Well, I’ve finished rushing around for the morning, doing laundry, buying groceries, and doing various plant watering duties. I’m sat in the office, at my desk, with a favourite cup of Moroccan mint tea scenting the air, and I’m wondering what today’s post should be about — certainly not the humdrum mundanities of most Monday mornings.
So I went surfing the Blog-O-Sphere to see what everyone else was talking about (books, of course) and, as I haven’t finished the book I started late last week (The Fire Court) I have no review to offer. But I did stop in over the weekend at Reading Under the Blankie (which is a great name and I wish I had thought of that) where Norrie had been having something of a discussion, or maybe, non-discussion? About book rating systems and what does everyone use. Of course, anyone that stops by to read her reviews knows she uses hearts instead of stars, which is perfect. Others use 1-5 stars to rate, some prefer to be a little more in-depth, and go the whole nine-yards with 1-10 stars.
But whatever your choice, whether its hearts for contemporary fiction, little rockets for SF, blood-dripping axes or chainsaws for horror, we all have similar categories: A book is either don’t buy this one, bad, boringly average, oh, this was good, or excellent.
There was a time when I got very serious about my book reviewing, I created a blog exclusively for reviews, even bought a theme that allowed me to do detailed reviews with star ratings from 1 through 10. And posted quite a few in-depth reviews until, that is, I discovered no one really cared. It took a great deal of effort to write those reviews, never mind keep the website running and, get word out across social media. And all for what? No one was paying me.
And here in is the rub, and another of the discussion threads I found via Norrie’s blog. People asking the question, why can’t I get paid for doing book reviews? Because … insert one of a millions reasons.
Not least of which you can’t make a living reviewing books. Even if you could get in at Kirkus Reviews (or the like). Not while there are websites like NetGalley and Edelweiss carefully placing un-proofed galleys out to willing readers, who are used to generate hype and reviews on their blogs—for free.
The up-shot of all this, for me personally was, I closed the review blog, stopped being so antsy about my reviews, and went for the two-thumbs up system of review: I either loved the book, or I didn’t. And in the review, I’ll tell you why. Because, when all said and done, no two reviewers or readers are the same, and what one might love, another might hate. And while one might rate a book 4 or 5 stars for whatever reason, I know for sure, I probably would not have.
Oh, and as a footnote and if anyone is interested, I grade my reviews base on five criteria: Five Points of Review.