Saturday, June 25, 2011

Play the Match Game

Remember Match Game back in the 1970s? Ah, that Gene Rayburn was a kick.
And I just dated myself. LOL

However, it's not a game that I'm referring to with that post title. Nor is it very humorous. In my archives, I did a post called The Rapunzel Effect. One of the comments inspired a reply from me that truly created a spark of emotion.

I was talking about reviews rated a three on the LASR or Whipped Cream review sites. That rating isn't necessarily a bad thing at all. It's what I term a summer read: something fun, it helps to pass the time in an enjoyable manner. Sometimes a reader doesn't want a heavy hitter, just an infusion of romance. Short stories do that but they also tend to see more three ratings than not.

Why do I think 3 has a bad rap? Easy - it's because of how the review is written. The Rapunzel Effect addresses that so I'm not going to repeat myself.

What I am trying to point out is this: The rating has to match the review.

A review simply cannot have the words: excellent, perfect, great, in the conclusion of the review where previously, the writer was blasting negatives throughout. The review will not be taken seriously--especially if the reviewer decided to give a four or better rating.
The reader is going to come away scratching their head, "I thought the reviewer hated the book.(?)"

Here's a review of one of my favorite stories. It's a four book rating but the writer mentions something that justifies it being a four. I also think if it hadn't been included, I would have expected a higher rating, but that could be my personal prejudice.

A reviewer cannot give a gushing and glowing report and use those same positive words yet give a three rating. That makes no sense! There has be something that prevented it from getting a higher score. The reviewer has to say so. Has to. Otherwise, how can a reader trust the rating?
Here's an example: DON'T FENCE ME IN

Don't even get me started on how the review doesn't even give a potential reader any insight. That's a different post. But, see what I mean?
She claimed it was 'well researched' and 'solid'. So, why didn't it rate higher?

A better example of a three rating is this: BEHIND THE BENCH

Sure, something wasn't quite perfect for her, but the fact that the reviewer enjoyed the reading experience was not lost on me.

Now in this example, the reviewer hated the book. The tone of the review and the rating totally matched. I don't advocate this type of harsh and in depth microscopic carnage but the writer certainly was eloquent in her distaste. LOVE IN THE TIME OF DRAGONS.

By the same token, whenever a reviewer gives a reason for a three book or cherry, they need to do it with respect and civility. Reviews are not supposed to make an author bleed.

If authors are seeing a lot of negative and scathing comments regarding their work, and the majority of those are rated threes, it's not a wonder that poor little number 3 has had a bad rep. It's not fair. It's a generic paint brush tactic that is tarnishing everything.

A three rating can be a good thing, TEXT ME
- when the review is written right. Need a Refresher? REVIEWS CLASS #2

Make the rating match the review. Make sense. And play nice.


The Long and the Short of It Reviews said...

Reviews are not supposed to make an author bleed.


And THREE ratings are NOT bad! I feel like some folks equate them with crappy books, but that's just not true. A three entertained you, but it's typically average, occasionally forgettable, but totally worth your time to read.

And ... most folks won't be able to see the Reviewer class because they don't have permission. Just so you know ...

Nancy G said...

As a reviewer, I go into each book I choose as though it is a 'best book' or at least a five 'whatever'. Depending on many factors, but mostly on how well satisfied I am by the story, characters and the all important HEA/HFN, I will rate accordingly. I will admit that I sometimes rate based on pure enjoyment, but I have no problem being objective and giving a three (a good, middle of the road rating, BTW) I have been lucky in that I have usually chosen well, and found a great deal of enjoyment and delight in my reading. I also try to put that enthusiasm into my reviews so that readers and authors know how I felt.

Thank you for all of your marvelous advice, and I will continue to follow your blog in order to improve what I do.

Xeranthemum said...

I'm glad the post resonated with you, Long and Short of It. :-)

I know the link won't work for everyone - only reviewers of LASR/WC - but since I'm part of the garden, I always hope that other flowers will find their way here and get a better understanding of how all those lessons factor into real life reviews.

Thanks for the comment!

Xeranthemum said...

Hi, Nancy G!
I too hope for the best, but personally, I'm difficult to please. I go into a book with expectations depending on the blurb. Because I've helped with editing and other aspects, I'm more cynical, I guess.

A book has to match my mental checklist and leave me with a feeling that all the bases were covered, that I'm leaving the hero and heroine with a HEA that is in good hands.

There is one book that I gave 5 Cherries to, that still haunts me.. over a month after reading it. I have its cover as my PC wallpaper. I crave for the next an obession. And the editing was 100% clean. Those are the books that rate a 5. If I just enjoy myself because of a good story, then that's great, but it's a 4 or 3. It's the ones that stick like a burr, that have that something undefinable, something special that touches a place deep inside - the romantic, the caregiver, or the hopeful, and creates a need to experience it again...hence the word "auto-buy" -- those are the high achievers - the 5s of the rating world. I've given quite a few fives - I admit that. But then, I become a bit rabid in making sure I read every. single. book. that author has written in that series or in that genre. Just to revel in that feeling again, to enjoy 'living' in that
make-believe world whose characters seem real because of the well developed craft of the author.

And, like you, the tone of enjoyment does come through in the voice of the review. When you love something, it jumps off the page for a reader. For me, that equates with being a tad verbose. I cover everything that had an impact on me, leaving my readers no doubts as to what I thought. By doing that, I also am making sure that my rating matches my review. If I'm glowing? There should be a LOT to talk about. If there isn't - it's not a five.

But, that's me. ;-)

Thanks for visiting, Nancy G! And, sorry for the ::ahem:: verbose reply. ;-)

Nancy G said...

I would expect nothing less from you!!! I agree, and most of the books I rate a five are books that either rock my world (new author) or bring me to visit new friends from an auto buy author. These are the books I go back and reread, and still find enjoyment and passion in. The books where, even though I know what happens, I still cry in spots, or laugh as though I hadn't read it before.