There’s Nothing Wrong with Three-star Reviews

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Happy star

I read and review a lot of books. Most of them I love, some I like — and some, well, I don’t like so much.  I try always to give them as objective a review as possible. As an author, I know the importance of reviews to the visibility—and ultimately sales—of an author’s work.

Different people have different views of reviewing. I know some reviewers, for instance, who will not publish a review unless they can give it four or five stars. Others seem to delight in giving one and two-star reviews. Personally, if I can’t give a book at least three stars I will usually not review it. Some people view a three-star review as negative. I think that’s a mistaken view. It’s not over the moon, sure, but a three star review is saying that a book is acceptable, but it contains a few issues (typos, grammar, formatting, etc.) that detract from the reading experience.

As a writer I know how it feels to get a bad review, but I don’t think of the three-star reviews I get as negative. I take them as teaching moments. They’re telling me that I’ve written a so-so book that could have been better. If a book is on the verge of being great, but has two or three typos or grammatical errors, I’ll give it four stars. Five stars only go to books that wow me and have no issues. That’s the criteria used by Awesome Indies Readers and Reviewers which I apply not only to my reviews, but that I use when I’m doing the re-read and edit of my own work.

So, a piece of advice to young writers—especially those putting out their first book—that will help in the process of maturing as a writer: don’t let a three-star review send you into a fit of depression. Read it carefully and see what you can learn from it. Even after you’ve gained some experience as a writer, don’t expect to get all four and five-star reviews. Not everything you write will appeal to everyone. No problem. Just keep writing. Resolve to do better with each book, and let the stars fall where they may.

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3 thoughts on “There’s Nothing Wrong with Three-star Reviews

    The Otaku Judge said:
    April 14, 2015 at 8:19 am

    Many sites give things glowing reviews so now three stars is considered a bad grade. It really isn’t. Three stars is okay. It may be nothing special, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t entertaining. I tend to review mostly three star or higher products. Bashing a game can be fun, but if I don’t like something I’m likely to put it down so I can’t give it a fair assessment.

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      Charles Ray responded:
      April 14, 2015 at 11:27 am

      That is also how I review. If I can’t give a book three stars, I don’t review it, but a three star book is not a bad book – it just has a few faults too many that need fixing or an illogical premise, etc.

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    Yvonne Hertzberger said:
    April 14, 2015 at 12:00 pm

    I have only one three stat review. It pointed out an critical error that took the reader out of the story. If she had not pointed out that one word(it was a place name, I sent my character to the wrong one) I could not have corrected it. I am grateful to that reviewer.

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