stars and didn't explain why, I don't really care. I don't know her and her rating is meaningless to me. It's probably the same for most readers. They gloss past the ratings and move on to the real reviews.

And you have a one star rating with no reason for it. It happens to all of us. It's best to move on and not dwell on it. Did you decide to become a writer so you could please that one reader? Is their one star rating going to crush your spirit and keep you from writing? If so, you have a piss poor reason for writing. It's one person who wasn't happy with your work. It's not worth worrying about. Keep writing for the ones who gave you three, four, and five star ratings with reviews.

Twain, Shakespeare, and Dickens never wrote a book that pleased everyone. You won't, either.


message 4: by Gail (new)

Gail Meath (goodreadscomgail_meath) | 237 comments Wish this were the 'Answer a question with a question' group, Dwayne. My answer would be....Who is Betty Wetty?


message 5: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4335 comments Mod
Gail wrote: "Who is Betty Wetty?"

That's my point. Who is she? Who knows? So, don't worry about her rating with no review.

There are rumors that she lives in Oshkosh Wisconsin with her cat (Marbles) and likes to quilt and watch soap operas and goes to church socials. And she's starred in 645 adult films. But, that's just a rumor. The cat's name might be Howard.


message 6: by B.A. (new)

B.A. A. Mealer | 896 comments My feeling is that they should require at least 3 words in the reveiw for the star rating. I wouldn't care if it was nothing more than
"I couldn't relate to the characters." or "Piece of crap" One tells me what was wrong and the other one tells me that they were reading the wrong book for them. There will always be people how don't like your book. Those are the ones that give 1 star ratings on books like "Where the Crawdads Sing? (good book BTW) or "Inferno" or "20000 Leagues Under the Sea." Too bad we can't get readers to put down what they didn't like about the book. Most of the time, I see trolls who will do that to bring down a rating or a person who should have never been reading that book to begin with. (Why would you read "50 Shades of Grey" if you didn't like sex scenes in a book?) But...it is what it is, and we the authors have no say in it.


message 7: by B.A. (new)

B.A. A. Mealer | 896 comments Dwayne wrote: "Gail wrote: "Who is Betty Wetty?"

That's my point. Who is she? Who knows? So, don't worry about her rating with no review.

There are rumors that she lives in Oshkosh Wisconsin with her cat (Marb..."

Love it....lol


message 8: by Gail (new)

Gail Meath (goodreadscomgail_meath) | 237 comments I bet her duck's name is Howard.


message 9: by M.L. (new)

M.L. | 1122 comments Amazon is an online market, but Goodreads is not. It's commentary and social media, mostly related to books but the ads are anyone's guess and all sorts of things show up. Every page researched, anything bought recently. :)


message 10: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 344 comments Dwayne wrote: "Because ratings and reviews are nothing but opinions. Do you feel you should have to explain yourself every time you like or dislike something? If you go to a restaurant and you're not happy with y..."

Why do I leave reviews? By saying what I like or don't like it might help other readers. I don't leave ratings because if all I say is "I don't like it", who cares? An opinion is meaningless; a reason why at least tells others something about it.


message 11: by Gail (new)

Gail Meath (goodreadscomgail_meath) | 237 comments I respect the reviewers right not to use words to support their ratings, but one reviewer who gave me 4 stars, a decent rating, let me know in her review what was missing for her - a personal opinion and yet, she was right! And I was able to easily correct the issue. That feedback helped me a lot, not just for that book but for my current/future books. I'm very grateful to her.


message 12: by Ian (last edited Aug 31, 2020 01:42PM) (new)

Ian Bott (iansbott) | 268 comments IMO Dwayne captured an important half of the equation - that ratings and reviews are nothing but opinions and that the person giving the rating doesn't owe *anyone* an explanation for why they liked or disliked it.

The other half, equally important, is that rating and reviews are given for the benefit of the reader, not the author. Maybe if you're looking for more depth than "liked it" or "hated it" then you're not going to pay any attention to Betty Wetty's rating without supporting words. But if you see a hundred different people giving a low or a high rating then that's a different matter. The numbers alone might lend weight to the dozen or so more detailed reviews explaining why people rated the way they did.

Gail's example happened to work out well for her, but is honestly not the purpose of ratings and reviews.

As for myself, as a reader, I like to rate books I've read but I only leave fuller reviews occasionally, if I have something particular to say that others might find useful. The record is still a useful reminder to me of which books I enjoyed and which I didn't. If I was compelled to leave words as well, I would stop rating altogether.


message 13: by Gail (last edited Aug 31, 2020 02:10PM) (new)

Gail Meath (goodreadscomgail_meath) | 237 comments And yet....isn't an author's entire purpose of writing a book so the reader appreciates/enjoys it? Otherwise, it's just the authors writing for themselves. Don't most authors write for the pleasure and enjoyment of their readers?


message 14: by G.R. (new)

G.R. Paskoff (grpaskoff) | 29 comments Anyone (author or reader) have an opinion on vague reviews? Forget spoilers, I just mean something where the reviewer will say: "I just wish the story had addressed this one issue..." but they never say what the issue actually is. As an author, I find that lack of specificity aggravating because when crafting a story I try to look at all angles and make certain that characters' reactions to events are consistent with their personalities. But as a reader I read a lot of reviews before deciding to read the book and this type of review doesn't help me determine if the reviewer's perceived flaw(s) in the story are legitimate gripes or not.

Anyone else have thoughts on that?


message 15: by E.M. (new)

E.M. Jeanmougin | 29 comments As an author, I obviously prefer reviews to ratings, but to be honest with you, I wouldn't want to sacrifice all my ratings without reviews. I'd be giving up dozens.

Not everyone wants to write a review and no one owes anyone a review either.

Amazon doesn't require readers to leave a review either, at least no insofar as I can tell. My advice is to take a bad rating with a grain of salt and move on. You won't ever be able to please everyone.


message 16: by M.L. (last edited Aug 31, 2020 08:16PM) (new)

M.L. | 1122 comments A couple days ago I read a detailed five-star for a book and it was good because it let me know it was *not* the book for me. A one star may work the other way as well: what they don't like, I will. So it all depends.

I don't think reviewers are there to teach the writer, if that's the intent. It's also puzzling to see a writer get a high review and then complain the person did not add details. What, no sparkling prose recognized? Excuse me.

I usually don't read reviews if I'm going to read the book. I want to form my own opinion. :)

And I agree with Dwayne. Review are opinions. Like noses, everybody has one. :)

Oh, and as they used to say here--and someone said somewhere else recently--reviews don't sell books. They really don't.


back to top