A while ago, I posted Investigated – Rating Books to talk about how different people rate books differently. It was basically a post to talk about how you rate books. On the romance? Plot? Characters? This post is kind of like a “part 2” to that post. Today, the question is what else could factor into that rating.
Sometimes when we rate books, the rating doesn’t really reflect how good or bad a book actually is because there could be outside factors that could influence the ratings. Things like…
The hype monster is partly to blame for this. When many people tend to like one books in particular, the expectations for that book tend to rise. Sometimes those expectations reach a level where they cannot be met. And when expectations aren’t met, we are often disappointed and sad. :'( Disappointment = not a very good rating. The sad part is if not for the hype monster creating those high expectations, there is a chance that those books would be perceived better.
The opposite thing happens when many people seem to dislike one book. If you do decide to read a book like that for whatever reason (maybe it’s part of a series you enjoy reading or by an author you like), you will probably start the book with low expectations. The thing about low expectations is that they are relatively easy to meet… If a book meets expectations or even rises above them, people are often pleasantly surprised. Pleasantly surprise = a better rating.
Indie / Self Published
Face it, sometimes we are either harsher or more lenient on these kind of books. On one hand, sometimes those kind of books have bad reputations so we are kind of inclined to not like them as well. After all, how can an indie or self published book be as good or better than one published by a major publishing company? On the other hand, we usually don’t have very high expectations for them (see above) and mistakes are kind of “expected”.
“But I liked / hated that…”
Being inclined to feel a certain way about a book can also influence ratings. (Duh!) If we feel inclined to like or dislike a book, we are usually more lenient or harsher on said book. It could be for a various of reasons including liking/hating the writing of an author, your opinion about the series, your opinion about the subject of the book etc… The point is, if we feel like we should like a book, we often end up doing so, even if the book wasn’t extremely good.
Another reason for feeling inclined to like or hate a book, is pressure. Pressure is not an uncommon concept when it comes to reading and book blogging. If everyone liked a book would you feel more pressured to like it too? (Peer pressure sucks.) Another form of pressure is reading for review for authors and publishers. Authors or publishers giving you a free copy of a book in exchange for reviews tend to make you want to like the book more. Especially if that book happens to be an ARC you requested…
Like a breath of fresh air
Sometimes it feels like I’m reading and rereading the same books over again. It gets tiring, being able guess correctly what’s going to happen next. So when I come across a new story, I tend to be more lenient on it. I’ll admit, I can give books a bit of a higher rating than they really deserve just based on originality alone.
Love triangles. Ugh, they can be so annoying and yet interesting at the same time. The thing I really hate is that love triangles give the main character (or whoever is stuck in the middle of the love triangle) two different choices because there are two different love interests. That also gives the reader two characters to choose between. Which character will make a better boyfriend/girlfriend for the main character? What happens when you chose one character, but the other one wins? Do you get mad? Frustrated? Disappointed? Want to throw the book down and scream “Why?!?” repeatedly? Do you give a book a lower rating than it would have if the love triangle had gone the way you wanted? I’ll confess, I am guilt of doing so. If I don’t like the couple at the end of the book. I could love everything to do with the book up to that point, but once it goes downhill for me, the rating is going to suffer too.
The same can be said for character deaths. Pointless deaths make me angry. And even deaths that served as tools in the literature can cause me to be harsher on a book. Necessary or not, character deaths can be like love triangles for me.
Most of live fairly busy and sometimes chaotic lives. If you are in the middle of a big move or life change will you judge a book differently than you would if your life continuing on like just another ordinary day? The truth is that if we have other things going on (like important tests to study for, problems at school/work etc…), we won’t be totally focused and invested in the books we read during that time period. If you are distracted, it could take away from the story and cause a lesser rating and opinion of the book.
Feelings at the time of reading can also affect ratings. If you are having a perfect day and are beaming with happiness, won’t you tend to be more lenient on the books you read while feeling that way? If you are happy and joyful, you tend to look at things in a more optimistic manner. While happiness can cause optimism, sadness and anger can cause pessimism. If we are angry and upset with the world, it tends to cause a more pessimistic view of things, including the books we read.
So authors, sometimes bad ratings aren’t you, it’s us (the readers). 🙂
What do you think?
Do you agree with the list?