Reviews, puppets, stars, and silly behavior from theoretical adults.

My blog posts tend to be rather Goodreads centered, because that is quite frankly the ONLY place anyone ever pays attention to my blog. I read a lot. I rate a lot of books on Goodreads, and occasionally on Amazon, and I sometimes review.

I have marked 1074 books as read on Goodreads. I gave five stars to 87 of them. That’s less than ten percent. Most of those five stars are books by well-established favorite authors–U.K. LeGuin, Tanya Huff, Amy Lane, etc.  A couple are childhood favorites, or well-regarded classics, like “Raise High The Roof Beam, Carpenters”. There are a handful of recently read books by new-to-me authors that blew me out of the water, but there aren’t many.

I am, by the way, not a particularly tough reviewer. My average is 3.46, which is probably pretty well…average. For comparison, my own books are currently averaging 3.38, which I think is also pretty average for a mid-list writer with a small following.

There are, however, a number of writers, using the term loosely, who seem to obsessed with star ratings. So fixated on them that they resort to all kinds of questionable behavior in their pursuit of five-star ratings.

I should point out that when I encounter a book by an author I’m not familiar with, and that book has fifty-seven five star ratings, all from people who are not on my friends list, the first thought that goes through my head is NOT “oh that must be a really good book, look at all the five stars!”

Usually my first thought, because I’m not all that cynical, is “Well, there’s no accounting for taste, is there?” If I take more than a glancing look at those reviews attached to the five star rating, and multiple reviewers are praising the author’s cleverness at tying in another work, or declaring their impatience to read the next installment, I start to become cynical and suspicious, because these are things that real reviewers seldom comment on.

What on earth is the point? Saying something is good does not make it so. Most of the books I encounter with the odd reviews are not particularly good. Some of them are mediocre, some of them are frankly awful, and a few have some promise but are often flawed. Plus, I’m kind of pissed off now, and I’m more inclined than most to judge a book solely on its own qualities, rather than those of its creator.

Please, let your book stand or fall on its own merits, not the ones you perceive it as being imbued with. Put some of that creative effort into improving your written work, not irritating readers and indulging in questionable behavior.