Since publishing my own books and taking on the task of critiquing others’ works, I can’t get the difficulty of reviews out of my head. It’s frustrating, and I’ve never really paid attention to it before.
First off, it’s subjective. You may think I’m stupid since that’s clearly a given, but what I’m trying to say here is that each reviewer comes up with their own criteria with which to judge a work. Most often, they post these criteria on their blogs, and when deciding whom I want to review my book, I examine them thoroughly. However, the disconnect happens when the review is read. I have a feeling not too many readers go an search the criteria out to clarify the reviewers feelings. I know I don’t. I see a book I’m interested in and I read the review, never once questioning where this perspective originates.
Furthermore, if you look at any Goodreads or Amazon review page, you’ll see the oddity of the system. Because of these two tent poles for reviewing, many use the five star rating to judge books; however, the use of it lacks reason. I’ve seen one person review a book as two stars, citing bad punctuation while another will give it four stars, citing the same problem. At other times, a reviewer will give a rave review, strongly urging many to read it, and yet give the book only three stars.
I keep returning to this issue only because I can’t wrap my head around it all. Does it really help anyone to read reviews when they are so varied and so different? I’ve noticed that for myself, most reviews tend to be far skewed from my reaction anyways, yet it seems that many authors and other book authorities alike keep attesting to how much reviews are needed. One author even tried to persuade me into just pushing the star rating up to five but leaving my complaints that same. I can’t help feeling a little useless.