Monday, August 6, 2012

Goodreads- Star Ratings and/or Reviews. How Do You Decide?

So, this morning I got one of my weekly Goodreads update emails. I love these because I can see what my friends are reading and reviewing.  Oh, and it reminds me to update my own books as well.


Needless to say, I subsequently scanned through my ‘to-read’ pile. I read four books off my list and two that were not on my list while on vacation this summer and it was time to rate and move them to the ‘read’ pile.


I say rate.


 Not review. 


Why? 


I love reviews. I don’t know where I’d be without them and I love reading other people’s takes on the books I’ve read. But the truth is, most often than not, everything I could say about a book has already been said and I just figure my star rating signifies that I support the points and opinions of reviewers who gave the same rating.


However, I will do a written review on some occasions.


If the book or the author isn’t well known and their work took me by surprise.
If a book makes it to my ‘favorite book/series/author of all time’ pile.
If there aren’t a lot of reviews already and I really enjoyed the work.


What is your personal review policy? Do you do a written review for every book you read? What about books that don’t float your boat? Do you stick with the star rating or do you explain why? 


What about some of my author friends out there who have books up on Goodreads? Do you prefer readers to write a review of your book, or are you satisfied with just the star rating? If someone puts a two or three star rating- do you wish they’d write a review to support it?

27 comments:

Anne Gallagher said...

For books by authors I know, I always write a review. For books by others, I leave a star.

I always try and support friends from the blogosphere.

Louise Bates said...

I like to leave a review if I find my opinion differs significantly from the majority (or at least the most popular) reviews, or if, like Anne, I know the author. If I feel very strongly about something in the book, I will leave a review also, even if what I'm saying has already been said.

Most of the time, though, I'm too lazy to go beyond stars!

Laura Pauling said...

i don't review books that I didn't like at all, no matter who the author is. I leave either 4 or 5 star reviews and I usually write something but it's more for me, so i can go back and remember what I thought about the book. I've actually used those in blog posts. I have no problem leaving a review for a friend esp. when I enjoyed the book. I've also become more lenient because I understand that writing is hard. If an author seemed to accomplish what they set out to do, even if it's not what I care for, then I leave a good review. :)

Tasha Seegmiller said...

I write a review because I really want to know why people thought a book was a four or why they gave it a lower score than I did. These factor in to whether I will add it to my book list almost more than the star rating.

Natalie Aguirre said...

I don't review books because I don't have time. I do look at friends' ratings and reviews in deciding what I want to read.

Matthew MacNish said...

I don't do critical reviews. I only recommend with glowing praise the books I loved. And when I first joined GR, I did a couple of four star ratings, but now, if I can't give a book five stars, I won't rate it.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Nah. I usually just rate them. Sometimes I add a line or two of comment for books I especially enjoyed.

Like Natalie, I make my decisions on what books to read based on the ratings my friends give them. But I'm talking about the people who like the same books as me.

mshatch said...

I only rate with stars on GR. On my blog I pretty much only review books I really like or in which some aspect of the writing floored me. Occasionally I might say something about a book I didn't like as much as I hoped but I hate to trash anyone, whether they're famous or not.

Old Kitty said...

I'm not big on writing reviews really! I've done a very few but only post positive ones! Unless they're for shoes that don't fit! LOL!

Take care
x

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I usually just do a star rating. Sometimes I review a book, because as an author I know how important those are.

A Beer for the Shower said...

If it's someone I know, I always write a review, since I know that helps them out. Otherwise, I usually only post reviews on books I absolutely loved or books I absolutely hated. No sense in wasting the time and energy to write a 100 word version of "meh."

D.G. Hudson said...

I review what I've read, whether an established writer or a new and upcoming writer. If that author has a website I let them know I've reviewed their book.

I like to feature books or authors on occasion that may have been forgotten, like Jack Kerouac, Tony Hillerman, The Stand by S. King. There's a lot of value in knowing what came before.

I think the rating system works to show support, but doesn't tell me anything concrete (i.e., why is it a 2-star? what failed?)

Lots of book reviewers are eager to review new books (NYTimes, book review blogs), and there is a lot of 'friend' support in public review sites. If you need guidance in choosing books, it's there.

Do whatever suits you, Katie, that's usually the best route.

Meredith said...

I need to get back into Goodreads--it's such a useful tool! I think I would only write a review if I loved the book. Otherwise, I would stick with a star rating.

DL Hammons said...

I typically just rate, unless I'm specifically asked to do a review. For pretty much the same reasons as you give. :)

Rick Daley said...

When I rate something, I will usually include my opinion of the book. I try to steer away from synopsis-based reviews, and instead give a general impression of what I liked. I also try not to be destructive, even when I really hated a book, I reflect that more in the stars than my review.

For my own books, THE MAN IN THE CINDER CLOUDS and RUDY TOOT-TOOT, I like reading reviews. Perhaps that's because they've been good so far...except for one 2-star rating on Goodreads that has no words to accompany it...I'm curious to know what garnered the low rating. I don't dispute the reader's opinion, and it's too late now to change the book, but knowing what people don't like and why they don't like it is a great way to learn, and to make future works stronger.

Wonky73 said...

I usually just rate. I only write a full blown review if I really feel like I have something to say about the book. For example, I just finished a scifi book. I found it passable but derivative. Since my entire review would have been the previous sentence I just gave it 3 out of 5

Stephsco said...

I review on my blog and then slightly modify to repost on Goodreads. I tend to do more of my impression of a book and point out highs and lows rather than a synopsis since Goodreads already provides that. If I didn't finish a book, I don't rate it, but sometimes I like to say why I didn't finish since it's not necessarily b/c it's a bad book, just not my style. I try to be fair in my reviews. They're so helpful to me so I think it's good for readers to give back -- it helps other readers and authors.

Nancy Thompson said...

As a reader, I always rate, and if the book is really good, I'll do a review. Or if I can't give it more than 3 stars, I'll say why. I've gotten better at reviews and now even have followers who follow me only because of my reviews.

As an author, I want the rating, sure, but I'd really like a review, too. While ratings are important, they don't carry the prestige or sway of a review. Even if your comments are purely personal, like why you liked the book or not, I'd want to see that. Feedback of any kind is helpful. Just like you'd want feedback on a query, an author wants feedback on his or her book.

Theresa Milstein said...

I used to do a lot more reviews, but I just don't have the time. I rate the books, but do fewer reviews now.

Ricky Bush said...

As a writer, I love it when someone writes a review of my book. I also appreciate any ratings I get also, though. I'm not comfortable with writing reviews, but have. I've spent countless hours listening to blues music and writing reviews of what I hear. I know the music well, am comfortable with my assessments, and feel that I can steer fellow blues fans in the right direction. Others do the book thing much better than I.

Rachel said...

I review books on Goodreads. I review books on my blog. I feel that in order to grow from your writing, you need to be told what is great about your book and what can be improved. Writing is a learning experience. And I think reviews help with that.
I do however put positive and negative things in my review. If I just put all negatives, it would not be helpful nor would it be a good review. I always say you can find at least ONE THING that is positive... :)

Diandra said...

I only write reviews if I have got something to say about the book.

Donna Hosie said...

I love Goodreads, but I have written reviews for less than 15% of the books I've rated. It's a time thing more than anything.

Neurotic Workaholic said...

I don't usually write reviews, but I do read other people's reviews on Amazon (cuz I'm not on Goodreads). The online reviews are very candid; it helps if several of them are saying the same thing, because that tells me that I may have a similar reaction to the book.

LTM said...

oh, man! I hate I missed the bloffee, but as for your question, I'm kind of more review than star. But sometimes I just do stars.

Still, it's hard to give a friend's book less than 5 stars. So I tend to be Paula... :D <3

Angela Felsted said...

I do like reviews. But in fairness, I prefer if they're somewhat positive. They don't need to be gushingly amazingly positive, but having your work trashed does kind of suck.

Iman said...

I love writing reviews mainly to stress on couple of points that I loved or hated. I seem incapable of writing a review that encompasses every facet of the book. Even if i plan to write a long one, it always needs to be particular aspects. But I usually write a review every time I finish a book. :)

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