Reviews, Deeeeep Thoughts…Part I

So we’ve already covered what makes a good review (in our humble opinion), but let’s get a little more specific about a fairly controversial topic on Goodreads…the ability of authors to rate/review their own books.

I’ve seen authors vehemently defending both sides of the equation…on one side, authors are active members of Goodreads and should be allowed to rate all books accordingly, especially if they clearly disclose that it’s their book and they’re explaining why it deserves the rating they’re giving it.  On the other side, the argument that authors rating their own book five stars (cuz duh, why would you rate it less?) artificially inflates the overall rating.

My personal opinion (although I recognize aspects of the let-me-rate-my-own-book argument), is that I find myself falling into the authors-shouldn’t-rate-their-own-books camp.  Why?  When I rate a book, any book, I rate it based on merit, and that’s not always a five-star rating.  Writing a book does not make it automatically deserving of a five-star rating.  When I’m considering books to read, I eyeball the overall rating and assume that the majority of those ratings are trustworthy.  Do I think everything I’ve ever written is five-star-worthy?  UM, NO.

One of the things I value most about Goodreads ratings/reviews is that they aren’t as motivated by cash flow, as reviews on Amazon tend to be (and we’ll poke that whole other can of worms in another post).  There’s no escaping the good reviews=positive buzz=more purchases=more money equation here.

What do you think?  Let me know in the comments, and please know that you’re free to disagree with my opinion, as long as it’s done in a respectful, thoughtful manner…we ALWAYS welcome dissenting opinions as long as they are well-written, make us nod, and think “Hmm, I see where you’re coming from!”  Have you rated your own book?  If yes/no, why/why not?  Did Goodreads ask you to rate your own book, and if so, what was your response?  I want to hear what you think!

-Kate

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  1. rachelcarrera

    When an author rates their own book, it seems to me like when I read product reviews on Walmart (and I HATE Walmart) and I think more often than not that they pay people to write them (favorably). I also would think it’s the author’s friends or family leaving the most glowing reviews. I guess if I read the author’s review of their own book, it would have to specifically include WHY the book was so great for me to take it seriously. But of course, if Goodreads asks the author to rate their own book, then the author would be silly not to and not to give herself 5 stars.

    I guess my opinion is that I don’t have much of an opinion either way yet. I’ll look forward to your Part II so I can decide. 🙂 Great post! 😀

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  2. RSAGARCIA

    Never rated it, never will. I have, however, liked reviews someone gave me, and I’ve liked my book when someone else but it on a listopia. I hope that doesn’t mess with the Goodreads policy! I’m kind of new to the author side of Goodreads and before I published Lex, I didn’t do much on the site either.

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