AUTO RATINGS FOR FAVE AUTHORS
⚫I tend to black sheep heavily-hyped popular titles a lot because I review and rate books based on quality within their classification and genre, which leaves little room for subjectivity. I am not saying my personal opinions don't come into play at all, that would be silly, but they don't usually color my ratings more than a .5 of a star AND whether I loved/liked/hated the author's previous work never comes into play. NEVER. EVER. EVER.
I don't know if I am noticing these insta-rave ratings more lately because I am reading more ARCs outside of my normal subgenres, or because many popular authors are starting to write out of their previous niche genres and classifications, but I am seeing quite a few bloggers giving four and five star ratings to their favorite authors and then making excuses for those books afterwards.
Here are some of the excuses I have been told:
1. I know the "beginning" is kind of boring/confusing/shakey/slow/plot-holey, but it gets much better. Then they admit it is more like 50% of the book. I don't know about you but even if a book gets blow your mind fabulous in the backhalf the average between a one and a five is a three. And how many people will read that far waiting for a non-review book to get good?
2. It is their first time writing in this classification/genre and I am sure the next one will be better because it's [fave author]; you know what I mean? No, I don't know what you mean. Firstly, every book should be critiqued as an individual, and secondly the author should not be given anymore grace than a debut author, in fact, as a seasoned author I would think they should get even less wiggle room for lousy writing.
3. It is not their forte genre. Well then right there they are saying it is less than the author's other work in some other genre, so how can it be four or five stars too? If the book is a Fantasy story and the author's "forte genre" is Contemporary Romance and the Fantasy story has weak world building and the magical system is full of holes it is not worth a four to five star rating just because it is [fave author].
4. But it's [fave author], right? Wrong.
I am going to tell you why I don't think these reviewers are doing their favorite authors any favors...
First we have to look at what review ratings are for. They are for people who want to have some idea of whether they want to spend their hard earned dollars and precious reading time on a book. They should not be used as votes in an author popularity contest, brownie points for an "in" with a favorite author, points for getting ARCs and perks from authors/publicists/publishers, leverage for getting spots on popular blog tours, or to keep from being the black sheep on a popular book and being ostracized in your blogging circles.
When someone looks at a book they are interested in and it is rated four to five stars they will usually pick it up, or request an ARC, or maybe recommend it to a friend that likes that genre before they have had a chance to read it. If this book has been overly hyped and/or overrated (for whichever reason stated above), and the reader ends up being disappointed, they will probably not read or recommend any other books by this author, or look at any new offerings from this author with intent to buy.
This is why it is better to be truthful with ratings, or look at and rate a favorite author's work with the same critcal eye as used for other author's work, because in the written review it can be explained that this author's other work is much better. When I see this I am highly more likely to pick up one of their other books, or read one of the author's future titles.
Telling people that a book is an example of the author's best writing, when it isn't, will give readers a false negative opinion of this author and most likely they will not buy any of the author's other titles in the future. They will also probably be telling others to steer clear of said author.
When an author gets false positive feedback on books that are a new direction for them it is also not doing them any favors giving inflated ratings because they will not know that they are off base with their content, and will continue to write books in the new genre that aren't going to meet the bar with regular readers of that genre. This will ultimately end up wasting time they could be spending on their niche genre. It also isn't doing the fans any favors because instead of getting new stories about the settings and environments that they love from the author, they are getting substandard scribblings that they would rather not read.
So for those readers who rate based on author and not the book, use the ratings as brownie points and/or leverage, or don't read a favorite author's work with as critical an eye... please do us and the authors a favor; STOP! Most authors will say they appreciate good and bad ratings. If one finds themself making excuses for their rave rating it is time to re-evaluate. I will respect you for it because I'll know I can rely on your ratings.
What do you think about readers rating books four and five stars that they say don't get good until after 50%, or any book they have to make excuses for?